A Coward’s Anxiety
The 3-on-3 match wraps up as Hinata and Kageyama’s “quick attack” is shaping up to be a powerful weapon; one that the team hadn’t entirely anticipated. With victory in their pocket the duo is accepted onto the Karasuno Volleyball team and given their track suits to make it official. Just as they start to practice as a team; they are told they’ve been given a chance to face against Aoba Josai (aka Seijoh), a top 4 team in their prefecture, in a practice match. However, there’s a catch; Kageyama has to play setter the entire match. Hinata’s excitement can’t be contained; but that slowly turns into anxiousness causing Hinata to completely freak.
In this episode we’re introduced to a couple of new characters. First, we meet Ittetsu Takeda. He’s a teacher at Karasuno High and the Volleyball Club Advisor. He’s a total newbie, which is one thing that I like about this character. My other reason to like Takeda Sensei is that they take advantage of his inexperience with volleyball to seamlessly explain the rules and positions used in the sport as the series progresses without really disrupting the flow of the story and character development.
We’re also introduced to Michimiya Yui, a childhood friend of our team captain Sawamura. I’m curious what other meaning she has to the story overall; but so far we know that she’s the female version of Sawamura: team captain of the women’s volleyball team.
There was also a brief glimpse of Hinata’s baby sister Natsu.
In terms of character development in this episode; there is some subtle progress from all the characters. But there’s a lot of focus on Hinata in this episode. Since the beginning of the series Hinata has always dreamed of being on a volleyball team and have a full team. With that dream partially realized; it’s about to come full circle as their practice match with Aoba Josai gets closer. After his position as a “middle blocker” is established; Hinata starts to feel a lot of pressure, especially after he’s been nicknamed “the ultimate decoy” and Kageyama tells him, if he’s not effective then none of their attacks will fail. It all boils down to his insecurity of being a volleyball player with no technique. He really wants to stay out as long as he can on the court; but realizes he can easily be replaced by other players –this intensifies his anxiety to play in the match; causing Hinata unable to sleep the night before and effectively making him a nauseous mess on teh bus ride to Seijoh.
Kageyama’s development is actually quite humorous if not kind of cute n this episode. As he’s told he’s required to play setter for their upcoming match; he chases down Sugawara after practice to tell him that even though he’s going to be the starting setter; he will earn his place on the team. This catches Sugawara off-guard as he didn’t think Kageyama worried about that kind of stuff, which causes Kageyama to be confused and ask why Sugawara thnks that. Sugawara goes on to explain that Kageyama is clearly superior to him in terms of athleticism and talent. This frustrates Kageyama because as someone that takes volleyball seriously, no amount of talent should surpass experience. Sugawara is his elder, his senpai, and he truly respects that above everything else.
On top of that, Kageyama struggles to come to terms with the fact that despite his talent, he still needs to gain and earn the trust and respect from other players; something that the his former egocentric self wouldn’t have thought about before. The facial expressions on Kageyama here are priceless as he struggles to speak so honestly about his feelings. Sugawara completely thrown off by this comment is glad to see such positive changes coming from Kageyama and can’t wait to show Kageyama’s former teammates from middle school (who are on Seijoh’s team) how much he’s changed.
Tsukishima also has some airtime on here, and he says a few comments that really stand out. It’s pretty clear Tsukki has a chip on his shoulder, but we’re not sure why. He clearly enjoys volleyball, as we see in that brief moment he takes the match seriously; but other than that what motivates him to play? His pointed comment,” commoner’s losing to the king isn’t that surprising” makes it clear that Tsukki has major insecurity issues. Gomen Tsukki!
And I should note, Yamaguchi has a brief internal dialogue. Unfortunately though, he’s the ONLY first year not in the starting rotation. What motivates Yamaguchi to play? Since he has no special skills, or special height like the other first years, what will he do to stand out on the court alongside with them?