"The Volleyball Way" (Japanese: ボールの"
The episode will follow at least one of the matches between the Tokyo representative schools, Nekoma High, Fukurōdani Academy, Nohebi Academy, & Itachiyama Institute, at the Spring High National Tournament.
introduce themselves to one another and Kuroo reveals that he already knows who Yaku is from facing off against Yaku's team in middle school and being completely crushed by them. Yaku does not remember the game and demands Kuroo stop looking down on him. The two instantly form a rivalry with one another as Kai tries to acknowledge them as future teammates. Later that day, the three are leaving school when Kuroo suggests they go out to eat together. When Kai asks what they should have, Kuroo says he wants fish and Yaku wants meat. Yaku compares Kuroo to being like an elderly man for wanting fish and Kuroo counters by saying that Yaku lacks docosahexaenoic acid and can't make such remarks.
Sometime later, the three are in a classroom when Yaku asks Kai of a certain girl with short hair in his class. Kai determines that Yaku is interested in girls with short hair and, when questioned, Kuroo says he likes girls with long hair. Over time, Yaku and Kuroo are revealed to be opposite in many terms; such as whether curry is better mild or spicy, if summers are better spent at either the ocean or the mountains, molten or Mikasa is the better volleyball, and even dogs or cats. The day comes when the three are joining the volleyball club where the team captain reveals Nekoma's goal to place in the quarterfinals of the Tokyo tournament. As tradition, the first years are asked to step forward with their personal goal. Yaku and Kuroo step forward at the same time and announce their goal is to win at nationals. Kai voices he wishes the same and steps forward to be by their side.
Back in the game, Yaku tries to walk back onto the court with Yamamoto's help. Shibayama sees that Yaku had accidentally landed on a bystander's foot when he jumped into the crowd to make the receive. Yaku apologizes to the man and tries to get back to the game but collapses when his ankle gives out. As others hurry to help Yaku, Coach Nekomata sends Shibayama into the match. Yaku tries to apologize to the team but Kuroo and Kai assure him that he does not need to worry and can see this time as a break before they go to nationals. As he is led off the court, Yaku quietly goes over how he has avoided any major colds or injuries throughout the year and is frustrated about his ankle sprain at a time like this. Kuroo quickly gets the team back on track to focus on the game.
On the court, Shibayama tries to focus until he feels Nohebi single him out and he instantly becomes nervous
knowing he's being targeted. Kenma serves and Suguru gets the last hit. He purposely aims for Shibayama who is unable to move and fails to receive. Nekoma calls a time-out. Inuoka tries to cheer up the players but seems unsuccessful until Kenma voices how he thinks they will be fine. Kenma then suggests that Shibayama only subs in with Lev and for Kuroo to stay in the rotation when he is moved to the back row. Shibayama agrees with Kenma's plan, determined to prove his worth to stay on the court.
When Nekoma returns to the court, Suguru sees that Shibayama was right away kept out. He declares that Nohebi should take every chance they can to make it to nationals, including going after those who are least skilled and easier to break. Hiroo serves next and Akane sees he does a jump float. When the ball heads to Nekoma's side, Kuroo sees the ball change and suddenly drop. He quickly makes the receive and Lev lands a spike past Seguro. Kai compliments Kuroo on his receive though Kuroo states that he is sure Yaku would have been able to get it without moving from his spot.
Lev serves and Kuguri receives while calling it a chance ball. As setter Sakishima prepares to set, he suddenly feels
an immense pressure behind him in the form of Kuroo. Suguru goes to spike and spots Lev in the back row, planning on targeting him next knowing that Lev will not be as great a force in the back row as he is at the net. Before he can hit towards Lev, Kuroo appears before him and successfully blocks Suguru's spike. He teases Suguru for trying to aim for the rookie and forgetting about him.
With Nekoma being one point away from bringing the game to a deuce and Suguru being next to serve, Shibayama recalls when Yaku spoke to him about what it means to be a libero. Yaku explained that it is not just a position meant for a short player. In order to become a regular, a player has to first prove he is worthy of being on the court. Yaku goes on to say that being the libero for a team known for defense is a great honor. Shibayama focuses on calming himself and quickly shakes off the nerves that Nohebi had put on him.
Suguru serves and is shocked to see Shibayama make a perfect receive. Kuroo spikes and earns Nekoma a point, now being tied with Nohebi. The Nohebi team receives Kai's serve and Kuguri is given the set and spikes past Kuroo and Kenma, his form so good that not even Yaku was able to tell where he would hit. Numai, Nohebi's ace, comments how Kuguri is possibly a better player than him but is told otherwise by the other players who say that he is only out because of his hand injury from the previous game against Itachiyama. Numai goes on to say that Kuguri is a player that shows little emotion and is therefore hard to read when playing.
