Haikyu!! 3rd Season
Episode 6

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 6 of
Haikyu!! (TV 3) ?

Despite the fact that Daichi, Asahi, and Suga have been with us from the beginning, we don't actually know a whole lot about them. They're the third years, yes, and we understand that they're determined, that Suga's a bit uncomfortable with Kageyama taking his place as setter, and that Asahi's just vain enough about his hair that he ditched the man bun when he heard pulling his hair back too tightly could result in baldness. We know that they fill the character types of “determined guy,” “nice guy,” and “quiet guy.” But I can't say that we've focused on them in the same way that we have on Hinata, Tsukishima, and Kageyama, or even like Yamaguchi or Tanaka. Ennoshita and the other second years are less developed, but the third years' motivations haven't really been fully explored. That changes this week, with the opening five-odd minutes taking us back to when they were bright-eyed little first-years just starting at Karasuno. Apart from the fact that there's something kind of adorable about little short-haired, beardless Asahi, what's important here is that, coming from three different middle schools, they all chose Karasuno because of its volleyball team. Daichi says it right out – he saw them play, and he knew he had to come. So imagine their feelings when it turns out that their arrival coincides with Karasuno's downfall: the third years and coach who brought the team such success are all gone. Now there's just a few guys with a dim view of their chances, no coach, and just three determined little first years who want to make things work. Unlike with Hinata and Kageyama's entry on the scene, there just aren't enough pieces in place for Daichi and the others to join the team of their dreams.

That's what really makes this set, and the whole game against Shiratorizawa, so important. The third years have been reaching for this since middle school, only to have their hopes dashed upon entry to Karasuno. Now that dream is once again within their grasp, and it matters in a way that's different than it is to the younger guys. When Suga snaps on the sidelines or bounces with barely contained energy, it's three years' worth of wanting coming out. Daichi's face must still hurt like hell, but there's no way that anything gets to stop them this time. That determination is part of what's driving the whole team. Granted, everyone's got something at stake here, from Kageyama's sense of his own worth to Hinata's overwhelming need to show that he can be valuable even though he's short, but with the flashback, this episode gives us a better idea of the intensity with which Daichi, Suga, and Asahi are playing this game. It's the culmination of what they've been working for.

Of course, it isn't going to be easy, especially now that they're about to enter the fifth and final set. Each one has gone over the twenty-five point limit, meaning that each set has taken more energy and strength than it otherwise might have. Even if Karasuno had played at five-set game before, they'd have to be running out of power, and the same goes for Shiratorizawa, who were in no way expecting this much of a fight. We can see that Ushijima is starting to slow down just a touch, but more unsettling is that Kageyama is also beginning to wear out. Tsukishima has been able to save nearly-missed balls (and damn, it's impressive), but with everyone starting to run down, Kageyama's tiredness could become a major liability. The best thing might be to switch him out for Suga when the new set starts, but whether or not that will happen is up in the air. It would be nice to have it happen so that Suga gets the chance to play more, but it does feel a bit doubtful if Kageyama would even leave the court if told to. But between his exertions and Tendo's needling from across the net, a break is really looking like something he desperately needs.

We're down to the wire now. With only four episodes remaining and one set to cover, the show knows that the tension is rising, and its doing its best to keep that up. This episode's use of background music and slow motion really emphasize that, and I may have to start holding onto something I can squeeze while watching. There's no real certainty that Karasuno will carry the day, as much as we'd all like to think it. But now more than ever, I really want the end result to be their win.

Rating: A

Haikyu!! 3rd Season is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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