Haikyu!!: Episode 14 – “Formidable Opponents”

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 14 focuses on getting ready for the Inter-High preliminaries. We are introduced to a character named Ikejiri, a player for Tokonami who was on the same volleyball team as Daichi back in junior high. We also learn the names of three other teams that they could be playing against: Shiratorizawa, Wakutani Minami and Date Kogyo.

In addition to seeing flashbacks of Daichi in junior high with Ikejiri, we also see flashbacks of him in junior high with one of his current female classmates. This episode definitely had some emphasis on character development for Daichi.

As part of getting ready for the Inter-High preliminaries, Ukai has the team training harder. As part of this training, Suga begins working with Shoyo and Asahi begins working with Kageyama.

We also see Yamaguchi, Tsukishima’s buddy who’s pretty much been in the background this whole time, approaching one of the members of the Karasuno Association Team that they had a match with and asking him to teach him how to do a jump float serve. It was actually nice to see Yamaguchi actually doing something. In recent episodes, he was pretty much in the background. I have to admit that I’d almost completely forgotten about the fact that he was even on the team.

There’s a montage sequence that shows what happens during the days leading up to the Inter-High preliminaries. The episode ends with the members of the team gathering at the school the morning of the preliminaries, and Kageyama and Shoyo reiterate their rivalry.

I was actually a little surprised to see that there was only one episode to focus on the teams getting ready for the Inter-High preliminaries. Personally, I had been thinking that it would take two episodes. Not that I’m complaining, though. That means there’s more episodes available to focus on the upcoming Inter-High preliminaries. At this point, the questions that’ll keep me coming back each week is whether or not Karasuno will be able to progress through the preliminaries and who they’ll be playing against as they progress.

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