Karasuno High Team Formation ArcEditKageyama arrives at the second gymnasium early and practices serves. Suddenly, the door slams open and Hinata rushes in, loudly asking Kageyama why he’s here too. Kageyama recognizes Hinata but doesn’t remember his name, prompting the latter to reintroduce himself. Hinata states that Kageyama has probably already forgotten him, but Kageyama denies it, thinking back to Hinata’s reflexes, jumping power, and speed. Kageyama instead insults Hinata, leading to an argument. Hinata asks Kageyama why he’s here and Kageyama reveals solemnly that he didn’t get into the best school in the prefecture. Hinata wonders how since Kageyama’s the King of the Upper Court and Kageyama yells at Hinata before getting interrupted by the third years.
Daichi, Sugawara, and Tanaka are walking in while talking about Kageyama. They greet Kageyama and talk to him a bit. Hinata loudly greets the third years and Tanaka, taking the attention from Kageyama momentarily. They compliment Hinata for his performance last year and he exclaims that he’ll become Karasuno’s ace. This causes Kageyama to insult him, reminding him to not waste another three years again. Daichi tries to stop the argument but the first years ignore him, too engrossed in their fight.
The vice principal then comes in and the upperclassmen try to cover up the situation, but Hinata and Kageyama end up challenging each other to a mini-match. Hinata exclaims that he’s not the same as last year and Kageyama replies with the same words and smiles excitedly, surprising Hinata.
The match begins and Kageyama does a jump serve that Hinata avoids at the last moment. Kageyama asks if this behavior is any different from last year’s and Hinata asks for another try without any hesitation. Kageyama serves again but to his surprise, Hinata moves quickly to where the ball goes. However, the ball bounces off his arms and then his face before flying towards the vice principal. It knocks the vice principal’s wig off, silencing everyone in the gym. Coldly, the vice principal asks Daichi to go outside for a small talk as Kageyama and Hinata watches on.
When Daichi returns, he rounds everyone up and begins lecturing the first years before getting cut off by Kageyama. The setter criticizes Hinata and blames him for everything and Daichi interjects coldly. He explains Karasuno’s goals to go to Nationals before asserting that he doesn’t want any players on his team who would fight with one another. He then throws the two first years out. They aren’t allowed to join until they begin to view each other as teammates.
Hinata begs to be let back in while Kageyama stays silent initially. After coming to terms with his situation, he pushes Hinata aside as he claims that he’ll be able to work with the latter. Daichi opens the door and asks if he’s sure. However, Kageyama replies sheepishly that with Hinata’s current skill level, he would rather take on all the roles by himself than work with Hinata. Daichi laughs and ask Kageyama how he would be able to do that in a game where teamwork is so essential.
The two remain outside the gym. After a while, Kageyama storms away, wondering what he would do since it’s impossible for him to see Hinata as a teammate. He announces arrogantly that he has the potential to make Karasuno better so he has to be allowed on the team. He then proposes to challenge the upperclassmen to a 2-on-2 match. He adds that he doesn’t want to be on the same team as Hinata, but they have to cooperate in order to join. Hinata agrees after thinking it over.
3-on-3 First Years Match
Later on in the evening, as the Karasuno members are cleaning up, Hinata and Kageyama announce their challenge. Secretly, Kageyama still refuses to work with Hinata and may have been planning on winning the game with serves and dump shots only. Daichi sternly asks them if they had considered the possibility of them losing and Kageyama replies that they’ll take any punishment.
Daichi agrees and changes the match to a 3-on-3 with the duo against the other two first years. Tanaka is placed on the duo’s team while Daichi joins the other one. However, if the duo loses, as long as the third years are around, Kageyama will never get to play as the setter. A shocked Kageyama tries to reason as Daichi reminds him of his selfish behavior from junior high. Despite Daichi telling him that he can join the club as another type of player, Kageyama exclaims that he is a setter only. Daichi replies that it’ll be okay as long as Kageyama wins, and the latter accepts begrudgingly.
Kageyama leaves angrily with Hinata trailing behind him. The latter remarks that even if Kageyama isn’t the setter, he’ll be able to play as a regular anyway and exclaims that spikers are cooler than setters anyway.
