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Haikyuu!! – Episode 11: Decision

Not much to see in this one. Now that the team is together the show’s starting to build toward the match with Nekoma. Sugawara gets a bit of extra attention in the episode as Ukai has to make a hard decision concerning him.

The training camp begins and Ukai’s putting the team through their paces. There’s a little bit of comedy early on as the team gets used to their group living quarters and seeing each other with their hair down (literally). Hinata also gets introduced to an important player from Nekoma. When the team’s running he gets separated and comes across an unassuming kid, named Kozume Kenma, with a cat and a red jersey. He’s lost and Hinata starts talking to him only to realize that he’s a volleyball player. Hinata’s wearing his Karasuno t-shirt so Kenma recognizes him as an opponent but Hinata doesn’t really catch on. Later we see Kenma warming up while onlookers comment on how clumsy he looks. One of his teammates appears and tells them that that clumsy guy is the brain and heart of their team.

At the camp, Sugawara confronts Ukai about his place on the team. Ukai had been hesitant to bench Sugawara because he’s a third year player, meaning that this is his last year with the team. Ukai had the same thing done to him as a player and he doesn’t want to put him through that even though he (and everyone else) knows that Kageyama’s the better player. Sugawara gives Ukai a pass by telling him that he should start Kageyama if he thinks he’s better but that he will do everything he can to get on the court. Later on, Sugawara is shown drawing up plays while everyone is sleeping. So it looks like he’ll do the same as Ukai. What’s that old saying? “If you can’t play, coach.”

Ladies and gentlemen, you're starting lineup.
Ladies and gentlemen, you’re starting lineup.

With the hard decision out of the way, Ukai announces the starting line-up. Even though they’ve never played together before the starters are: Sawamura, Hinata, Tanaka, Asahi, Tsukishima, Kageyama and Nishinoya. Hinata also finds out that he’s going to wear #10, the same number that the Little Giant (the player he idolizes) wore when he saw him. A little after this point, the show also takes a moment to focus on 3 previously invisible 2nd year players that are rounding out the bench. They take the time to talk about how they quit the club when director Ukai came back because things became focused on winning and training got too hard for them. I’m not sure why we needed to see them other than to reaffirm that there are actually 12 players on the team. There is an underlying point about the reasons why players are “allowed” on the court as opposed to others. So I guess, it’s trying to drive home more motivation for players like Hinata and Sugawara to try their best in order to respect those players desires or to become a starting player. Still, it didn’t really seem worth mentioning but I guess it doesn’t hurt.

Toward the end of the episode the Nekoma team is shown destroying an opponent and leaving them bewildered. Their opponent doesn’t understand how their team is so good when they don’t have a single “genius” player. The rest of the episode is just setting up to the coming Neko-Karasu game as the players on both sides get excited for the match. The final shot is a teaser of what’s to come when we see the two teams facing off in their warm-ups outside the match venue. So, it looks like the red team’s ready and the black team’s ready. Now it’s time to get it on!

Episode Rating: C