Hey guys! It’s been a while so I wanted try a new form of writing. Haikyuu season 4 was amazing and pretty much everyone knows this. Instead I wanted to talk about how the main characters of Haikyuu grew (specifically Hinata and Kageyama).

Rivalries are what fuel numerous animes today. It’s what makes them interesting and provides forward momentum. Kageyama and Hinata have been working tirelessly to improve themselves and do their best to complement each other. The past 3 seasons focused on Karasuno improving as an underdog team, but the viewer is left to speculate about what they can do beyond this specific team environment. Season 4 fills this as we get to see first-hand, Kageyama and Hinata discover how far they can go as individuals.

Season 1 and 2 showed us that, Kageyama could predict exactly where Hinata’s hand would be to get the perfect spike and set the ball without any sort of deviation. Whereas Hinata literally closed his eyes and ran to an unblocked spot and jumped as high as he could with his unreal athleticism. So, when they had to improve at Nekoma’s training camp, all Hinata did was open his eyes and aim the spike while Kageyama had to learn how to stop the ball mid-air at the perfect spiking position without losing any speed.

Season 4 started off with an eye opener for Hinata. Kageyama was asked to attend the All-Japan Youth Training Camp. This is where the best volleyball players under the age of 19 come together to practice and possibly be selected to be the national representatives for Japan and compete against the world. Not only that, even Tsukishima was invited to special training camp for rookies in the Miyagi prefecture. Hinata was beyond frustrated and Kageyama made sure to let Hinata know that he is moving on ahead and leaving Hinata in the dust. Hinata, the happy-go-getter that he is, decided to crash Tsukishima’s training camp so that he could find a way to catch up to Kageyama and watch how the best in the Miyagi prefecture play. Even at the training camp, Washijo-sensei (Shiratorizawa’s Coach) told Hinata that without Kageyama as his setter, he senses no worth in Hinata. He was not allowed to play at the camp and was only allowed to be the “ball-boy”. However, this didn’t demoralize Hinata even slightly and he was content just watching the trainees play and assist in any way possible.

Coach Ukai told Hinata to do what only a ball boy can do. This stuck with Hinata. He started paying attention to every little detail. He finally started to understand what allowed a receiver to receive well, the exact position spikers look to hit, etc. Since, Hinata relied so much on his athleticism and Kageyama before, these are things that never crossed his mind. He soaked all this information and knowledge like a sponge. This is where he showed signs of, for the lack of a better term, ‘Observation Haki’. Observation Haki for those who haven’t watched One Piece is a sort of sixth sense that allows the user to sense the strength and presence of the people around him. If used well, it lets the user create a mental image of the immediate future. So, in the context of Haikyuu, it would allow players to predict where the ball is going next.

On the other side, Kageyama wasn’t having the best time either. He had a tendency of setting the ball somewhat timidly to not enrage others. This was probably the result of him being called the “King of the Court” in elementary school because of his inability to cooperate with his teammates. Karasuno’s Kageyama was now leaning towards the other extreme. He was too considerate for his players. Due to this, Atsumu Miya, a setter who was also invited to the training camp called Kageyama a “Goody Two-shoes”. After hearing this, Kageyama finally started to reflect on what he needed to do to become a better setter for his team.

Kageyama has the ability to help his teammates push past the limit they set for themselves. But to do that, he had to return to his days as the “King”. A role he gave up a long time ago. Instead of being a “Goody Two-shoes”, he needed to push his teammates to jump higher and position themselves better. Since Karasuno implicitly trusts Kageyama, the team members took Kageyama’s criticism and nitpicking in a positive way. They strived to match Kageyama’s expectations.

After Kageyama realized that he no longer needed to worry about teammates abandoning him, he was able to break past the wall that was holding him back. Before, Kageyama saw his setting as hitting a target. He positioned the ball exactly where the spiker was going to be. Now at the spring tournament, Kageyama analyzes the entire court as a three-dimensional grid to maximize the chances to score points for his team.

n Hinata’s case, he has not found his groove just yet. He does position himself well to make great receives but his timing is still off and, more often than not, he ends up receiving the ball with his face rather than his hands. Even so, you can tell that he is completely in the zone as the anime zooms in on to show the focus in his eyes. Each time this happens, we are on the edge of our seats waiting to see Hinata get those perfect receives and wow the entire audience.

We’ve always known the inevitable ‘Battle of The Garbage Dump’ will be a match of epic proportions. Hinata will definitely be at the top of his game. But the question remains, can Hinata catch up to Kageyama in the first match of the upcoming season. After all, the match is against Miya Atsumu’s team – Inarizaki High School. According to Coach Ukai, they are the favorites to win this tournament, so it will definitely be a tough match for Karasuno.

Final Thoughts –

This long awaited season lived up to the hype. It was even more exciting and better written. Even if this was just a build up to an important arc, it never felt like it. Every episode was captivating in its own right. Haikyuu is one of the few shows where the quality of the show increases every season.

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