*Warning: Spoilers Ahead!*
Karasuno is back, and the anticipation for the Spring Volleyball Tournament couldn’t be more grueling. Each team member is given their moment to shine, and the spotlight is shared amongst the first years. The hilarious antics do not let up from the beginning of the episode, and right off the bat we get the feel of what’s to expect from the fourth season.
We begin with our future little giant looking at the banner displayed in front of the school congratulating the team in their advancement to the Spring Valley Tournament. After being filled with pride, Kageyama shows up and does what he does best, demonstrating his dominance over Hinata. We get our first look at the whole team during the height measurements for the tournament, and the interactions between everyone makes the viewer remember why we missed our favorite volleyball delinquents. From Hinata not being able to keep his competitiveness in check, Tsukishima taunting everyone, and Daichi looking like he’s about to rip someone’s head off, the crew is back with the same characteristics that make them shine off the court. The main set of the episode is when Kageyama gets invited to attend the All-Japan Youth Training Camp and Tsukishima is invited to the Rookie Special Training Camp. Both demonstrated key qualities of a promising volleyball player in previous seasons, and their efforts are now being rewarded. As all the praise for the young rookies is dispersed, poor Hinata awaits the announcement of the camp he got invited to. Unfortunately, the future little giant does not receive any recognition, and Kageyama grills Hinata for being the lesser player.
Even though there is a split between good and bad news for the characters overall, Hinata does not seem to be too fazed by everything. The brief encounter between Tsukishima and Yamaguchi with Hinata at the convenience store strikes a genius plan in the little giant’s mind. The anime depicts the cover from volume 24with Hinata biking in the snow looking determined as ever, and the feeling of new horizons being breached can be felt. The scene goes from serious to hilarious as we see Karasuno question why Hinata is not at practice, and pan over to Tsukishima glaring at a proud Hinata who decided to crash the Rookie Special Training; you can’t expect anything less from our aspiring middle blocker. Before assessing the Hinata situation, we finally get our first look of Kageyama making his way to the national team gym. That is when the young prodigy encounters one of the top three spikers in the prefecture, Sahusa Kiyoomi. The awkward spiker is not amazed with Kageyama and seems frustrated over the fact that Karasuno was the team responsible for knocking Ushijia from the tournament. Not only do they already have some kind of resentment towards each other, the two are going to be practicing together for a while; talk about awesome teamwork. Seeing advisor Takeda scold Hinata for his foolery is the highlight of the episode. Before Hinata is forced to return home, Washijo, coach responsible for the Rookie Special Training, allows him to stay as a ball boy. The tension between the two is still very evident, but for some reason coach Washijo doesn’t seem to acknowledge Hinata as a worthy volleyball player. He claims that Hinata is nothing without Kageyama, and, to a certain point, he is actually right. Coach Washijo allows Hinata to stay, but the reason behind his decision as to why is still unclear.
Kageyama enters the gym for the All-Japan Youth Training Camp. The young prospects all line up to meet their new coach: Hitaki Kotaro, and the National Team’s coach, Hibarida Fuki. The speech made by coach Fuki lays out the expectations required from everyone, but also instills the will to want to play volleyball. Kageyama is definitely in his element of elites, and as the scene cuts to different characters, we get our first look at some key players for future episodes! Finally, the mood is set for the entire season as Hinata comes barging in to reintroduce himself as the ball boy for the Rookie Training Camp, and apologizes for his intrusion. One can’t help but laugh, and at the same time feel Hinata’s hunger to learn and develop as a player; Kageyama must not get ahead of him. Verdict
The fourth season of Haikyu starts off without missing a beat. All players are set up in the right rotation, and now all we must do is prepare for the season to play out! This season is going to highlight the growth of certain characters, and once they all come together, their game is going to develop. With the introduction of new characters, and the return of some of our favorite opposing teams, one can only anticipate all the hilarious antics to come.
Karasuno is back with the hunger to win, and with certain characters being invited to special training camps, all we can expect is hilarious interactions and intricate volleyball that will have us cheering “one touch!”