Haikyuu!! Review

This is review number two hundred and ninety five. This anime is part of the Spring 2014 lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is the second most voted anime on my review poll. It’s Haikyuu!! It’s a twenty five episode anime about the sports of volleyball with Kuroko teaching the main character how to do a misdirection. Hahaha. I just made a joke about how this anime is like Kuroko no Basket. *sigh* This review is abnormally long though so let’s just read on.

Story

This show is about an enthusiastic boy named Shouyou Hinata who was awe-inspired to become a volleyball player after he saw a small athlete seemingly fly during a national championship match on TV. He has since decided to be like his idol and fly in the court as well. It’s a shame though that he is the only member of his junior high volleyball club. He got a few of his friends to join and he barely made it to an official volleyball match. He was excited nonetheless. His first match is up against a formidable team though with a talented setter named Tobio Kageyama. He is also dubbed as the King of the Court by some people. Hinata fought hard but his team eventually lost and his defeat was much more bitter because of the arrogant attitude Kageyama displayed. Hinata has since vowed to defeat Kageyama once he entered high school. He went to Karasuno High in hopes of being in an actual volleyball team that will defeat the arrogant Kageyama. He opened the doors to the gym only to be surprised by Kageyama practicing by himself. It seems these two “rivals” are ironically in the same team.

Taking the Pants Off

It’s safe to say that Production IG renewed interest in the sports genre. Kuroko no Basket is a mega hit and a bunch of studios immediately started doing some sports anime as well. I watched the shows released before Kuroko and it is quite clear Kuroko started the sports trend. Production IG doing a sports anime is an instant success though no matter what sports manga they adapt.  It’s because of their high quality animation. They make moving picture look stunning and awesomely pretty at the same time. They have this tremendous skill at animating and a flexible range of genre under their belt. A sports anime is a guaranteed hit for this monster studio. An anime about cool guys playing basketball immediately became a mega success. Naturally, a show about a bunch of cool guys playing volleyball is also guaranteed massive success. It’s one of those no brainer things. I don’t really have to review it. Haikyuu is a great anime by default. Sure, a part of me wanted it to fail (because I’m an assh*le). If it’s any other studio except Production IG then it’s likely to happen but c’mon, such a thing is impossible. From the moment you see Hinata spike a volleyball then you immediately know you’re in for a good time. The experience is exactly the same as Kuroko though. I say in both a good and a bad way. It’s good because the story is paced the same way and the action packed matches are just as intense. Kuroko no Basket has this amazing ability to get you into the moment even if you are just watching one random match on TV while you’re flipping through the channels. The excitement and the experience are intact even if you skipped the heavy exposition episodes where characters are introduced. Haikyuu is the same. When you see a match against another team, the same excitement and thrilling experience is intact effectively making each moment as awesome even if you skip a few episodes or not. Production IG’s amazing visual narrative can easily draw you in. I was personally so caught up in it that I finished the anime in one day. I did the same to Kuroko. That’s just how epic a Production IG sports anime is, damn it. It’s bad though because both shows are exactly the same. In terms of the story, Haikyuu is predictable because it’s has the same progression as Kuroko. Characters train in the first half, they enter a tournament in the second half facing off against strong teams with strong players in it and they also had the same defining ending. It’s the small details that separate the two but the predictable element is so strong that it often cuts the excitement in half. You’re basically watching Kuroko and Taiga play volleyball and the similarities might be a bit distracting.

