With Karasuno through to the next round, Haikyuu!! To The Top, focuses on the other team’s progress. Fukurodani is playing their first game against Eiwa High School. While Fukurodani falls behind two points, Bokuto is in one of his moods. The reason behind his bad mood? He wanted to play in the big stadium. Elsewhere, Daichi introduces the first years to Tashiro and Kurokawa. Both are former captains of the team. Later, Karasuno eats bento while watching Nekoma play Kiyokawa. The team ace, Ryoji Yamazaki, is exhausted by Nekoma’s defense. After a brief rally, Nekoma wins, advancing to round 2.
Hinata meets Hoshiumi
The moment I have been waiting for arrived. After watching Fukurodani win their match, Hinata sees Hoshiumi for the first time. The two quickly stare each other down. Kageyama interrupts them and introduces Hoshiumi. He asks Hinata his position, height, and running vertical. Hoshiumi is happy to know that he’s taller and has a higher jump. Karasuno watch as Hoshiumi dominates the game. Hinata even feels the need to get a closer look. Hinata has always had to accept challenges from players taller than him. How will he respond to a player around his height but with greater skill? Kamomedai win.
With Karasuno, Nekoma, Fukurodani, and Kamomedai moving to the next round, matches will only get harder. I’m excited about the possible match between Karasuno and Kamomedai. It seems like Karasuno is the better team but Kamomedai has the best player, Hoshiumi.
So are any of you excited to see Hinata verses Hoshiumi?
In episode 11 of Haikyuu!! To the Top, Kageyama takes over the game. In the last episode, he finally finds his game. This episode begins with Karasuno’s “lethal weapon” a quick attack. The crowd is wowed by sight particularly the speed. Karasuno is still down 13 to 15 though. When Tsubakihara focuses on Hinata, Kageyama manages to score. Realizing the turn in dynamic the rest of Karasuno is excited. Kageyama and Hinata manage to score on another quick attack. Tsubakihara’s coach notes that if they focus on Hinata they will be falling into Karasuno’s “trap.” He encourages them to “keep up the rad blocking.” He hopes to keep the “pressure on.” The pep talk seems to work.
Tsubakihara takes the lead, 18 to 17. Hinata takes a ball to the chest. Asahi finish the rally with a kill. Hinata once again miss calculates the distance between him and the ball. Tanaka gets the ball over the net. During the next rally, Karasuno takes the lead after Asahi hits the ball against three blockers. After a freeball, Hinata scores from the back row. Karasuno now has scored three points in a row, taking a 20 to 18 lead. At 23 to 21, Kinoshita is up to serve. He misses. Despite that Karasuno scores reaching a set point. However, when Kageyama serves he dumps it in the net. Now at 24-23 its Tsubakihara’s turn to serve.
Himekawa the pinch server
Himekawa Aoi is the “pinch server” for the team. In his first official match, Aoi looks like he’s going to throw up. Suddenly, he serves underhanded hitting his teammate in the back of the head. Karasuno takes the first set, 25-23. I like how Hiakyuu keeps playing with our expectations. As a sports fan (Tennis) the better player doesn’t always succeed. Kageyama’s serving was top-notch until a set point. I assumed that Aoi would overcome his nerves and serve lights out. It seemed that the dynamic would play out that way. However, Aoi comically missed his serve. Even if I expect Karasuno to win, I won’t know exactly how.
In the second set, Aoi gets a chance to redeem himself. He takes a deep breath and sends the serve flying towards the ceiling. Daichi fails to receive it. He goes for another “ceiling serve” that Asahi and Dachi fail to even more for. Himekawa gets two service aces in a row, giving his team Tsubakihara the lead. Karasuno loses the next point. Aoi fails to get his fourth service point. He leaves the game with the teams tied. Asahi serves an ace. However, Tsubakihara scores on the point. With the game tied, Tsubakihara sends a ball over that’s higher than usual. However, Daichi can reflexively knuckle it over, giving Karasuno a match point. Sugawara is subbed in to serve. Clear minded he serves a big but it’s received. The teams engage in a spirited rally with Hinata pretending to spike, leaving Asahi to spike. Winning the game.
