Haikyuu!!

Haikyuu!!

Teamwork. Talent. Hardwork. Winning. Losing.

The realm of sports usually involve all of this, and needless to say, it was told brilliantly through Haikyuu. Unlike previous sports anime I’ve seen, Haikyuu remain grounded and down to Earth, despite the obvious impossibility of such talent in a Japanese high school setting. But hey, if you were ever watching anime for the sake of realism, you’re probably not in the right medium.

The story of Haikyuu is straightforward but with a small unique feature. A high school volleyball team which was once a strong team is now slowly rebuilding. The team is joined by 2 1st year students, Hinata Shoyo and Tobio Kageyama, who were originally rivals but now has to work together. What truly elevates Haikyuu is creating a team with players that feel very real, despite their extraordinary talent or potential. There is a consistent dynamic relationship between team members, and progressive buildups that really showcase teamwork, hardwork, and all the motivation involved in these characters.

It’s all volleyball, volleyball, volleyball, yet I’m never tired of it (despite not being an avid volleyball fan). The relationships between the players develops in all aspects: the relationships between the players as friends, as teammates, as students in different school years, as a cohesive team against other teams. In between is volleyball. At every corner is volleyball. This is literally a volleyball explosion. But you really see the story behind why the characters love it. How the love developed for them. How much of themselves and their past they’ve put into the game. What torment and triumph they feel from the sport.

Like every other sports anime, Haikyuu! there are out of this world, impossible moves that even pros can’t do. BUT I never feel that way. They don’t drag it out or make it ridiculously over the top. It happens, then they move on with the game.

In sports anime, another thing I noticed that can drag a story down is when they try to work in explanations of how certain aspects of the sport works. Haiykuu! manages to work it in flawlessly. My knowledge of volleyball stops at the grade school level (where all we did was rotate, the positions weren’t named, and players weren’t allowed to even dive or roll). The explanations are short, to the point, and staggered. But now I know all the positions, the rules, the different types of moves, special attacks, formations, etc., without really realizing at the time I was being schooled on the subject.

Every single sports anime I’ve seen, I’m guilty of fast forwarding through games or matches or tournaments. Literally every one. I’ve never done it with Haikyuu! Not even when I rewatched the whole series.

Art
The art is very good, a solid 8, but not the best ever. It really works to highlight the fluidity of movement throughout sports play. It’s not over the top or excessive, so it’s a bit quiet with how good it is. I think the best indication of how good the art is, is when you’re looking at someone on the opposite side of the net, and the player is basically melding into the net, but it doesn’t look weird at all. If you watch it, you’ll get what I mean.

I also really like the character designs. The characters are drawn in the more realistic, life-like style vs. cartoon-like. This really adds to the game play; their muscles tensing, their movements, their presence.

Sound
The sound is what gets me. It’s really effective. Just like the art, it’s not over the top. A certain sound happens and you know something is about to go down, like a cool move. A certain tune plays and you know you’re about to see someone who is a worthy opponent. It really highlights the mood. Also the sports sounds, the squeak of shoes on a gym floor, the smack of the ball, even the sound of the ball slicing through the air makes everything more believable.

The voice acting is very good as well. The tones and nuances fit each character’s personality. I can’t say any examples without giving things away (because not all characters are introduced at the same time).

Character
Haiykuu! does a really good job of developing the characters. You know what each character’s personality is like. What their role is on the court and on the team. Even the characters that are on the bench, you really feel it and connect with them even if they aren’t the ones playing in the main match (i.e. their disappointment at not playing, their desire to be on the court, their feelings of support for their team).

If someone does something hilarious or quirky, as the viewer you can easily think to yourself, “that is SO like so-and-so to do that.”

You really get a sense of the character’s ability, athletically and emotionally. their maturity levels (both mentally and sports-wise). Their tendencies and characteristics that make them, THEM.

Even a lot of the teams they face, you can easily fall in love with the opposing players, because they make sure to develop them as well. This also makes matches much more interesting and makes you more emotionally invested in them.

Enjoyment

I personally love Haikyuu! to beyond the moon and back. I’m going to state it here, that this is the first time ever that I have liked an anime much more than the source manga it’s adapted from. I’m just being honest. If someone had told me to read Haikyuu! the manga, I would have eventually dropped it. I started reading it after I started watching the anime, and I’m only continuing because I’m so emotionally invested in the characters and want MORE!

The anime really brings the story to life.

Plus the overall humor woven throughout the whole series, is an awesome bonus. So even if you have  no interest in volleyball, or even sports in general this “Sports Anime of the Decade”(Funimation) is still a must watch and its quite probable that you will develope one after watching it

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