Haikyuu!!: Episode 19

指揮者 – Conductors

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The Karasuno vs Aoba Johsai match is a go and what a fierce opening battle between the setters it was! As Coach Ukai said, setters are like orchestral conductors. Even if you have the same song and the same orchestra.. If the orchestra is different, the sound is different.

Oikawa proves that it takes not just physical skill, but mental agility and an understanding of the team’s strengths and weaknesses to pull off the magic that he is able to do so well. With Oikawa as the setter, Aoba Johsai’s plays are much more solid, fluid, polished and smooth. Having said that, we have not seen that much of Aoba Johsai’s teamwork with this ‘new’ setter, and so we will have to wait till next week to find out whether Coach Ukai’s words really ring true. But from what we did manage to see this episode, Oikawa really did come across as really knowing his teammate’s abilities inside out, so it will definitely be exciting to see how The Great King and The King of the Court battle it out in the next episode.

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Of course, with the power that is ‘The Great King – 大王様, Karasuno was quite on edge, and no member more so than Kageyama. We know by now just how aggressive Kageyama is, but I guess going against the one who won the ‘Best Setter Award’ in junior high is really bringing out the competitor in him. When Oikawa surprised Karasuno with an ‘on-two’, Kageyama countered with the exact same attack *cue looks of shock from just about EVERYONE, and LOL at Asahi’s stunned face* Yes, Kageyama hates to lose and he is most definitely not one to back down from a challenge, especially not when being taunted so openly and condescendingly by the one and only 大王様.

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Honestly, it is a love-hate relationship with Oikawa. I can’t decide whether to like him or not. Oikawa might be such an arse (Crappy Oikawa, Trash-kawa, Rubbish Oikawa), but he is still quite loveable all the same. Then again, as always, the love I have for a character usually stems from my love for the seiyuu and it is no different this time round. Namikawa Daisuke (pastaaaa~~~ from Hetalia ring a bell?) does playful but dark so well, that it is really difficult to actually fully dislike Oikawa. The staff did an excellent job casting Namikawa as Oikawa, because I can’t think of any other seiyuu who would be able to pull off that range (that was Kamisama Hajimemashite’s Dragon Lord right there at the end when he called Kageyama a “silly little brat”) and truly bring Oikawa to life the way Namikawa is doing so. It is nuances like these, but such little things do matter and it just goes to show how important a seiyuu is. Look out for Namikawa’s instantaneous switch from cheeky to serious at around 17:14 – if you haven’t been paying attention to Oikawa’s seiyuu, that is one line to listen out for because he definitely nailed it with that one.

While it was such a treat being able to listen to Namikawa as Oikawa, I would like the focus to shift back to Karasuno. The poor dears didn’t even have their fair share of television time. And they were so excited about it! Awwww… They look to be facing their toughest opponent yet with Aoba Johsai, but like what Takeda sensei said – Karasuno has beaten them once before and that is reason enough to be confident. Confidence, not complacency – so Karasuno boys, believe in your ability and play with confidence! We are all rooting for you~

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