I know a lot of people are already shaking their head. “No, Haikyuu is not the same as Kuroko. Haikyuu is better. Hinata x Kageyama forever!!”. This statement is actually true. The similarities end in the narrative progression. Haikyuu actually sets itself apart from Kuroko in a bunch of ways. First of all, there are no super powered monsters in this anime. Kuroko featured near impossible athletes fighting each other. It was the thing that turned some people off and excited others. Haikyuu has no super powered characters. They’re all just highly skilled players in a volleyball court. Although, I honestly think Haikyuu isn’t just direct about it. Hinata and Kageyama actually possess some super powers as well and the show actually featured it heavily. Their combo attack is beyond human and it’s really the same as Midorama shooting a three points from the other side of the court. Haikyuu is impressive though because the character’s growth reflects their skill. Volleyball is all about team work and the more they cooperate as a team, the more their super power is pushed to the side. Secondly, Haikyuu is a lot more comedy centric. Again, it’s because of the sports. Since opposing players don’t actually fight, the interaction on the player’s side should always be refreshing countering the serious pace of the matches. A lot of comedic moments happen inside the court and outside of it as well often being focused heavily just as much as the game itself. Kuroko had some comedy but basketball is so interactive that the anime can actually focus on the one on one face offs and build up on it. One on one face offs in Haikyuu is just short with players just returning serves and spikes. Seeing a dump serve by Kageyama in front of Oikawa is certainly not as exciting as having Taiga go up against Aomine. The way Haikyuu cuts the tension by utilizing comedy often makes the dump more memorable over the one on one match though. Both shows excel in some area over the other so the similarities won’t really ruin the show for anyone who has seen both anime. As an impartial review, I just need to mention it because it does affect a small aspect of the overall experience. Some characters often look the same. Hinata’s decoy often feels like Kuroko’s misdirection and Date Tech’s iron wall is also a bit similar to Yosen’s impenetrable defense. Seriously, the small similar undertones personally distract me and I often think that if Kuroko plays volleyball instead then it’ll be exactly like Haikyuu. I know most people won’t see it though. Production IG’s amazing visual narration easily trumps whatever similarity both shows might have.

Anyways, this anime is about an overly enthusiastic player named Hinata being forced to be teammates with an arrogant guy named Kageyama. I’m not sure how most viewers are familiar with volleyball but this anime did a good job of presenting how fun the game is. It doesn’t go overly technical though. The characters mostly just play the game while the audience slowly follows the basics being shown in the story. Tossing a ball from the other side of the court isn’t all that complicated as well but the show doesn’t feel alienating with its sports premise. It immediately featured the characters and impressively highlighted the appeal of the sports genre. Simply seeing the first episode is enough to convince you to keep on watching. Sports anime always have passionate players consumed with the game and Haikyuu easily presented that with how Hinata and Kageyama interact. It really progresses quite familiarly as well. Some of the important characters are introduced, the basics of the game are smartly explained and the Karasuno team gradually faces stronger opponents as the show progress. It contained the same format of characters playing their hardest, training to defeat a stronger team and some inspiring moments to entice the audience to play the game as well. Haikyuu is particularly special though because it really put the colorful character interaction above all else. The sports elements might be present but the playful banter between Hinata and Kageyama often comes first. It hooks the audience and the anime just gradually turns serious while the interaction remains light and fluffy. It’s certainly a different approach to the sports genre. This genre is often a bit stiff really just presenting the love for the game but its evolution is remarkable. I also think that volleyball is really an uncharted territory so there is enough room for some creative changes in regards on how to deliver the sports centered anime. This is the first one I’ve seen where teamwork is the most important and intense one on one face offs aren’t a component. It doesn’t have those Tsubasa vs. Hyuga (from Captain Tsubasa) moments or even an Arata vs. Shinobu (from Chihayafuru) showdown as well. It’s a different kind of sports anime and I think that’s why the team interaction is heavily presented above all else. It’s also why a tremendous amount of characters are shipped together. I’m guessing it was intentional but I sure hope it’s not.

Anyways, this show has a pretty simple presentation. It’s divided into the first and second half. You can tell by the different opening songs and the focus of each half. The first half is where most of the heavy exposition is dumped out. The characters are introduced, the team dynamic is set and the abilities of each character are presented as well. It doesn’t have a lot of exciting matches in it since they are all saved in the second half. The first half is mostly where the characters intensely trains and develop their skill. It is punctuated by some pretty amazing practice matches though. For the first half, the focus is divided into two arcs. The progression is mostly the same for both arcs but they focused on characters that have their own conflicts to resolve. The first arc is about Hinata and Kageyama. Hinata has sworn that he’ll be part of an actual team in high school and he’ll wipe the arrogant smug look out of Kageyama who bluntly made his first time in a school tournament such a bitter experience. To his dismay, Kageyama is actually part of his team and he hugely objected to it. His entire high school goal is ruined now that they are team mates. The two of them just don’t go well together and they made a huge spat in front of other Karasuno team members and the school’s dean that ended in a big disaster. The captain of the volleyball club is then forced to take some action. Hinata and Kageyama’s application form is rejected. They are both out of the volleyball club until they find common ground. Hinata really hates how Kageyama acts like a bossy douchebag and the other dude hates how annoying and immature Hinata is. The captain made a deal for them though. They can re-enter the club and join in on the practices and matches if they can win a match against him and the other first year applicants that joined the team. If they win, their application is accepted and they can re-join the club. If they lose, the captain simply asks that Kageyama can never be the setter for the team. It’s a huge shock for Kageyama but Hinata wonders why the consequences only affected the other guy. He’ll soon learn though just how much Kageyama loves being a setter and Kageyama will soon discover just how passionate Hinata is at volleyball.

