Haikyu!!: Episode 21 – “Senpai’s True Abilities”

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 21 continues the first set of the match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai. Right at the beginning of the episode, Ukai calls for Suga to replace Kageyama as setter so Kageyama can have a chance to calm down. When Suga takes the court, Aoba Johsai finds that they can’t anticipate what the team will do. But even with that, Aoba Johsai ends up winning the first set, 25-15. Of course, the various plays are interspersed with commentary from various people watching the match. I’ve come to expect that out of Haikyu!!, so I don’t find that to be annoying. I’ve just come to accept that it’s going to show up.

The focus of most of the episode ends up being on the second set. But before the second set starts, Suga has a conversation with Kageyama. This conversation allowed Suga to express his feelings, and how he feels more confident as a setter now that Kageyama has his back. Between this scene and how Suga acts and reacts to the others after taking the court, we get to see a little more of Suga as a volleyball player. This also provides reinforcement for the characteristics we saw in Suga earlier in the series.

What amazed me for what we saw for the second set in this episode is the fact that after Karasuno scores the first point in the set, there’s a sudden jump in time to see that Karasuno was in the lead, 14-13. With how much the first set was stretched out, I had assumed that the second set would also be stretched out to make it last longer. And right near the end of the episode, we see Kageyama wishing he was back on the court, while Suga is wishing he can stay on the court…

So there’s only four more episodes remaining for Haikyu!! At this point, the second set of the match with Aoba Johsai will have to take place during Episode 22. However, the main questions at this point are: Can Karasuno beat Aoba Johsai and cause a third set to be played? If so, how long will the remainder of the second set and a potential third set take? And what else could happen in order to fill up the remaining episodes? It’ll be interesting to see what exactly will end up happening.

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