Anime Re-watch: Haikyuu! S1|Ep 5

  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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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?

 

Anime Re-watch: Haikyuu! S1 | Ep. 2 & 3

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Sidenote: Please bear with me as I’m still experimenting with different formats and layouts/structure on how I want to do these reviews.  I’ll be skipping the synopsis in this post as an experiment. Here goes Day 2 of Haikyuu! Reviews! 

In both episodes we’re introduced to 6 more characters total. Each character has their own defining characteristics, and each one has something loveable about them (for the most part), so it’s only natural I’d want to talk about each of them first — but only talk about what’s in the related episode pertaining to them. I will probably add more to their character profiles as this goes on as I’d like to do a series of blogs that highlight specific characters.  After that I’ll focus on a couple of important scenes and break those down as well. Continue reading

Anime Re-watch Review: Haikyuu!! S1|Episode 1

 

This is one kind of post I’ve been wanting to do on a blog for a long time.  What better anime to start off with than Haikyuu!! 

Since there’s about 3 weeks till Season 3 starts off, I may be bunching 2-3 episodes together per post everyday leading up to the Premiere on Friday, October 7.  However, I do expect a few setbacks so I may start writing about season 3 sometime after the first episode or 2. I’m hoping that bunching them in correlating pairs will help streamline this; considering I’m trying to get all 50 episodes in 3 weeks. This is a highly ambitious goal in terms of blogging, but I’ve convinced myself this should help me learn to post regularly if anything. Ideally I would’ve liked to do an episode a day.

Overall, Haikyuu!! Is currently one of my favorite anime’s. The fandom is strong. From the story, character developments, and the soundtrack – I haven’t been disappointed with this show.  Maybe I’m biased since I haven’t seen many sports anime’s but with Haikyuu I really love that there is more of an emphasis on the development of the team as a whole, and the indivudual players, versus a pin-point focus on the main character and their sole development. I could go on and on, but I’ll try to write more about it in each episode.

Alright, so here we go!

Season 1| Episode 1 – The End and The Beginning

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“A tall, tall wall looms in front of me. What’s the view on the other side? What does it look like? The view from the top…it’s a view I could never see on my own. But if i’m not doing it alone…”

This first episode kicks off with Hinata Shoyo biking through town and catching the national volleyball tournament; in which he finds inspiration through a player called the “Little Giant”. Hinata takes an interest in the sport; but to no avail there is no club at his school. He tries to start a volleyball team with his schoolmates; but they’re more interested in other sports.  Fastforward 3 years, and he’s finally playing in his first volleyball match ever in junior high.  Unforutately, his first match is against Kitagawa Daiichi, a powerhouse school that is nationally ranked, and their genius setter Kageyama Tobio, also known as “The King of the Court”. Hinata and Kageyama first encounter each other at the bathroom and already get into it with one another causing them both to get fired up for the match. Kageyama is recognized as a genius setter, but his desire to win and be the best causes him to have huge attitude problems as he expects everyone to be able to  keep up with him earning him his nickname “King of the Court.” Due to his harsh personality, cracks in his team are visibily starting to form. In the end Kageyama’s team wins the match, thus ending Hinata’s junior high volleyball career. The outcome causes a rivalry to be born as Hinata vows revenge against Kageyama as they head into High School. Little did they know, they’d end up as teammates at Karasuno High.


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What sticks out to me is the obvious introduction of our two characters Hinata and Kageyama. The difference in their talent is overwhelming; but their desire to stay on the court to play and win is the same.  This is specifically emphasized in the middle of their match when Hinata’s teammate asks him, “Why do you try so hard?” Hinata confused by this question says, “huh…but…we haven’t lost yet.” These very words garner a reaction from Kageyama, who is visibly upset that Hinata still believes he can win. Slowly, he realizes that what Hinata says is true; the game is far from over. This sets off an internal dialogue inside Kageyama’s and Hinata’s mind as they continue on in their match on what it means to stay on the court. Their thoughts echo back and forth as if they’re speaking to one another. However this just shows that they’re more similar than they realize; they have the same reasons to continue playing with intensity. The internal dialogue is as follows:  Kageyama, “That’s right. It’s simple. No matter how challenging the volley, there’s only one reason we chase the ball.”  Hinata: “The ball hasn’t hit the court yet.”  Kageyama: “There’s only one reason we continue fighting.” Hinata & Kageyama: “Because we haven’t lost yet. ”

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At the end of the match he recognizes that Hinata has all the attributes needed to be a strong player. However, Kageyama feeling overwhelmed by Hinata’s physical talent and obsession for victory believes that Hinata’s talent is a complete waste because he’s not properly developed and his talents aren’t being used to an advantage. He doesn’t hesitate and bluntly speaks his mind. Due to Kageyama’s lack of social skills and terrible attitude from being “king of the court” the intent of his words come off as condescending more than anything else. The reason I think he comes off as condescending is because there is a disconnect between Kageyama’s internal dialogue and what actually comes out of his mouth. He’s acknowledging Hinata’s talent; but instead of telling him that, he says he’s wasted 3 years. However, when Hinata comes back to Kageyama with a declaration of revenge; he tells him only the strongest stay on the court and if Hinata wants to be the last one standing he needs to become strong.  These are words of encouragement and I think Kageyama sees the potential in Hinata, which is why he accepts Hinata’s challenge.

Well, that’s all for this episode! I’d love to hear what you guys thought of the first episode!

Haikyuu!! is avaialable on crunchyroll.