There seemed to be several goals this episode was trying to accomplish. The first is seeing Karasuno’s team having wind down time after winning their first match. The first-years got to meet the third-years’ upperclassmen (or as Hinata called them, “their senpais’ senpai”).
The second is to show some of the other teams we know from the series (Nekoma and Fukurodani Academy). Although it seemed like there was a little more emphasis on Fukurodani, thanks to Bokuto whining about the fact that they don’t get to play on the main court, and that they’re stuck in one of the sub-courts. At first, this is really affecting his gameplay, but one of his other team members finds a way to give him the “push” he needs to make him feel like he’s standing out on the sub-courts. It doesn’t hurt that Hinata comes at just the right time to cheer Bokuto on.
Hinata also meets Hoshiumi, the short player that Kageyama got to know at the All-Japan camp earlier in the season. And when Hinata seems him playing on the court, he is amazed. The announcers refer to Hoshiumi as the “new little giant,” which is apt because of how talented Hoshiumi is. While we don’t see Hinata’s reaction in the episode, Sugawara mentions that it must be hard for Hinata to see someone in his own situation doing better than him. I hope, though, that Hinata will use this as motivation to try to improve himself, rather than letting it bring him down. With Hinata’s personality, I believe that it will be the former and not the latter.
It’s established that over the course of the first day, 40 teams were eliminated. We know that Karasuno, Nekoma, Fukurodani Academy, and Hoshiumi’s team have moved on to the second day.
And at the end, Ryu’s female childhood friend comes over to him and congratulates him on winning. It’s obvious that she likes Ryu, and Ennoshita points this out after she leaves. Ryu looks so broken on hearing this. But the way they’ve played their two interactions up to this point, I think a relationship between these two is entirely possible. And this was how the episode ended.
But I’m a little confused about something. We see a preview for the next episode, but then there was a screen after the preview that said “TO BE CONTINUED.” Several articles online seem to indicate that Episode 13 will air next week instead of being the first episode when the series returns in July 2020, but the “TO BE CONTINUED” screen seems to indicate otherwise. I’ll check next week to see if there’s a new episode of Haikyu!! To The Top available on Crunchyroll.
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