Anime series have this strange tendency to be about things that I would never normally find entertaining. For example, C Control: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, is a series about the correlation between inflation and economic collapse. Does that sound fun to you? I fell asleep in my Economics class which I just so happened to be in at the time that I watched it. Needless to say I was totally wrong and ended up being a month ahead of the rest of the class because I watched that show. In the case of Haikyuu!! it’s a sports show. I hate watching sports. I’d rather be playing because its boring to watch. And to top it off, its about volleyball, a sport that I was always terrible at. But if there’s anything I’ve learned after watching Prince of Tennis, Ace of the Diamond, Hikaru no Go, Akagi, Initial D, and Free!, it’s that sports anime is a completely different beast than their real life counterparts.
Haikyuu follows the story of Shoyo Hinata, a boy who desperately wants to play volleyball and become like his idol, the Little Giant, who played for Karasuno High School at nationals when he was an elementary student. However, his middle school didn’t have a men’s volleyball team, so he spent three years practicing on his own and, in his third year, was able to participate in a tournament thanks to his friends who became his temporary team. After losing the first match of the tournament, Shoyo declares Tobio Kageyama, the “King of the Court,” to be his rival. As fate would have it, both of them end up at Karasuno High School, where the volleyball team has become a shadow of its former self. The third year members dream of finishing their high school career by going to nationals, and with Shoyo’s speed and insane spikes, combined with Tobio’s precision tosses, that dream is finally within sight.
The story follows the predictable tournament format where the team comes together at the beginning of the show, they train for a while, meat powerful opponents, and climb the proverbial ladder to the top. However, just because the path to the top is predictable, that doesn’t mean that the actual story is. The matches can be very unpredictable most of the time with you never being sure that they’re going to win. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through and rarely ever takes a break from the action. And even then the downtime scenes are still intense. Character development is everywhere and all of the characters feel genuine in some way. Even their opponents are made sympathetic either before or during their match. I never thought that a sports show could be this good, but everything just works so well and it keeps you engaged the whole way through. It’s a very hard series to put down.
I was utterly determined to find you guys some good GIF’s because the beauty of this series cannot be understated. Sure, it has its low quality moments, but those are easily overshadows by the high quality art and animation on display during the most intense moments of the volleyball matches. This series is filled with so much motion and emotion and the artists and animators just nailed everything, like there is nothing bad that I can say.
I have to say, Haikyuu probably has the best soundtrack from any sports anime that I’ve ever heard. No matter what scene it plays in, its purpose to elevate the mood x10 and it succeeds. Matches become more intense, memories become emotional, training sessions become serious, there is never a dull track in this show. Sadly, I still can’t find the one track that I want to listen to. It’s like a “preparing for war” kind of track and while this show has quite a few of those, I just can’t find this particular one. I’ve gone through the entire second season soundtrack(which I believe is the only one.) and it is nowhere to be found. It plays during both seasons and I first heard it during the first season when the Karasuno team was warming up for either their first or second match at the Inter-High Prelims. I really hope it’s not an unreleased track. I hate it when that happens, like with the one of the final songs from Code Geass R2. That really ticked me off.
Moving on from the soundtrack though, the sound effects are on point as well. From the squeaks of sneakers on gym floors, a ball bouncing with every other sound muted, to a random player crashing into a bench. The Japanese dub is also pretty good. The emotions of every character were brought to life by the actors. I’m still not the best judge as to whether or not the dub is ACTUALLY good or bad, but considering I don’t speak Japanese(yet.) that makes sense and so basically anything sounds good to me. And just so we’re clear, there is no English dub for this show. Sentai Filmworks has licensed both the first and second seasons with the first season having already been released in two parts complete with subtitles.
The first two seasons of Haikyuu are some of the best I’ve ever seen and I’d go back and watch it all again if it weren’t for the fact that that is 50 episodes which equates to about 20 hours of viewing. I have way too many anime to watch to devote ANOTHER 20 hours to Haikyuu. However, it should be noted that I binged this series in less than a week. That’s the fastest that I have ever binged 50 episodes of a single series and speaks volumes about just how good Haikyuu is.
Wanna know what’s even better? Haikyuu Season Three begins on October 8th. For once I don’t have to wait months for the follow-up. That’s fantastic!
So should you watch Haikyuu? Personally speaking I highly recommend you give it a try, but since it is a sports series, it is long and obviously still ongoing. For how much longer is anybodies guess since, if my predictions are correct, the story is nearing its conclusion whether it’s in this season or a fourth season/feature film. Now is not a bad time to get into this show.