Haikyu!!: Episode 5 – “A Coward’s Anxiety”

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.

The beginning of Episode Five sees the remainder of the Saturday match between the first-years. Shoyo, Kageyama, and Tanaka win the first set, while the other team wins the second set. It ends with all of the first-years making it onto the team and receiving team jackets.

Their advisor rushes in shortly after and says that their practice match has been decided. They’re up against Aoba Josai High School, one of the top four teams in the prefecture. It turns out that this team was willing to play against Karasuno under one condition: that Kageyama must play setter for the entire game. It turns out that several of Kageyama’s former teammates from junior high are now on the Aoba Josai team. Suga is a little mad about not getting to play setter for the match, but he wants to show Kageyama’s former teammates how different he is now. Daichi also wants to show them that Kageyama’s not the only one they need to worry about.

For the match, Daichi decides he wants to use Shoyo as a middle blocker, and Kageyama adds that Shoyo will be the ultimate decoy. Kageyama then adds that if Shoyo’s not effective, then the other attacks will all fail. After hearing this comment, Shoyo suddenly feels a lot of pressure and is extremely nervous leading up to the day of the match.

I was actually surprised to see how early the Saturday match finished in Episode Five, because I assumed it would have gone a little longer than it did. However, the series wasted no time in introducing a new upcoming match. The remainder of the episode focused on the team getting ready and psyched up for the new match.

A new character was also introduced in this episode: Ittetsu Takeda, the volleyball club’s advisor. Unfortunately, it turns out that he has no volleyball experience, so he’s having to spend a lot of time reading up on various aspects of the game as the team members talk about things. Ittetsu seems like a nice guy, he’s just clueless about the game that his club plays. I wonder if this will end up being a bit of a running gag throughout the series.

Tsukishima is still a jerk, even after the Saturday match ends. He still derisively refers to Kageyama as a “king” and continues to look down on and sneer at Shoyo. Daichi really needs to have a talk with that boy and tell him to knock it off.

I really liked the twist that the team they’ll have their practice match against has many of Kageyama’s former teammates. This will definitely add to the intensity of the match, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this will play out in future episodes of Haikyu!!

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