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HAIKYU‼ TO THE TOP Episode #12 Anime Review

6 min read
Our boy Tanaka has a chance!
© 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)
Fukurodani is facing off against Eiwa in the first round. The game has barely begun and unfortunately for Fukurodani, Bokuto has already lost motivation. Dang, that was fast. What’s his deal? He’s depressed because he wanted to play in the main arena and not the sub arena! Bokuto’s #6 weakness is that he wants to stand out and he feels like he isn’t standing out enough in the sub arena. Akaashi has his work cut out for him. Elsewhere, Daichi, Asahi, and Suga meet up with Tashiro and Kurokawa. After being introduced to the first years, the former Karasuno captains tell them to make sure that they keep winning. Easier said than done! Making it to the top of the nationals is going to be a challenge.

Nekoma defeats Kiyokawa to advanced to the second round. They looked quite dominant in their victory, too. After watching that game and eating lunch, the Karasuno players have a bit of free time. Hinata immediately proclaims that he’s going to buy “The Way of the Ace” t-shirt! Yamaguchi joins him. Kageyama silently mumbles to himself that he also wants to check out the new t-shirts, haha. Back at the sub arena, Bokuto is still unmotivated. The team was caught off guard! They didn’t expect this to happen so early. But what can they can do besides keep playing? The game is evenly matched between the two teams and Bokuto doesn’t really make an impact. They really need to get him motivated! That’s when Akaashi tells him that they are in fact on the center court. Okay, you have Bokuto’s attention. Sure, the main arena is bigger and has more people. But you know what? It’s also split into four courts and not everyone is watching you when you play in the main arena. On the other hand, there’s only one court in the sub arena which means all eyes are on you! He also adds that his student, Hinata, is here to watch him as well!

That was the push Bokuto needed and now he’s all fired up! Hey, hey, hey! Eiwa soon discovers that there’s nothing scarier than a motivated Bokuto. He gets kill after kill! Eventually, Fukurodani manages to defeat Eiwa and advance to the second round. Props to Akaashi for always getting Bokuto back in the game. His teammates remark that he could just ignore him sometimes. Akaashi replies that he’s only able to bring out a part of Bokuto’s abilities but he enjoys watching him play at the top of his game. Of course, he’ll never tell him that to his face, haha. Hinata and Yamaguchi pass by the t-shirt shop on their way back. A fated encounter occurs as Hinata locks eyes with Hoshiumi! They have an intense staredown with neither one willing to back down. Well, that is until Kageyama shows up and greets Hoshiumi. He congratulates Kageyama on his win. Hoshiumi’s match is soon so he has to go. But he did manage to snag the “Grit and Laughter” t-shit that he wanted! Heck, I kind of want one of these t-shirts now myself. Hoshiumi and Hinata lock eyes once more before he leaves. I can’t wait to see these two face off!

It’s time for the Kamomedai versus Chikuida match! The Karasuno players decide to watch the match and are impressed by Hoshiumi. He’s an amazing all-around player. Attacking, serving, and blocking – he can do it all! They don’t call him a little giant for nothing! Hinata watches him play courtside because why not? I’m sure he can learn a lot from watching his playstyle. Kamomedai wins easily. Hinata’s teammates wonder if he’s going to be okay after watching Hoshiumi play. They’re concerned that he won’t respond well to seeing someone in a similar situation that’s above him. Hoshiumi gets interviewed after the match and boy, does he hate interviews. It’s mainly because he hates that almost every question involves his height. He’s tired of hearing people say his shortness is a disadvantage. So what? Just because it’s a disadvantage, it doesn’t mean your worthless. Hinata watches his interview and we get a nice visual where a seagull flies by a speechless Hinata. Of course, the seagull represents Hoshiumi. He heads back to his team and tells them he’s really happy to be here! It seems like everyone was worrying about nothing. Hinata is more fired up than before! Also, I have to note that Kageyama grinned after Hinata said that. If you recall, he wanted Hinata to see Hoshiumi play because he probably knew that it’d motivate him. He was right!

After the credits, we get a scene of the boys going back to their less-than-spectacular inn. The girl’s team is staying in the luxury hotel next to them. They’re super envious! As they’re heading inside, Tanaka is stopped by Kanoka! She congratulates him on their win and hopes that they’ll both do their best tomorrow! Also, she’s blushing the whole time. She runs off a few moments later. Naturally, Tanaka had a goofy look on his face the entire time. Ennoshita chimes in that he totally has a chance. In fact, he’s pretty sure she likes him! This leaves Tanaka flabbergasted. I believe in you, Tanaka!

In Summary:
Our boy Tanaka has a chance! Perhaps he’ll be the first guy on the team to have an actual girlfriend, haha. All joking aside, this was a pretty fun episode all around. It was basically just set-up for the second round. All the teams you expected to advance did just that – Nekoma, Fukurodani, Kamomedia, etc. I really enjoyed the Hinata and Hoshiumi moments. The crow staring down the seagull! And the best part is that it played out exactly the way Kageyama wanted! I think he knew that seeing Hoshiumi play would motivate Hinata and he was right. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next matches! Although, the preview for the next episode indicates some back story involving Tanaka and Kanoka!? Wow, I did not think this potential romance would get so much attention. Do you know what that means though? Tanaka really does have a chance!

Grade: B

Streamed By: Crunchyroll, VRV

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