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Haikyuu!! – Episode 19: Conductors

After defeating Dateko, Karasuno prepares for their next match against Aoba Jousai by watching them and coming up with new strategy. When the game actually begins they find out, first hand, that this is a different team with Oikawa at the setter.

The first bit of the episode is spent with Karasuno watching from the stands as Oikawa runs his team. The players are impressed but the coaches (and Kageyama) are analyzing what they’re seeing. According to Ukai, it’s not that Oikawa is a lot better than their other setter physically, it’s just that he understands everything about his team. Of course, while they’re doing this Hinata and Nishinoya are acting like idiots (as usual).

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It’s not just Aoba Jousai that they have to worry about either. On the way back home the entire team passes out. Ukai realizes that they’re worn out but points out that they’re going to continue to play 2 games a day as long as they win and that the opponents will get tougher and the matches longer. When they get back to the school they see a TV report about the tournament. Even though one of the teachers tells them that they were on earlier, they only see reports about other teams. The team sees that there are some truly strong teams and players in the other blocks but that gets glossed over when they realize that Oikawa is getting all of the press for their upcoming match.

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The snub motivates them and they put on their bad guy faces and go to have a meeting/practice. Ukai tells them how they’ll approach Aoba Jousai. He also tells them that, even though their opponents look strong, they’ve already faced a fearsome opponent and won. After they end practice some of the players (basically everyone except Hinata) notices that Kageyama seems particularly stressed. Even Ukai is staying up late to watch video. However, we see that Oikawa, despite his laid back nature, is also preparing for Karasuno.

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The match day gets there quickly. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about this show it’s that they really don’t like to drag out the time between games. This is something that I will likely never complain about. As the match is about to begin, Kageyama thinks back to how he’s finally going to get to play against the player that he looked up to and had as a mentor. Oikawa tells Kageyama that he’s come to take down the “genius setter” and the two have a short face-off before it’s interrupted by Hinata. Oikawa seems to be really light hearted about the whole thing but then, right before they go on the court, he turns to his team and says, “I believe in all of you” and continues walking on the court. The statement has a strange, ominous tone to it and some of the spectators even notice that the presence that the team gives off changes drastically after he says it.

When the game begins Oikawa starts trying to manipulate the other team as well. On the first point he goes up like he’s going to set the ball, but dumps it over the net. On the next turn he fakes a spike and flows into a set. Ukai points out again that the setter is like the conductor of a team and, with their conductor back, the Seijoh team is completely different. Oikawa had also taunted Hinata and Kageyama after the first dump by saying, “I’ll be doing the same thing again. Pay attention!” The Karasuno team is agitated and prepares to launch into their “Pipe” attack. With Hinata, Tanaka and Azumane all attacking the net, Kageyama decides to do a dump of his own. This surprises not only the other team, but his own team as well. As everyone cheers, Tsukishima simply says, “he sure hates to lose doesn’t he”. Kageyama then goes to the net and repeats Oikawa’s taunt back to him. For the first time we see Oikawa look angry. So now the game between the two setters is on.

Episode Rating: B

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