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Haikyuu!! – Episode 7: Versus the Great King

The practice match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai (or Aobajousai) has reached the 3rd and deciding game. However, there’s been a change. Aoba Johsai’s team captain, Oikawa, has appeared. On top of that Kageyama seems very wary of his talents. He’s an older student who went to middle school with Kageyama. He’s also the one that Kageyama imitated when he was learning to serve and block. Because of this, Hinata starts referring to him as the “Great King”.

The funny thing is that Kageyama also says that he’s got a terrible attitude, which is pretty much the biggest pot-kettle statement he’s made so far. It turns out that he means that he’s a laid back person, much like Tsukishima. Even though he was the one who requested the practice match so that he could play against Kageyama, Oikawa’s been nursing an injury that he was getting checked out. He takes pretty much the whole 3rd game to warm up but eventually makes it into the game at the very end.

With one  point left before Karasuno wins, Oikawa begins to serve; complete with special animation to illustrate just how awesome his serve is. His high powered serves further illustrate the point that Daichi made earlier: Karasuno isn’t good at receiving the ball. It turns out that the first year players are especially guilty of this and Oikawa targets them, specifically Tsukishima. Daichi, an expert receiver, decides to take on Oikawa himself and spreads everyone else to the corners of the court. Oikawa doesn’t go for it and hits another ball straight at Tsukishima. With the small window to hit in, Oikawa sacrfices his power enough to give Tsukishima a chance to return the ball. Kindaichi gets a chance to spike the ball clean, but it’s one-touched by Hinata who manages to cover the space on the court. The touch sets things up for Hinata to sprint completely back to the other side of the court and put home the winning point.

There’s actually a really nice moment here that the show doesn’t come right out and state (which makes it even better). When Hinata goes up for the final spike, he has his eyes completely open and looks right at Oikawa. Previously, Hinata had just been hitting blindly and trusting Kageyama to put the ball into his hand. This doesn’t mean that Hinata stopped trusting Kageyama but rather that he’s now able to have more control of his own spikes. It was also a direct challenge to Oikawa, who had never seen Kageyama and Hinata’s attack before and was outwardly impressed by it.

This gave Karasuno the win over the 4th highest ranked team. Although, to be honest, it’s hard to believe that they were that good. I know that they were playing without their captain but, outside of their bodies, it was never shown that there was anything special about the players. After the match, Daichi is saying that there’s still things they need to improve on when they see Oikawa by the school’s exit. He also promises that his team will be different the next time they meet and that they’ll play all out from the beginning. Even though Hinata is worried, Daichi mentions that they’ll have another player returning; someone that he refers to as the “Guardian Diety of Karasuno”.

In the end it seems like both teams walk away realizing that there are things they need to work on. After Daichi and Takeda talk, Takeda tells Daichi that he has a plan to get a coach for the team. Individually, the players all plan to get better as well. On top of that Kageyama spells out the holes in their team. Specifically, they are missing a libero and an ace spiker. Sugawara tells him that they do have some other players that have been away from the team for different reasons (convenient right) and that they’ll be a more powerful team when they return. The next day, Kageyama is working on his serve again. At first he’s interrupted by Hinata trying to receive one of his serves. On the next attempt, someone in a Karasuno uniform appears on the court and perfectly receives his serve. The perfection of the receive surprises Kageyama. Hinata, on the other hand, is surprised by the fact that this new player is shorter than he is.

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It seems like a lot happened in this episode. Not only did the match end, but we got an introduction of two new characters. That is, if you count Oikawa as being introduced in this episode. We also saw a store clerk for the first time in this episode. I’m not sure how, but I believe he’s also going to become involved with the team somehow. I hope they build things up soon, I’m looking forward to seeing some actual competitive matches.

Episode Rating: B

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