Haikyuu is an anime adaptation of the manga of the same name. The manga was written by Furudate Haruichi and the anime was made by Production IG, you know, the people behind Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex. Season 1 ran from April to september of 2014, and season 2 ran from October of 2015 to March of 2016. The 2 seasons combined consist of 50 episodes.
A little warning, i got carried away with comparing this to Eyeshield 21 a lot…
Hinata Shouyou is the protagonist of the series. He is short but he is wicked fast and jump high. He is not too experienced in volleyball, but has a ton of potential for it.
Kageyama Tobio is the setter and the secondary protagonist. He and Hinata have this rivalry going on while they are still on the same team. While Hinata is all about jumping and attacking, Kageyama is about setting the ball to different attackers, aka the brain of the operations.
Ever since seeing the Little Giant in action, little Hinata has been obsessed with volleyball. But his team was no where near being great in middle school, and in high school, he is finally able to play in a solid team.
During his middle school finals, he fought against team with Kageyama, and the two became kind of rivals. Now the two are on the same team, and it turns out they were made for each other. Kageyama sets the ball in position and Hinata strikes it into the opponents.
Like all sports anime, the team is en route to winning a tournament.
While watching Season 2 Episode 22, I realized what was bugging me so much about this show. So much of the episode, and the series, is dedicated on praising how great the character of that episode is. This episode was about Yamaguchi getting his serves right. Half the episode was, to put it crudely, sucking his dick for doing his job he trained since the beginning of the series. And this is not exclusive to Yamaguchi and this episode, so much of this show is talking about how great he is rather than showing how great he is. Yamaguchi did 4 to 5 serves with like 3 reaction shots and talk of how great those serves were in between. Rather than telling us how great it was, can you show more of him doing it? They do this for almost every named character, it was excessive and took away from the game.
During the most of the matches, I found myself constantly shouting “Can we please get back to match!?” We don’t need to cut away to a flashback, audience commentary, coach/advisor philosophizing, or exposition every single time something happens. I just want to see the damn game play out. I realize that this is a trope in anime, but there were simply way too much of them in this series.
Speaking of the coaches, I felt that they were too important to the team, what I mean by that is they seem to be operating the teams rather than the students operating themselves. In Eyeshield 21, and most other shonen manga, it is the characters that come to realizations, and the masters/ teachers are there to help the process, not do it for them.
Haikyuu follows the usual formula for these tournament based sporting animes, Eyeshield 21 is guilty of this as well. Lose rather early in the first tournament to a rival team, cry and go on training until the second tournament. Show everyone that they are indeed a better team than they were and win every match. Face off the rivals once more and win this time, and move on to challenge more powerful enemy.
Watching parts of this show made me really feel that anime has caught up with what the actions scenes should feel like from my head onto the screen. No matter how many times, seeing Hinata dashing is exhilarating to watch. That sudden acceleration of his movement really accentuates the intensity and shows what the opponents see, uncatchable attack.
The character designs are quite nice, they are very stylish and immediately likable. While the art is not as detailed as some of the other sports manga, I can’t really blame Haikyuu as volleyball doesn’t have too much equipment to render, it more than makes up with simpler style that accentuates action and speed.
The last couple of minutes of the penultimate episode of season 2 was what I was craving for. It was intense, high risk, everyone throwing everything they have at each other to win. No spectator commentary, no sudden exposition, it was all about what is happening in the court. Everything here was carried on by the players and players alone. It was fantastic.
- Will I watch it again? Probably not, as there is a third season, I want to move onto that.
- Do I recommend it? Yes, while I have problems with it and is not as endearing to me as ES21 is, Haikyuu was undeniably fun to watch.
Since the end of Eyesheild 21 manga series, I’ve been craving for a sports anime that made me feel like experiencing it for the first time again, and I am still looking. Don’t get me wrong, Haikyuu is fun, but it is no Eyeshield 21. It is thoroughly enjoyable show and it does get my heart pumping. It was a great companion piece while working out! With all this said, I liked this in both concept and execution way more thatn Kuroko no Baske…