I love the first arc. It really just focused on the relationship of Hinata and Kageyama. They started out as indifferent people who have zero respect for the other. Hinata thinks Kageyama is too bossy for his own good and Kageyama thinks Hinata’s talents are being wasted because of how careless he is. Hinata thinks that Kageyama might be a genius setter but he needs to humble himself and Kageyama thinks that Hinata needs more experience before he can acknowledge the other guy as his equal. They need to find something to agree on though because their chances to actually play in a team hang in the balance. While the two are trying to train for the upcoming match, the show slowly fleshes them out. The events back in junior high, where they first met, are actually a crucial moment for both of them. Hinata always played volleyball by himself back in junior high and he managed to gather a team only for them to be decisively beaten by Kageyama’s team. All his hard work amounted to nothing and he has since dreamed to be in an actual team where he is among other fellow volleyball enthusiasts working hard for the team. Kageyama’s life also changed in that tournament. His team mates actually hate him because of his self-serving attitude and it got to a point where they outright refused to play with him. He has the skills to enter a more impressive school but he wound up in Karasuno. The captain actually hit him where it hurts the most because Kageyama is a genius in the court and the only place for him is to be the setter. It’s a cool role because it’s his tosses that assist a spike that wins them a point. This is a surprise though because Hinata actually thinks being a spiker is the role suited for him. Slamming the ball on the other side of the court seems to be his calling. As they continue on training, they seem to slowly learn more about the other and actually become impressed with each other’s abilities. They soon started to think the other person is great.  I just love how the relationship really started from a negative one and slowly grow to a positive ten. It seems that the two can get along but Kageyama remains a bit stubborn. He refuses to give Hinata one of his tosses until Hinata can prove that he deserves them. Hinata is an honest guy though and he keeps on constantly reminding Kageyama that he’ll be there when he needs it. Volleyball is a team sports and Kageyama needs to learn that you need to depend on others for your team to win.

The first arc soon culminates in the three-on-three matchup against the captain and the other two first year applicants. This is also where the magic really happens. During the match, with the future of both players riding in the game, the colorful interaction and the intensity of the matches really blend well together making every moment interesting. Kageyama and Hinata are facing experienced people in this three-on-three matchup and they might lose if they aren’t careful. They must play together as a team if they want to win the match. The result of their teamwork though, is something both of them could never have imagined in a million years. I really love the show started from nothing. It established the characters, the status quo and the initial premise well up to the three-on-three match. I think it’s at episode five or six. The anime created a story basically from scratch and then slowly introduced everything awesome from that patient build up. You’ll be lured in the amazing animation and the familiar sports elements but I think the culminating story between Hinata and Kageyama will make you stay. After all, the combination attack they literally made up on the spot during the three-on-three match is something I think everyone would enjoy. Of course, this is also the first time where we see an actual volleyball match with all the important characters. As I said, the wonderful interaction between the characters really made the match special. The hot headed team mate of Hinata and Kageyama, the mild mannered captain, the uninspired first year and the interesting characters making up the spectators turns the straightforward volleyball match into something more interactive. How exactly do you make a sport where you toss the ball to the other side of the court special? Haikyuu answers that by making every player as eccentric as possible. Other sport anime would resort to drama as a culminating emotion where all the hard work is paying off. Haikyuu does comedy. When Hinata misses, Kageyama would yell at him. When a team scores, the loud enthusiastic character would taunt the opponent. When the match becomes too serious after the main characters are three points behind, the show would make Hinata do something stupid to undercut the tension. Volleyball is such a different sport that I think Haikyuu really needed to be different as well. I think this is why the anime is interesting in a whole lot of levels.

