Episode 6 features the practice match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai (or Aobajousai). The match has a bit more meaning for Kageyama and Hinata. It’s Hinata’s first practice match against another school. For Kageyama, it’s a reunion with one of his middle school teammates, Kindaichi, whom Hinata best remembers as having the profile of a turnip.
At the beginning of the episode, the Karasuno team arrives and runs into Kindaichi and another player. Tanaka and Tsukishima immediately take the opportunity to do some trash talking and intimidate they’re opponents. Actually, I’m not sure if they were legitimately trying to intimidate them or if they’re just being themselves. Either way, it leads to a great shot where the majority of the team ends up looking really menacing, like they’re bad guys.
When Kageyama walks by, Kindaichi addresses him as “King”, but Kageyama responds passively and moves on with his teammates, causing Kindaichi to wonder a little. Inside the building Hinata’s problems start. He’s intimidated by everything. He’s intimidated by Aoba Johsai’s huge facilities and players and by the prospect of the practice match. On top of that Kindaichi gets it in his head that Kageyama will discard him if he performs poorly. Despite everyone’s attempts to calm him down he’s an absolute wreck. When Kiyoko puts her hands on him and tries to encourage him he pretty much just faints, leaving Daichi to acknowledge that he’s pretty much fried.
During the first game of the match Hinata can’t get his nerves under control. He does pretty much everything wrong. After a comedic montage of Hinata’s screw ups the opening game is almost over. The last straw is when Hinata goes up to serve and hits the ball directly into the back of Kageyama’s head. With a terrifying look on his face Kageyama walks Hinata down and tells him that he’s already done the scariest thing he can, by hitting him in the back of the head, so he has nothing else to worry about. After that and a good talking to by Tanaka, Hinata gets back to normal. After giving away the first game, Karasuno starts to pile it on and is playing a little better than Aoba Johsai.
Their opponent’s coach starts to analyze the individual characteristics of each player on Karasuno. This pretty much just serves to tell us what each player is doing well and how Karasuno’s starting to come together as a team. Ironically, while he’s talking about this the players (especially Kageyama, Tsukishima and Hinata) are still pretty much behaving like the children of a dysfunctional family. Despite that, they win the 2nd set and are feeling good about their chances.
Of course, things are never that easy. Daichi mentions that they’re still having trouble receiving serves as a team and Kageyama tells the team that the person playing setter, isn’t their normal setter. Almost as soon as he says that, another Aoba Johsai player shows up. Apparently his name is Oikawa and Kageyama seems to know him.
Episode Rating: B