This annoys Kageyama, who grabs Hinata and exclaims that a setter is basically the team’s leader since he is the one who handles the ball the most in a match. Hinata timidly responds that setters just seem boring to him and calming down, Kageyama explains the speed at which the setter tosses the ball and how he opens the path for the spiker. Hinata still doesn’t seem to understand that well, but Kageyama drops the subject.
Just as they begin worrying about where to practice, they hear Tanaka discreetly telling them what time morning practice is, allowing them to come up with a plan. They then both leave as they decide to come at five AM tomorrow.
The next day, they arrive to find the door locked. Tanaka then appears with the key and they begin practice. However, Hinata has trouble receiving and Kageyama easily loses his temper. Tanaka starts to lecture them but the door suddenly opens, scaring the three.
Sugawara appears and offers to help. Kageyama continues training with Tanaka as Hinata goes to Sugawara, but Hinata’s dissatisfied by this arrangement and pesters Kageyama for a toss. Kageyama blatantly refuses because of Hinata’s low skills and reveals that he’s planning on only using Tanaka during the match on Saturday. He tells Hinata to just focus on not dragging the team down, angering the latter. Hinata asks if Kageyama will toss to him if he can receive the ball properly and Kageyama replies that he will only if it’s absolutely necessary because he doesn’t see Hinata as essential to helping him win.
Sometime later during the school day, Kageyama goes to buy a drink from a vending machine outside and sees Hinata and Sugawara talking. He’s surprised to see Hinata practicing even during his lunch break and eavesdrop on the two. Hinata expresses his desire to become stronger than Kageyama so he can then defeat other strong players and after considering the former’s words, Kageyama leaves quickly.
For the next few days, the two practices together wherever they can and Hinata seems to improve, but Kageyama still refuses to toss to him. At one point, Kageyama exhausts Hinata with his continuous spikes, but Hinata refuses to back down. Angrily, Kageyama spikes a ball to the back of the gym and despite being at his limits, Hinata runs to it and saves it. As it’s sent back to Kageyama, the setter remembers all the things he said to Hinata before getting into a tossing position.
To everyone’s surprise, Kageyama sends a toss to Hinata, who happily spikes it. Kageyama then walks over to the shorter first year and states that they’re going to win on Saturday, finally acknowledging him as a teammate.Sometime later, the two are practicing outside when the ball gets stuck in a tree. Hinata climbs the tree while Kageyama yells at him and tries getting the ball with a stick. Annoyed, Hinata calls Kageyama a damn King, angering the latter, but Kageyama doesn’t retort.
They end up practicing into the night and are soon interrupted by Tsukishima and Yamaguchi, the other first years. Tsukishima takes the ball and teases Hinata before turning his attention to Kageyama. He brings up Kageyama’s past with Kitagawa Daiichi and offers to throw the game so Kageyama and Hinata could win. The setter darkly replies that either way, they’re going to win. Tsukishima then continuously calls him a King before reminding him of a game during his junior high days. Kageyama angrily grabs the blond, but lets him go after a few seconds of silence. He then storms away and Tsukishima insults him even more.
Having enough, Hinata jumps up and grabs the ball out of the blond’s hands, shocking everyone. He exclaims that he’ll defeat Tsukishima, who laughs at him before leaving. Kageyama walks away too, yelling at Hinata that they’ll beat the other two.
The next day, both teams prepare for the match. Tsukishima brings up Kageyama’s past with Kitagawa Daiichi while the latter ignores him, though Kageyama’s clearly shaken up. However, to his surprise, Tanaka comes to his defense.
The match begins shortly. Hinata has trouble spiking past Tsukishima while Kageyama decides to use his powerful serves. To his surprise, Daichi’s able to receive them perfectly. Before the first year can plan another attack, Tsukishima starts teasing him again and reveals that Kageyama’s former teammate gave him the nickname “King” as a reference to his egocentric playing style. He reminds the setter of his last game, when his teammates abandoned him, refusing to go after his toss. As a result, Kageyama was benched.
