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“Haikyuu…” is back.
It is genuinely exciting to be able to write those words on the internet and have it be true. While there have a number of additions between the airing shows third season and its newest final season, such as the release of a few recap movies and OVA’s, nothing beats seeing the Karasuno boys back in action.
It is fair to say that “Haikyuu: To the Top!” opened incredibly strong in setting the stage for the teams journey to nationals. Despite their having been teammates for a while now, the rivalry between Hinata and Kageyama is stronger than ever. The show more or less opens on the two of them making a bet over their current jump height. Hinata, despite looking like he might actually win, he still comes up a few centimeters short.
However, as it turns out, the stakes in their rivalry have gotten a lot more serious. Both Kageyama and Tsukishima were invited to training camps in order to play with some of the best players in both Japan and the prefecture respectively. Hinata is noticeably hurt by his lack of acceptance into either of these programs. He then decides to sneak into the prefecture training camp with Tsukishima, and after getting chewed out by both of his coaches, stays with the group as a ball boy.
This is, without a doubt, one of the best opening episodes to a new season of a show ever written, for a number of reasons. The first is that the show uses this as another opportunity to build on the main characters’ rivalry. Hinata has both literally and figuratively looked up to Kageyama for the entirely of their relationship. However, in latter half of the third season, it felt like they had finally come together as equals. The two of them had found their teamwork, and were able to beat Shiratorizawa to advance to the national tournament.
Kageyama’s invitation to a national training camp where he could potentially be chosen to represent all of japan is a big blow to not only Hinata’s confidence, but also Hinata’s feeling of being closer in skill level to him.
Hinata is also forced to deal with the prefecture training camp coach’s disrespect. He is told by Takeda that the coach only really looks for height and raw power, leaving him with nothing to be desired. As a result, Hinata is further forced to put his pride aside in hopes of being able to learn something from the top players in Miyagi, which is why he agrees to become a ball boy.
The episode also does well to take time to examine the relationship that Kageyama will have with the other top high school players in the country. When he first gets the the national training camp, Kageyama meets Sakusa, an ace from Itachiyama academy and one of the top three in Japan. While he shows a bit of reverence for the top player, Sakusa shrugs and walks along. The interaction seems to imply that Kageyama will have his work cut out for him while training.
This is going to be an exciting season, for sure, but it also does not hurt to have a killer first episode. “To the Top’s” first episode managed to set up a lot of the future drama and story line that awaits in an incredibly interesting and overall hype way. Long time fans who have been waiting since the end of the third season will definitely not be disappointed.
Are you all excited for the newest season of Haikyuu? Let me know in the comments below.
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