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HAIKYU‼ TO THE TOP Episode #02 Anime Review

5 min read
This episode was basically everyone crapping on Hinata.
© 2018 H. Furudate / Shueisha, ”HAIKYU!!” Project, MBS

“Lost”

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)
At Karasuno High School, the boys are dedicating all their time to improving their serves. It is the most powerful individual skill after all. Over at the special training camp, Coach Washijō is making it clear to everyone that they’re not opponents right now. It’s important that they take whatever they can from each other and improve. Alright, it’s time to train! Sadly, Hinata can only watch everyone else train since he’s only the ball boy. He has to perform the duties required of him which including getting everyone drinks, picking up the balls, etc. There’s a moment where it’s time for spiking drills and Hinata instinctively runs over for the practice. However, he’s harshly reminded by Coach Washijō that he’s only a ball boy. Ball boys don’t get to practice. Poor Hinata. It’s only going to get worse for him in this episode.

Coach Washijō yells at him throughout the day and I’m starting to feel really bad for Hinata. Why is he being so harsh? One of the other coaches points out that Karasuno did defeat Shiratorizawa and this could be an act of revenge. I don’t think he’s that petty but who knows? While Hinata isn’t allowed to participate, he is at least watching everyone practice very intently. Maybe he’s picking stuff up? I hope so. After practice is over, Hinata stays behind to practice a bit on his own. He starts doubting himself and remembers how amazing everyone around him is. We get a nice visual of Hinata running and being stopped by branches. It paints the picture of Hinata being held in place while everyone else is getting ahead of him. He doesn’t want to be left behind! Tsukishima stops by and tells him to go home. Hinata tries to apologize to him but he shuts him down. He’s not surprised by the dumb things Hinata does at this point and starts trash talking him. Read the room, man! Poor Hinata. Coach Washijō also makes it clear that he doesn’t plan to let Hinata practice at all during this training camp. Someone give the kid a break!

The next day, Hinata gets lectured by Coach Ukai. Why’d he go crash the training camp? Hinata admits that he didn’t want to fall behind everyone. Coach Ukai can certainly understand his feelings but he shouldn’t be causing problems for others. He encourages him to find the thing only he can do while there and to not underestimate what it takes to be a ball boy. It ain’t easy being a ball boy. It’s a day of lectures for Hinata as he then gets one from Takeda, too. That’s the third one today as he was lectured earlier by Daichi. Once all the lectures are over, Hinata finally has time to catch his breath. Tanaka finds him in the hallway and starts making fun of him. This isn’t the time for that, man! I’m sure none of this is making Hinata feel any better. At least Nishinoya tried to cheer him up a little. What a bro. Hinata didn’t feel any better though. In fact, he hasn’t smiled once in this episode. Poor Hinata.

It’s day two of the special training camp and Hinata is back to doing ball boy things. He’s still observing everyone with a watchful eye. Today’s practice comes with a surprise. Some of the third-years and alumni from Shiratorizawa are joining them. That includes Ushiwaka and Tendo. Tendo spots Hinata and proclaims that he’s going to cut him down. This gets Hinata excited for a brief second until reality hits him. He’s the ball boy. He can’t play against them. Hinata walks away to get drinks for everyone with a sad expression on his face. I feel so bad for him. Once again, all he can do is watch. After they’re done with practice, Tendo asks Hinata why he isn’t playing? He tells him that he’s only the ball boy and he crashed the practice. Tendo busts out laughing. Ushiwaka glares at Hinata and asks him what is he even doing? Before he can answer, he’s told to go mop the floors. Poor Hinata. How many times have I said that already in this review?

We cut back to Karasuno’s practice and Nishinoya performs a Rolling Thunder Double that knocks Tanaka down in the process, haha. It may seem like a random scene but I think it was perfectly placed. I needed that laugh since this has been a depressing episode. Coach Ukai and Takeda hope that Hinata is doing well. We clearly know that he isn’t. We cut back to Hinata who walks into the equipment room. He’s frustrated and puts his head in between the mats. It’s time to take a good look at himself. He starts thinking about all the stuff people said about him throughout the past few days. What is he doing? He can’t give up! He needs to change the way he thinks! What can he do that no one else can? He has to find the answer! He exits the room with a broom in hand and renewed determination!

In Summary:
This episode was basically everyone crapping on Hinata. It was depressing. If the goal of this episode was to make the audience feel as bad as Hinata was feeling, it certainly succeeded. I felt so bad for him. Why did so many people have to make him feel like crap? I wanted to yell out, “YEAH, WELL, HE KICKED YOUR ASS ALREADY! SHUT THE HELL UP!” But you know what? We know he isn’t that weak. He may be down now but he’ll work his way back up. This crow will fly again!

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, VRV

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