最強の味方 – The Formidable Ally
Although a little disappointed that I was not able to see some actual game-playing volleyball action, this week’s episode of Haikyuu!! delivered in the most unexpected of ways. Three episodes on and I dare say that this is fast becoming one of my favourite sports series this Spring 2014.
Introduced last week, we see more of Tanaka and Sugawara this week. I have to admit, the seniors are proving themselves to be really cool. Tanaka might have his pride and ego at stake, but vice-captain Sugawara has got nothing to lose in the upcoming match. And yet, we see him kindly helping the juniors and assisting them in their training. That just goes to show the teamwork and camaraderie between these new teammates and I think it is just so sweet.
Kageyama had a nasty moment this week, when he unkindly said that he would “toss to anyone who’s essential to winning” and that Hinata did not make the cut (just yet). This might have come across as severely tactless and cutting, but I do think that he was not just trying to be mean (even though he might not exactly have intended for it). In his twisted way, I saw it as Kageyama issuing a challenge to Hinata. And I guess, in such situations, when time is of the essence, such threats are the best at spurring people achieve the best results they can in the shortest amount of time imaginable.
Needless to say, Hinata fell for the trap. Hinata has shown us time and again just how much he loves volleyball. This episode is no different. The boy is chalk full of dedication and determination and he is stubborn to a fault. But it is just that said stubbornness that achieved the much-desired result – getting a toss from Kageyama; symbolic for receiving Kageyama’s acceptance. Speaking of which, that scene was not much to screencap about, but it was done so beautifully. The pacing of the show slowed down for just that moment, even the music reached a tranquil point. Then, the gradual lift of his arms, bending his elbows, putting his hands and fingers in place as he slowly but surely set the volleyball, all of that culminating in a smashing spike from Hinata. It was so simple, yet so meaningful. With this, our main pair finally got their much-needed breakthrough. And about time, with the match just a day away. I do believe that they have reached a new level of understanding and I am very much looking forward to their amazing combination~
It is just like Sugawara said to Hinata, he who was once your most formidable opponent is not your most formidable ally. Hinata has definitely found himself a very reliable and worthy teammate, and I do believe that the same can be said for Kageyama. I am definitely expecting great things from this pair, and am hoping they will wow in the episodes to come.
And so, with the match just around the corner, of course our main duo would first be introduced to their opponents. Although there are two of them, this episode focused on the taller of the two – Tsukishima (voiced by Uchiyama Kouki). Blond, bespectacled, and just a tall amalgamation of meanness, Tsukishima was seen endlessly provoking the pair. But you know what they say; the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy. And now, Hinata and Kageyama may direct their resentment towards this new adversary and concentrate on obliterating their opponent. Although, looking at the entire situation from a larger perspective, I am quite concerned for this team. With bad first impressions and intense unfriendly rivalry, the seniors are going to have their hands full managing these new juniors and getting them to cooperate. With all these strong personalities going head to head, I am pretty sure that the interaction between all these members will be just as entertaining.
Voicing this week’s new character, we have Uchiyama Kouki. While I have not seen that very many of his works, his Tsukishima is very different from what I have heard of him so far. It is complacent, hostile and taunting, a far cry from his gentle Gin in Hotarubi no Mori E, and the meek Yoshino in Zetsuen no Tempest. Although I am not that big a fan, I have to say that he has piqued my interest with his portrayal of Tsukishima. Well, that coupled with the fact that his character admitted to not liking guys who are too intense, and I think that this just makes Tsukishima my kind of guy. Heh.
Anyway, with promise of finally watching some volleyball at play next week, this episode served as an excellent lead up to the match. Get your game faces on and get ready~ ワクワク *excites*