Welcome back my wonderful friends to the final day of Anniversary Review Week! I hope you have enjoyed the posts the last few days. I have enjoyed working on them and looking at some shows I have been wanting to talk about for a while. I do want to remind you guys that there are more posts coming for the rest of Anniversary Month, so stay tuned for those and cheek out the other reviews from this week if you have not seen them already! Today’s show has become one of my all-time favorite anime, and I know some of you feel the same way as well. I have been wanting to review it for a while but wanted to make sure I would be able to do it justice in a review. However, I am going to try my hardest! Plus, it is my birthday today and I always review my favorites on my birthday!! I did play the sport today’s anime is about in junior high and am already working on a post about my personal experience and how it related. That post will hopefully be out by the end of the month, time pending.
Without further adieu, here is my 45th Anime Review and Day 8 of Anniversary Review Week! It is time to look at quicks, salonpas, crows, flying high, and most importantly volleyballs in Haikyuu!!
Haikyuu!! is based off the mange with the same name written by Haruichi Furudate. It started serialization in Weekly Shounen Jump in February 2012, and is published in English by VIZ Media. The first season of the anime started airing in April 2014 as a part of the Spring 2014 Anime Season. It consisted of 25 episodes and ended in September of the same year. It also released an OVA episode titled Haikyuu: Lev Gensan which focused the Nekoma team and its new member Lev. There were also two movies released that retold the events of the first season with some bonus scenes: Haikyuu!! Movie 1: Owari no Hajimari and Haikyuu!! Movie 2: Shousha no Haisha. The second season (Haikyuu!! Second Season) also consisted of 25 episodes and ran from October 2015 to March 2016 as a part of the Fall 2015 Anime Season. It too had one OVA episode (Haikyuu!! vs “Akaten”) and one movie (Haikyuu!! Movie 3: Sainou to Sense). The third (and so far final, but hopefully not) season was called Haikyuu!! Karasuno High School vs Shiratorizawa Academy and started airing in October 2016 as a part of the Fall 2016 Anime Season. The third season only consisted of 10 episodes and concluded in December 2016. It will also have a movie retelling called Haikyuu!! Movie 4: Concept no Takakai. That brings Hakyuu!! to a total of 62 episodes and four movies. The show was done by Production I.G. and it was recently announced that the show will be getting an English dub done by Sentai Filmworks.
The story of Haikyuu!! starts with junior high student Shoyo Hinata who sees a volleyball game on a TV. The game is being played by a school called Karasuno and their ace, who is only referred to as the “Little Giant”, inspires Hinata to play volleyball. However, Hinata does not have a volleyball team at his middle school, so after practicing with many different age groups Hinata convinces some classmates to play on his team. They even make it to a tournament in his third year, but are quickly defeated by Kitagawa Daichi and its famous setter Tobio Kageyama, also called “King of the Court”. Kageyama looks down on our precious Hinata and the latter vows to defeat Kageyama when he gets to high school. We skip time to after Hinata graduates and joins Karasuno High School’s volleyball team. His plans change though when he finds out that Kageyama is actually going to Karasuno as well. We then see as each member of the Karasuno team struggles with trying to overcome obstacles they have set for themselves, and fight to go to Nationals once again. This time hoping to redeem Karasuno’s status as a powerhouse school.
Haikyuu!! could have easily not have Hinata and Kageyama not be at the same school, and just continue the rivalry that way. But it did not. A good part of the first few episodes were Hinata and Kageyama trying to put their rivalry behind them and be teammates. They have to work together or else none of them are going to get anywhere. The show also constantly reminds us during the tournament portions of the story that even after Karasuno defeats the team they are currently playing, there is still a better school after that team. I think that is a very interesting idea because it keeps you anticipating more, and nervous of what is to come. It reminded me of a video game, sort of. Like there was always the next boss to defeat until you finally worked your way up to the final boss and claimed victory. The show was smart and clever, and the characters were always thinking of ways to play better even in the middle of a match. The different aspects of the show also blended very well together. The drama was never so much that it seemed out of place, and the comedy (while sometimes so funny I was dying of laughter) fit in the show without it being over the top. There was a lot of subtle comedy and kind of quick jokes that you would miss if you were not paying attention. It was also neat how the comedy, drama, and volleyball portions of the show sometimes overlapped but most of the time were on their own. It was never too much at one time, and I loved that.
