Hinata and Kageyama are greeted by their fellow teammates. They are all interested in what happened at the camps. Yachi-san puts green tape on the net. She explains that she’s splitting the net into nine parts. The separation is designed to help the team with their serving. While Hinata and Kageyama were off at camp, the rest of Karasuno has been working on serving better. With the team heading into Nationals they will need to counter jump float servers. After the practice, Hinata asks Kageyama what he meant. He explains that “his current jump is like ‘boing boing’ and it’s his job to act as the decoy by running all over the court.” Kageyama believes that Hinata can jump higher.
Kageyama tries to get Hinata to “use the balls of his feet.” Hinata finally manages to shift his weight properly, but he’s interrupted by Daichi who yells at them through the windows. The following day Ukai asks Kageyama about his time at the training camp. Kageyama is still concerned with the “Goody Two-shoes” comment he received from one of the players. Ukai tells him not to be bothered by the comment. Eventually, the Date Tech team arrives. They are intense and thank team Karasuno for inviting them. Ukai notes that Date Tech has “blocks that are easily the best in the prefecture and may be worthy of being on a national level.”
The game begins
The starting players begin the game, with Onagawa serving. Despite using Hinata as a decoy, team Karasuno is unable to get past the blockers. Date Tech used a “bunch shifting.” Ukai explains that “the bunch block works by the players bunching together in the center so they can move wherever they need to when they see where the set will go with as many blockers as they need.” The downside is that “this method is that they may not be able to get a block up in a time when faced with a fast attack at either end of the court.” Hinata and Kageyama are frustrated by the ability of Date Tech to block their spikes.
Hinata serves, as Tsukishima subs in. Date Tech manages to continue to dominate with their superior blocking. Despite the pressure of facing such blocking, Kageyama is excited about the challenge. During the next rally, Futakuchi is able to get a feint shot over Karasuno. However, Nishinoya manages to use his “Rolling Thunder” to make a receive. Even though he’s praised for his receive, Kageyama shocks him by yelling that he’s “in the way.” I am happy to see Haikyuu return to the games. Obviously that’s the point of this series. However, I missed watching the games from start to finish. Regardless, I like the dynamics of these matches. I am curious to see how Karasuno manages to overcome the blocking of Date Tech if they do at all.
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.
Tsukishima asks Hinata to join him for some “blocking practice.” Hinata excitedly announces to the other players that “Tsukki’s joining in!” At the national training center, Kageyama is asked by Sakusa, “why did Shiratorizawa lose?” He assumes that Wakatoshi-kun was “not at his best.” Kageyama responds that he “didn’t seems off.” Sakusa concerned for possible threats, want’s to know who was responsible for blocking Wakatoshi. He’s interrupted by his classmate before Kageyama could answer. Elsewhere, the teachers of the camp discuss why Washijo-sensei is even holding it. They suggest that since losing to Karasuno, he’s changed. Meanwhile, Hinata and the others continue there practice. Tsukishima believes that by practicing against Hinata, a spiker that “can actually see the blockers.” At the national training center, Kageyama impresses the instructors.
They praise his ability to adapt, his instinct and good technique. The animation makes a dramatic leap when Korai Hoshiumi springs into action. He seems a little short for the typical player and oddly resembles an owl (at least to me). He looks cool and definitely stands out. I wonder how Hinata would react to another small powerhouse. Anyway, he picks a fight with Kageyama. He doesn’t like that Kageyama isn’t impressed by him. Like Hinata, his lack of height of leads people underestimate him, a become shocked that he’s so good. He’s become use to this dynamic and expects it. Miya Atsumu pisses Kageyama off by suggesting that he’s a “goody Two-shoes” on court. Back at Shiratorizawa, Hinata continues to observe the other players.
One such player, Hyakuzawa, is having difficulty with 2 on 2’s. He’s exhausted, his playing style begins to declines, and makes too many mistakes. He feel out of place. Out loud, he tells Hinata that he wishes he wasn’t invited. Hinata reminds him that he was invited for a reason. In the typical hyper manic way Hinata tells him how “super talented” tall players are. Hinata’s pep talk works and Hyakuzawa plays much better. Hinata may not be an official part of the camp but he’s having a tremendous effect on the other players.
