The View from the Summit
The 3-on-3 is finally underway. As the match progresses Hinata, Kageyama and Tanaka already hit a wall. Hinata’s spikes are getting blocked by Tsukishima. Cracks start to form as Kageyama starts to fall back into his old ways as “King of the Court” spurred on by Tsukishima’s teasing. What will happen next?
Individual issues are brought out into the open. How each player comes to terms and tries to resolves their issues are the highlights of this episode. Slowly but surely, the Karasuno team is coming together by supporting one another (for the most part).
The very first issue we see is with Kageyama. Before the match he has a nightmare of himself as setter on Kitagawa Daiichi; as he sets the ball no one is there to spike – he’s completely alone on the court. Fast forward to during the match and Tsukishima actually brings up the event Kageyama has been having nightmares about. A flashback that Kageyama narrarates explains the story: in the final match of his middle school career his team is struggling to win points and he starts to worry. He starts to focus on winning and thinking of ways around his opponent. As panic starts to set in, his thoughts drown out what his teammates are trying to tell him. Completely ignoring his teammates and berating them to be faster; they abandon him by rejecting any tosses he makes causing him to be benched the rest of the match which they end up losing.
Due to Kageyama’s genius skill level and obsession to win; he doesn’t take in his surroundings. He believes the only way to win is for others to sync to his level of play and doesn’t realize that there has to be compromise and more importantly trust. In his nightmare he questions why no one is there: he hasn’t realized that winning cannot rely on the sole efforts of a player no matter how genius they are. In the end Kageyama is affected psychologically due to that event. The reason for his passiveness on court with Karasuno is that he’s actually afraid of sending tosses that no one will hit – it goes to show that no one is willing to trust him.
It’s not until he meets Hinata that his world view is busted wide open. Hinata tells him that’s all in the past and it doesn’t matter now. As they continue to play, Kageyama is getting ready to set the ball and both Tanaka and Hinata call out. He’s about to set to Tanaka when Hinata appears at the exact same spot where no one had been there to spike. Hinata calls out, “I’m here!”. This is a pivotal moment for Kageyama as someone that’s re-learning to be a part of a team. In that moment Kageyama instinctively sets it to him. Remember, Hinata never got to play with an actual setter in highschool, so he explains to Kageyama that he’ll take any ball he can get, and that Kageyama should forget what happened and just toss to him. He wants Kageyama to know that he can rely on him.
Just as Hinata helps Kageyama deal with his issues; Tsukishima starts to instigate more issues with Hinata; telling him that Hinata just isn’t cut out to be a spiker, and no amount of feelings or effort will help him overcome that. Hinata says he understands that, but he’ll do whatever it takes to battle with the body he has just as long as he can stay on the court. This resonates with Kageyama because thats exactly how he feels. In this moment, he accepts that he can’t do it alone. Kageyama wants to reciprocate those feelings of trust to Hinata by saying that breaking the wall for the spiker is the setter’s job.
As the duo tries to come up with a plan of attack; they still can’t get in sync. Sugawara stops them telling Kageyama that he’s repeating the same mistakes from middle school. He reminds him that Hinata still doesn’t have the necessary experience but has the potential, so he should try to match Hinata and somehow use it to his advantage. Finally, Kageyama expresses to Hinata what he’s been thinking since the first day they met; he envies Hinata’s athletic reflexes, but is infuriated that Hinata can’t use them effectively. Therefore declaring he’s going to use Hinata’s abilities by telling him to run his fastest and jump his highest and he’ll get the ball to him. He also says that Hinata doesn’t have to watch for the toss or look at the ball – just spike his hardest. Hinata thinks its crazy; but Kageyama really wants to try it.
Kageyama focuses completely and sets the ball to Hinata who hits his “reckless toss”. They realize after the point is made that Hinata literally had his eyes closed from the moment he jumped and swung his arm. Kageyama in disbelief says,“Who actually trusts someone 100%?” to which Hinata responds “I don’t have a choice but to trust you.” As teammates, you have to be willing to put everything on the line and trust one another to win. Kageyema is finally realizing that using his skill to enhance others skills is a much more effective approach than making people try to sync to him. Upon this realization, he’s actually having fun, which is rare since we’ve never really seen him smile since the show started.
With their new attack, Hinata is finally able to see past the block and score. This appears to be part of the answer to Hinata’s monologue at the beginning of episode 1 : “A tall, tall wall looms in front of me. What’s the view on the other side? What does it look like? The view from the top…it’s a view I could never see on my own. But if i’m not doing it alone…”
I’ve always been quite partial to Kageyama’s character development in these first few episodes as it’s pretty drastic from his starting point. But what I love about Hinata in this episode is when he says, “Does this guy know the meaning of the word ‘impossible?'” This is something I personally relate to, because I also don’t think that something is impossible; as long as you’re willing to work at it and are passionate about something you’re more than likely to achieve it.
Other characters that have significant impacts in this episode is Sugawara and Tsukishima. Sugawara is one of the third years, and plays the same position as Kageyama. He acknowledges that Kageyama is byfar a better player than him, and becuase of this he feels inferior. He actually discloses these insecurities to the entire team. He envies Kageyama’s skills, but wants to help him become an even better player, which is why he tells Kageyama that his best ability being able to see the court in its entirety so he should be able to see his teammates.
From the beginning Tsukishima seems to have a huge chip on his shoulder. He’s used his sarcasm as a way to instigate for fun. But as the match goes on the instigation isn’t just sarcasm, as noted with Hinata. He’s easily irritated especially by Hinata’s straightforward and pure attitude. He even says, “If you believe effort alone will win out, you’re dead wrong.” Tsukishima has the height needed for volleyball, but he seems to lack the passion needed for the sport.
Haikyuu! Is available on crunchyroll.