金色の羽でとべ Informal Reading Club 🏐


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 高田たかだ由紀子ゆきこ 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.

ch 2

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.

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ch 3

“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.

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Picked this up again today, and the first thing I read was “そして六年生との練習試合” —wait, they weren’t 6th graders? I completely forgot this is January of fifth grade. So I decided to start over from the beginning. I was only 60 pages in anyhow, that’s nothing. Although I ended up only reading one chapter further…

ch 4

When they changed into their uniforms and Sora mentioned the captain’s mark beneath the number on his, I had to check the title page illustration again to make sure that, yep, there’s no captain’s mark. (I forgot the jacket illustration is also on the cover.) On the one hand, I wonder if they did that so as not to spoil him being captain, but on the other hand, it’s not in the ch 7 illustration either (for consistency?). 背番号1, after all, doesn’t necessarily point to anything in volleyball. In HS volleyball (or I guess volleyball in general, if it’s a thing in the junior league too?), it’s common but not a rule for the ace to wear the number 4, but there is no captain’s number, hence the captain’s mark, although I feel like the captain does often wear the number 1. (At least in fiction. Which is all I know lmao)

But dang, Yamato’s pretty powerful, especially for a fifth grader. He’s, what, 11? And he’s already got his spikes bouncing off the receiver’s arms all the way up to the second-floor gallery. Not exactly surprising considering he was practicing jump serves when we met him, but still. Wow.

Yeah, I feel like Yamato definitely has emotional regulation issues. I feel for him. It’s difficult enough grappling with emotions that are too big for you, and then the shame/frustration/etc. when you mess up, but then when people react negatively toward you because of it, that definitely doesn’t help. Not with trying to do better, either. I hope the team comes to be understanding of him.

I hope I have more time to read tomorrow. I wanna get to ch 6!

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Parts of this can be a little hard to read specifically because I relate to Yamato-kun. Our symptoms display differently, but I get it. Also on top of the “feels things too much” flavor of emotional dysregulation that we share, I tend to have a lot of empathy for fictional characters, especially ones whom I like and/or relate to. I’m confident he’ll find his place on the Sado Gold Wings, though.

(Gah, I keep wanting to call them the Golden Wings, but that’s not what it says.)

ch 5

When Yamato-kun talked about how his mother would give him chocolate to distract him/calm him down when he was younger, I imagined her tossing it at him and him snapping it out of the air like a puppy lmao

Well, he is kind of the overgrown puppy type, though.

But I’m glad his mother is on his side and tries to help him, instead of just getting mad at/punishing him like some parents will. He doesn’t want to be like this, and he doesn’t know how to manage his big emotions and his anger issues, but he does try. I’m glad he’s not completely without allies going into the story.

No but aaaaa when he didn’t feel like he’d be allowed to have any sweets and didn’t feel like he deserved any after the practice match, but then when they learned he’s super weak to sweets and they always calm him down, the boys immediately were basically like, “Guess we’ll just have to keep some on us for you, then!” My heart.

I’m also glad Taizou-kantoku doesn’t blame Yamato-kun for his injury.

ch 6

I’m not sure what I was envisioning Yamato-kun’s secret would be before, but after we got to the tournament venue and he was looking at the other teams’ banners and stuff, I figured it had to do with his old club.

Man do I hate Shiroyama JVC’s #4. (And I don’t care if it’s a little strong to hate a literal fifth-grader, but I do. I can’t water it down to “dislike;” that feels too much like lying.) Even before Yamato-kun started telling the boys about what happened, I got the feeling he would deliberately antagonize Yamato-kun until he snapped and then would act all innocent back when they were in the same club. And of course that he’d get away with it too, but I figured it was simply because the others didn’t particularly like Yamato-kun either—but it’s (at least partially) because he’s the head coach’s son! That’s even more 当たり前, then. And because Yamato-kun threw the first punch. Because it rarely matters who instigated it or how much the instigator was gunning for a physical fight or how long they’ve been antagonizing their target, it only matters who made it violent. Because people just love to “treat” the symptoms but not the cause. Because if you’re an insufferable prick and a non-violent bully, you’re harmless, but if you have something wrong with you, you need to fix it on your own yesterday and if you don’t have the luxury of being able to see a therapist for whatever reason, then, well, you shoulda thought about that before being born with a defective brain. (And how you’re expected to be endlessly patient with other people, but if you have something wrong with you, you don’t get shown even a fraction of the patience demanded of you, and no one sees anything hypocritical about it. Because if you haven’t fixed yourself, or if you slip up, then clearly you aren’t trying hard enough and thus don’t deserve squat.)

Sure, Yamato shouldn’t have punched him, but that kid was very much not innocent in it and he absolutely had it coming.



Exactly. No one cares about bullying victims until they fight back (and not even necessarily physically like Yamato-kun did), and then they only care in the negative sense. The general lack of empathy displayed toward victims, neurodivergent folk, etc., in society is so frustrating. It kind of makes me want to cry, honestly. If the parents are gonna get all up in arms, it should be over both of them, not just Yamato-kun. But as long as that #4 isn’t the one to make it physical, it doesn’t matter to them how nasty he gets.

