Haikyuu!! – 07

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Well, that episode was certainly an eye-opener.

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.

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  1. B

    Er, Enzo, there seems to be a misunderstanding in your post. I not going to say what because it's a minor spoiler and you seem to be fairly strict about that, but I just thought I'd give you a heads up. It should be revealed within the next few episodes anyway.

    Hinata spiking with with his eyes open is foreshadowing, but I don't expect the issue to be addressed in the duration of the anime (there's a very good stopping for the anime to end, and spiking issue isn't really properly discussed till after the aforementioned point in the manga).

    I hope I've been vague enough.

    In other (unrelated) news, I have to express my gratitude to you for introducing me to Otoyomegatari. What a charming series.

  2. You're welcome, it really is a great series. As for Haikyuu I'd be fine not knowing even what you typed, to be honest, though it's not enough of a spoiler that it's worth deleting. And you can bank on the anime getting a continuation, probably 1 or 2 seasons after this run ends.

  3. g

    Eeeh, you make an another mistake in your review. The store guy is related to the legendary coach Ukai but he isn't the same person. I thought it was clear, because the legendary coach Ukai was showed as an old dude.
    He he, everybody insists that Oikawa taught Kageyama the jump-serve. Well, that was Hinata's conclusion too. But Kageyama said himself he had learnt the "killer" serve and how to block only watching Oikawa (there will be the story). That's why, my dear Sirs & Madams, Tobio-chan is called a genius, not for nothing.

  4. R

    I feel like there's more constructive comment I could be giving but I'm a bit too preoccupied hyperactively awaiting next week episode.


  5. g

    Haha, at last somebody I can fangirling with too.
    Noooya is here!!! The ruler of the wildness and master of the cool will guide us from here. xD

  6. m

    haikyuu is so good at being FLASHY

  7. R

    Accidentally hit the wrong button…grrrhhh…typing it all over…

    Consistent delivery and high attention to details are what Haikyuu has been offering us. It's nowhere near deep nor subtle, but it's consistently entertaining.

    Like in previous episodes, there are a few details this week that I like about. I like that a comet flew through the sky when Daichi talked about winning the Summer Inter-High National Tournament. I also like the "Match for a Thousand" print on the new character's t-shirt — he must be the libero that the team talked about. It's nice to see how Kagayama has learnt and come to peace — and I like that not every good character has to be likeable. It's also nice to see Hinata finally opening his eyes when he spiked — he can now learn to strategize his spikes instead of relying on raw speed and strength.

    Judging from the OP sequence and what Kagayama said in this episode, I think we will be introduced to another new character — who may be the ace spiker. Together with the coach — who will most likely be the Foothill Shop owner who neglected the no smoking sign and smoked like a chimney in his shop — Karasuno Volleyball team is complete. It will be exciting to see how they will pull in each other's strengths and nurture the synergy and power that can take the Inter-High by storm. I'm voting for you, Karasuno Volleyball team.

    By the way, it seems like there are not that many in the blogosphere blogging this show. I hope that I'm wrong, but as long as you're covering it, I'm happy, and that's what it matters. Thanks, Enzo.

  8. I missed that comet completely…

    It does frustrate me that sports anime – even now, when they're basically carrying the schedule in terms of quality – get so little attention in English-language circles. It does make me a big fish in a small pond, but I'd be even happier to be in an ocean.

  9. F

    I love this show. One of the things that makes it enjoyable for me is that the artists and animators did their homework and show the athletes using proper form and technique as they perform the various skills critical to the sport of volleyball, for the most part.

    I say, "for the most part", because they've chosen to show the hitter swinging at the ball with his hand open but his fingers closed instead of spread open; that is just incorrect technique and I've never known anyone to teach hitting in that fashion. If this were tennis then the arm and hand would be analogous to the racket with the hand representing the head. Hitting with open fingers increases the size of the "head" of your "racket", resulting in increased power, topspin, accuracy, and control.

    This show is doing so many things well and is so consistently enjoyable for me that I'm sure to buy it if it gets a US release, I just wish it was . . . perfect. #B^)

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