May Contain Spoilers
The Spring Tournament begins! Karasuno’s first game is against Ohgi Minami – a team that lost to powerhouse Shiratorizawa. When Hinata, during his pre-game jitters, runs into Towada, a 2nd year for Oghi Minami, he is mistaken for a middle-grader (again). Hinata defiantly proclaims that Karasuno is going to win EVERY SINGLE game in the tournament and make it all the way to Finals. Towada, humoring him, gives him a head-pat, pissing Hinata off even more.
Towada is a player who didn’t take practice or the game seriously. After the loss to Shiratorizawa, the captain, a 3rd year, praises their play, and then goes off to the locker room, where he breaks down in private. Towada, seeing this, begins to think that maybe he needs to get a little more serious, because there is no such thing a “there’s always next year” forever. He has one more shot to make it to Finals if they fail this time, and he rejects blowing off practices and not taking things seriously. Live and learn, I guess.
The next game is against Kakugawa and their 6’7” setter. The giant gives Karasuno no end of trouble, and they struggle to find their groove. This was another nail-biter. Would the team click soon enough to overcome their huge height disadvantage? All of the players really started to stretch their skills, and even Tsukishima starts to take things seriously. Even though he has a bad, bad habit of being a pessimist and thinking that they have no chance against some of these opponents, he starts looking for opportunities to practice and improve his blocking skills.
I really enjoyed the practices leading up to the next phase of the tournament. Nobody wants to be left behind once the ball starts flying through the air. Working on their strengths and weaknesses, everyone on the team is finally working towards the same goal – winning no matter the odds. Sports are as much a mental game as a physical one, and if Karasuno hopes to make it to Finals, they need improve their mental game, as well as their physical one.
Grade: 4 stars
Review copy borrowed from my local library
About the book:
Thanks to their practice games with Tokyo’s powerhouse teams, Karasuno now has a whole new arsenal of weapons at their disposal. Hinata and Kageyama’s new quick set is also starting to come together! The Spring Tournament preliminaries are about to begin, and Karasuno starts their first official game with the hopes of turning all their frustrations and losses into victories!