Fukunaga lands a spike and ties the score once more. Kuroo does a jump serve that Suguru manages to save. Lev goes to assist Kenma in blocking Kuguri but falls a step behind. Despite this, he is able to move his arms in time to successfully block the spike and bring Nekoma to set point. Hiroo mocks Lev by saying his block was pure luck and Lev replies that he will stop as many spikes as it takes.
Kuroo's next serve lands out. Yamamoto does an overhand receive for Takachiho's serve. Kenma then surprises the Nohebi team when he successfully does a setter dump. Sakashima attempts a setter dump at the next chance he has but is stunned that Lev is already in place and blocks him. Libero Akama saves the block but the ball is sent back to Nekoma. Hiroo watches as Lev and Yamamoto charge forward and when it looks like Lev will be given the set, Hiroo jumps to block. He is caught off guard when he sees the set was actually given to Kuroo as he does a back attack and Lev was actually used as cover. A brief flashback shows that Kenma had actually planned this attack. Kuroo pulls off the back row attack and scores, winning the first set for Nekoma.
Halfway through the second set, Nekoma is maintaining a two-point lead. When Yamamoto tries to spike, he is blocked by Hiroo and Kuguri. However, Nekoma gains the point due to Hiroo touching the net. Numai is eventually subbed in as a pinch server despite his dislocated thumb. Despite the intense pain, Numai serves. The ball clips the net and Kuroo manages to save it.
Fukunaga spikes the last hit toward the back of the court. Numai and Akama give chase as they both realize that they
would not be able to return the ball even if they could reach it in time. As they appear to dive to try to receive, they block the line ref's sight while calling the ball to have landed out of bounds. Because he did not see if the ball was in or not, the line ref believes Numai and Akama and calls the ball as landing out. Several people in the crowd caught on to this tactic and see Nohebi is using cheap tricks in order to score and earn the favor of the ref's. Suguru praises the tricks that Nohebi uses in order to advance themselves, claiming that every compliment and provocation helps them gain points.
Though still in pain, Numai goes to serve again. He admits to himself that he dislikes how Suguru says that they should take being called cheaters as a compliment. He is determined to silence people's claims of them being cheaters and delivers a powerful service ace that puts Nohebi in the lead. His next serve is received. Fukunaga gets the last hit once more and he spikes a cross-shot. Akama tries to call the ball as landing out but the ref signals it has landed in. With his serve being cut off, Numai is subbed out.
Suguru does a feint shot that lands before Kai is able to receive, further frustrating the Nekoma team. When Kuroo serves, Suguru receives and Lev gets a one-touch on the spike. Kuroo attempts to receive overhanded but the ball hits his hand wrong and it lands out. Kuroo observes his hand and notices blood under his nail. He calls out for Shibayama to sub in for him while he treats the injury.
When Shibayama goes in, he calls out to Lev that he will be right behind him. While the Nohebi cheer sections call for the team to take the set now that Kuroo is out, Lev lands a spike and brings Nekoma to match point. Kuguri gets the next set and aims to Lev's left when he tries to block the path for a straight. Shibayama is unable to get the ball up and apologizes to the team for his mistake.
Confused, Lev wonders why Shibayama is apologizing; believing that, other than messing up on a serve, it is never
the fault of a single person for what happens on the court. At this sudden realization, Lev finally sees what teamwork actually means and how they can never say it is the fault of one person for a mistake or lost point when all of their plays are truly connected. He now knows how he must play because it is Shibayama behind him and not Yaku.
Kai receives Takachiho's serve and Yamamoto lands a spike and brings Nekoma to match point again. Kenma serves toward the front and Kuguri receives. Lev gets a one-touch and Fukunaga surprises everyone when he makes one receive followed by another when saving a direct spike attempt. Lev tries to spike but Suguru saves the ball. Kuguri goes to get the last hit as Lev and Kai jump to block. As he readies to spike, Kuguri is suddenly filled with fear when he sees the intensity of Lev's block before him. With no other choice, Kuguri spikes to the only open path that leads directly to Shibayama. The first-year libero saves the ball. Kenma sets to Yamamoto who deflects the spike off the block. As the ball goes toward the crowd, Suguru desperately chases after in an attempt to save but does not make it as the ball lands.
Nekoma has won and will go on to nationals. While the team celebrates, Lev and Shibayama excitedly exclaim how
they knew that if Lev directed where the spike should go then Shibayama would be able to receive. Lev recalls how Kuroo mentioned how satisfying it will be when teamwork finally clicks and he and Shibayama celebrate their accomplishment with a high five. Kuroo approaches the two and asks Lev how he felt at having blocked a spiker without actually blocking. Lev says how he and Shibayama are like Yaku put together and that it was necessary to work together and that directing where a spike should go felt incredible. The team reunites with Yaku and they tearfully celebrate their victory.
As they leave the court, Kuguri feels at fault for letting Lev control where he should spike. Numai instead says that Kuguri was still able to get past their defense in the first place and admits he is relieved to see Kuguri feel remorseful.
