Haikyu!! To The Top: Episode 18 – “Trap”

This episode continues the set between Nekoma and Sarukawa Tech, and Sarukawa Tech is still trying to wear down Kenma and break his spirit. Even though he’s looking visibly tired and worn out, Kenma still forces himself to keep going. At one point, the poor guy’s so tired that he trips on his own feet. I felt so bad for Kenma, and seeing how visibly tired he was kind of made me feel tired, too.

But… it turns out that not everything is as it seems. Sarukawa Tech thinks they’re calling the shots on the court, but it turns out that Nekoma has a plan (suggested by Kenma, surprisingly), that makes it where Nekoma is actually calling the shots. I loved seeing the shock and surprise among Sarukawa Tech’s players when they realized that the situation wasn’t what it seemed.

When this realization is made, though, the set becomes even more intense. At this point, a lot of the set sees the teams at deuce, with neither team making enough ground to break the deuce. But in the end, Kenma pulls something off that turns the tide in Nekoma’s favor.

There’s a great scene near the end of the episode after the set, and we get to see Kenma actually releasing the frustration and anger that had built up during the set. If I was being targeted by the other team and getting worn out, I feel like I probably might have lashed out the same way. The reactions of Kenma’s teammates were wonderful to see. And Kenma’s musings right at the end using his video game analogy of “leveling up” was nice, too.

I also liked how the end of this episode served as a transition. Right at the end, after Nekoma has had a chance to recover from their own match, they go to watch Karasuno, who is still in the middle of their own set.

It was great to see Nekoma in action again, and to see that they will be continuing in the competition. But I’m also ready to return to Karasuno’s set and find out what’s going to happen to our protagonists.

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