Speaking of the characters!! Another thing this show does well is that as it goes on every one of Karasuno’s players overcomes some problem they had, and they end up better by the end of the show. Whether it be Kageyama getting over wanting to not depend on the people around him, Coach Ukai growing as a coack, or even Ennoshita realizing that he needs to step up as the next captain once the third years eventually graduate. A day I dread and will cry heavily when it comes. Anyway, the point is that at some point. For some it happens early on in the first season, and others really show during the third season. Tsukishima, in particular, grew A LOT over the course of the show and it was awesome to see. I guess my point is that the show did a great job of creating a problem for each individual person (no one having the same one) and having that problem be grounded and relatable. Then something, or someone, would come in and help that person in some way overcome this hurdle. It made the characters seem like actual people who were out there playing volleyball. It is also important to mention that while Karasuno is the best, obviously, the other teams they played were awesome too. While I wanted Karasuno to win, I also wished all the teams could win so I did not have to see Oikawa and others sad. In a lot of sports shows it seems like some teams are created so that you hate them, but Haikyuu did not have that. It introduced us to awesome characters like Kuroo, and Bokuto, and Akaashi, and Oikawa, and Iwa-chan, and the list just goes on and on. There was not a single character in this show that I hated. Which is amazing because usually there ends up being one person (or team) that I despise in shows like this. I love them all! Sure, I have my favorites (Suga is my favorite in the entire show) but I still love everyone. The characters were just made to likeable and real to me that, like I said, made them seem like actual people who are out there playing volleyball. I loved it!! I wish I had enough time but talk about all of the characters/teams in this show but I imagine you guys have stuff to do….and also I could be here for a week or more.
The show was animated by Production I.G. so I knew already that this was a show that was going to be very well done. I was worried at time considering the amount of movement that was done with the show. During the games, someone was almost always moving and usually while one characters were doing one thing, there were two more in the background doing things two. The show was constantly moving at fast speeds, and I worried the animation quality would start to fall as the show went on. But that never happened. The animation was consistent and pleasant to watch. Honestly, the soundtrack is one of the best all-around that I have seen in a while. Starting off with the amazing openings. The first season had “Imagination” by SPYAIR and “Ah Yeah!!” by Sukuma Switch, the second season had “I’m a Believer” by SPYAIR and “FLY HIGH” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES, and the third had “Hikari Are” by BURNOUT SYNDROMES. These openings had both beautiful music and some absolutely breathtaking animation, “FLY HIGH” especially. The fourth opening also reminded you that, sure, they still had to defeat Aoba Johsai but even if they accomplished that there was still Shiratorizawa to get past before they could think of nationals. It was such an important reminder, even if we were really just more concerned about Oikawa and Mad Dog. There was also a lot of effort put in so that the opening matched what was happening in the story. What am I talking about? Well in the second season Daichi gets a bruise on his cheek, in the following episode’s opening Daichi has a bruise on his cheek during a close-up. This also happened in the third season where after Tsukishima gets his finger taped up, his finger now has tap on it in the opening. It really does! Go look if you do not believe me! The openings also worked to hype you up for what was going to happen in the episode so you were ready for the intense games you were about to watch. The endings, then, worked to calm you down but also anticipating what was going to happen in the next episodes. The first season had “Tenchi Gaeshi” by NICO Touches the Walls and “LEO” by tacica, the second season had “Climber” by Galileo Galilei and “Hatsunetsu” by tacica, and the third had “Mashi Mashi” by NICO Touches the Walls. The endings were beautiful and very fitting of the show they were a part of. All of the openings, ending, and even some of the OST music made its way onto my iPod and I listen to them a lot.
I think by now it is pretty obvious how I feel about this show, and you may even be more aware of this if you follow me on twitter. Saying that, in the end I award Haikyuu!! with an A. If you are a fan of sports anime, try it. I actually recommend this show to anyone who watches anime because it is an all-time favorite of mine, but I know that it is no for everyone. And not everyone likes volleyball either, and I get that. I do highly recommend it though. It had a story that has me hooked, characters I could get behind and loved to see develop and change, and a soundtrack/animation quality that really put the icing on the cake. I absolutely love this show, and cannot wait to see what is going to come next in Haikyuu!!’s story. I mean, we still do not know who the Little Giant is!! I NEED TO KNOW!! I am also very excited/anxious/pumped/a lot of emotions about the dub, and am constantly checking cites to see if there have been any cast members announced yet. There is also a portion of my brain that is always thinking of a possible cast, and let’s be real with the size of Haikyuu!!’s male cast alone they are going to need a lot of people.
Okay I will stop there because I could go on all day. I hope I did this show justice, and I also hope I may have convinced one of you to watched Haikyuu!!. The show also has a lovely fandom behind it and is a fun group to be a part of. But that is all that I have for this time, and the end of Anniversary Review Week!! Did you guys enjoy this past week? Any thoughts on the show? Favorite character? Favorite team? Oh! Any dub predictions? Let me know down in the comments below!!
See you next time!!