Hinata loses his shoes and it’s Kiyoko to the rescue
In Haikyuu!! Fourth Season episode 10, the Karasuno team prepare for their first match. However, they quickly run into a problem. Hinata’s shoes go missing. While Tanaka and Hinata are using the bathroom a young boy accidentally takes Hinata’s luggage. Lucky Hinata also left his phone in the bag. Tadashi calls his phone and learns that the boy took the bag. The boy and his mother remained in the gym but no one is there to get the shoes. Kiyoko volunteers to get the shoes. At the gym, Ukai warns the team that the floor is different from what is normal. For some reason its hard to slide on. From Ukai’s perspective, this can lead to injuries. Furthermore, the ceiling may also pose a threat. I find the potential pitfalls of the gym to be surprising. Having to adjust to a new surrounding seem likely but Ukai makes it sound so dangerous, I wonder why they would play at such a gym.
The team is still dealing with nerves while they warm up. Hinata becomes enamored with his surroundings. He’s somewhat paralyzed by the gym and its size. Kageyama doesn’t feel any nerves. Kiyoko returns with the shoes and Daichi prepares the team to line up. Their opponents are team Tsubakihara, who begins with a team chant. Tsubakihara’s coach Tatsumi Osado advice to his team to “concentrate on disrupting Karasuno’s attacks with their serves.” Osado also warns his players that if they take their “eye’s off Hinata,” they will pay. Despite Shiraiorizawa losing to Karasuno, the players aren’t intimidated because that win didn’t come easy. The game begins with Kageyama serving. Team Captain Sakae Echigo notices that the serve, despite its power was going out.
Tsubakihara wins the first point. Middle blocker Togo Iwamuro serves for Tsubakihara. Ukai notices that “he has purposely aimed his serve to go where Kageyama would pass in front of Tanaka.” Team Tsubakihara’s largest threat is their ace, Teradomari. He’s a tall player with a “powerful back-row attack.” He spikes over Hinata and Daichi but Nishinoya manages to save it. The combination of nerves and a new environment puts team Karasuno’s “awareness” off. Kageyama seems to be affected the most. He asks for some more time. Finally, Asahi manages to score. However, Karasuno falls behind by four points. Ukai sends Tadashi in early. Accepting the possibility that he will only serve, he delivers two effective serves. However, Tsubakihara is able to score after the third. Kageyama finally regains his confidence and together with Hinata, they score with a quick attack.
I always enjoy the matches in Haikyuu!!, but some of the early storylines felt unnecessary. I realize that they want us to understand that the team is more than the players, however, the Kiyoko shoe arc was too long. The potential “dangers” of the gym was an interesting plot point. I would have liked an explanation as to why Japan chose a gym with possible hazards to the players. My final criticism focuses on the nerves. Was it really necessary to have another episode include the fact that Karasuno was nervous? It seems overemphasized. At this point, I think we got that they were nervous. That said I’m glad to see that they’re over those nerves. I look forward to seeing Karasuno fly.
Karasuno continues to struggle with Date Tech’s improved blocking
Last week’s “Haikyuu!! Fourth Season Episode 7” sees Karasuno trying to incorporate new things while combating the improved blocking of Date Tech’s team. Tanaka manages to score when hitting a spike against Onagawa’s arm. The change in Kageyama’s personality doesn’t go unnoticed. Kinoshita and Narita are impressed by Kageyama’s “boldness,” however, Yachi is worried. He feels that Kageyama is “scarier.” Meanwhile, Date Tech’s blocking excites even their manager. Mai Nametsu notes that his team’s level must be due to their excitement at facing Karasuno. Coach Oiwake agrees, noting that “it was not too long ago that the Date players would fall for distractions that would cause them to be more spread out on the court but now are more focused.”
