Haikyu!! To The Top
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 5 of
Haikyu!! To The Top (TV 4) ?
Hinata may not have been playing for the last five episodes (five days in the story), but that may actually have worked in his favor. When he's actively playing a game, he tends not to really think about what he's doing, instead letting his drive and instinct power him through. It's worked so far, but it also may not be a viable way of moving ahead in the sport. He needed to add some actual thought into his process, and that's just what being forced to be the ball boy taught him to do. With his laser game focus locked onto what other players are doing rather than on his own next move or simply where the ball is in space, Hinata has used this training camp to observe rather than merely watch other players. Because he has the extreme level of athletic ability that he does, he's able to translate those observations into things that he can try or do to improve his own playing. This episode takes care to remind us of that (him shadowing Ushiwaka is probably the best example), because next week we're finally going to see him rejoin his team and try to put all of that into practice.
That means we'll also see how five days away from each other playing with other people has affected everybody, with the major question being Kageyama's and Hinata's teamwork. At first glance, based on this episode and the previous one, Kageyama's camp may not have been as outwardly helpful as the one Hinata crashed. (I honestly am not sure Tsukishima cares about what he got out of going, but then he's probably just too tired to think about it at this point. Not that he's good at emoting anyway…) Kageyama got a series of unpleasant shocks at his camp (there's another good short player like Hinata, he may be good in Miyagi, but that doesn't make him the best, etc.), but the one that seems to have taken the biggest toll is Atsumu Miya's snide comment about him being a Goody Two-Shoes. As manga readers know, Atsumu is basically a jerk, but regardless of how much he actually meant the comment, it definitely hit Kageyama in a vulnerable place. He's never managed to get the moment when no one came for his set in middle school out of his head, and that's been one of the key driving factors in his game ever since. He's almost brutally aware of what his role is on the court, and while he's much better at being snippy to people about it, he really has been trying. That his attempt to rectify what he sees as his own biggest flaw then becomes fodder for a bully like Atsumu is clearly eating at him – and Atsumu, like all bullies, knows when to drive the nail in. His remark that maybe Kageyama should stop being a setter and start playing spiker again hits Kageyama where he lives – and since Atsumu's parting comment is “see you at nationals,” you have to wonder if he's trying to destabilize his opponent before they face off.
How this is going to come out now that Kageyama's back with Hinata and the rest of the Karasuno gang should be interesting. But what's also worth paying attention to is the fact that the coaches at Kageyama's camp sound a lot more like Hinata than Washijo, Oikawa (who gets a cameo this week), or Atsumu. They talk about players needing to enjoy the game even while they're competing, a statement that shines a light on Hinata's overwhelming enthusiasm for volleyball, even when he's just being the ball boy. I think that's something that Kageyama and Tsukishima forget to do, while other players like Asahi and Yamaguchi get so caught up in their own anxiety that they let it subsume them. Hinata, Tanaka, and Noya all consistently love the game, and that shows. And if coaches at the fancy youth camp are all espousing Hinata's feelings, maybe that says something about the would-be Little Giant that some people aren't able to see.
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