Having enough, Kageyama reveals that that experience when no one came to him frightens him. Before he can continue though, Hinata interrupts and says that it’s only a thing of the past because Kageyama has him now.
The match continues and Kageyama’s about to spike to Tanaka until Hinata comes from behind and calls him. Kageyama instinctively tosses to him, even though Hinata has trouble spiking from that angle. Just as Kageyama begins yelling at Hinata, the latter stops him and tells him how he was behind the setter. Hinata exclaims that Kageyama’s past doesn’t matter to him and he’ll hit any ball Kageyama gives him.
Motivated, Kageyama tosses to Hinata again and inadvertently performs a quick with him. An impressed Tanaka asks them about it, but Kageyama replies that he has no intention of performing quicks with someone he’s not in sync with. Hinata gets annoyed and Tsukishima takes the chance to insult him again, bringing up his lack of height. Solemnly, Hinata acknowledges that fact and reiterates how he would always get blocked no matter how high he jumped. However, the Small Giant had the same predicament and he overcame that, inspiring Hinata to do the same.Hinata’s words remind Kageyama of his own troubles with Kitagawa Daiichi and how he was ultimately benched, motivating him to finally act like a true setter to Hinata. He tells Hinata to just go for his toss without thinking and Hinata excitedly agrees despite barely understanding the strategy.
As expected, the first few quick strikes fail. Exasperated, Kageyama yells at Hinata to move faster but Sugawara interrupts, pointing out that Hinata’s ability is actually being diminished by Kageyama’s toss. The best way for the two of them to synchronize is if Kageyama adjusts to Hinata’s abilities and limits.Kageyama thinks over Sugawara’s words and decides to try out the third year’s idea. He tells Hinata to use his highest jump and his best speed and Kageyama will get the ball to him. They get into position and Kageyama concentrates on finding the best angle. At the perfect timing and height, he tosses the ball right into Hinata’s palm. The quick strike succeeds, but Kageyama’s shocked to find out that Hinata had his eyes closed the entire time. Still, it shows how much Hinata trusts him, motivating Kageyama to try the quick again.
The next quick fails and Kageyama realizes that adjusting to another player’s tempo isn’t easy, but he’s starting to have fun. He tries another quick, but with a different strategy with Hinata going towards the opposite side just in time to trick the blockers. It succeeds and soon, they’re able to overwhelm Tsukishima’s team.
In the end, Hinata and Kageyama’s team wins, securing their admission in the team. The two hand in their papers just as Kiyoko comes in with the team jackets. Now officially part of the team, the two head right to practice for future matches.
Aobajōsai Practice Match
Just then, the club advisor, Takeda rushes in, announcing a practice match against Aobajōsai, one of the prefecture’s top four teams. Kageyama’s excited until he hears that he would have to play as the main setter for the entire match. The other members are outraged, wondering if Aobajōsai only agreed to play with them because of Kageyama. However, Sugawara agrees to the terms, surprising Kageyama.
Despite being excited to be on his first official match on the team, Kageyama seeks out Sugawara to apologize for taking his spot this time and vows to earn it properly for the next match. Sugawara agrees to the challenge, but asks Kageyama how he feels about Aobajōsai since most of his former teammates will be there. Surprisingly, Kageyama doesn’t have any problems with it.
The day of the match, Karasuno arrives at Aobajōsai and Kageyama wanders off with Tanaka, Yamaguchi, and Tsukishima. They encounter Kindaichi, who mocks Kageyama. However, Kageyama doesn’t retort and simply walks away.
The match begins and Hinata’s immediately overwhelmed. Kageyama gets flustered dealing with Hinata’s mistakes and the insults from Kindaichi and Kunimi. The problems reach a climax when Hinata serves right into the back of Kageyama’s head.
Daichi instantly reaches out to Kageyama, but the first year coldly replies that he’s fine. He walks to Hinata silently as the latter backs away in fear. Right as Hinata hits the wall, Kageyama questions his anxiety, emphasizing his words by smacking his head. He finishes by yelling at Hinata to get back into the game, surprising the latter, who was expecting a harsher punishment.