Some of the changes to Kageyama is his personality. Despite Kageyama’s annoyance at Tsukishima spike, he’s more subtle or reasonable. Sugawara points out that Tsukishima and Kageyama would have engaged in an argument had the later responded. It seems that Kageyama is learning to moderate his responses. Koganegawa, watching from the sidelines, admires the set that Kageyama made. Not too low, too high, too far or too close, Koganegawa becomes emotional. Date Tech continues to dominate, successfully blocking many of the Karasuno’s attacks. Date Tech gets a three-point lead. The other players of Date Tech realize that Karasuno is “off their game.” They win the first set.
The return of the King of the Court
Kageyama’s attitude continues to cause trouble. Asahi over-hit Kageyama’s set. He apologizes, but Kageyama bluntly tells him to “just score already.” He then goes on to say that his “tosses are so good that the spikers should be able to score more.” He quickly realizes that he went too far. He flashes back to when he was abandoned by his former middle school teacher. However, Hinata asks him ” what he finds wrong with being the King.” Hinata, Tanaka, and Tsukishima all agree that when he talks down to them they just ignore him. Ukai reminds Kageyama that in order to deliver the “best set” it’s necessary for the spiker to be able to hit it easily. Kageyama needs to communicate better.
Set number two begins. Kageyama uses a set that’s higher than normal. Tsukishima misses the ball. Kageyama informs him that “he is not going to stoop down to his level anymore.” Date Tech reach set point. Tsukishima runs to spike one of Kageyama’s higher sets, managing to get it past two blockers. However, he misses and Date Tech wins the set. Kageyama tells Tsukishima that “he too can fly.”
The fourth set
Kageyama and Tsukishima are working better together. Karasuno gains the lead. Tsukishima notes that if they had continued blocking form the lower point, they would have been met with better blocks. Daichi thinks that they can “experiment.” They decided to send Tanaka fewer sets. Kageyama tosses to Asahi. He fails to successfully send the ball over. Meanwhile, Date Tech’s Futakuchi hits a powerful jump serve. Tanaka hits the receive, Asahi sends the ball to Hinata. Blocked by three blockers. Ukai notes that Futakuchi and the rest of Date Tech could become their toughest opponent.
Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 5, Hunger sees the final day of training camp. Kageyama’s attitude changes. He recalls what Oikawa said to him. The coaches notice this change, with one of the coaches recalling the reputation Kageyama had. At Shiratorizawa, a 2 on 2 games is taking place between Hyakuzawa, Kunimi and Goshiki, Tsukishima. Hinata continues to observe from the sidelines. He is able to correctly predict Kunimi next move. Tsukishima gives Goshiki a poor set, pissing him off. Akakura and Hinata discuss Hyakuzawa’s skills. They agree that he has poor defense, but “excellent stamina,” and has incredible reach.
Practice match against Shiratorizawa
Anabara announces that the first years will play a practice game against Shiratorizawa. During the game, Hinata stares at Ushijima as he plays. He approaches him after the game and asks “what he is thinking about when he is making a receive.” Shirabu encourages Goshiki to ask Ushijima for advice as well. At first, he refuses because Ushijima is his “rival.” However, when Shirabu tells him that he’s a “step behind Hinata when it comes to taking an initiative.” Shocked he rushes to ask Ushijima for some advice. At the youth camp, the players switched their usual positions.
Eikichi gets a feint over other blocks, Motoya saves the feint. Kageyama spikes Hoshiumi’s set, scoring a past a double block. The coaches are impressed that Kageyama makes an excellent left side wing spiker. Elsewhere at Karasuno, the team continues to practice their serves. Kinoshita performs a jump float, but Nishinoya manages to save. Kinoshita is quickly becoming more skilled in the jump float. With the spring tournament a few weeks away, team Karasuno needs practice.
The Shiratorizawa and National camp ends
The coaches praise the players. They are told that “the camp was a way to get them started on their youth activities and that it was also used to help them figure things out and that room for improvement is still possible.” All the players depart from both camps. Washijo while having dinner with the other coaches remarks that short players like Hinata need to have the “hunger.” The following day, Hinata and Kageyama finally meet again. They quickly begin competing, racing to the club room. Kageyama mentions the Little Giant, suggesting that he’s “a hundred times better than Hinata.” At Date Tech, Coach Oiwake informs the team they will play a match against Karasuno.