The new characters are coming fast and furious now, but there’s still some old business to take care of. The final set of the practice match with Aoba Johsai, to be precise, and that means the entry of Oikawa Tooru onto the scene. As Aoba’s captain and ace, it’s strongly implied that he could have turned the match around whenever he entered – but he doesn’t enter until his team is already a point away from defeat. That’s quite a handicap to say the least, but it’s pretty clear that most of the Aoba Johsai side (including the coach) isn’t too worried about winning or losing this match (Kindaichi being the obvious exception).
We’ll see how big a role Oikawa plays as a rival here – it seems there’s an even more intimidating power school than Aoba, one that Kageyama tried to get accepted to but failed. The fact that Oikawa was also Kageyama’s sempai in middle school adds another layer of intrigue, and in addition to being his model as a setter he was also the one who taught Kageyama the jump-serve. He uses this to great effect, scoring two quick points by aiming for Tsukishima as the weakest receiver on the Karasuno side. But Sawamura rearranges the formation, forcing Oikawa to take a little off the serve to make sure it’s on target for Tsuki, and the latter manages to keep the ball in-play this time, allowing Hinata to have his moment of heroism.
The most significant moment here seems to be the fact that Hinata keeps his eyes open this time when he spikes (right at Oikawa), which must surely be foreshadowing of events to come. What’s interesting is that Kageyama and Hinata seem to have become very much a package deal, which makes me wonder what role Sugawara is going to have in the events ahead. Without Kageyama to indulge Hinata’s particular attack pattern, would Hinata still be effective? In any event, it’s a win for Karasuno – though Kindaichi seems to be the only one on the Aoba Johsai side really bothered by it. He seems even more bothered by the fact that Kageyama seems to have found a role for himself as part of a team at last, too late for him to derive any benefit from it.
There a complete left-field inspirational speech by Takeda-sensei, which felt completely out of place and was clearly intended to be at least somewhat ironic (though maybe not totally, I’m not sure). But he’s clearly not a real coach, and Sawamura isn’t an especially confident captain, so there’s a leadership vacuum waiting to be filled. The new wrinkle is that the blonde dude with the little store is
apparently (or perhaps not) the legendary former coach, Ukai Keishin (Tanaka Kazunari), whose rumored un-retirement is what drew Kageyama to Karasuno.
There’s also the matter of another player who seems to be important, the “guardian deity” of Karasuno volleyball. So intense Tanaka thinks he’s too intense, this new figure is on suspension for a week at the moment, but to hear the sempai talk about him it seems he’s the real deal. He also turns out to be shorter than Hinata, interestingly enough. It’s another big voice actor playing him but we’ll get to that next week, as he doesn’t have anything to say here.