As they gather their things to leave, Kuroo confesses that Lev was able to go beyond his expectations for the game. Yaku tells Kuroo to tell Lev when he fails and that he should fix his mistakes. Kai says that such a thing is not easy to do and Kuroo teases Yaku by saying that not all of them are as confident as he is with receives.
Sitting alone, Suguru is surprised to see Mika approach. She apologizes for what she had said about him being
boring because he was heavily involved in volleyball but admits that he looked cool while playing. She seems to understand why he had concentrated so much in the club and requests to be taught how to play. When joining with his team, Suguru becomes their target for taunting when they realize he has gotten back together with Mika.
In the game between Itachiyama and Fukurōdani, Sakusa hits the ball against Akaashi's hand and the ball goes out, winning the game for Itachiyama to be the first representative for Tokyo with Fukurōdani being the second and Nekoma as the third.
Later that night, Natsu calls out to Hinata that he has received a message on his phone. Hinata sees a message from Kenma that Nekoma will be heading to the Spring Tournament. Filled with excitement, Hinata goes outside for a run as his mother warns him of boars being out. When outside, he comes face to face with a wild boar and hurries back inside his home.
- Nekoma High
- Nohebi Academy
- On Crunchyroll this OVA is named "The Path of the Ball".
Difference between Anime and Manga
- Manga: Before noticing Yaku is injured, Lev is shown enjoying having smashed down the ball that Nohebi desperately tried to keep alive. Anime: This is not shown.
- Manga: When Yamamoto is helping Yaku, Nekomata is shown sitting a few feet away. Anime: Nekomata is on the opposite side of the court.
- Manga: After Yaku is taken out of the game, Coach Naoi assures him he does not have to worry about Shibayama and Yaku instead says he's more worried about Lev. Anime: This is not shown.
- Manga: When Nekoma calls a time-out after Shibayama is subbed in, Kuroo sees the first year's nerves and tries to help calm him down. Anime: This is not shown.
- Manga only: During the Nekoma time-out, Akane is wracked with worry about the team losing Yaku and Alisa tries to cheer her up.
- Manga: The flashback of the third-years as first years is shown during the Nekoma time-out. Anime: The episode begins with the flashback.
- Manga: When Sakishima attempts a setter dump, Kuroo is shown to also notice the attempt. Anime: Only Lev is shown reacting to the setter dump attempt.
- Manga: When Hiroo hits the net when trying to block Yamamoto, other players from another school are shown in the crowd and recognize that the Nohebi team are faking being good players. Anime: This is skipped.
- Manga: Before Lev goes to block Kuguri, Kuroo is seen watching the event take place. Anime: This is not shown.
- Manga: When Lev and Shibayama celebrate how they were able to work together, Kenma is shown observing their interaction. Anime: This is not shown.
- Manga: After the match, the Nohebi team has a brief meeting with their coach as well as a flashback of when he first began coaching the current team. Anime: This was not shown.
- Manga: After Kai and Kuroo help Yaku, Kuroo overhears players from another school discuss how Nohebi deserved to lose the match and warns them of their own flaws. Anime: This was not shown.
- Manga: When Mika approaches Suguru, they are shown in a hallway with lots of other people around. Anime: They are shown alone in the hallway.
- Manga: During the game between Fukurōdani and Itachiyama, Kiyoomi Sakusa's appearance is fully shown. Bokuto is also shown to promise revenge on Sakusa for their loss until Akaashi puts an end to it. Motoya Komori also makes a brief cameo appearance. Anime: Sakusa is not fully introduced/named, Motoya does not appear, and the OVA ends after Itachiyama wins.
- Anime: An extra scene shows Hinata receiving a message from Kenma about Nekoma making it to Nationals. He is shown heading out of his home for a run and encounters a wild boar. Manga: Though this shown as well, Hinata is not shown running into the boar.
- 0:44 - 1:55
- 1:56 - 2:06
- The Battle of the Little Giant (Japanese: 小さな巨人戦 Chīsana Kyojin-sen) 2:06 - 2:29
- 2:53 - 3:36
- 3:56 - 4:30
- Cat (Japanese: ネコ Neko) 4:49 - 6:06
- 6:20 - 8:10
- 8:37 - 10:02
- Ground Warfare (Japanese: 地上戦 Chijō-sen) 10:19 - 11:11
- - eyecatch -
- Initiative (Japanese: 主導権 Shudō-ken) 12:08 - 12:33
- An Annoying Guy (Japanese: 嫌な男 Iyana Otoko) 13:03 - 14:44
- 15:19 - 16:40
- Baby Bird (Japanese: 幼鳥 Yōchō) 16:49 - 18:03
- 18:22 - 20:34
- Reason and Strength (Japanese: 理性と力 Risei To Chikara) 20:38 - 21:10
- 21:13 - 22:16
- 22:31 - 22:55
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