I’m really thinking these people are taking Volleyball just a touch too seriously (though I guess that is how you get good at things and I probably take other things just as seriously – I just can’t see the point of hitting a ball over a net). Still, the amount of angst some of these characters have is kind of astounding for a high school sports competition. And of course we visit flash-back land to see just why the Blue Castle setter has it in for Kageyama and maybe that was supposed to make us slightly care about his character, but I just can’t see him as anything other than an obstacle creating an opportunity for Karasuno to learn and grow. At this point I can’t see them winning but stranger things have happened.
It is kind of wonderful to see the change in Kageyama as he retakes the court. Hinata is obviously able to work better with him and once Kageyama and Tsukushima start actually communicating (badly, but communicating) the whole team really is working well. They finally finished the second set and now we get to watch a third.
Review Episode 23:
See what I mean about them all taking this game too seriously? Still it was nice to see Yamaguchi take the court even if it was only for a serve. Still, it would really suck to be the other players standing on the sidelines when every first year has been on and they haven’t. Anyway, they are really drawing things out now but it doesn’t feel slow.
I’m not sure now whether they are going to win or lose. My bet is still on lose but what do I know?
This episode is fairly tense. The game is every bit as hard as expected and while most of the characters keep trying to bring their spirits back up, Kageyama seems to hit a wall. Not surprising really for a perfectionist, control-freak to berate himself for what he perceives as poor performance, but not particularly helpful. Then of course the episode ends before the end of the first set (yep, whole episode and the first set isn’t over) and Kageyama is getting subbed out. I wonder how he’s going to react to that.
Review Episode 21:
Apparently Kageyama has grown a bit since we first met him. He actually takes being subbed fairly well and uses the time to calm himself and study the game. Sugawara is the stand out of the episode. He’s always been quiet with good advice for his team mates but seeing him bring them all back into the game was kind of fun and created a very different mood on court to what we’ve seen so far.
And we didn’t finish the second set but Kageyama has just taken the court. Wow, they are making this game take awhile, but I can’t help but thinking that rushing it would have been a bad idea.
Episode 18 is what I would normally hate from a sport anime and yet I found it incredibly charming. We spend the whole episode finishing the game but the comments from the stands, the individual character moments, and just the emotion in the game kept the whole thing driving forward and it didn’t feel like it was getting bogged down.
I also liked that while Hinata and Kageyama are doing their thing, the other characters are most definitely holding their weight because otherwise the two person attack would have come to an abrupt end. Asahi in particular got some nice moments this episode.
Still, Hinata speak is definitely here to stay. I very much appreciated Tsukishima’s comment that he should speak Japanese after this dialogue.
Review Episode 19:
There was a lot of set up before we got to this game and a lot of bravado and discussion about who would win. It’s all kind of a bit petty but at the same time necessary as a transition from the last game and into the next.
Still, once the game starts its pretty impressive and of course ended at the worst moment given I desperately wanted to just click play on the next episode. We did learn convincingly that Kageyama hates to lose and really isn’t above throwing an opponents words back in their face.
This was kind of interesting because while Kageyama has been playing well over the last few episodes, his dialogue has been pretty minimal so it was good to see him have a bit of personality again.
This is probably my favourite episode so far and that is odd given its pretty much all focussed on the game. I think it’s because the opponents team are acting like a mirror image of Karasuno and the contrast between the two even while there are such glaring similarities is kind of interesting.
I also like that brute force and talent aren’t winning this game for either team. Both are having to really think to out play the other team and while it still comes down to get the ball over the net, they made me care about the outcome of a volleyball game for at least the duration of the episode so something has gone right in the writing here.
All and all a fun episode to watch and the last part of the episode with Hinata actively growing as a player and not just trusting the ball will somehow magically land in his hand was certainly a great moment.
Review Episode 13:
I’m looking on the bright side that at least their loss here makes sense unlike their previous win. When you play a team that is actually a team and not a random collection of talented individuals, the actual team should win. I also liked that even though they got better as they played one more game (as indicated by the scores), they didn’t win at all.
And they were all still pretty upbeat and most of the found a friend. Still, Hinata speak is apparently catching.
Anyway, looking forward to seeing how they evolve as a team after this encounter.
Well, we concluded the game and the all high school team lost due to poor receives, which isn’t really a news flash at this point but I guess points where the next lot of training is going to go. But, Hinata and Kageyama got to show off their weird combo and impressed (shocked) the soon to be coach so I guess they’ll be in the upcoming game even though they are first years. Doesn’t really make sense otherwise.
