Having the ace and libero return to their team, Karasuno is now finally ready to fight! To do their best at a training camp! Obviously, this being Hinata’s first experience with anything like this, he’s totally got the jitters at first, but thankfully this isn’t a repeat of what happened with Aoba Johsai. They receive, they spike, they run, all sorts of training happens at this training camp. But most importantly what seems to be going on here, besides recognizing once again the importance of being able to receive, is deciding on what is going to be the major line-up for Karasuno. As it stands, it’s clear enough that Yamaguchi isn’t gonna be making it, but he’s only a first year. If he wants to find himself on the court, he’ll have his chance. The major question mark here, as much as you’d be able to call it one, is the decision between which setter to use. Wonder boy Kageyama, or experienced rider Sugawara.
It’s not really a hard decision here, if the only determiner were ability. Suga may have built trust with his comrades and what skill comes from those two years of high school volleyball, but somebody on Kageyama’s level would not take long to accumulate such experience. No, the real problem comes from understanding that this is Suga’s last year. Coach Ukai gets exactly the sort of frustration one might have, being in their final year and being unable to play. For somebody invested in the sport, invested in the team, all sorts invested in what they’ve been doing for so long, there’s no way such a thing wouldn’t be frustrating. Having to choose one over the other, knowing you’re essentially taking away another guy’s final chance of playing, sucks.
But this is why Suga is a cool guy. He has no intenti0n of giving up on playing, but at the same time, he has no intention of letting Karasuno choose anything but their strongest weapons. It paves way to a nice scene between Ukai and Suga, the latter seriously impressing the former with their mental fortitude. We receive a similar situation with the almost nameless second year students who once quit the volleyball club during Ukai Seniors training sessions. Back then they were casual players, but upon their return, they’re very much in the club to win. This serves as a reminder to Asahi as not to be such a big softie (this will never stop being the case), and as another sign for Hinata (and Kageyama) of who they are on the team.
It should be clear enough at this point, but Hinata has moved on from wanting to be on a team. He’s still absolutely about being on the court, however now he’s in the phase of brooding over his position in the team. Not in the sense that he’s being overly negative, he’s mostly just acknowledging himself, since he’s still full of energy be it in his overzealous practice or mistaking a post-shower Nishinoya for a small child (which is almost as impressive as Asahi’s monster transformation). But as Hinata is now, he’s coasting largely on Kageyama’s skills. While Kageyama is certainly skilled enough to be on the team through his own merits, Hinata owes his position on the court to his paired set with the setter. Little guy’s gonna have to find his strengths as goes along, and as destiny (coincidence) would have it, he gets to play with the same number as the Little Giant did. 10 is better than the number 9 anyway.
Beyond that. We get our first proper glimpse at the destined rivals of Karasuno. Mostly in the form of one Kozume Kenma. Kind of stand-offish, highlighted hair, and the apparent brains of Nekoma. His encounter with Hinata isn’t particularly long, but it does well in showing what kind of kid we’re dealing with here. Volleyball is mostly a sport he plays since it’s what he does and what his team mates need. It is what it is. Hinata doesn’t particularly admonish him, but does kind of hope that he might enjoy the sport more. Either way, another Nekoma player swings by to fetch the lost Kenma, who gives Hinata a “see you soon”. The little idiot doesn’t even get why. That said, we also get to see Nekoma practice, and fittingly enough, they’re a team who seems to be the opposite from Karasuno. Karasuno has strong attack options with some very talented players, but are lacking in proper defense and receives for the most part. Nekoma on the other hand has been known for its receives, and the current Nekoma seems no different. There’s no outstanding player according to their opponents (although Kenma has to have some reason for being called the brains, and I seriously can’t imagine his caretaker being just average). We end off with a good ol’ stare down, and come next week, we’re ready to have a battle with Karasuno’s new formation. Solid episode, as per usual.