Haikyu! To the Top – Hinata’s Reality Check

Have you ever gone to a party you weren’t invited to?

Hinata in the Mats

It can be pretty awkward. You aren’t wanted there. Some people may know you and want you to stay but it isn’t there party. It’s the host’s party. Whether or not you can stay is up to them.

Hinata is forced to watch from the sidelines of the Mock Youth Training Camp. Well it’s actually worse, he is forced to be a ball boy for the training camp. Washijo Sensei puts Hinata to work in exchange for letting Hinata air quotes “attend” the camp. Washijo Sensei also flat out tells Hinata that he senses no worth from Hinata without his setter. A figurative slap in the face for a player whose team just beat your team to go to nationals. Its commented that perhaps Washijo Sensei is getting payback for losing to Hinata’s team. But other characters say that Washijo sensei isn’t a petty character and wouldn’t punish Hinata for his team winning. What then is his motive behind telling Hinata that he has no worth and that Hinata must be a ball boy in order to stay at the training camp?

It’s a grueling ordeal for Hinata as he is scolded by almost everyone for going to the Mock Youth Training Camp uninvited. There are a few characters that think he is legendary for doing so, but those are your delinquent types anyhow and their word isn’t to be taken seriously regarding matters of formality and civility. From the faculty advisor, team coach and team captain Hinata is given lecture after lecture for his actions. The coach says something interesting to Hinata, understanding Hinata’s passion to be the best at volleyball but he can’t validate the negative actions Hinata took in party crashing the training camp. The coach says to Hinata not to underestimate being a ball boy.

Hinata attends the camp and going through the motions of being a ball boy. People are surprised Hinata is there and even want to play against him. But when the details come out regarding how Hinata came to be a ball boy at the camp it catches the other players off guard. Washijo pits his seasoned veterans against the first year players to test their skills and to improve them. It’s how Hinata and Wakatoshi Ushijima, renowned ace of Shiratorizawa Academy, meet at the camp. After learning that Hinata is ball boy Ushijima bluntly asks, “So, what are you even doing?”

It’s a question Hinata can’t actually answer and ends up not answering as Ushijima walks past him to the court. Hinata is deemed by other high level volleyball organizations to be a player of no value. Someone who can be easily replaced. While impressive that Hinata’s team went to Nationals others see it as a fluke miracle. The only thing about Hinata that others can fully agree on is his passion for the game of volleyball, although he lacks the power and height to fit the mold of the ideal player. He is made to grab ball after ball, bring drinks to the other players, and clean up the courts after the game. It’s a humbling experience after beating the best team in the region Shiratorizawa Academy and going to nationals. Hinata can’t answer Ushijima any better than he could answer his own faculty advisor about attending the camp.

While Hinata sees value in himself being there and learning something there that can’t be learned anywhere else, the lesson he learns at the Mock Youth Training Camp is cruel. The reality of the situation is unkind to Hinata. Hinata’s value is the equivalent of a ball boy. The question of attending the camp is really a question of Hinata’s soul. What is Hinata willing to do to become the best player he can be? It’s not an answer that will easily come and at most Hinata might get just a hint in the right direction. Or perhaps Hinata will realize that without Kageyama, the ace setter of Kurasuno, that he actually has no value. What value can Hinata really offer his team without Kageyama? Whatever the future holds,  it’s heartbreaking to watch Hinata struggle but this struggle could be of vital importance to Hinata’s future success. Crossing my fingers for the little guy!


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