Haikyu!!: Episode 11 – “Decision”

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 11 focuses on the Karasuno team at their training camp. A lot of practicing goes on, but they also go running as a group as part of their training. Shoyo gets so into the running that he doesn’t realize the rest of the group has gone a different way than him for a little while. When he realizes he’s separated, he’s surprised to see a boy in a bright red jersey. He discovers the boy is named Kozume Kenma, and that he’s a setter for another school’s volleyball club; however, unlike Shoyo, he’s more laid back about playing the sport. Later, the audience sees that Kozume is a member of the Nekoma team, which is the one that Karasuno will be playing a practice match with at the end of the training camp.

Meanwhile, Ukai and the coach talk, and Ukai admits that he’s having a hard time deciding who to choose as the setter for the match. Both Kageyama and Suga have their good points, and the coach wonders if part of his problem deciding is the fact that Suga is a third-year and this would be his last chance to play in a match before the Inter-High preliminaries. Later, Suga talks to Ukai and expresses his feelings about the matter.

Ukai makes his final decision for the lineup for the match and announces his decision to the team. Uniforms for the team members are also handed out, and Shoyo discovers that the number he was given had been worn by his hero, The Little Giant, when he went to nationals.

The episode ends with the members of Karasuno and Nekoma’s team meeting up right before the match…

This episode provided the audience some glimpses of Nekoma’s team, and it was amusing that Kozume ended up being such a laid back and rather unenthusiastic person, since it’s such a contrast to the hyper and exuberant Shoyo on Karasuno’s team. Shoyo hadn’t figured out that Kozume is from Nekoma, even after saying he would see Shoyo later when they first met.

This episode also gave us some insight into Suga and some of the second-years who had quit the previous year and have since come back onto the team. These guys want to play on the court during the matches, but they also understand that Ukai has to make what he thinks are the best  choices for the team.

It appears that Episode 12 is going to focus exclusively on the match between Karasuno and Nekoma. I’m really looking forward to seeing Shoyo’s reaction when he realizes that Kozume is a member of the Nekoma team, because I’m sure it’s going to be very comical.

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