Haikyu!: Episode 13 – “Rival”

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: Kageyama was part of Kitagawa Daiichi’s team and was a self-centered setter, while Shoyo spent 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 13 focuses exclusively on the practice match between Karasuno and Nekoma. At first, Nekoma maintains the lead in the match. However, after Shoyo gets some advice from Daichi, he starts being able to block the ball.

As the match continues, Karasuno starts catching up to Nekoma. At one point, the score is 24-23, with Nekoma in the lead. After a tough fight, Nekoma ends up getting the winning point for the second set.

After Shoyo convinces everyone to play some more after the match, it’s time to clean up and head out. We see the players between the two teams start bonding with each other. We also see the coaches interacting. After the Nekoma coach gets a dig in on Ukai because he looks so much like his grandfather, Ukai decides that he’ll stay and continue coaching the Karasuno team.

I have to say that this match ended the way I expected it to, with Nekoma ultimately winning over Karasuno. Even though Karasuno lost, it still ended up being a rather close match. And I also liked seeing the players from the two teams interacting with each other after the match was over. It not only allowed the audience to get to know the members of Nekoma a little better, it also helped to widen the circle of characters that are becoming important for the series.

At the end of the episode, it was emphasized that the Inter-High preliminaries are right around the corner. Since this episode is basically the halfway point of the series, I expect the remaining episodes will be focusing on Karasuno as they train for the Inter-High preliminaries, and then on the actual Inter-High preliminaries. It was emphasized in this episode that the team needs to train to work more as a team than as individuals, since quite a few members of the starting lineup are first years. It was also pointed out that Shoyo also needs some more training in order to hone the skills he has so he can become an even better asset to the team.

I’m interested to see how Haikyu!! will continue to move forward now that the practice match with Nekoma is now over.

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