Today I was struck by the differences in the relationships Kageyama and Hinata each have with volleyball. Like many things Furudate-sensei does, the comparisons are naturally and subtly woven into the story, but recent chapters have brought it back up to the surface.
We watched Hinata fall in love with volleyball.
We watched him become inspired by The Little Giant and decide, resolutely, that he too would fly like that one day.
We watched him struggle, cobble a team together, all to earn a chance to stand on the court. We watched him fail.
And then he arrived at Karasuno where he gained an incredibly skilled ally, and a wonderful team that would support him.
And he grew.
And as he grew and learned the taste of victory and the bitterness of defeat, we watched him fall more in love with volleyball.
That’s not to say that Hinata’s feelings are really changing, but every once in a while he’s hit again by the realization, “Ah, volleyball really is amazing.”
And we’re seeing this again in recent chapters.
But Kageyama Tobio? We, as readers, have no concept of who Kageyama is without volleyball.
There was never any ‘falling in love with volleyball’ for him. Kageyama has always lived and breathed volleyball. It’s part of his very being.
Kageyama never falls deeper in love with volleyball. It’s a steady and cemented part of him. Instead we watch as he learns to understand the game better, improve his skills, and through that process, learn to understand other people (other PLAYERS) better.
It really is something that is as natural to him as breathing, eating, or sleeping. And that is something that Hinata really admires about him.
Hinata Shouyou will always be somehow “new” to volleyball. It remains a fresh joy for him. But for Kageyama Tobio, volleyball is a matter of fact and always has been.