The two first years try out their quick strike, but it fails the first time. Kindaichi tells Hinata that Kageyama’s bound to yell at him again, but Kageyama apologizes for the poor toss instead. The second attempt at a quick strike succeeds and Kageyama announces that they’re going to start a counterattack now. Karasuno does well initially, but Kageyama notes that Yahaba isn’t the regular setter. Just after the realization, Oikawa arrives and Kageyama reveals that he’s his former upperclassman and an extremely skilled player. With Oikawa on the team, Aobajōsai quickly regains its points, but Karasuno wins with the first years’ quick strike in the end.
After the match, Kageyama approaches Kindaichi in the bathroom. Before he can say anything, Kindaichi shouts at him to not apologize, reasoning that everything that’d happened is already part of the past. To him, Kageyama’s still the oppressive king and the person he wants to defeat no matter what so next time, he will win the match. Kageyama accepts and replies with “we will win”, shocking Kindaichi as Kageyama had never used such an inclusive pronoun before.
Before Karasuno heads home, Oikawa meets them at the gate. He points out the players’ mistakes before focusing on Kageyama, announcing that he’s going to crush him in a regular game.
Asahi and Nishinoya’s Return
After the team returns to the school, Kageyama heads home with the others. Tanaka questions why Kageyama’s at a school like Karasuno anyway and the latter replies that Shiratorizawa rejected him, much to Tsukishima’s amusement. Kageyama adds that no matter which school he’s at, the opponents are still high schoolers so there’s no reason they can’t win. His confidence causes Hinata and Tanaka to laugh at him.
The next day, Kageyama’s practicing his serve aim when Hinata gets in his way. As Hinata runs to get the ball, Kageyama serves again. This time, it’s received perfectly by a stranger. The upperclassmen then arrive and introduce the two to Nishinoya, the second year libero.
Nishinoya asks Kageyama what junior high he’s from and he replies with Kitagawa Daiichi. After Nishinoya talks about how he’d lost to that team once, Kageyama asks him why he came to Karasuno when he’s from a champion team as well. Nishinoya responds gravely that he came for the girls’ uniforms, leaving Kageyama speechless.
Nishinoya then asks if Asahi returned, but when he finds out he didn’t, the libero storms out of the gym, leaving Kageyama curious about Karasuno’s past. Later that evening, Nishinoya returns thanks to Hinata’s coaxing to teach the first years how to receive. However, Kageyama’s the only one to understand the language and Tanaka snaps that when Kageyama tries to explain things, no one understands him either.
The next day, Hinata and Kageyama approach Asahi at his classroom and are introduced to the former ace. They’re surprised when they realized that Asahi really has no intention of returning to the team, even after Hinata’s appeals. Kageyama asks Sugawara about the past and Sugawara reveals the match last year that traumatized Asahi. Kageyama listens, but notes that he doesn’t think Asahi truly hates volleyball.
Later on, during practice, the team finds out about a training camp and a practice match against Karasuno’s fated rival at the end of it. During a break, Hinata remarks that if Asahi comes back, the team’s morale would be a lot better. Kageyama replies that Asahi needs to understand that he doesn’t need to bear all the responsibility because no one can win on his own. To this, Hinata brings up Kageyama’s former attitude towards teamwork, leading to a small scuffle.
The next day, the two of them approach Asahi again. Hinata yells that without Asahi, the upperclassmen aren’t happy and Asahi responds that he can’t get over the image of being blocked so many times. Hinata sympathizes with him, but adds that he isn’t like that anymore because he’s found a way to get past that with Kageyama’s help. When Hinata explains his jealousy of Asahi’s height and ability, Kageyama stares at him silently before taking him away. As he leaves, Kageyama adds that Asahi can’t win alone so he has to rely on his teammates; this is something he’d just learned so he can’t criticize Asahi too much for it.
That evening, the younger Coach Ukai is introduced to the team and the players get ready for a practice match against the Neighborhood Association. Sugawara chooses to play on the association’s side and Kageyama states that he doesn’t want this to be Sugawara standing down; he’ll rather fight for the position rightfully. Sugawara solemnly explains that he was afraid of competing for his position with Kageyama, but at the same time, he was relieved because he was always afraid of tossing a ball that would be blocked. But, he’s joining the other side not for that, but so he could toss again to Asahi and get past those obstacles.
