There are episodes of Haikyuu that, while perfectly entertaining and well-executed, are pretty tough to blog about. And this was one of those episodes. I’ve noted this before – and not only about Haikyuu – that sometimes a show does such a good job of speaking for itself that it doesn’t require much analysis or interpretation. That’s not a bad thing by any means, nor is pointing it out a criticism.
The thing about Haikyuu is, it doesn’t generally try too hard to hide what it’s on about. It does dig pretty deeply into the strategy and tactics of volleyball at times, certainly. But the characters (even the socially awkward Kageyama and the stone-faced Tsukishima) aren’t much for artifice – they are who they are, and the story boils down to watching them try and become the best version of that person they can. Not a bad metaphor for adolescence or a coming-of-age story at all, but pretty self-explanatory with an ep like this one.
So what did we get here, then? An awful lot of the characters (including Yachi) being charming in that effortless Haikyuu face-pulling way. A little more ordinance between Hinata and Kageyama, coming when Hinata hits too close to home in calling out Kageyama for backing off on the new tosses they’ve been working on in the middle of a match. Some interesting volleyball minutiae, like the introduction of the “rebound” – intentionally hitting (softly) into the wall to try and elicit another bite of the apple. And of course, the meat dance. Never forget the meat dance.
What we also got was the rare episode where the minor characters outshone the major ones. The best scene of the episode for me, in fact, was the 3-on-3 match featuring the comically mismatched heights on opposite sides of the net. I liked seeing those characters get some development, and I think Bokuto (the ace from Fukurodani) especially shines. It doesn’t hurt that Kimura Ryouhei is such a stellar seiyuu and gives every scene with Bokuto a huge spark, but he’s a fun character – a snarky guy who’s free with surprisingly astute advice for his kouhai, even the ones on rival teams.
I think a lot of what Bokuto told Hinata, especially, is going to prove very useful (“super awesome”?) very soon – because Karasuno is playing Fukurodani next week in what seems as if it may be the finale of the training camp arc. Karasuno is a whopping 3-61, worst in the camp by an overwhelming margin (their penalties have probably consumed more energy than their matches) but the won-loss record is obviously not a crucial point here. That last game is going to be the chance for all the Crows to show off their development in this arc (those that were lucky enough to get any, at least) – and afterwards, for Hinata to show off his appetite at the barbecue. And who knows, maybe for another meat dance.