The second arc is about the remaining members of Karasuno. After their three-on-three match, the captain mentioned that the guardian of Karasuno is coming back. One of the shortest members of the team is soon introduced and he is actually a very strong player for the team. The guy refused to play though. He said that he won’t play volleyball as long as their ace isn’t back as well. It turns out that the two had a falling out after their first round match at the previous preliminaries where the ace’s spikes where all blocked by the opposing team. Hinata thinks that the team definitely needs both men so he tried to persuade them both. The ace is actually a bit demotivated after their loss. As the ace, his spikes are supposed to deliver the score for the team. When he keeps being shut out, he feels like he let the whole team down. Fighting against a team built on defense ruined his confidence and he has since felt scared to spike the ball knowing that he’ll let his team down. Karasuno is in a pinch without their ace and their talented libero. To make matters worse, the team’s coach has requested a practice match against Karasuno’s long standing rival. They need all the power and talent they can gather in order to stand up against the school’s rival. Of course, there’s not a lot to worry about though. When the team’s ace see Hinata and Kageyama’s impressive combo then I’m sure his motivation and passion for the sport will soon be re-ignited. The story between the libero and the ace is a pretty interesting side story as well. It had the same vibe as Hinata and Kageyama’s story. The setter makes the spiker score and the same principle goes to the libero saving the ball so the ace can win the score for his team.

The second arc also completed the entire scenario of the anime. At the culminating practice match, all the important components of the show are finally set into play. The different colorful personalities that comprise Karasuno, the amazing skills of the athletes and the boundless potential of the matches when they finally take on an opposing team all come together in the second arc. Going back to how the show builds everything from scratch, the second half is basically where everything finally feels complete and the real story can finally commence. Their practice match against the school’s rival is also pretty intense. It featured an amazing bunch of rivals that can finally go up against our main characters. After all the character drama and establishing the initial premise, the sports element can finally shine in an exciting match with talented opponents. The slow buildup is actually an important thing for this anime. Since volleyball is a heavily team centered, introducing the various Karasuno members is crucial. I think that’s why the anime started out with two arcs. It was solely trying to introduce all the characters. I think the slow introduction pays off though because the team aspect shines through in this match of Karasuno. Kageyama setting the ball and figuring out who’ll score the most in every scenario, Hinata’s amazing ability to steal the attention from other players, the libero’s ability from preventing the ball to drop to the floor, the ace’s intimidating attacks, the captain’s sound receives and all the other important players soon started to come together making this practice match that much more exciting. With so many amazing characters, Karasuno really excels in a lot of places. As some would point out though, the matches might be filled with strong athletes but the pace still remains grounded. No one enters “the zone”. It’s a silly trance-like state where your abilities rises from beyond 100% as seen in Kuroko. Instead, the characters still make basic mistakes of the ball hitting the net when they serve, being not quick enough to save the ball, fumbling when receiving the ball and so on. While Hinata and Kageyama might have their freakish combo attack, they remain grounded with how a realistic pacing of a volleyball match closely applies to the show. They even employ the method of calling time out to break the opponent’s momentum when they score consecutively. The basics are soundly intact in this anime and the characters just carry the rest of the load. Just by watching the match against their rival then I’m sure you’ll soon understand just how perfectly presented the show is and you’ll soon be finishing it in one sitting as well.

The second half is really where the real action takes place when team Karasuno finally participates in the preliminaries for the Inter-High tournament. No more practice matches and friendly rivalries and every other kind of buildup. Things finally start here. All the trainings, all the emotionally charged moments, all the comedic banter, all the weak points steadily developed are finally about to show some results when the team now compete in an actual tournament where you are eliminated when you lose one match. It’s that do or die stipulation of the Inter-high that makes it all the more exciting. Of course, all the teams Karasuno are scheduled to face are also some of the most formidable teams around. One of those teams involves a team they previously had a practice match against. Aoba Johsei is considered a premiere school and it’s considered that every starting member of the volleyball team is good enough to be an ace if they were in any other team. Aoba Johsei is all the more interesting because most of Kageyama’s former junior high team mates are part of the volleyball team. In their practice match, the other players can clearly see that Kageyama has changed and this considerably affected the pace of the match. That was just a practice match though. This time the stakes are high. This time as well, the genius setter of Aoba Johsei is confronting Kageyama in an actual match. We saw a glimpse of his scary abilities in the practice but this time, the two genius setters are out to prove they are better than the other. In the practice match as well, it was clear that Karasuno excels in attacks but Aoba Johsei, and a lot of other teams, have a lot more battle experience than them. In a drawn out match like volleyball, offense is only as good as your defense and Karasuno is badly imbalanced. This tournament will now display just how good Karasuno has grown since their practice matches and it will showcase just how Aoba Johsei earned their top four spot as best team in their last tournament. The match against this team is the highlight of the anime. Literally everything was building up for this match and I swear to gawd, I was always at the edge of my seat seeing the actual match happen and seeing Karasuno hang out for so long. It’s a gripping match and I’m sure you’ll easily be caught up in it as well.

