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 first half of Episode 16 focuses on the match between Karasuno and Tokonami, and Karasuno quickly wins the first set. During the second set, it cuts between flashbacks that Ikejiri has about playing on the same team as Daichi in junior high and the match that Karasuno’s girls’ team is having. The second set is a bit more hard-fought than the first set was, but Karasuno manages to win in the end. We also see that Karasuno’s girls’ team has lost their match.
It’s determined that Karasuno’s next opponent will be Date Kogyo. This is the team with the “Iron Wall” that kept blocking Asahi’s spikes in a match the previous school year that made Asahi want to quit. Suga asks Shoyo and Kageyama to help bring out the best in Asahi during the match. Later, Nishinoya gives a pep talk to the team that seems to restore the team’s confidence. Episode 16 ends just as the second match is about to start…
One of the parts of this episode that really stood out to me was after both of the Karasuno teams’ matches ended, and seeing the intercutting between Ikejiri’s thoughts and Yui’s thoughts. I thought this was a very effective way of getting those thoughts out there without it feeling like an “info dump.” Also, during this scene, Ikejiri has a thought of, “If this were all a work of fiction, the guys who go to nationals would be the protagonists, and the rest of us would just be extras.” It’s actually a bit of a humorous line, since they are characters in a fictional work, Also, could this be some kind of foreshadowing for how the series will progress?
I have a feeling that the match between Karasuno and Date Kogyo is going to be a bit more of a nail-biter than the one with Tokonami was. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this match not conclude at the end of Episode 17. So against this team, will Karasuno be able to win, and if so, how?
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