Picture @Ruttika_Shin on twitter
Not everyone in this world is supposed to get along, there are often people who just don’t click and others who may need a lot of time to finally come to an understanding.
But there are cases where you are forced to get along with some people whether you like it or not since it determines the outcome of events, one of those cases is sportsmanship.
Especially in sports like soccer, basketball and volleyball where playing solo is basically impossible. Getting along or at least coming to an understanding is very much important for the foundation of teamwork. One can either work hard and mend the relationship between the team members to achieve at least a basis for normal interactions and communication in-game, or just ignore the fact that there is a major problem between team members and continue on playing in a way where everyone becomes a solo-player hidden in a pattern called team.
In volleyball those matters cannot be overlooked since the six players on the court need at least a core understanding of each other and the individual playstyle to function properly when facing hardships in a match.
In today’s blogpost I want to present you one of those relationships which resulted in a malfunctioning team with the example of Kindaichi and Kageyama who simply couldn’t get along, and what was lacking in their relationship to become proper teammates.
The nickname he hated the most, yet it was eerily and accurately chosen for Kageyama Tobio , “the kind of the court.”
Sadly and lastly a lonely dictator left behind by his peers.
But why does the name fit?
Kageyama Tobio the genius known for his particular sense considering volleyball and almost inhuman way of coming up with techniques which seem impossible for others has a heavily lacking site that endangers his role in a team – cooperating.
While his position as a setter is ironically one where the ball has to connect with the next player and therefore Kageyama needs to adjust and observe to those around him, he actually does quite the opposite.
He is fully aware of his own worth, his skills and abilities and as well someone who is determined to win and rise no matter what.
Just like his seniors mentioned Kageyama’s strengths are as well his weaknesses which turn him blind towards the fact that he is playing in a team and not alone, especially as a setter whose role revolves even more around his team. He overlooked the importance of his teammates until he was… left alone with nobody to toss too.
A not so pleasing turn on his words when he told those very teammates that if he could he would do it all alone, may it be receiving, tossing, spiking all of it – and then he was alone for real. Something that Kageyama told Karasuno was etched as a fear into his very soul, tossing to find nobody behind him to receive it.
Despite not being called useless once in his life or having felt unneeded, his rash and selfish behaviour on the court followed with a timeout on the bench in his middle school match as he repeatedly urged the other players to adjust to his tosses and made them feel unmatched to him by blaming them for not hitting his toss.
The name king which he despises was explained by Oikawa, that he instantly understood was not a honor title to be proud of but rather the label of someone who merely dictates people around as he pleases expecting them to do as he says and follow his lead. And Kageyama even though he has a hard time in properly communicating with others understood that too making that name a stigma.
Still Kageyama as well never got to experience proper teamwork and healthy relationships with his teammates in that matter which showed a big difference to the way other teams handle matches and Volleyball as he entered high school. The moment he went to Karasuno the harsh reality was shown to him – that there is no need for a talented solitary king.
Yet he continued with his behaviour if it wasn’t for the other Karasuno members and his partner Hinata who dulled it down to a minimum.
After finding his place in Karasuno the shadow of his past was still looming over him.
The shadow that suddenly covered him when he saw Kindaichi and Kunimi giving their best effort in a game for the first time and smiling genuinely while hugging their team members, not him but those from Aoba Johsai, as he wondered why he never got to see such a sight when he played with them.
In chapter 67 page 18 he stood alone watching Kunimi smile as he never had seen before and wondered how he ever could compete against a setter who could achieve that, showing that despite his strengths and harsh words the setter who was left alone back then desired to see those playing next him smile and give it their best through his tosses.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Kindaichi which some people even turn into hate. A lot of people in the fandom view him as a rude and inconsiderate person, especially towards Kageyama. Yet Kindaichi’s feelings are overlooked in this whole story.
Both of them are High schoolers in their first year, meaning just as insecure as any boy could be in that age, Kindaichi is no different than that, his actions and feelings are relatable considering the verbal abuse he had to endure during middle school while pursuing the same dream as his fellow teammates.