Another notable team they are up against is Dateko High. This was the impenetrable defense that crushed the ace’s confidence. As strong as he is, Dateko had such a strong block that he could not freaking score. It’s now time for redemption. After licking his wounds and finding his resolve, the ace is now back to exact his revenge on the team that almost made him stop playing. Dateko’s blocks are really amazing when you see their front man lead the charge. Soon, it came down though to just how fast Karasuno can be. It’s a battle of speed vs. defense as the pair of Kageyama and Hinata goes up against the iron wall of Dateko. This is one of the finer matches in the anime for me because it show case the growth of Karasuno as each player was able to present their special abilities for the team. This is doubly better because Dateko is no push over. It’s a team so focused on blocking the ball that they often do it on auto mode and Karasuno really dug deep for each score. They are able to overcome a huge hurdle and still look pretty damn awesome while doing it. I also quite love how they were able to use all the things they’ve learned from previous matches and eventually try to overwhelm a much better team than theirs. Another thing I love is the face off against Hinata and Dateko’s giant, Takonobu Aone. It’s the epitome of speed vs. might displayed so wonderfully in the volleyball court.

The characters are all interesting. I don’t want to draw out this review some more by going into details with each and every one of them though. I also think that discovering each and every quirky character is actually one of the best parts of the anime. It’s also quite fascinating how much they grew throughout the run of the series. It’s not much but the team spirit rings through to all of them and they made every match point of a game truly amazing to watch. There are some characters that truly stand out though and some that comes into focus because of the colorful interaction they have with the rest of the cast. Hinata is obviously a huge standout. His never say die attitude really captures the appeal of the anime but his fumbling personality and inexperienced body grounds the show to make the volleyball matches as believable as possible. Kageyama is outstanding as well. Did anyone notice his hair flip in the first few episodes? I bet some lonely fujoshi noticed it. Tell me in the comments. I want to meet the fellow freak that saw that feminine side of Kageyama as well. This dude is highly skilled in the game though and I love how every strong point of his personality clashes with Hinata’s. The first half is so enjoyable because of his amazing bromance with the other lead. The libero and the ace also had some kind of bromance. They aren’t notable by themselves though often being only noticed when they show their talent or when the libero confesses his undying loyalty to the ace. The rest of the team mates are also pretty cool. From the overly enthusiastic third year, the other setter of the team, the lackadaisical first year, the cool coach and even the silent team manager, they all contribute to the dialogue and often steal the spotlight for themselves. The manager is pretty special though because she’s the only girl in this sausage fest of an anime. I love her quiet demeanor as oppose to the other bright personalities of the team.

The opponents are also pretty amazing as well. From the genius of Aoba Johsei to Nekoyama’s introverted tactical genius to the iron wall of Dateko, they might not be generation of miracles but they had enough awesome abilities to really set themselves apart. Their strong reliable game experience and their strong drive to win also make them really formidable. The storytelling in the court is so amazing that every member from each side of the court has a chance to really display their skill. It’s one of the reasons why the various opponents are so amazing when they play. I remember how I keep feeling defeated when Aoba Johsei wins a point thanks to their skilled setter and I also remember how loud my voice was when Hinata blazes past the iron wall of Dateko. Each match is really fun to watch and it’s partly thanks to the amazing opponents Karasuno faces.

