Haikyu!!: Episode 17 – “The Iron Wall”

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 17 focuses exclusively on the match between Karasuno and Date Kogyo. Throughout the episode, the audience is essentially receiving play-by-play commentary from various spectators as the match is going on.

At first, it looks like Date Kogyo’s “iron wall” is going to easily keep Karasuno from scoring. However, when Kageyama and Shoyo use their quick attack, it surprises Date Kogyo. At that time, the other team writes off the point from the quick attack as sheer luck. However, we start seeing Karasuno and Date Kogyo alternating who scores points. When Karasuno uses the quick attack again and succeed with it, it’s obvious that Date Kogyo is starting to become a little rattled.

Unfortunately, Date Kogyo has a really tall player who’s well-built and can easily reach above the net with just a slight jump. Kageyama, Shoyo, and Asahi are able to execute a plan to overcome this disadvantage, and end the episode by scoring a point and surprising their opponent. At the end of the episode, Karasuno is in the lead for the first set, with the score being 19-15.

As I predicted in my writeup for Episode 16, the match between Karasuno and Date Kogyo is being stretched out. In fact, by the time Episode 17 ended, the first set was still at least six points away from being won if Karasuno can pull it off. Not only that, there’s still the second set that needs to be played. If I had to predict, I’d say it’ll probably be another episode-and-a-half before the match between Karasuno and Date Kogyo will be decided.

I have to admit that some of the play-by-play that was interspersed in the episode got a little tiresome after a while. I understand why a lot of it is there, so the audience can understand what’s going on in the match and to fill up time so the match takes longer, but it felt like there was a bit more of it than I’ve seen in previous matches that have appeared in the series. But I suspect I’d better get used to it, since there’s still supposed to be eight more episodes until the series ends.

But I have to say that I’m impressed with how well Karasuno has been holding up so far against Date Kogyo. I’m interested in seeing if Karasuno can keep this up in Episode 18.

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