I hadn’t intended to review the Haikyuu manga weekly, as I honestly don’t know if I can keep up with that, but with all of the recent changes in the story, the events of chapter 371 had me so excited that I felt like I had to write about it. (I saw spoilers for this yesterday and exercised considerable restraint in not tracking down the leaks.) “On the Other Side of the Globe” is the first time I’ve felt eager for the new arc.
Spoiler Warning: Anime onlies may want to skip this post. It contains spoilers for the Haikyuu manga up through chapter 371, “On the Other Side of the Globe”.
I’ll admit that the recent changes to Haikyuu have made me hesitant. After chapter 369 was released, I almost felt like I’d been lied to, that the story I’ve been so invested in for years is a completely different story than the one I ended up getting. With a five-year time skip, we have missed so many things that I wanted to see with Karasuno, but most of all, with Hinata in Brazil, we no longer get to see his partnership with Kageyama, which was my favorite thing about the series. However, in “On the Other Side of the Globe”, we’re reintroduced to someone who almost makes up for it.
Oikawa has been popping up randomly in Haikyuu since Aoba Josai’s defeat in the Spring High tournament. He and his faithful Iwaizumi showed up in the stands to watch Karasuno battle Shiratorizawa in the finals, but Oikawa himself made a few appearances during the national tournament, watching the matches on his phone. After the time jump, I found myself wondering what the point was of featuring him, if it looked like we weren’t ever going to see him again.
Well, I should have known not to doubt Furudate. Chapter 371 features a flashback of when Hinata first arrived in Brazil. He’s playing a pickup game of beach volleyball when someone is surprised to hear Japanese – and it’s Oikawa.
Now, of course, we have to speculate as to what Oikawa is doing there. We saw in the last chapter that Hinata was in Brazil during the Rio Olympics, as he watched a match featuring Kageyama. This is a flashback chapter, so it’s entirely possible that Oikawa is also on the National Team and is there for the Olympics and just happened to walk by a beach where he just happened to see Hinata.
It was also pointed out that his shirt could be referring to a sponsor – “sumeshi” is sushi rice but in the manga it could be a company – indicating that Oikawa plays professionally. He could be in university and there on a trip. There are a lot of reasons Oikawa might be in Brazil.
Oikawa popping up at this point in time actually makes a lot of sense; if you’re going to bring back a character outside of Karasuno, Oikawa is the one. He spurred so much growth for both Hinata and Kageyama, who were so determined to beat him for so long.
And there are a lot of reasons he might be back. Perhaps he’s the one who teaches Hinata how to serve and set; they could bond over a shared desire to beat Kageyama. Perhaps this is hinting at a future partnership between the two. I am 100% on board for either of those possibilities. (Oikawa is my lock screen, okay? I love my alien trash baby and I am so excited that he is back, even for just a short while.)
Something else that “On the Other Side of the Globe” did was show Hinata struggling when he first arrived. I have moved to new cities (I have moved cross-country) but I’ve always had the benefit of speaking the language of the places that I moved to.
Hinata has moved to a different country where he doesn’t speak the language, and apart from the fact that his training doesn’t go quite as well as he expected, he is lonely. His roommate is standoffish at first. His job is stressful because it requires a knowledge of the city that he doesn’t have yet. His wallet – a gift from his sister – is stolen, and when he checks his phone to make sure he still has his ID, his lock screen is a picture of him and his teammates (and Yachi). It’s not often I cry at Haikyuu, but the panels where Hinata cries alone in his room were heartbreaking. It really goes to show how incredibly difficult many immigrants have it.
But it also shows him getting better. It shows him working through the problems, making friends with all of the locals, and earning himself a reputation. People recognize his ability, and for Hinata, I’m sure that means a lot. (Also, he finally has a cool nickname – Ninja Shoyo!)
Chapter 371 also cleared up a few questions that I had after the last couple of chapters. For starters, Yamaguchi was the captain. Also it appears that Karasuno seemingly kept the tradition of number 4 being the libero, which is why Hinata was number 5. Does this mean that Hinata was the ace?
“On the Other Side of the Globe” slows down the pacing after the breakneck speed of the past two chapters. I’m still not a fan of how the time skip was executed, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be over the fact that we’ve missed so much from these characters’ lives.
In fact, after the time skip, I was even starting to lose my excitement about the next season of the anime, knowing where the series was going. But after this chapter, I’m starting to trust that Furudate knows what he’s doing, even if I don’t necessarily agree with everything. Honestly, this is the most hyped that I have been about Haikyuu in a long time.
So, fellow manga readers, what are your thoughts? Why do you think Oikawa is in Brazil? What role do you think he plays in upcoming chapters?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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