Obviously, a second season is coming. If it is exactly like Kuroko, in terms of story, then another season is really needed to give closure to the whole thing. There are a lot of things left untended to in the anime. We still didn’t get to see the best volleyball team display their monstrous ability. We didn’t get a chance for the two rival schools in Nekomata and Karasuno face off in an official match and there is still some room left for an epic Kageyama and Toru Oikawa rematch. I honestly think that Production IG will deliver on this. There are a lot more cool stuff in the manga that haven’t happened in the anime yet so I can see a second season not that far behind. Susumu Mitsunaka is a pretty small time director. I think it means a lot though to be working at Production IG so good for him. His only other work as a director is Cutice Tantei Inaba. He is certainly a bland director because all the awesomeness of Haikyuu sprung from the manga. Haruichi Furudate is an amazing storyteller and I am just glad Susumu is able to adapt the work decently. I am so excited for the second season. I recently discover that most season twos tend to suck big time but I think a second season of a sports anime will rarely disappoint. Judging by my experience with Kuroko, Haikyuu is really only going to get better with another season. I cannot f*cking wait. With the potential being so absolutely limitless and boundless for this anime, one can only wonder how amazing the experience will be with another season of this magnificent show.

Sight and Sound

Haruichi’s design is pretty great. I do notice a lot of pointy things though. The face is round but the sides down the chin is very sharp. The sharp details are also very present in the eyes and the various points of the hair. This makes most slender character types look very meek but then they’ll sport some awesome emotions that’ll tell you otherwise. There are some wide ranges in the design. Some characters look pointy while others have boxish faces and it often supports their personality. I quite like the character design though because it’s not your typical sports character design where muscles are a huge appeal for them. Most muscles are in the legs so the faces often look gentle and the body built isn’t all that muscular. Of course, this doesn’t mean that their bodies don’t look great. There are still some great proportions in the body and there are some great tones that shape up certain parts. When you see Hinata speed up, the body tones are insanely beautiful as you see the muscles tense up. I think Haruichi is able to capture a pleasing sports character design while also making sure the characters aren’t too overly muscular. But seriously though, the character design shines through the most because of Production IG’s high quality presentation. The color palette and the subtle character traits are carried over wonderfully that you are really seeing Haruichi’s vision come to life. Another thing though that I quite like and hate at the same time is Production IG’s ability to make masculine characters look feminine. When I saw Kuroko no Basket, I noticed how really feminine Kuroko looks. He is much rough looking in the manga but Production IG said to make him unconsciously an uke so Taiga can be a seme. This won’t make sense for some so I think a GIF will help you understand. Take a look at this:

It’s a short scene but in one fell swoop, he took off his clothes, put on his glasses like a dreamy manly man then swayed his hips walking towards the court. He was masculine and a bit feminine in the same shot. This was really the ground breaking idea that made Kuroko famous. It appealed not only to boys and girls who are fan of sports but also to people who love shipping pretty faces together. It is a subliminal bait that I think hooked a lot of fishes. Remember how Taiga looked while crawling like a baby when the puppy was trying to lick him. Kageyama does a lot of hair flips in this anime and a ton of characters blushes…a lot. It attributes to the comedy but also flashes some subliminal hooks. Watch this anime you fujoshi b*tch and love it. Production IG can rule the world if they aren’t careful.

The animation is obviously outstanding. I don’t have to point this out. Production IG can make a checkers match intense. The right amount of flashy animation coupled by some impressive camera angles and close up shots really add a lot to the visual narrative. The fast spikes, the devastating blocks and the serves all look freaking amazing. It captured the proper body poses and the correct posture for each move that it’s freaking amazing how much detail is put in every frame. Even the practice sessions look pretty awesome. The facial expressions are so alive that it was able to give us a great detail of the pace of the matches. Production IG is a monster when it comes to animation. There is no need to question if the animation is good. It obviously f*cking is. This comes out as well in the comedy. The various outbursts and the comedic responses to them are also pretty amazing. Most of the jokes are physical gags and the animation gave justice for every punch line a character gives.

The anime has two OP. The first one is “Imagination” by SPYAIR. This is an amazing OP song. It gets you pumped up from the very first beat and the wonderful verse. It then explodes in an exciting chorus that’ll set the tone for the rest of the anime. Spyair is actually one of the best new bands on the scene and their great style certainly fits in the mainstream market. It’s no wonder they’re one the fast rise because they make wonderful songs like this one. The OP sequence features all the Karasuno members practicing. It also shows off the impressive animation of Production IG. I think I drooled the first time I saw the ace toss a ball and three players missed it. The timing is so precise and the movement flowed like poetry, damn it. It matches the energy of the song setting up the tone for the show as well. The second one is “Ah Yeah!!” by Sukima Switch. My gawd, I really like this singer. He has a laidback style that I am a huge sucker for. The OP song is a more mellowed out version with some strong guitar rhythms but certainly not as pumped as the first one. It does have some great lyrics to it that I think really captured the feel of the anime. The pumped up energy is brought upon by the OP sequence though. It featured an intense scene of the characters playing in the court with the camera moving from one player to another It’s pretty damn awesome.

