Haikyu!! Second Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Haikyu!! Second Season ?
Growing up with a father who owned an Oldies station, I can't count the number of songs I heard that used the phrase “cog in the machine,” or some variation thereof. In the protest songs that was always a bad thing, but in terms of team sports, it carries a different connotation. It's an image that comes up a fair amount in this episode of Haikyuu!! as the Karasuno team finally starts to put all of their new tricks into play. Takeda, who has a tendency to look at things in a more scientific light, compares the team to an unfinished machine, and once all of their cogs are in place, the team machine will run smoothly. The implication is that this story arc has been forging the cogs, and now it's time to put them into place.
Of course, the most important one for most viewers (largely because it's gotten the most attention from the show) is the Hinata/Kageyama section. From a nearly unstoppable duo they devolved into a hot mess of anger, and while they finally began to overcome that last week, this is the episode that sees them putting their new plays into action. It's an easier task for the generally trusting Hinata, who has barely had a moment of true doubt over the course of either season of the show. Kageyama, on the other hand, is basically a worry-wart. Self-tasked with bringing out the best in Hinata, he can't help fretting everything as the time to try the new quick approaches, and he almost talks himself out of it. That he manages to toss to Hinata and it works is both a blessing and a curse for him – in Kageyama's frantically spinning mind, he can't accept that if he did it once he can do it again. It's up to Hinata and the rest of the team to show him that he can...and that even if he can't once or twice, it's not the end of the world as he knows it.
Speaking of spinning, someone was really proud of one particular shot from the ball's point of view this week, because the background spinning around a ball in motion (okay, yes, the ball is actually spinning) is used three times...three stomach-churning, eye-swirling times. It seems possible that this is actually how Kageyama is picturing the toss once it leaves his hand – he makes a comment about picturing it the same way – but for viewers who are sensitive to that sort of thing, once was seriously enough. Luckily the other visuals are on point, with a great mix of dynamic play shots comprised of well-depicted movement and good images of the muscles involved in each move, and goofier moments, such as Bokuto realizing that he's the one who taught Hinata the amazing shot he pulls off (and his teammates' reactions) or a split-second calculation by Akaashi, who, it appears, knows his capricious teammate's moods a little too well. Verbally one of the best moments is when Yachi squeals that the Weirdo Duo, meaning Hinata and Kageyama, is back, clearly not thinking about the implications of her words. (And now they will always be the Weirdo Duo to me. Thanks, Yachi!)
As with a couple of episodes ago, the symbolism is a bit overplayed, with the “cog in the machine” bit coming up a few times too many – after the first mention of it, we really could figure it out on our own. Fortunately this is the only real instance of the Sledgehammer of Symbolism this week, and mostly the episode is focused on Karasuno's return to form, even against a powerhouse school. The episode ends before the match does, leaving us to wonder how things will turn out, and I really feel like it could go either way. Haikyuu!! doesn't always let its heroes win, and while a win this time would mean more than some others in season one, that's no guarantee that they're going to pull this off next week. But with the boys getting back into top form, the Weirdo Duo back together (more or less), and Bokuto in his Emo Form, there's the tangible possibility that they might just pull it off. We'll just have to tune in next week to find out.
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