Kindaichi despite his nonchalant or rather less expressive looks is a very sensitive young man who takes every criticism by heart even if he doesn’t show it, as he engraved the very words Kageyama told him in his mind, making him believe and restrict his abilities to a mere useless pawn on the court who is not essential for winning.
His harsh words and provocation towards Kageyama are not justified but in episode six of season one Kindaichi still isn’t aware of Kageyama’s development since he entered High school. He didn’t try to pull Kageyama down but rather considered him the same solitary king he was, as he searched for a kindred spirit in Hinata and wanted to warn him about Kageyama in a way. People may consider this as manipulation between the relationship of Hinata and Kageyama, yet Kindaichi didn’t even have a clue that Hinata and Kageyama have a good relationship so it doesn’t give him a motive to do so.
In fact Kindaichi probably didn’t want Hinata to go the same way as he did suffering from a low self-esteem and insecurities about his volleyball skills as a consequence. He may have said those words in a jokingly way but we see that Kindaichi is surprised by Kageyama’s behaviour afterwards which stopped him from continuing to talk to Hinata about it.
With the former aspect of Kindaichi taking criticism by heart despite his rejecting or nonchalant way of answering it, he still feels that the role of the useless servant who is just standing on the court and trying his best with no real merit for his team is engraved into his very soul. A setter who never encouraged him nor praised him for his abilities in middle school, commanding and criticising him for not acting faster and jumping higher in a way he wanted him too, still left Kindaichi with the thought that he was lacking a lot as a regular in the team.
In the Flashbacks both of Kageyama and Kindaichi the only thing that was seen after the former 3rd years left was Kageyama screaming at his teammates and expecting too much from them, which concluded in them losing their spirit and even the will to play in the end as Kageyama is unmatched in his abilities being a talented genius afterall.
Now how would someone feel being compared to your fellow teammate in the same year who is regarded by both students and coaches as a genius which people focus on?
And that’s what Kageyama tells them, they are useless if they cannot keep up with him or get adjusted to his tosses. This is what was drilled into Kindaichi’s head leaving him with a heavy grudge against Kageyama and lack of self-trust in his skills.
How do we know that is the case?
Manga chapter 50 page 13 where Oikawa for the first time points out the obvious matter haunting Kindaichi while he was playing next to Oikawa for almost a year. Oikawa who can read people very well and observes the emotional state as well to determine the best way possible to toss to them realized that problem lying inside Kindaichi.
The place as Kageyama’s partner was stolen by Hinata and the fact that Kageyama apparently really viewed him as useless was obvious for even bystanders like Iwaizumi and Oikawa who only went and watched Kageyama once as they started High school.
A bitter frustration followed by the words, “we’ll prove to them that Kindaichi is just as amazing” and “don’t worry about it and just jump” from his current setter places a surprised and soft expression on Kindaichi’s face.
The one who encouraged him that he may not be able to do a superhuman quick strike like Kageyama, but ensures that the Kindaichi on this court is not a mere useless servant is just as amazing as everyone else fighting this battle.
On both sides they realized a heavy lack in their relationship, especially Kindaichi seemed bothered by that since Kunimi is shown to be much more reserved about it and not meddle too much when not needed.
Kindaichi who obviously hoped to be a proper teammate with Kageyama was shown as he was surprised in the practice match in season one, seeing Kageyama actually trying to encourage Hinata despite making a mistake. Something Kindaichi was sure he would have scolded him for if they were still in the same team like in Kitagawa Daiichi. As well as Kageyama joking around or fighting with Karasuno, and even trying to smile to calm Hinata down was something which shocked Kindaichi and Kunimi as well as they played so many years next to him but ever saw such treatment from the one who only commanded them around.
For them Kageyama was someone who only viewed them either as useful or not useful, trying to utilize them for his benefit, but from their point of view that very Kageyama they saw again on the other side of the court tried to actually get along with his teammates.
How must that feel?
Frustrating and unfair.
Because it makes one think, why is he acting that way towards them despite knowing them for some months but we played together all those years and he didn’t even do it once.
Which was clearly seen when Kindaichi met Kageyama afterward in the bathroom as Kageyama realized as well his own mistakes when he started playing in Karasuno and got scolded for his own behaviour, finally learning what a proper team really meant.
