EBW’s 大積読崩し Informal Read-Along Home
金色の羽でとべ is a children’s novel (middle grade reader, I think it would be called in English, where it’s meant for kids around pre-teen age.) by 高田由紀子 about a junior volleyball club—a non-school-affiliated club for elementary students; our main characters are fifth graders.
Anyone may join at any time. General spoiler courtesy applies.
Stories about short athletes seem to be pretty popular in volleyball. This makes the third out of five I’ve read, although granted 2.43’s Oda isn’t the protagonist, just a main character (but then there’s also Yumikake now too in the third and fourth arcs, though he’s a fair bit taller than Oda, just still very short for a volleyball player). It does make sense, though: everyone likes an underdog story, and volleyball’s probably got one of the biggest gaps in advantage for a tall player vs disadvantage for a short player.
Rei’s favorite volleyball player, Kitami Yuuhi, appears to be fictional, along with the team. The only 東京フェニックス I found was the 東京山九フェニックス women’s rugby club.
It’s sort of… bittersweet, I guess? that Sora thinks Kitami is tall and is surprised that he’s so much shorter than the rest of the team. But then, he’s a child, he’s tiny—of course 168 cm is gonna seem really tall to him, even though it’s just short of the national average (which I doubt he even knows about at this point) and thus is tiny for a pro volleyballer, especially a spiker. Height doesn’t matter quite as much for liberos or even setters to some extent, but it very much does for attackers. (Bittersweet because I adore Oda, and he’s 163 cm and almost certainly won’t be able to continue playing past college, and I don’t even know yet how much he’ll get to play in college—and then Haikyuu’s Hinata was right about the same height in first year and more successful than Oda, though isn’t he like 172 cm or something as an adult? I don’t remember. Anyway. Oda…)
This is the first time I’ve read anything about elementary school/junior volleyball, so I didn’t know about the free position thing. But I did know from 2.43 that even middle schoolers rarely perform jump serves, so it’s especially surprising that a fifth-grader is doing them! There’s no rule against using them in official games at the middle-school level, and I guess we’ll see if there is or not at the junior level. I don’t think it would surprise me either way.
After learning that the Taira twins are both good at receiving, I figured one of them would be the libero if junior-level had normal positions, so I knew that would be out for Sora if he couldn’t be 前衛ライトlike he’d wanted—and even before Yamato said he wanted to play ライト, I knew he would be since he’s a southpaw. The ace is usually one of the left wing spikers, but lefty aces generally are right wing spikers. So I wasn’t surprised at all that the twins are 後衛のレフトとライト, or that Sora’s the setter. Especially if the setter’s on the back line, so he doesn’t have to participate in blocks like he would if junior-level used the rotation rule.
It makes sense that the setter would be on the back line with fixed positions so the center (middle blocker) could be on the front line, but it also feels a little weird since the standard set-up position is the front right. Guess he can’t do any dumps, then. (Also that the セッター対角 is not the ライト but センター. I guess it makes sense, though. With no rotation, there’s no need for two centers nor a libero, and nothing saying the setter has to be in any specific slot, so why not the open 後衛センター?) (Unless the center is on the back line? Not that that really makes sense, but neither does them participating in receiving practice rather than spiking or blocking. The center attacker [spiker? eh] is also called the middle blocker—and subs out for the libero on the back line—for a reason, after all. Oh, but then, the setter would be expected to participate in receives, but if they got the first touch, they couldn’t then set. Still feels weird either way, though. Well, guess we’ll find out.)
This’ll take a little bit of adjusting, and not just the different terms to what I’m used to (though I have heard them all before, so far).
Hmm part of me wonders if he’d hate the thought of being setter quite so much if this were middle or high school and he’d get to perform dumps and even sometimes spikes if someone else gets the second touch (though dumps can be spikes), but the greater part of me thinks he’d just see that as like a crappy consolation prize. The setter may get to touch the ball the most, but what he most cares about is personally scoring points, and setters score very few outside of service aces.
Ah, but if the setter is on the front and the center on the back, then he could do dumps unless there are rules against it. Not sure what no mention of it points to. Maybe he just doesn’t think they’re cool… (he would be wrong, though).
Somehow, I was not surprised in the slightest to learn that Sora’s surname is 新田.
“Yelling at others and punching the wall are bad.” And bullying isn’t?? But, oh, no one else got violent, and no one was stealing or ruining physical objects or dumping water on people or anything like that, so of course Yamato’s the only one getting told off. Deriving enjoyment out of ostracizing and mocking your peers is normal and expected. /sarcasm
Y’know, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one saw what Shou and those girls were doing as bullying.
The bit where the other boys started trying to copy Sora with his “seal toss” setting practice one after another was pretty cute, though.
I can’t wait to get to ch 6. I wanna know what Yamato’s secret is! I wonder if it has anything to do with why they moved out to Sado, two thirds of the way through the school year.