Haikyu!! Episode 16 Review – “Winners and Losers”
Karasuno arrived at the Inter High Preliminaries, and prepared to play their first opponent Tokonami High. One of Tokonami’s players, Ikejiri, is a junior high classmate of Sawamura’s. There was also a heated meeting between Karasuno and Dateko. Dateko is the team that blocked every single one of Azumane’s spikes the last time they played each other. As Tokonami and Karasuno warmed up, Aoba Johsai filed in to watch Karasuno’s first match.
As the first set proceeds, Aoba Johsai notes how Karasuno is trying some new tactics, rather than relying on the quick attack of Kageyama and Hinata. It’s obvious that Karasuno is rough around the edges, but they are improving. Their receiving still needs some work, but you don’t improve that over night.
On the other side of the net, Ikejiri remembers Sawamura’s mantra of “we’ll never win if we can’t believe we can.” Daichi was also the only one who cared when they lost. Ikejiri resolves to fight, even though Karasuno is obviously way more overpowered than his team is. He repeats the mantra to his teammates and they take it to heart.
They still lose, but they do it with style. Karasuno even takes them as an serious opponent. But nevertheless, it will be Dateko vs Karasuno in the next match. Another resolute loser is the girls’ team from Karasuno. Both Yui and Ikejiri lament not practicing more, but are still happy that they got to participate in the tournament. Ikejiri catches Sawamura in the hallway after the match. He delivers a quick message to his old teammate – “win.”
The match against Dateko brings instant intimidation from the Date Kogyo side. Their fans are loud and in force, and their players aren’t named “the wall” for nothing. Never fear – Nishinoya is here! He instantly restores the team’s confidence with a “special move” called “Rolling Thunder – – Again!” Which is both cool and hilarious! XD Next episode – Dateko!
It’s interesting that the focus of this episode was less on the Karasuno team and more on the losers of the tournament. There was also a montage of other losing teams and players. It was refreshing and not a hindrance to the plot. I’m not quite sure what the message was yet, but I can see the effort. Is it losing is ok because you got to play anyways? Or is it that if you don’t train hard enough you will end up losing? Or a bit of both?
It was also great to see Nishinoya in a funny but heartwarming moment again. It’s been a few episodes. He’s one of the funniest characters on the show after all. His friendship with Hinata has brought about some of the best moments. His ongoing bromance with Azumane is one of the best reasons to watch the show. Speaking of Azumane, I’m eager to see how he will handle Dateko.
Next Episode: “The Iron Wall”