Haikyu!! To The Top
Episode 3

by Rebecca Silverman,

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Haikyu!! To The Top (TV 4) ?

In college one of my friends had a sign on her door that read “Think – there must be a harder way to do it.” In some ways, that sentiment applies to Hinata, who takes the idea of being unafraid of hard work to a level that's fairly impressive. He could easily have just stayed at Karasuno and continued working with his team while Tsukishima and Kageyama were off at their training camps, improving in a steady but predictable way, and he probably would have made some progress. But his incredible drive to be as good as he possibly can – and then to take it a step farther – is what keeps him going back to the camp at Shiratorizawa that he's crashing, even though it's far from the easiest way to improve his game. That he's clearly making the rest of the boys uncomfortable by insisting on being there as well as raising Washijo's ire doesn't phase him in the slightest.

Actually, he may not be aware of the other boys' discomfort, although I daresay that even oblivious Mr. Hinata is aware that Washijo doesn't want him there. (That may be behind part of his determination to keep coming back in the face of the man's jackass tendencies; Hinata's always been stubborn.) We certainly see that the guys aren't sure what's going on, and it's clearly eating at Tsukki as well, although with him there could be several reasons behind it, the most likely two being embarrassment at his teammate's behavior or concern over how his teammate's being treated. Either way, he clearly resents being made to think and/or care about Hinata; as we've seen in past seasons, Tsukishima isn't a fan of interacting with others and he's also not particularly good at it. Yamaguchi is the only person who has managed to break through his icy shell, and even that feels like it's on sufferance, although that's probably just Tsukishima trying to not show that he cares about having a friend. Admittedly that's not a great attitude in a team sport, but Hinata's treatment and behavior at this Shiratorizawa camp is wearing him down in one way or another, and the end of the episode where he calls Hinata over may mark a change in his attitude. Either that or he's going to scream at him or confess to him.

That the camp is having a positive effect on Hinata's game is certain. He's learning to really think and pay attention in ways that he never has before, and while he's still moving on instinct a lot, he's also observing other players in ways that he couldn't (or maybe just didn't) during games before. Because he can't stand out while he's just being the ball boy, he's forced into watching the game in a different way, and he's not only figuring out new moves (speaking to his innate athletic ability), but he's also learning how to analyze what he's seeing. That's not an easy skill for everyone, and it's not one that comes naturally to the physically-inclined Hinata. But he's learning it, as well as how to think outside the game, as we see when he calls Ukai to ask what he should be eating, since Washijo refuses to feed or house him. (Again, the man should not be allowed to work with children, teens or otherwise.) Simply put, Hinata's growing up, and that's not necessarily something he could have done in his comfortable place on his team.

Speaking of his team, we get a brief glimpse of Karasuno playing a practice game this week, reminding us that yes, the other characters are still important. Kageyama gets a short moment too, which more serves as a reminder that A) he still exists and B) he's gotten way too used to playing with Hinata at this point. His clip is also another visual introduction to some of the new characters who will be important once the tournament actually starts, and may I just say that the guy with the feathery hair and eyes that look like lenses at an optometrist's office does not translate well into anime. He's much creepier than in the manga, which is saying something.

Next week we'll return to Kageyama, and even if he's not your favorite character, it's still important to see what he's up to. And if he is your favorite character, get ready. The King is definitely in danger of realizing that he's been wearing a paper crown.

Rating:

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


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