The third episode of Haikyuu!!, Perspective, see Hinata take a greater effort in his work as a ball boy. Hinata observes the third set of the practice game between the first and third years. When he witnesses Kunimi successful picking up Ushijima’s spike, he notices that he’s a dear in the headlights when anticipating a spike. Yamagata moves in sync with the blockers, allowing him to receive a spike form Hyakuzawa. He recalls that Nishinoya told him that excellent receivers are “able to tell where the ball will go from reading the spiker’s form.” Being a ball boy, gives Hinata a new perspective. Literally. He usually watches the ball, however, he now can see how the other players perform. He starts to notice, their movements and techniques.
He recalls practicing with his friend, Tamayama. During the tennis practice, Hinata isn’t helpful. However, Tamayama tells him that he has “superb reflexes.” Hinata remembers the “split step,” that Tamayama taught him. The split step is a “move in which a player takes their feet off the ground in order to reset their form when an opposing player is about to strike and then use that momentum to go into their next move.” Hinata using this technique, is able to catch the ball before it hits him in the face. However, his noise starts bleeding. With all this observation, Hinata realizes that there are a lot of holes in his game.
While, Hinata betters himself, so does team Karasuno. The following day they practice against the Tokonami team. Despite practicing on their serves they, some fail to clear the net. Team Tokonami wins. With the win, they feel confident that they will make Nationals. Back at Shiratorizawa, Hinata starts to put his new movement to good use. This catches the eye Anabara, who comments that “Hinata is now starting to put thought into his movements which will later blend with his instincts to become intuition.” This episode briefly touches on Kageyama at the National Youth Camp, there not much there. However, I’m hoping that they show his progress in the next episode.
The series is taking it’s time showing Hinata’s progress, but I think it’s effective. I thought that he was going to get on the team, but I actually think this is better for him. First he needs to be humble after his inappropriate behavior. However, he’s was single-minded while playing. With his new perspective, he’s already becoming a better player.
In episode 2 of Haikyuu!! Fourth Season, Hinata struggles with his new role as ball boy. However, he takes to the role with the same hyper energy he does everything else. You feel for him. As he’s a bit embarrassed but desperate to get better. Washijo-sensei is harder on Hinata than he is on the other ball boys. The other coaches theorize that Coach Washijo is being petty because Karasuno took “the Spring Tournament from them.” This episode focuses less directly on the volleyball and more acutely on Hinata. Particularly focusing on his eyes, as he has been relegated to a spectator. Washijo makes it clear however, that his “determination” won’t change anything. I anticipate that his opinion will likely change. Coach Ukai asks Hinata if “he really thought they would let him practice with them?”
Hinata laments the fact that he’s “behind” his competition. Coach Ukai tells him that he shouldn’t “underestimate what it takes to be a ball boy.” The next day Hinata steps up his effort as a ball boy. Meanwhile, third years and some alumni from Shiratorizawa arrive. Hinata gets excited. The teams play as Washijo gives instruction from the sidelines. Shiratorizawa takes the practice set 25-14. Satori Tendo asks Hinata why he isn’t playing. Hinata tells him that he wasn’t invited and crashed. However, Wakatoshi isn’t nearly as amused. He asks Hinata “What is he doing?” Elsewhere, team Karasuno begins practicing serves. Coach Ukai is concerned that they might lose some of their players. Ukai knows that the students aren’t the only ones competing but the coaches and the schools are as well. They need to keep helping their players get better, otherwise they might lose them.
Haikyuu!! Fourth Season is still setting the narrative for the season. I’m curious how Hinata joins the practices, he’s running out of time. Is it possible for Hinata to remain the ball boy? That would be interesting, but I don’t know how that would help him grow. Regardless, Haikyuu!! Fourth Season remains compelling and I can’t wait for the next episode.