Haikyu!! To The Top
Episode 13

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 13 of
Haikyu!! To The Top (TV 4) ?

It's a good thing the manga is far past this point in the story, because otherwise it'd be a vicious wait until July. Karasuno has gone up against difficult opponents in tense situations before, but their game against Inarizaki looks like it's going to be on a whole different level than even the Shiratorizawa match(es) – Date Tech may have an earworm of a cheer, but Inarizaki brought a whole marching band, a cheer squad, and fangirls and they trained them all. I don't just mean that that band has been practicing, either; Inarizaki's entire section of the audience knows to be quiet when their team is serving but to whip out the boos when it's the other team's turn. While I suppose that's technically not cheating, it certainly feels unfair enough that someone should put a stop to it, because it's definitely a jackass thing to do.

It's also not something that anyone on Karasuno is expecting, which presumably Inarizaki was counting on. For some teams, that might not be an issue, but Asahi's the first one serving, and even if we hadn't seen him having his quiet freak-out next to Suga before the game began we know that he's Mr. Anxiety, and something like a crowd booing him is absolutely going to have a negative impact on his playing. It is, of course, entirely possible, if not likely, that Inarizaki has done enough research to know that Karasuno's ace is a ball of bun-topped anxiety, but even if they haven't, it's a strategy that has likely worked for them before – at the other team's expense.

Of course, Karasuno has its own issues that have nothing to do with Inarizaki, first and foremost of which is that Hinata is so excited to play one of the two best high school teams in the country that when he jumps he actually forgets to hit the ball. While that's actually kind of par for Hinata's course, it's also evidence that being too excited for a match is just as bad as being too nervous – plus it may have given the Miya twins too much to notice about him without actually seeing what he can do when he remembers to hit the ball. They're definitely going to be keeping an eye on him now, and that may not be entirely good.

And oh yes, as it turns out, Atsumu Miya, the Inarizaki player Kageyama met at the youth camp, isn't the only Miya on the court - he's an identical twin, and his brother Osamu is also playing. Kageyama and Hinata may have great chemistry as players, but twins are often on a whole different level when it comes to being able to read each other, so this is something that could really ruin Karasuno's day. Meanwhile Tanaka is distracted by the possibility Ennoshita raised about his childhood friend-turned-hot-girl having a crush on him, and if he can't morph that energy into show-off power, this could also become an issue. Even the fact that Karasuno has to wear their alternate uniforms (with the orange and black reversed) could be a problem, because at this point any little difference could become a distraction – and if you're just looking out of the corner of your eye and see orange, in this situation assuming that that's Noya like usual could be a bad move.

Cruel as it was to end this cour right here, with the game barely started, it's also a good plan in terms of assuring that the viewers will not only come back for the rest in July, they'll come screaming back. Reading the manga (which I love) is a totally different experience than watching the anime, because in a sports story, actually seeing the players move makes it more exciting, or at least exciting in a new way. (Also, nothing compares to hearing those boos and the band when it comes to understanding the distraction factor.) If the episode had simply focused on the between-matches cooldown, the level of tension wouldn't have been nearly as high.

Now waiting for the crows to fight the foxes on the court is going to have more urgency, and it's going to be a long few months until we get to see them in animated action once again.


Haikyu!! To The Top is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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