“A Simple and Pure Strength”
Being Tall is Awesome:
The message of this episode is very simple: being tall is awesome and it sure helps a lot when it comes to sports like volleyball, but it’s no substitute for talent, practice, and game sense. This week we get another match wrapped up, which I think is for the best. We already know that Karasuno has to progress further in the tournament, and the teams they are facing right now just aren’t at their level, and we’ve only seen a glimpse of what Karasuno can pull off. However, Hyakuzawa Yuudai gave them a run for their money. Coming in at 201cm (or 6′ 7″), this first year is a giant, taller than anyone we’ve seen in Haikyuu!! so far. The match begins with him pressuring Karasuno to the point where they can’t seem to score at all, until it becomes clear that blocking like usual wasn’t going to do a thing.
The most rewarding part of all this would have to be Hinata being the star of match. He may be the main character, but he often only comes in at the crucial moments, and for the longest time he’s only been good at what he can do, and unremarkable at everything else. But after his first major tournament last season, and 11 episodes of training this season, he’s come out much stronger than we’ve ever seen him before – and it’s totally believable. Seeing the our chibi crow overcome the giant was so satisfying (and this is coming from someone who is tall, and loves being tall!), right up until the final blow.
It’s a shame that we didn’t get this match from the point-of-view of the opposing team, but perhaps that was also for the best. Not every episode can work like that, and this team simply wasn’t as interesting as last week’s; the struggles of a one-man show has never been something I enjoy in any sports anime, and it’s no different with Haikyuu!! At the very least, it’s good to see that Hyakuzawa actually cares about volleyball and wants to get better. This plants the seeds for next year’s tournaments, when Kakugawa High is likely to show their improvements as a team, and not relying on one individual.
Off to the Miyagi Prefecture Representative Playoffs:
Perhaps more interesting the match itself was the aftermath. We were serious for a while, but within a few seconds we were back to the goofy heart that makes Haikyuu!! so loveable. Again, Yachi’s faces on the sidelines are the best, but Hinata gives her a run for her money with some of his. Kyoko being hit on by Terushima Yuuji (Eguchi Takuya) came off as much more invasive in the manga, but for whatever reason it didn’t feel as big of a deal in animated form. However, Hinata jumping in the way and making silly faces was enough to break the tension. It’s interesting, because up until this point nearly everyone that Karasuno has faced has been sympathetic on some level; however, Johzenji may be a different case. If their captain is anything to go by, they may be the most arrogant and cocky school they’ve encountered. Terushima isn’t the easiest character to like straight off the bat, but I can’t help but not hate him just yet, if only because he’s got the same undercut that I have right now, and I do think it looks pretty cool…
Overview – What’s Next?:
Like last week, this was another straightforward episode, wrapping up a not-so-important match to make room for what’s to come. It’s off to the Miyagi Prefecture Representative Playoffs now, so next episode will allow a quickly breather before we dive back into the volleyball action. From the looks of it, next episode we’ll see lots of familiar faces, and some last-minute training from the Karasuno boys. There likely won’t be an episode next week (as most things will be on break), so we may have to wait just a little bit longer to see everyone back on the court.