The Soundtrack in this episode? Chef’s kiss. It really pulled everything together and I would say that this was a pretty solid episode. I’m glad that Kuroba was able to really step up his game in this episode and help Haijima realize that the sport requires everyone to rely on each other. It doesn’t matter how much you want to win, it’s not one person’s job to carry the whole team. But it can be one person’s job to motivate everyone in believing in what they can do.

Okay, as cheesy as that sounds, I really do think that sentiment applies to this episode. Haijima… at the end of the day just wants to play volleyball and in order to keep playing volleyball he has to keep winning. So, of course he’ll do anything to make sure that they make it to the next round, even if it means taking control and essentially playing by himself. You could argue that he wants to play with the team… but it doesn’t sit well with me that those sentiments show up after the match has been played. Haijima, I promise you can talk to your teammates about things rather than just sharing everything with Kuroba. But honestly, at least Kuroba was there to stop you from doing something that was potentially dangerous so HUGE props to him in this episode. It just goes to show that someone who can boost morale is incredibly important!! I just hope Kuroba doesn’t push himself too hard in trying to achieve this. I really wouldn’t be surprised if this series tossed in a career ending injury (arguably they have already done this, but what’s stopping them from doing it again??).

Actually, seeing the team connect and synergize with one another was probably the best part of the episode. I feel like it would have made more of an impact if it felt like a two-sided game rather than just some shots of the other team occasionally, but I’ll give it a pass because this other team is essentially irrelevant. Just another steppingstone for everyone to reach their goals. Honestly, despite my feelings about Kuroba I’m pretty happy with him in this episode because he was able to focus on the match they were playing and ultimately bringing out the coach’s words to have an impact. And speaking of the coach, he didn’t do much, but that statement at the beginning really saved the team! Planting that early on was a good move as it not only brought out the best in Kuroba, but it actually made Haijima play defense rather than focusing on setting.

But if we’re talking about focus, Haijima, I’m begging you… please stop looking at Subaru and Fukuho and focus on the match at hand. You will not be able to go against them if you do not win. I understand that they are a roadblock, but please focus on what’s in front of you. Focus on your team. I mean, I feel like the crash and burn in the middle of the first set, which in turn tanked team morale would not have happened if there wasn’t such a rush to finish up the first match. But I’ll let it slide because it made a solid episode.

However, I’m not a fan of the post ending sequence. First and foremost, they really just cruised through the next set of qualifying matches. It really doesn’t make this feel like a tournament setting at all. Next, what was Haijima trying to do by setting the ball to Kuroba in the direction of Fukuho? It was so dramatic, but I don’t really understand what was happening. Was the thing that Subaru said offensive? Perhaps the tone wasn’t all that great, but I don’t really get why it warranted whatever they were trying to do. Also? I feel like we got a complete personality switch for Subaru in this episode that I’m not a fan of. Last week, he and Oda were genuinely pleasant to one another so the ending really makes it seem out of place.

I don’t know, perhaps I missed something along the way, but I really don’t think we ended the episode on a good note, but it does set up tension for next week. I realize I’m probably fighting a losing battle since it’s looking like the next few episodes are going to be a big showdown between the two teams and tragically, I don’t think the team I’m rooting for is going to win. Still, I’m looking forward to what is going to come ! Hopefully, things are going to get really intense and we’ll have solid development for all the remaining players!


I live up to my username, but I hope we can be friends!