Haikyu!! To The Top
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 6 of
Haikyu!! To The Top (TV 4) ?
I'm not sure if it was a week away from playing with his own team, the sometimes conflicting advice he's gotten over the course of the series, or just plain trying to think too hard in the moment, but Kageyama seems to be having a bit of a problem. Part of it may simply be that he's got too much going on in his head right now: the upcoming tournament, the practice game against Date Tech (minus that earworm of a chant, thank goodness), trying to parse what he's learned during his week at youth camp plus wanting to impart some of it to Hinata could make for a Looney Tunes-style whirlwind in his brain. Given that “expressing himself” and “clearly explaining stuff” aren't some of his better skills, Kageyama is left floundering as he tries to settle back in with the Karasuno team. Watching his frustration build as the episode goes on is an impressive bit of storytelling in both the visuals (his facial expressions are great) and his attempts to talk to his teammates. Hinata may be able to mostly get what he's being told, even if he's not keen on hearing it, but telling off Nishinoya at the end of the episode feels like it could have been something of a mistake.
It all makes for an interesting counterpoint to how Hinata emerged from his camp. (Tsukki, being Tsukki, shows no appreciable difference, especially in attitude; he's probably saving it for the tournament.) Hinata is energized by what he's learned, even if that translates to what the girls notice as moments of intense silence on the court. It's clear to everyone, most expressively doting Uncle Suga, that he's learned some useful new ways to translate his athleticism into actions with some actual thought behind them, and his newfound observation skills are also beginning to show. Not that Tsukki appreciates his comment about how he hit differently when Date's setter was setting balls for him, but Kageyama certainly heard…which may not have been a great thing in the moment, especially since he's still obviously trying to get Atsumu's voice out of his head.
That he's stewing over the youth camp is clear to everyone, but no one seems able to get him to open up about it. Ukai absolutely tries, but since Kageyama only gives him minimal information about what's bugging him, he's not quite able to help. Honestly, brash Tanaka or happy-go-lucky Hinata seem like the best placed to get him out of his own head (although I suppose that Nishinoya could turn their upcoming confrontation into something good), but first that means that Kageyama has to get out of his own mind and actually talk (coherently, and preferably without sound effects) to someone. We do know that he listens to Daichi, so he's another potential point of help, although he seems to prefer to let Suga do the pep-talking.
Speaking of Daichi, he may have been somewhat secretly relieved not to have to deal with the team's troublemaker duo for a week, because he's certainly relaxed when they get back to the point where he appears to actually believe Hinata and Kageyama when they say they're just going to practice “a little” more. He snaps back quickly when Asahi incredulously asks about it, but it feels like a telling moment even in its brevity. Him climbing up the gym wall to yell at the two first-years through the window is one of the best almost throw-away moments this week, like Hinata hustling to help Hitoka as a vestige of his time as a ball boy.
Since the tournament is rapidly approaching, there's really a lot more riding on this practice game with Date Tech than there normally would be. A week apart doesn't sound long, but it absolutely is, especially in terms of keeping up coordination and teamwork, and we can already see some cracks that could turn into crevasses if things don't get worked out pronto. But the upcoming tournament also raises another, viewer-important question: are they going to do that video game-style starting lineup thing for every game now?
Haikyu!! To The Top is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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