Review: Haikyu!!: Episode 2 – “Karasuno High School Volleyball Club”

Haikyu!! focuses on two first-year high school volleyball players named Shoyo Hinata and Kageyama Tobio. The previous year they had competed against each other in a junior high tournament, and Shoyo decides to become Kageyama’s rival. The two boys come from very different volleyball backgrounds: while Kageyama was part of Kitagawa Daiichi’s team and is a self-centered setter, while Shoyo spend most of junior high practicing being a spiker by himself because his school didn’t have a team until his last year. On the first day of high school, Shoyo and Kageyama are surprised to see that they’re both at Karasuno High School.

At the first day of the club’s practice, the upperclassmen are surprised to see Shoyo and Kageyama, because they had seen both of them participating in the junior high tournament. Unfortunately, Shoyo and Kageyama are so focused on their rivalry that they don’t listen to the team captain. A strict staff member walks in and comments on how the two first-years won’t listen to the captain. Kageyama and Shoyo challenge each other, and an errant ball from Shoyo hits the staff member in the face and knocks his wig off.

The staff member has a talk with the captain, and the club won’t be punished. No apologies are necessary, but only if the team agrees that it saw nothing. The captain gives a talk about how he wants the team to return to being a top team. After the talk, he tells Shoyo and Kageyama that they’re not wanted in the club until they realize that they’re teammates and that they’ll be working together.

After some arguing, Kageyama and Shoyo decide they’re going to challenge the upperclassmen to a match to prove that they should be part of the team. The upperclassmen agree, but the captain adds the stipulation that if they lose, Kageyama will not play as setter as long as the third-years are on the team. The captain also tells them that two other first-years have applied to be part of the club, so the match will be three-on-three, with an upperclassman helping each team of first-years. The match will be on Saturday.

Kageyama and Shoyo try to figure out how they’re going to practice since they can’t use the gym, and they get some help from Tanaka, the upperclassman assigned to play with them in the match.

This episode had a strong focus on Kageyama and Shoyo and how they don’t get along. However, as it’s pointed out by the team captain when he’s talking to the other players, the two of them may be imperfect on their own, but they could be strong players if they work together. I also have to applaud the team captain for removing the two of them from the gym until they can learn to work together; Kageyama and Shoyo’s fighting with each other was being very disruptive to the rest of the team, and they weren’t listening to the captain. If I were the team captain, I would’ve been frustrated with them, too.

Not only does this episode develop Shoyo and Kageyama a little more, it also starts introducing other characters who will ultimately become an important part of the series.

By the end of the episode, I found myself wondering if at some point down the line, Kageyama and Shoyo may ultimately become friends after they spend time together on the team, especially since it’s rather common in shonen series for rivals to become friends to some degree as the series progresses.

Like I said last week, Haikyu!! may employ may familiar tropes of sports anime, but I’m still enjoying the series after watching two episodes. I expect the next episode will more than likely focus on the match on Saturday, and I’m interested in seeing how that match ultimately turns out.

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