Haikyu!! – Episode 17 Review – “The Iron Wall”
Karasuno beat Tokonami in 2 sets, setting up a match against Date Kogyo. Dateko is the team that beat Karasuno handedly three months ago, and convinced Asahi to give up on being an ace. The show also took the time to spotlight some of the losers of the tournament, focusing on Sawamura’s old classmate Ikejiri and the Karasuno Girls’ volleyball team. As most of the team is worrying about the Iron Wall of Dateko, Nishinoya steps in and rebuilds the confidence of the team in the best way possible – by being as bombastic as he usually is. 😀
It’s time to face off against Dateko. In the beginning, Karasuno is only scoring by forced errors by the Dateko defense. Dateko operates on the “read block” method, where they can read the setter’s toss and jump as soon as the toss goes up. That way they are already blocking the ball before the hitter is even there. Leading the pack is the monster Aone, who is not only tall but quick to boot. In comparison, the other teams Karasuno has faced have used the “commit block.”
Karasuno holds a 2 point lead as the set continues. The spread doesn’t increase due to the will of Dateko’s defenders. Ukai knows that it’s time to break out the freak quick. He has decided that it’s a weapon they must use in moderation. The monster quick (as Aoba Johsai call it) confuses Dateko – was Hinata only able to get that outrageous toss by accident? Or was it planned? Across the court, Oikawa mutters under his breath “that genius gets on my nerves.”
Hinata powers another freak spike by the Wall and Dateko calls timeout. The Iron Wall’s next plan is to team up on Hinata. Stop him no matter what, even if that quick attack was just lucky. That however, turns out to not be the best strategy, for as Ukai says “the more Hinata shines, the more the blockers are blinded.”
With all focus squarely on Hinata, no one notices Azumane flying in from the back of the court. Azumane throws the monkey off his back, scoring his first spike against the Iron Wall. It’s also done using the “pipe” move that Nekoma used against them in their practice match. The first set isn’t over yet, but Karasuno has the upper hand, even with their secret weapons already on display.
You’re right Hinata, that did feel incredible. That episode was pumped full of adrenaline and I was on the ride the whole way. It was so uplifting to see Azumane break through his struggle. This is because the show highlighted the rivalry, but didn’t bash our face in repeatedly while doing it. I like how even though this is a sports anime it’s underplayed, at least in its own genre. There’s screaming and melodrama but it doesn’t feel overbearing.
The short character moment with Sugawara was well done. He met with Hinata and Kageyama to ask them to “clear the way for the ace.” Even though Sugawara isn’t doing anything on the court at the moment, he’s still leading the team in his own quiet but sure way. I do hope he gets some play time in as well though, but only if Kageyama is pre-disposed in a realistic manner.
Next Episode: “Guarding Your Back”