Haikyuu!! Season 2 – 15

Boys just wanna have fun

And get spanked…

Never let it be said that Haikyuu doesn’t know who its paying audience is.  But be that as it may, I think there’s a little winking at the rest of us going on here too and it’s all in good fun.  Speaking of good fun, the “party team” (they’ll always be the nampa team to me) Johzenji make their competitive debut this week, and it seems Karasuno has finally met their match in terms of erraticism and goofiness.  Though sadly for Johzenji not skill, at least not yet.

If ever a motto was mismatched with a team, “Valor and Simplicity” – which seems an odd motto anyway, even for the Japanese – and Johzenji are it.  A team with no third years (apart from their manager) is at a competitive disadvantage to begin with, but Johzenji seems to have taken the approach that the way through it is to be as carefree as possible.  Yes, Viv Savage would be proud of this group of grommets, and they present Karasuno a challenge if nothing else in being the closest thing they’ve come to playing themselves.

A highlight this week, of course, is that Suga finally got off the milk carton and onto the court (and the screen).  The opportunity comes when Kageyama rides a wave of adrenaline into blocking a dump with his face, resulting in a bloody nose.  It seems kind of bittersweet to wait this long for a chance and only get one due to injury, but that’s the fate of the benchwarmer.  And he makes the most of it, as he’s on the court when Karasuno closes out a relatively close set.

It’s interesting that Ukai subs out Hinata after Kageyama’s injury, in favor of Narita (I guess Haneda was unavailable) – a character so deep in the background I would never have been able to tell you his name.  The reasoning is sound – Shouyou isn’t that good at “normal” plays – but it does highlight the extent to which the new Little Giant’s success is tied in to his setter.  What it also highlights it that unlike Johzenji (for now at least) Karasuno has a foundation of fundamental play – and third-years – it can fall back on when the highlight-reel trickery isn’t an option.

It falls to Johzenji’s put-upon manager to spank them (only verbally – sorry, Ikebukuro) when their one-note approach leaves them on the verge of panic late in the second set.  This overheard conversation causes quite a stir among the opposition (to Kiyoko’s chagrin) but the practical import is that the opposition has one more spurt in them before Karasuno finishes them off and moves on.  That will obviously happen, but this has proved to be a fairly interesting opponent as speed bump’s go…

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