It’s a little early still but this may be my favourite season of Haikyuu. And I love Haikyuu. This says something. It’s understated and low on fanservice so it may not make a big splash on the general audience but it’s gone back to basics by gently layering very incisive character studies together to create on of the best character driven narratives I have watched. The plot of season 4, such as it is, is pretty immaterial to what makes the show great and I’m really loving it.
I took a lot of screencaps. They help me write these posts. I can organize my thoughts by scene when I look through them.
This week opened on a throw back to Kageyama’s main character conflict and the catalyst of his arc. Once again we are reminded how Kageyama’s own natural talent for volleyball, combined with his rigid personality and high expectations, isolated him and held him back for so long. He’s a fairly simple guy with straightforward motivations but he has difficulty in adapting. Or he did.The opening scene recalling his fallen genius status made me think they were foreshadowing some trouble at the all-Japan training camp.
I would have to keep worrying about ti though, because we quickly jumped back to Hinata. Haikyuu has be reestablishing that at the core, it’s the story of these two’s collaboration. Each driving the other to become better. They are essentially stand ins for the type of relationship you need to develop with any colleague in order to achieve something difficult. So even when separated, Haikyuu has been framing each of their individual stories against each other even if Hinata got a lot more focus in the beginning.
Oh, Hinata’s doing great by the way!
Really great! Even as a ball boy he’s obvious learned a lot and had a huge impact on the rest of the players there. Once he settled down and figured out how to tackle the situation, he really did make the best of it and may have gotten more out of the camp than Tsuki did. Because he acts so overexcited most of the time, it’s difficult to forget that Hinata is a volleyball genius in his own right. He simply didn’t have the opportunities a strong team in junior high would have afforded him.
When Kageyama was having fun spiking the ball, he sort of looked a bit like Hinata, didn’t he? He did to me. Not so much in the design or anything but t the way he moved. And the terrifying smile was wonderful. Leave it to Tobio to make a genuine smile of enjoyment look terrifying!
I love how much Kageyama has grown. His pride was really tying him down both in volleyball and as a character. Although I would like to see it come back just a bit now and then. But without that pride and playing in a team where he felt surrounded by equals, he’s really relaxed. To the point where blondie’s attempts to mess with his head (sorry I don’t remember the character’s name, he’s the one above, third row left) just plain failed. Because Kageyama is much more comfortable with himself and less likely to be thrown off by someone else’s words.
It’s weird and a little embarrassing to admit but I was happy for him. Genuinely happy for an imaginary person to have found some inner peace. Oh well. That’s the power of well constructed characters I guess. How many times have I written the word character in this post. Is there a synonym?
So after all that foreshadowing that Kageyama was going to come up against his pride again, nothing happened. The all-Japan training camp ended and he had fun. Even made a friend which is very unKageyama-like. To me this wasn’t a let down at all. It was a subversion certainly but a pleasant one. Sometimes people just get over their hang ups. Cool!
And, despite all his best efforts, Hinata also never got to play. He was a ball boy until the very end of the joint training camp.
Both of their story sort of ended without any big events and in Hinata’s case, without so much as a training match. And this sort of betrays what I like so much about Haikyuu. Because it’s built on the back of the characters the interest lies in who they are rather than what they do. I was fascinated watching Hinata watching other people play. I was completely taken by Tobio not losing his temper and just going on with practice as usual. I know these characters well enough that their little actions and stray comments hold a lot of meaning and reveal a lot to me. As such, they don’t need to do anything big.
For instance, one of my consistently favourite parts of each episode, was watching Hinata bike home uphill in the evenings. It’s quite and seems a little cool. He holds himself differently depending on his mood and what he’s thinking about. Sometimes we hear those thoughts other times not. It’s a very intimate moment that works because the show thinks that we are friends with Hinata. So it’s not awkward to just go on a bike ride like that. and I am friends with Hinata, so I like it.
Likewise, as much as I adored the suspenseful horror movie soundtrack when Kageyama and Hinata met again, and the slapstick antics that followed, my favourite part was watching them quietly throw to ball to each other. They still bicker and fight and insult each other. They’re both fiery and they bring that out in one another. Because their friends. Somewhere through the years, these two became friends and now, we get to really see it.
I ended last week’s review with the statement, I’m a Haikyuu fangirl. I think I may just need to make that my sign off.