A Coward’s Anxiety
Nor am I used to them having such a collection of choice faces.
No, like, seriously. This is something I note while reading the manga too, the art being a good selling point of it, but there’s something about anime which can help bring attention to those multitude of expressions. It could well be that in animated form, you see every screen as it comes one at a time, so it’s far easier to note any of the better expressions. That, and it does a good job adding even more of them, I’d imagine, with how animated this show is. It was clear enough with the previous episodes, but with an episode like this where you essentially have more down time and hijinks, it’s almost surprising to see it all animated as much as it is. Which is a nice change of pace, the sense of movement brings along a certain liveliness to it.
Anyhow, with Hinata and Kageyama having genuinely worked together, the duo quickly begin to find themselves in more and more of a rhythm, which with the help of Tanaka sure enough leads to their win. Despite Tsukki taking off his long sleeved shirt and everything. It’s a little ambiguous on how hard Tsukki was actually trying here, what with lack of conviction noted on his side as well as his defeatist attitude on one hand and the removal of the shirt and Daichi’s comment on the other. But he’s clearly got some gripe with those he sees with talent, the elite that is Kageyama most notably. My money is on him having taken the match a little more seriously without intending to, while still not being too invested in victory. Be that as it may, the match is over, and with Team Hinata’s victory, all of the first years are finally a part of the volleyball club, conveniently receiving their stylish team jerseys as they join, the four lining up as they wear em’, much to Tsukki’s chagrin.
With all of them officially part of Karasuno now though, it’s really nice to see the sort of reaction Daichi has to the whole situation that transpired. When it comes to captains in sports series, there’s generally a required element of leader-like qualities, appearing reliable to the other club members and such. You know. Cause duh. They’re captains. I’m talkin’ people like Kinjou from Yowapeda or Tetsuya from Daiya no A, strong and firm as a captain should be. And Daichi definitely has that side to him. Yet there’s another side to him that I particularly like here, which is the genuinely displayed relief at the Hinata and Kageyama situation having found a positive resolution. Daichi didn’t have a clear idea of how things would turn out, despite hoping for the best. So seeing him lose that slight tension over the situation is particularly sweet. It’s not to say this kind of captain is better than the aforementioned individuals, but it’s some frank variety that I like to see.
It’s stuff like that which brings the interactions here the charm they need to come across… well, charming. If I had to word out what it is that I enjoy about it, it’s the certain straightforward genuine approach to it. It comes across well in the brief talk between Kageyama and Sugu, following the introduction of Takeda Ittetsu, the team’s school adviser. Being uneducated on most things volleyball (which is conveniently used later to explain some basic positions in volleyball like the setter or wing spiker), his role seems to be that of an organizational one, for example in contacting other schools for practice matches. Which he had managed successfully. With a Top 4 school, Aoba Josai. Not all without strings however, as the condition given was that Kageyama must play setter for the entire match. The intentions are obvious enough, Kageyama being a player of renown while the rest of Karasuno less so. But it leaves the official setter, Suga, in the dust, much to the chagrin of Tanaka.
Naturally, Suga being the senpai he is, says he’s fine with it and desires to see what Hinata and Kageyama can do in a real match. Which is what the then prompts Kageyama to seek Suga out and declare he wants to gain the position of setter rightfully. The meeting is good for a variety of reasons, what with Kageyama truly trying to change from his traumatic junior high years and how Sugu is surprised Kageyama would even take him into account. It’s a short exchange, dealing a little on experience and talent between the two players of the same position, and despite Kageyama being setter is a tough pill for him to swallow, it doesn’t change how happy he is with the team and his expectations for the first years.
Expectations plays a part for the rest of the episode, largely in part of Hinata and his first real match on a team. It’s kind of an interesting situation that’s set up here, actually. Aoba Josai is a team consisting of players on Kageyama’s old team, and we’re set with him now playing against those old team mates. Naturally, this guy with his experience is determined to simply play against them, not minding who they are beyond being the enemy, but how the situation will pan out in reality is to be seen. Hinata plays almost the opposite role here, the inexperienced player who is finally on a proper team for the first time and is dealing with that mentally. And not dealing with it very well. Every word that reaches him has a near immediate negative effect, and Hinata is totally oblivious to his own actions for all but brief moments (didn’t take long for the nice new jersey to get misused). While outwardly it might appear to boil down to bad nerves alone, it’s all comes back to playing on the court with this guy. If he screws up here, he’s afraid he’ll lose his chance to stay deployed, forfeiting his position to one of the bench warmers. This sort of fretting puts everybody on edge, including but not limited to Tsukki, his little sister at home, or his poor stomach. Tanaka could also be applicable here, considering the last “individual” on that list. So what we’re tasked with is a match which not only tests out the first years sans Yamaguchi in action, we’re also set to find out how well this team will even work in the first place.
But at this point, Haikyuu itself is starting to settle itself in for a very comfortable ride for the foreseeable future. We’re moving along at a reasonable pace, almost kind of fast when the gradual pace of sports series are concerned. And even if it’s moving things right along, we’re really not gonna be losing any valuable character interaction outside of matches, as far as this episodes shows. If any judgement could be made here, it’s that Haikyuu’s seems to have the same level of reliability as the senpais it depicts. And considering how enjoyable they are, that can’t be anything but a good thing.