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The anime has two ED. The first one is “Tenchi Gaeshi” by NICO Touches the Walls. This is one hell of a band. I’m glad their style is being featured in an anime. They usually have a strong acoustic beat that is complimented by the singer’s amazing cool voice. They then layer the whole thing with a catchy beat that’ll make people bop their heads to the catchy rhythm. The same style is present in this song. The singer’s cool voice is accompanied by some amazing arrangement all throughout the run of the sequence. The ED sequence features Hinata running and the rest of Karasuno looking on capturing his never ending spirit and the team spirit ringing true as well. The second one is “LEO” by tacica. This is a mellow song and it is accompanied by a mellowed out sequence. The song is just like Nico’s but it is more relaxed of sorts. The singer’s voice is amazing though being able to slow down the fast lyrics with his steady cool voice. The ED sequence features Kageyama acting all emo and cute. It ends with a ball hitting him in the back. He crunches his face with a cute scowl and then relaxes it for a smile. It is absolutely incredible to watch especially after learning a lot about him in the run of the show.

Overall Score

9/10 “The amazing visual narration coupled by the great story and memorable characters makes this one of the best sports anime around.”

I stand by my statement. This is a unique sports anime because of how different the game of volleyball is. Every character is given a chance to shine and the team centric sport gave us a lot of memorable characters to easily fall in love with. Coupled by the slow buildup of the story and the massive pay off the final match gave us, I honestly think that the anime experience Haikyuu gives us is unlike any other. If you’re a fan of the sports genre then you’ll easily love this anime. If you simply enjoy Production IG anime then go check this one out. If you loved how impressive Kuroko no Basket is then you should definitely see an anime up to par with it like this one. If you like shipping characters then there is a b*tch ton of them here and you’ll love each and every one of them. It’s one hell of a sports anime for me. I highly recommend it.

 

48 thoughts on “Haikyuu!! Review

  1. Hmm, I think the manga isn’t as good as the anime as you’ve said. Cuticle Detective Inaba is shit, but the director really stepped up and elevated the source material a hell lot. I read the manga but stopped 15 chapters in or so because the presentation just isn’t on par with what the anime provides. There’s some really, really well-thought out cinematography that is completely original (not in the manga) that I think elevates it about just being a really well-animated show.

    The first episode in particular really just grabbed me and didn’t let go. There’s also this brash, youthful vibe to Haikyuu that I didn’t get in Kuroko with the series not taking itself as seriously and all 😀

    (also, Kageyama is rly hot. episode 25 had his torso revealed and DAMN. Sugawara, the other setter, is also a real sweetheart)

    • Ah, also, the anime has some FAB sound direction and such an atmospheric OST. In particular the bits of diegetic sound when Aoba Johsai’s supporters cheer for Oikawa when he serves…..ugh those moments are so great.

      • oh yeah. the music is outstanding as well. there is also this beautiful acoustic piece played at the start of the series that often appears when a character gets sentimental. it definitely sets some nice mood during those cute scenes.

    • to be fair, i think the cinematography is amazing but i still think that the manga is pretty good. i’m not sure what put you off but i think the manga held its own by giving each match a decent progression per panel.

      true, cuticle tantei inaba is shit…but its funny shit, lol.

      i have a huge crush on the other setter. i also admire how calm he was against aoba johsei.

      • I think the manga needs to work on ball trajectory. I had a hard time seeing where it came from most of the time. Kurobasu did not give me hard time trying to figure out where the ball is coming/going. Haikyuu hardly uses the after image effect of the ball. We usually just see the ball forming that straight brush stroke for spikes — but for sets and receives?? This is me being scrutinizing how it’s drawn though.