Anyway, the characters are still taking part in on court therapy sessions and you could seriously string some of the most embarrassing dialogue in history together if you wanted to capture all the lines but it kind of works so we’ll just smile as they feel they’ve gained something and move on.
Review Episode 11:
Training and more training. Everyone hard at work trying to get selected for the game and not get left behind. It’s kind of nice to see the reasonably friendly banter between the characters though I am wondering if Hinata is actually the same age as the other first years. There’s being enthusiastic and then there’s Hinata.
I really enjoyed Hinata’s encounter with the random volleyball player who is obviously going to be on the competitors teams and we kind of knew that before they revealed it because why else have that entire conversation, but it was still kind of fun and the team they are about to play looks interesting.
Seriously, how is this team not the antagonist of the series? Just look at that picture of them attempting to intimidate the other players. Though Hinata’s insecurity does lead to some interesting daydreams.
The issue being that about half the time I’d love to see that actually happen to him. Which is probably why Tsukishima is definitely starting to grow on throughout this episode.
Mostly this was a fun but necessary episode if they were ever going to start being teamlike but I’m still not invested to the point where I actually care if they win or lose (though all things considered if they win that might snap any last thread of credibility that was hanging in there).
Review Episode 7:
And there we have it; credibility shattered. Even if the other team was without their main setter for most of the game, they were all experienced players who were clearly used to working together in a school that’s apparently strong at the sport. How does a patched together team that’s missing points as often as getting them manage to even come close let alone actually win? Fictional sports logic.
And after winning the adviser has some weird epiphany which goes on way too long to say very little and other than introducing a new character for next time nothing else really happens.
But at lest we keep setting new goals. First it was get into the gym, then the practice game, and now some other tournament with the dangling possibility of nationals.
Well we finally get to the long awaited match and I must admit the relationship between Kageyama and Hinata is less annoying now though still a bit rocky at times. I think they kind of laboured on about why Kageyama was called the king and how is old team reacted i nthe game before he was benched for far too long. The audience kind of already put together what had happened and mostly this just kind of dragged out a match that was already dragging a little. Other than that, there were some genuinely amusing moments and watching Hinata finally hit something was pretty cool.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that Tsukishima is definitely the kind who would walk up to a sleeping dragon and poke it in the eye just because he could.
Review Episode 5:
And the match is over and they are finally officially part of the team, but everyone knew that was going to happen and they already had their jackets made and ready to go. But of course we cannot let things settle for even a moment so in comes the advisor with news of a practice match, only its against a school that ranked fourth last year and they want Kageyama as the full-time setter. Intrigue. Despite the sarcasm, this episode actually works quite well and I’m kind of feeling bad for Hinata by the end as he sits on the bus with nerves eating him up inside. Though, the award for most oblivious character ever is now shifting to Kageyama.
Seriously, this is romantic lead of a shoujo level obliviousness on display here.
I guess that is one way to make you like characters that are fairly unlikable; introduce characters who are even harder to like. On that note though, the petty bickering between the main pair gave way this week to the beginnings of a sort of grudging understanding between Hinata and Kageyama. Hinata is obviously still missing a few key bits of information but apparently working yourself to death is enough to win a minor amount of respect so there we go. Clearly neither of these characters have ever heard of moderation though and the fact that either is still standing after that week is pretty impressive in and of itself. With the show starting to draw me in to the characters this may have more staying power than I thought after the second episode.
Okay, so this anime has been recommended to me almost 50,000 times at this point so I figured given I have run out of shows from Autumn 2016 that I have access to and any desire to watch now was a good time to try the first episode of this.
The first 7 – 10 minutes of this I was wondering why I was putting myself through this. This is a sports anime in every sense fo the word and while I’ve come across a few sports anime recently I haven’t minded most of them have been very character focussed. Add to that my severe distaste for Volleyball as a sport (pretty much my only real experience with this game involves broken fingers – fortunately not mine – and casual games that are more aerial ping pong than volleyball) and I was more or less ready to call it on this.
I’m not sure if it is Hinata’s tenacity or the fact that they introduce Kageyama who kind of balances out Hinata’s over the top enthusiasm but the second half of this is kind of engaging.
All and all, for a first episode we’ve established two characters and it managed to make me curious about how their relationship will develop now that they are at the same school so while I’m not doing somersaults about this I’m actually looking forward to watching a few more episodes and hoping that the characters get fleshed out a bit more.
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