Anyway, this kid sounds like an attention-seeker (derogatory) and a spoiled brat of a daddy’s and/or momma’s boy, the type who’d use the fact that he’s the coaches’ son to get his way, so I wonder how many of his teammates like him or if it’s just the parents who do. —Scratch that, it seems Yamato-kun is the only one they disliked. Yeah, I kinda had a feeling.

But the Gold Wings boys seem to be completely in his corner now! And if he can keep in control during the tournament, he can have all the truffles he can eat! Just the thought of them may not be as effective a distraction as actually having one in his mouth, but food is a powerful motivator, and with Shuuya writing the word on the back of his hand in pen to remind him… Let’s hope it’ll be enough.

Halfway finished!

I just realized Sora doesn’t have the tips of his fingers taped on the cover illustration. …Why?

ch 7

When I realized sets were only to 21 points instead of 25 in the junior league, I did half wonder if matches would be made shorter any other way too, although you can’t exactly do it by making them only two sets unless you allow ties. But it turns out the third set is a short set! I’m a little surprised it’s still 15 points. I’d have expected 11.


Oh wow, I kind of expected that to be #4, but it doesn’t surprise me that it’s his dad.

Aw, poor Rei. I thought maybe he had performance anxiety, but it sounds like it’s more general than that. I know reacting like that to yelling when it’s not directed at you can be from trauma/abuse, but that’s probably not the only cause? His mother at least seems nice, if a bit overenthusiastic, and I bet her loud cheering is gonna be something with him sooner or later, and I feel like it’s gonna be a negative reaction—although, she does seem like she may sort of be living vicariously through him since she had to quit volleyball due to injury? I dunno if that would make her shouty and stuff though or if she simply puts pressure on him with her expectations even if she’s largely supportive/a good parent otherwise. And yeah, I know abusive parents usually look fine to outsiders, I’m just not sure this book will go in that direction. Rei, Yamato-kun, and Sora can definitely be considered the main 3, and most of the focus has been on Yamato-kun and Sora, and I feel like there would have needed to have been more on Rei up ‘til now for that? Well, there is still half the book left, so I suppose we’ll see. I hope not, though :​(

Ohh yup, negative reaction.

So… Mutou-kantoku screams at everyone like that during matches and only afterwards acknowledges their effort. Okay. And if he doesn’t give his sons preferential treatment, that would probably make #4 just a momma’s boy, then. But even if kantoku acknowledges that his eldest is a little shit, he still doesn’t do anything about it (and his mother overlooks his behavior, I’m sure)

Yamato-kun moved solely because one of his parents got a job transfer… it had absolutely nothing to do with his getting bullied and/or ostracized by his teammates… Okay… Yeah, you’re losing me a little this chapter.

This bit feels a bit… hand-wavey tbh

Oh okay, I was wondering if the rest of the book would be the tournament, but with this match spanning less than a chapter and there being only, what, three rounds? in the tournament, 100 pages seemed a little long for the rest. But it’s following the pattern where they lose here and then come back in the next tournament as challengers! I’m guessing they’ll be going up against Hikarigaoka next time (probably in the finals)… and since it’s a kids’ book, they’ll probably win.

Ahh, Rei’s parents used to yell at each other a lot, so he reacts badly when people yell. And his mother is the shouty-at-him type… Oh, poor Rei. I wish I could give him a hug.

I think this is the first junior-level sports story I’ve read. I mostly read high school ones. And I gotta tell ya, it’s really weird having 166 cm be considered tall. The first thing I felt when we got Yamato-kun’s height was a pang that Oda, 163 cm in 高3, is considered very short… They’re nearly the same height and are both wing spikers, but those six years between them makes the difference in their situations like that between night and day. (2.43 brainrot real)

ch 9

3:45?? They’re making these kids wake up at 3:45 a.m.??? Man, I hope they get some sleep on the ferry and aren’t too tired at the tournament, that’s way too friggin’ early.

Oh no.

Mannnn I shoulda known that if the chapter’s named after them, they wouldn’t just be normal tears, especially when the tournament hasn’t started yet, but I didn’t think it was because he’d get into an accident!

I’m glad he’s relatively okay though. I was definitely worried about a concussion.

Now, see, if they’d gone down the day before like last time, if only so the kids could get a good night’s sleep even if they technically could make it on the morning ferry this time, this wouldn’t have happened. But no, y’all had to make them get up before the ass crack of dawn. (Okay so story-wise I know it doesn’t matter when, it could well still have happened, and then knowing Yamato-kun’s more or less okay, they coulda taken the 5:30 ferry anyway, just sans Yamato-kun [or he’s coming in a support capacity only], and Ryouta coulda taken his spot and they’d have given it their all so that they could make it to Nationals where Yamato-kun could join them again. But I guess that doesn’t fit with the plot.)

So this book was pretty feel-good overall, and it had a lot of cute moments. I gave it 4☆, though if it weren’t for those couple hand-wavey bits, I might have sprung for 5. I suppose we’ll never know. But I do tend to be pretty generous with my 5☆s lol but I can’t help it.

Anyway this made me wonder anew if the 0 in e.g. 0対1 is read れい or ゼロ, but of course numbers never (well, like 0.01% of the time or something) get furi even in full-furi works, which this is not. I’ll have to try to pay more attention when watching anime.