Haikyu!! Episode 13 Recap – “Rival”
What happens this episode:
The battle between Nekoma and Karasuno continues. Nekoma won the first set, but Karasuno is still very much in the game. It’s the undeveloped brilliance of Karasuno against the steady team defense of Nekoma. As both Ukai and Nekomata (Nekoma’s coach) watch Hinata play, the realize that once Shoyo develops his skill set he will cease being Kageyama’s “club.” Instead, he will be an oni alongside Kageyama.
As they play on, the rivalry between the two is rekindled. Hilariously, each character has their own mirror in both skill and personality on the opposite side of the net. Nekoma has experience on their side though, and Karasuno is just beginning to gel with each other. Nekoma wins the match by operating as a well-oiled machine, keeping the ball in play long enough to score the points. Another tactic they use is to fake out the blockers, opening up for free spikes.
As the dust of defeat clears, Hinata doesn’t leave the court, asking to do it once again. Nekomata has no qualms with this and they play two more games, Nekoma winning both. The coaches then talk to each other’s teams. Nekomata’s message to Karasuno: they have potential that they can harness through practice and connection. The two coaches renew the promise to meet at nationals that Ukai Sr and Nekomata made a few years ago. It’s good for both teams to have a rival again. As the two teams separate, Hinata asks Kenma what it felt like to win today. Noticing Kenma’s non committal answer, Hinata promises to make the games feel more like fun for Kenma in the future. And another bromance was born… 😛 >_<
This episode brought a smile to face. The comedic moments were hilarious, especially Tanaka interacting with his counterbalance from Nekoma. I like how laid back the episode was as well. Even though these are two rivals trying to best each other, it was not made out to be the most important thing ever, as so many sports anime are wont to do. I’m definitely going to continue looking at Haikyu!! as we transition into the Summer anime season. After all, the show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the characters are immensely enjoyable.