Haikyu!! Second Season
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 14 of
Haikyu!! Second Season ?
Community score: 4.4
Have you been missing Oikawa? If so, then this is a decent episode for you, as it has more of Aoba Joshi's main man than we've seen since the start of the season. He doesn't do a whole lot, but if his presence has been lacking in your life, this appears to mark the start of much more Oikawa as the teams head into the next round of qualifying matches. But that's not all! Basically all of the major characters from season one get to put in an appearance as Hinata once again proves that his bladder has the worst timing in the world and there's a pre-potty meet-up outside the boys' room. If there's one thing we (and Hinata) have learned, it's that bathrooms are seriously the most dangerous place off the courts.
This is another of those “getting there” episodes, and it seems more interested in being a humorous breather after the tension of episode thirteen two weeks ago than in really setting the stage for Karasuno's match against the so-called “Party Team,” which is of course those guys Hinata stopped from hitting on Kiyoko before. Tsukishima's storyline is the most serious as he grapples with what he sees as his inferior blocking skills...and actually thinks about it when his older brother points out that he's basically got a negative attitude and is always surprised when something goes well. We learned from his past that Tsukki has a generally pessimistic world view brought about by his brother's lie, but Tsukishima himself didn't realize that he consistently undervalued his own skill. Underneath that steely glare is a very uncertain person, and it feels like his brother's words have truly galvanized him into wanting to improve. Yes, he's tried before, but it was always with the attitude that it wouldn't work. Now he's got the impetus to have some self-confidence that isn't just for show.
Speaking of “for show,” Kageyama's cool, hard exterior is definitely beginning to crack. He's a much more comfortable person than even at the start of this season, and I'm coming to realize that not only does he have the social skills of a stalk of broccoli, he also has the creativity and common sense of that vegetable as well. His “disguise” to go spy on Aoba Joshi is kind of amazing, both in its first incarnation and its second, suggested by Yachi when she sees through the original. It's a great scene. As for Yachi, she's clearly learning not just about the game, but also how to handle Kageyama and Hinata, the Weirdo Duo whose behavior sort of flummoxes everyone else. She masterfully handles Hinata's urge to overpractice along with Kageyama in the aforementioned scene and we're really starting to see the seeds of a great manager in her.
Since this is one of the sillier episodes, there's some great imagery, mostly in terms of the faces characters make. Keep an eye on Asahi, because he's got some good ones even if he doesn't get the spotlight this week. The small amounts of gameplay we see are well done as always, and the new ending animation is interesting as it melds manga-style illustrations with the anime's look. I'm not yet a fan of the new songs, but I think the opening has more potential to grow on me than the ending, where I felt the animation outshone the song.
Haikyuu!! Second Season's second half isn't starting with a bang, but it is leading up to what should be a series of them. It wouldn't make sense for Karasuno to lose this upcoming match (because then the show would effectively be over), but that doesn't mean that next week's episode won't be a tense one. Besides, at least two of the team members seem to think they're playing for Kiyoko's honor. That alone should make next week something to see.
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