The match begins and Kageyama and Hinata impress everyone with their quick. Sugawara hesitates on sending another toss to Asahi, but Kageyama shout at him to keep trying. Sugawara and Asahi do well and Hinata starts getting restless. He announces that it’s time for him and Kageyama to show their skills as well.
The quicks work well initially, but Kageyama starts noticing that Hinata’s being distracted by Asahi’s abilities. This culminates in Hinata getting knocked over by Asahi’s spike and forced to face Kageyama’s rage. Kageyama yells at Hinata for being jealous of Asahi and Hinata argues back that someone tall like Kageyama wouldn’t understand.
The match restarts, but it’s tense between the two. Suddenly, Kageyama announces to the opponents that he’ll be setting to Hinata. He then turns to the middle blocker and explains that right now, he lacks all the traits for being an ace, but as long as he’s here, Hinata’s the strongest.
With that said, Kageyama tries the quick again, but with Hinata dodging. It succeeds and Kageyama reminds him that he’s just as valuable to the team as an ace. Finally accepting his position, Hinata replies that he doesn’t think being a decoy is lame anymore.
In the end, the association wins and Asahi and Nishinoya return to the team.
Nekoma Practice Match
The Golden Week begins and Karasuno busily prepares. Kageyama runs early in the morning and starts asking his teammates to practice with him so he can be accustomed to individual toss styles. The starting lineup’s finally decided with Kageyama as the official setter. The members receive their new jerseys and Hinata gets annoyed when he realizes that Kageyama’s number is lower than his. Kageyama admonishes him and notes that he should be grateful for being a starter in his first year.
That evening, they’re in their room when Kageyama notices Hinata’s intense concentration. He quickly reminds him to not overwork himself and Hinata retorts that he isn’t going to. Kageyama leaves it in the end.
Karasuno and Nekoma meet the next day and Kageyama approaches Hinata when he realizes that he knows Kenma. Hinata introduces him as Nekoma’s setter and Kageyama immediately becomes interested, intimidating Hinata with his intense competitiveness.
The match soon begins and Kageyama’s immediately annoyed when Inuoka remarks that he isn’t underestimating Hinata. The duo performs a quick right away and scores easily. The subsequent quicks succeed, but Kageyama starts to notice that Inuoka seems to be keeping up. Kageyama keeps his calm initially and goes for a spike, announcing to Hinata afterwards what type of attack it was.
However, Inuoka is able to catch up and block Hinata ultimately, shocking Kageyama. He quickly recovers his composure and reminds Hinata to not let it get to him, but the duo continuously gets blocked after that. Just as Kageyama’s worried that Hinata would be pressured, he’s surprised to see him smile. Hinata reasons that he’s excited to have a rival like Inuoka and asks Kageyama to toss to him again. Kageyama replies affirmatively.
The next toss, Hinata opens his eyes, but miss. Immediately, Ukai calls a timeout and asks Kageyama to change his toss in hopes of changing Hinata’s attack. Though it should be difficult for normal setters, Kageyama replies confidently that he’ll do it.
Hinata misses the ball in the beginning, but their reactions improve over time. The first success goes out, however. Nekoma subs in Kuroo, who looks at Kageyama and Hinata. Immediately, Kageyama becomes cautious and pulls Hinata aside, nothing that their new attacks won’t work against Kuroo.
For the rest of the game, Kageyama plays carefully, choosing to toss to Asahi instead in case Hinata would get blocked again. It’s only at the last point does he toss to the middle blocker using the new attack. It succeeds, only for Kenma to send the ball back. It lands on Karasuno’s court, winning the game for Nekoma.
As the teams are cleaning up, Kageyama watches Kenma intensely, trying to gauge his abilities. Afterwards, Karasuno goes homes and Kageyama remarks to Hinata that if this was a regular game and they’d lost, they would’ve been eliminated from the competition. As he says this, he thinks back to his time in Kitagawa Daiichi.