Kindaichi on the other hand didn’t let him apologize, something that might hit as rude and impolite but is understandable. Because Kindaichi clearly said he didn’t want to apologize as well.
He was aware that leaving Kageyama on the court alone was cruel and not justified, yet the verbal abuse and trauma Kageyama gave him through his demeanor hurt Kindaichi so much especially after seeing Kageyama was capable of being a proper teammate with Hinata and the others.
Afterward Kindaichi said he never was friends with him or anything, and doesn’t have the intentions to make up since they are now playing against each other, as well the fact that they never got along in the first place.
But those words all the more showed he obviously had hoped back then to befriend Kageyama and now is trying to make him at least a proper rival to get acknowledged for if he wasn’t acknowledged as a partner or friend in the first place.
Something he realized much later.
Like mentioned before Kageyama as well realized many things along his development in Karasuno, one of them would be the actual meaning of his position when he talked to Oikawa in season two, showing that Kageyama rather than everyone adjusting to him as a setter needs to adjust to others.
Seems like a practical thing only but is much more than that as he needs to know his team very well to do so, including communicating, understanding and emotionally involving himself with them. As he learns about all those things the mistakes of the past made him realize how much Oikawa could bring out of Kindaichi, making him an amazing asset in Aoba Johsai and giving him his own time to shine.
Kageyama showed deep regret as he saw the people who spent many years next to him in such a new light, and their new sides he never saw before as he saw his own lack of something right then and there.
Afterall now both of them are in different teams, experiencing new things and getting to know new people who made them start their own way, developing into someone they strive to be.
Kageyama found in Hinata a partner that wouldn’t simply get commanded by him, who understands his determination to win and doesn’t let Kageyama’s harsh words get him down. As someone who was able to match Kageyama’s toss, he was deemed worthy to stay by his side and much more he is the only one who could either get Kageyama to emotionally open up and joke about his moody behaviour as well his criticism.
Hinata as well had Kageyama by his side when he needed encouragement as he at the beginning worried about his position.
Both of them are in their own way the best partner suited for the other as they match with their ideals yet encourage each other in their own teasing way.
Hinata was the one person Kageyama needed who wouldn’t simply run away when he used harsh words nor take his commands but tells him when he is in the wrong and is also stubborn about his own wishes as a middle blocker. With the help of his seniors he was able to understand much more what a team is and was told that he may be talented but not needed if he acted like he used to do. Sugawara as a threat to replace him anytime if he would act as the solitary king again and others like Tsukishima who are always ready to provoke him or drop a comment, Kageyama wasn’t allowed to roam around as freely as he wanted giving him the feeling that his abilities alone wouldn’t bring him far enough at that point.
Same goes for Kindaichi but in other ways.
In Aoba Johsai he found a team that gave him the feeling he was needed and an important asset. With seniors like Oikawa, Iwaizumi, Yahaba etc. he was sure to be praised when he did something well and when he wasn’t they gave him proper advice of how he could improve. Especially Oikawa went up to Kindaichi and asked him what toss he prefered, he made sure he would use Kindaichi’s strengths and amplify them while at the same time he would give advice of how he should play to weigh out his weakness and focus on that.
Something he never got in Kitagawa Daiichi, where he only thought he was useless and had to follow tosses and commands.
The reassuring feeling of someone telling him he got his back and others who would rush over to him if he did something well to congratulate him, as well as he shouldn’t mind when he does make a mistake.
With the easy-going yet witty teammates of Aoba Johsai Kindaichi found his place to bloom, which we could see towards the end of the first Seijoh vs Karasuno match and even in those afterwards.
Despite the fact that Kageyama and Kindaichi never got along in the first place, they still see each other as an important arc in their lives.
They lacked many things and without the other they could never have known what it does mean to have a proper team afterwards, treasuring their worth of their current teams even more.
And even so after they never could be teammates in a sense nor friends, in the end they are now the perfect rivals in a healthy way trying to show the other one, yes you are someone I see as an equal we may not have started in the right way but we are as well different as we used to be.