Haikyuu!!: [SPOILER] Soars… and Falls at a Critical Point in Vol. 41

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Haikyuu!! Vol. 41, by Haruichi Furudate, Adrienne Beck and Erika Terriquez, available in English now from Viz Media.

In Haikyuu!! Volume 41, it's down to the final set of the Kamomedai versus Karasuno in the quarter-finals of Nationals. This particular volume is an emotional rollercoaster for Karasuno and especially for one important player. With both teams bringing out every weapon in their arsenal, they push beyond their limits and for one character, that has a devastating consequence.

While taking a break in preparation for the third set, Hinata remarks how they're already on their sixth set of the day. In a brief flashback, Kamomedai's coach tells the team that they'll have to be like seagulls: staying aloft no matter the situation they're in.

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The third set starts with both teams staying with the same rotation, with Hinata matched up against Hirugami. Kageyama serves first, but Kamomedai's kill block earns their team the first point. Atsumu grumbles that Kamomedai's good in a plain and boring way but Kita says that Karasuno is a team who's raring to throw a wrench into their gears.

Kamomedai's blocking game is as strong as ever but Asahi slams down Karasuno's first point. Just as quickly, however, Hoshiumi steals another point with his line shot. Hinata gets rotated into the front row and utilizes the synchro attack to blend in with his team while the Miya twins remark that with Hinata being more thoughtful with his moves it makes him that much more terrifying.

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HAIKYU!! © 2012 by Haruichi Furudate/SHUEISHA Inc.

With Kamomedai's setter unable to set, Hoshiumi leaps straight into a set, thinking as he does so that while that there are advantages of being a boring good team, he wants to stand out. Hoshiumi's next move baits Kageyama and Tsukishima: spiking in the complete opposite way to where his body is facing, putting his team two points ahead. The gap widens when Tsukishima panics at seeing the three-person block and tries to dodge it but gets blocked out. Tsukishima is angry at himself for chickening out as the fatigue starts to kick in.

Kamomedai starts planning their next course of attack: how to stop Hinata. Hirugami notices Hinata has to brace both his feet firmly on the ground to get the altitude he needs for his big jump, but he can only use one foot when using his slide hit, limiting his choice of attacks. Kamomedai now leading three points ahead, Hoshiumi delivers a powerful serve right to Nishinoya. All of Kamomedai's eyes are on Kageyama's form, anticipating a setter's dump only for him to set to Hinata who suddenly materializes on the side. Hirugami is expecting this and blocks Hinata, sending the ball flying right back into Karasuno's side of the net. Karasuno scrambles to keep the ball in play.

As the players start moving, Kamomedai analyzes the possible attacks only to be left fumbling when they see Hinata race to the side like he's about to do a slide hit but his run-up is reminiscent of his big jump. This gives Hinata the opportunity to launch himself up and smash the ball past the blockers' fingers. As he watches Hinata, Hoshiumi admits that even he started to feel that there were limits to the height that he could reach. Back at Shiratorizawa, Coach Washijo says that he used to be convinced that you'd have to find other ways to fight if you didn't have height but Hinata has been fighting to win with height all along.

HAIKYU!! © 2012 by Haruichi Furudate/SHUEISHA Inc.

The game continues with the score now 11-12 with Kamomedai taking a narrow lead. Gao can't help but be amazed by Hinata, but Hinata says that Kageyama is the one who's amazing. Hinata can't win on his own. The former Little Giant watches as Hoshiumi sets again and thinks, "Forget the weapons you can't wield. Find all the ones you can and carefully, persistently hone them all to a wicked point. That's what it means to be a Little Giant."

With Hinata and Kageyama blocking Hirugami's path, it's easy for Nishinoya to receive his spike. Hinata backs up, runs and leaps. Hirugami shifts ever so slightly towards Hinata as he prepares to deflect it... which is exactly what Kageyama wants. He sets the ball all the way to the opposite side where Tanaka is wide open and he smashes it down, tying them up. Hinata remarks that he used to resent being called the Greatest Decoy but it's a nickname he's now proud of.

The next play starts with Daichi passing the ball to Kageyama. Hinata's fast run-up gets the Kamomedai team duped twice: first by Hinata and the second by Kageyama when he sets it to Tanaka. It looks like Kamomedai's blockers aren't so infallible after all.

Hinata's discouraged knowing he might have to switch out again but realizes that he can keep playing as long as they keep scoring. His serve dinks the net, leaving both teams scrambling. Kageyama's setter's dump gets blocked, but Daichi's foot keeps the ball alive. The ball now on Kamomedai's side of the court, their next spike gets deflected by Tsukishima. Hinata's receive is enough for Tsukishima to try to spike through the blockers, but Hoshiumi saves it. Hinata receives Gao's spike, nearly losing his balance. The ball gets sent back to Kageyama who sets it to Hinata. Blending in a synchro attack, Hinata spikes from the back row at a minus tempo, giving the Karasuno team the lead for the first time in the set.

HAIKYU!! © 2012 by Haruichi Furudate/SHUEISHA Inc.

Everyone is ecstatic, but Hinata can barely get up. Kageyama realizes Hinata has been running a fever for a while. Hinata insists he can still play, but Takeda-sensei stops him. Holding his hand, Takeda-sensei tells Hinata that he knows where his desperation comes from but there are some walls that he can't get through sheer determination, and he should concentrate on getting better. Tears flood Hinata's face.

Narita subs in for Hinata while the others try to cheer their sick teammate up. With Hinata out of commission, Kageyama declares that he wins again for being the one to stand on the court the longest. Instead of getting upset, Hinata stares resolutely at him. Hoshiumi shouts to Hinata that he'll be waiting for him. Hirugami says it's unlikely he'll be back in time to play but Hoshiumi says he didn't mean this game. Atsumu watches and says grimly that it took the foxes, the cats and the seagulls to take Hinata down. Readers will have to pick up Volume 42 to find out if Karasuno can pull off a miracle win.

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