I’m glad that we started this week’s episode on a much better foot than the one we ended on last week. Last week, the practice match declaration was so dramatic it was almost as if it was going to be an all or nothing situation. This week, it seems like everyone has had a chance to cool down, so they’re all pretty excited about having a practice match with each other.
I still hold most of my feelings from last week’s episode – I’m rooting for Subaru and the rest of Fukuho, but I’m definitely okay if Haijima and Seiin put a little pressure on them. I think it really just boils down to how charismatic Subaru is and different he is to Kuroba and Haijima. Subaru is the kid who is carrying way too much on his shoulders and I almost feel like his “promise” or “good luck charm” is almost like a cry for help. If he does end up losing before making it to the center court it’s going to be a pretty significant defeat for him. And not in the “I’m obviously better than every single person here. I’m a genius” wake up call way, but more in the “I’ve been carrying this weight for so long, and I couldn’t even keep my promises” way. I like the difference between Haijima and Subaru because they both hold a lot of responsibility but are also very different. Haijima is someone that everyone relies on because they know that his skill will take them far and he’s a necessary force if they want to be successful in reaching all of their goals. However, that doesn’t mean that Haijima provides the team with what they need. People are looking towards him to provide miracles, and he’s working on giving that miracle, but he’s not going to sugar coat the delivery. Subaru on the other hand is essentially the everything man. He’s the glue holding the team together. Yes, he has a lot of skill when it comes to Volleyball, but he also has the trust of his teammates and the ability to bring out the best in them. His charm is more than just what he is able to put on the court. I’m happy that we’ve been introduced to him!! He provides a nice foil to Haijima!
For the second half of the episode, I’ll admit that I wasn’t as invested in it as I could be which is a bummer because there was some drama and a genuine conversation going on! Haijima telling Oda to sit out when they face Fukuho for real is honestly not something that I’m surprised about, but it is a bummer that it had to play out the way it did. There are just so many times this series tries to paint Haijima as a villain or someone causing problems and then immediately, they turn around and show us that he’s actually just thinking of the greater good! And each time it happens I understand why everyone is upset with him! The time and place as well as his delivery just aren’t the best. I am glad that he got to talk a little bit out with Kuroba, so that he’s finally able to show more of himself rather than just the stoic character we’ve seen all season… but the whole scene just felt off to me and I can’t explain why! Usually, I sit here and fume because so many things can be solved if they just talked it out, and in this episode, they actually talked some things out! Perhaps, the impact they were going for just didn’t land for me and that’s why I have this frustration.
However, I do know that some of my frustration comes from Oda accepting that he’ll be on reserve for the upcoming competition. I understand all the reasoning and justification for having him off the court because he’s a target, and if they can increase their blocking power, they’ll have more potential to make it further in the tournament. But I wish they would have chosen a different route, one in which Oda still gets to play, but the team actually compensates for his stature. Essentially – Please let him stay on the court!!!! If anything, I really just want Oda and Subaru to stand and face one another as captains! Regardless of who wins or loses that match, I think the two of them would handle it very well! But that might be a dream that won’t come true at this point. Oh well, at least there’s still the potential for the Seiin team to talk out the events of this episode and perhaps have Haijima work of his timing and delivery of his various suggestions.
I’m not too sure where the next few episodes are going to take us, I wouldn’t be surprised if they take us straight to the center court, but I’m also worried about the timing of it all. Oh well, but first we’ll just have to see how the team will do without Oda on the court!