Haikyu!!: Episode 9 – “A Toss to the Ace”

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.

Episode Nine opens with Asahi seeing Shoyo and Kageyama practicing in the gym, and he overhears Shoyo commenting about playing against Nekoma High School. Daichi comes up behind Asahi and explains about the practice match against Nekoma at the end of Golden Week, and he also encourages Asahi to return to the club.

Meanwhile, the coach goes to see Ukai at the Foothill Store to try to convince him to coach the team. At first, Ukai refuses; however, after the coach mentions the upcoming practice match against Nekoma and the fact that Nekoma’s coach was their setter at the time Ukai played for Karasuno, Ukai agrees to at least coach the team until the practice match.

Ukai plays on the Karasuno Neighborhood Association team, and he has them come to play a match against the Karasuno team in order to see their abilities. The neighborhood association team is two people short; Nishinoya is recruited for the job, and an unwitting Asahi is also roped into playing.

The rest of the episode focuses on the match, and we get to see Nishinoya and Asahi in action. We also get to see Suga in action as setter as well. A flashback is shown that shows the match that caused Asahi to walk away from volleyball. The episode climaxes with Asahi mulling over everything that’s happened recently and making an important decision that impacts the match…

I was actually surprised at how easily the coach was able to convince Ukai to work with the team. I thought it was going to take a little more effort to get him to agree. Asahi ended up being the biggest holdout, and the main reason he got involved with the match was the fact that he happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and was noticed by Shoyo.

The flashback that we saw in this episode not only gave more background for Asahi, it also gave us a little more background for Nishinoya.

It looks like Episode 10 is going to continue the match between Karasuno and the Karasuno Neighborhood Association. It’ll be interesting to see which side ultimately ends up winning the match.

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