Haikyuu!! Season 4 Episode 11: Recap and Review

In episode 11 of Haikyuu!! To the Top, Kageyama takes over the game. Asahi is the unsung hero of the game.
Karasuno’s ace Asahi is the unsung hero

Season 4, Episode 11: ‘ A Chance to Connect’

Kageyama steps up his game, but Asahi is the star

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 Aoi serving underhanded
Himekawa Aoi serving underhanded

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. 

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 10: Recap and Review

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Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 10: Recap and Review

In Haikyuu!! Fourth Season episode 10, Kiyoko rushes to catch the bus.
Kiyoko rushes to catch the bus

Season 4, Episode 10: ‘ Battle Lines’

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.

Hinata scores on a quick attack.

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.

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 9: Recap and Review

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 9: Recap and Review

The opening ceremony, signaling the beginning of Spring Tournament

Episode 9: ‘Everyone’s Night’

As Karasuno prepares to play the Spring Tournament, nerves arrive


In Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 9, “Everyone’s Night,” the Karasuno team finally prepares to head to the Spring Tournament. It’s the New Year and the team is naturally nervous about the upcoming tournament. Kiyoko reassures them that ” she is certain they will do just fine.” The other team members are shown in a montage spending time with their families. Nishinoya, Tanaka, Hinata, and Kageyama end up playing hanetsuki together. Daichi, having had a nightmare earlier is unsettled. He scolds them for not resting before the tournament.

The following day, Karasuno heads to Tokyo. The members of Karasuno are stunned when seeing the Tokyo Skytree. At the Jaybird inn, Ukai announces that the team is going to watch their “best moments.” Titled, “I’m Awesome,” the video is a montage of all the best moments from the previous games. The video serves to inspire the team by reminding them that they are talented. This entire episode is about the anxiety that the team feels going into the tournament.

Finally, the big day arrives and team Karasuno meets and greets, friends and adversaries. Motoya greets Kageyama. Hinata sees Bokuto and Akaashi. Bokuto tells Hinata that “he will not show any mercy if they were to ever have a net between them.” Kageyama and Hinata’s nerves give way to excitement as the opening ceremony begins. This episode was mostly a set up for the tournament to come. It is effective in presenting the angst that the team feels. Everyone feels some level of this angst, not just the players. I expect that all the teams will focus on the upcoming tournament, while, nerves will remain determination and excitement is likely to rise to the surface.

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 8: Recap and Review

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 8: Recap and Review

Episode 8: ‘Challenger’

Karasuno and Date Tech continue to battle in an eighth set

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, episode 8, “Challenger” continues the practice match between Karasuno and Date Tech. Karasuno earns a set point after Aone bumps into Futakuchi during a block. Ukai and Hinata conclude that it’s best for him (Hinata) to “blend in with the crowd.” With Hinata remaining back, the rest of Karasuno manages to execute an attack. Distracted by Hinata, Asahi is able to get the spike winning the set for Karasuno.

Date Tech’s ideal plan

It becomes clear that the change in Hinata’s movement has caused Date Tech to “hesitate.” Ukai points out that teams often plan for Hinata to outpace his teammates. Tsukishima notes that Date Tech isn’t “fazed” by Hinata’s quick attack. He states that “Even if they are not aiming to stop every attack, they will still be able to have two blockers attempting to block and possibly even get a touch on Hinata’s quick.” The ultimate plan of Date Tech is to exhaust Hinata causing him to be blocked more. Tsukishima believes that when Hinata scores “Date’s blockers will hesitate more.”

Karasuno continues with the strategy of having Hinata blend in with the team. Karasuno is able to get another point frustrating Date Tech. In the fifth set, Karasuno lead by 3 points. Tsukishima points out that Date Tech will pay attention to Hinata more. As a result, “the chance to score from the side will increase and will cause the blockers to hesitate even more.” Tsukishima figures that eventually Date Tech will resort to “guessing,” when blocking making scoring for Karasuno easier.

The eighth set

In the eighth set, Tsukishima begins to tire. Annoyed, Tsukishima “pointing out that he does not have the same kind of stamina that Hinata has.” Kinoshita is chosen to sub in. He doesn’t really want to join the game and is visibly nervous. He performs a jump float serve that Obara fails to receive. His following serve misses. Later in the set Hinata pretends to use a minus tempo attack. He manages to trick Koganegawa into blocking him, leaving Asahi open to attack. Despite Date Tech’s blocking improving so much, Asahi isn’t afraid. Against three blockers he hits the ball with enough force to get the point and win the game. Karasuno and Date Tech each win four sets.

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 7: Recap and Review

Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Episode 7: Recap and Review

Season 4, Episode 7: ‘Return’

Karasuno continues to struggle with Date Tech’s improved blocking


Can Kageyama and the rest Karasuno get along. The King of the Court returns in Haikyuu!! Fourth Season Episode 7
The King of the Court returns

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.”

Kageyama’s changes

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.

Asahi apologizes for missing

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 6: Recap and Review