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HAIKYU‼ TO THE TOP Episode #01 Anime Review

6 min read
Welcome back, Haikyu!!
© 2018 H. Furudate / Shueisha, ”HAIKYU!!” Project, MBS


What They Say:
The Karasuno High School Volleyball Club finally won their way into the nationals after an intense battle for the Miyagi Prefecture Spring Tournament qualifiers. As they were preparing for the nationals, Kageyama is invited to go to All-Japan Youth Training Camp. At the same time, Tsukishima is invited to go to a special rookie select training camp for first-years in Miyagi Prefecture. Hinata feels panic that he’s being left behind as one of the first-years and then decides to show up at the Miyagi Prefecture rookie select training camp anyway… As they prepare for the nationals, Hinata, Kageyama and the rest of the Karasuno High School Volleyball team get ready to face some new challenges!!

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
It’s a new day and Hinata is heading to class. He’s greeted by a huge banner hanging from atop the school building congratulating the boys’ volleyball team on their victory. That’s right, Karasuno is going to the nationals! It’s still so surreal. Hinata is informed that they’re taking measurements today and that he should hurry inside. Kageyama appears out of nowhere and challenges him to see who gets the highest reach. Naturally, Hinata agrees and even makes a wager. The loser owes the winner three curry buns. Glad to see these two are still the same as always.

The boys go get their measurements. Hinata is ecstatic to learn that he has grown a whole 1.4 centimeters taller! Yamaguchi is excited to have grown 5 millimeters. Kageyama nonchalantly reveals he grew 1.3 centimeters. That means Hinata grew one millimeter more than Kageyama this time around and he declares himself the winner! This wasn’t a competition but I’m not surprised he made it one, haha. Hinata’s feeling good about himself until Tsukishima arrogantly reveals that he’s surpassed 190 centimeters. Hinata can’t help but be envious. It’s time to measure everyone’s reach and they all head to the gym. Who will get the highest reach? Will it be Kageyama or Hinata? Kageyama manages to get 337 centimeters, the highest amongst the team. On the other hand, Hinata only manages to get 333 centimeters. While he did lose to Kageyama, his reach is actually impressive. He basically has the same reach as taller players like Asahi. That’s nothing to laugh at! Not only that, he increased his reach by 5 or 6 centimeters since last time. Hinata still has room to grow. Regardless, he still lost and Kageyama makes sure to rub it in his face.

Takeda gathers everyone up to share some big news. Kageyama has been invited to attend the All-Japan Youth Training Camp! That’s quite an honor! Only the best of the best get invited. Of course, he plans to accept the invitation and his teammates congratulate him. Well, everyone except Hinata. He wants to know if he was also invited. He’s informed that he was not. Hinata does not take it well, haha. Asahi and the third years wonder why Nishinoya hasn’t been invited? He’s definitely the most talented libero in their eyes but they acknowledge that they’re biased. Also, they probably want a libero who’s more…mature. Nishinoya is a bit of a troublemaker so I can’t argue with that logic. But there’s still more good news! There’s going to be a special training camp for promising rookies in Miyagi Prefecture. It’s only open to first-years and Tsukishima has been invited. He doesn’t really want to go but everyone encourages him to do so. Basically, he doesn’t have a choice. Hinata was also invited, right? No, no he was not. He does not take this well either. Poor guy. It also doesn’t help that Kageyama smugly proclaims that he’s going on ahead of him. I imagine that one stung a bit.

Fast forward to the day of the special training camp. The Karasuno boys’ volleyball team is practicing but Hinata is nowhere to be found. Where is he? Well, he took it upon himself to attend the special training camp. That little rascal! He’s standing in line next to Tsukishima as the roll is called. He’s all smiles, too! Tsukishima tries to ignore him. However, everyone else recognizes Hinata! Tsukishima loses his cool and asks him why he’s here!? Simple, he didn’t want to get arrested. Say what? Hinata remembers Tsukishima saying that if someone were to sneak into the All-Japan Youth Training Camp where Olympic competitors are training, they’d be arrested. I’m dying of laughter at this point. He definitely wanted to go crash Kageyama’s party but the fear of being arrested led him to this special training camp instead, haha. Tsukishima starts yelling up a storm and everyone is surprised to see him lose his cool like this. Hinata will do that to you.

Hinata gets yelled at over the phone by Ukai. Takeda takes the phone from him and coldly scolds him. Dang Takeda, you scary. Hinata apologizes profusely. Still, he wants to participate in a training camp with lots of strong players! Takeda understands how he feels but doesn’t want him causing any trouble. Coach Washijō takes the phone from Hinata and tells Takeda that he doesn’t care if they have another ball boy around. Elsewhere, Kageyama finally arrives at the All-Japan Youth Training Camp. He meets Sakusa Kiyoomi who’s one of the top three spikers in Japan. Kageyama is getting really excited about this training camp! He’s going to be able to observe the best of the best up close. Back to Hinata, he’s allowed to stay. Washijō is known to be an extremely strict coach and Hinata may have bitten off more than he can chew. He makes it perfectly clear that he thinks Hinata isn’t anything special without Kageyama. If he doesn’t want to be a ball boy, he can just go home. Coach Washijō isn’t playing around.

Some of the players find it amusing that Hinata snuck into the training camp. Others, mainly the ones that have played against him and lost, openly welcome him because they plan to crush him! It’s time for practice and Hinata makes sure to apologize for interrupting earlier. He loudly introduces himself and states that his position is ball boy. He’s thankful for the opportunity and stares intensely at Coach Washijō as the credits roll. You go be the best darn ball boy you can be, Hinata!

In Summary:
I suggest watching the two Haikyu!! Land vs. Air OVAs before viewing this episode. You’re going to want to have that context for later on. That being said, this was a good way to start the season. We were refamiliarized with all the characters and got reaffirmation that they’re pumped for the nationals. We were also introduced to a lot of new characters and I am looking forward to seeing them in action. Also, Hinata doing Hinata things is always fun to watch. I am so freaking HYPED for this season! Welcome back, Haikyu!!

Grade: B+

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, VRV

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