        The scene where Hinata and Kageyama ran screaming after their defeat with Aoba Jousai also was more felt in the anime than the manga. Those panels were so lifeless in 2D – I can’t think of how the mangaka could have given life into it though so anime is the way to enjoy Haikyuu for me. I’m still reading it though…

        • alright, i never really read the manga. i just read a few chapters to discern the character design. i never really read it through and through. if people who read says its not good then i guess it is. XD

          i have to say though. i always believe in the notion that the manga is better than the anime. it’s like a default mindset for me. seeing people say the anime is superior just blow my mind a bit. i never thought it could be possible. XD

  2. I actually wanna watch this anime it is actually a tumblr favourite. I think it comes with Chiyafuru, Slam Dunk, Kuroko no basket and even Free! (Free! when it decided not to shove fanservice on was actually very specific about swimming if they focused on that they could have made it better).

      • Hahahahah I actually like Hinata a bit. Kageyama (is a cool name reminds me of Kageyama Reiji from Gatekeepers) is kinda like Kaede Rukawa as in technique and execution of that technique. I would love to see a sports anime more for the sports storyline than pairings you know XD

        • lol, ofcourse that much is obvious. I think a lot of people watch sports anime for the posts. haha.
          after two years of being soaked in otome and bishie filled rags, I think I have acquired a fujoshi mindset on most things. haha

          • HAHAHAH I know what you mean I was watching Queen’s Blade earlier and watching ecchi anime at times made me acquire a view that two females will become a fanon or canon and will be shipped relentlessly and you can be prepared to see them come close to sex or some really sexual stuff. Revolutionary Girl Utena introduced me to more extended shoujo-ai but it wasn’t ecchi rather it was a treatise on sexuality. Nowadays you don’t have romance without ecchi but there was a time you could see a very serious and jaw grabbing relationship happening without even a touch being committed like in Rurouni Kenshin. I kinda miss that because it made some things substantial.

            • there really isbn’t anymore pure ecchi and even pure romance in anime nowadays. they’re all mixed like comedy/ecchi and romance/drama. i’m quite surprised you are watching Queen’s Blade. that is super mega dirty. good for yiu, i guess. XD

              • Yeah I watched it. Gave it a chance. It has a great story realustic growth of a warrior so I ignored all those other shit that was satured like 24/7th boobs and ass and etcetera

                  • I saw those things and got kinda scared but the latter parts were interesting. I gave it a bit of chance. I didn’t like that first instance it was really gross for me and I remember cringing. The Exploding boobs was a tactic so I didn’t mind that much but the peeing was really disgusting.

                    • oh you didn’t like the pee? It was actually the boobs that I didn’t quite like. haha. Sadly, I haven’t finished Queen’s Blade. I plan of reviewing it though since I need an anime in my alphabetical list starting with a Q. XD

  3. Though it’s an old anime I wanna see you you review Slam Dunk and yeah also ghost in the shell and its new series arise 🙂

    • oh gosh. i’m mostly reviewing new anime but maybe i might get a chance to try some old ones down the line. i’m not ruling it out but also don’t expect it soon. 🙂

      • Yeah sure. I don’t mind reviewing the olds. I don’t see a lot of new animes anyway. I should be seeing Log Horizon and Sword Art Online but for some reason they did not interest me as much as .Hack/Sign the first one. Probably because anime storytelling pacing has someone become hasty and a bit too fan service oriented.

        Like in Free! I know it can exist independently without any romance of any type and actually be more like Slam Dunk but it didn’t do that though it is not a great series it is actually good when it features swimming. And there are more anime titles now than they were in the past making your attempts to watch so many new ones is something very admirable. Because most titles no matter what genre they are I wouldn’t care because some are just like 12 episodes and don’t give much exposition required to carry the story forward and some are just too large for a 24 episode or 26 episode lineup.

        I am just watching Legend of Korra now as I want to complete the series and this last Book is more interesting than the Book 3 one. Though LOK is not really an anime and just follows its style I pretty much like it. I think I should have watched Madoka Magica because apparently even for a shoujo magical series it was pretty different. But after what CLAMP did with its characters I am pretty fed up with that genre I guess.

        Sorry, I talked too much 😛

        • Well yeah, Hack.sign did it first with the unable to log out concept but I think both SAO and Log has something interesting to offer. I especially love Log Horizon because of how well written it is albeit the slow progression.

          Free is actually a huge fujoshi bait. I consider it the very first female minded Ecchi anime. The swimming is just a small part of it much like how rocking out is just a part of K-On. They are strong foundations but they’re trumped by fan service and moe. While I think the sports of Free is decent, I think the first episode is enough to tell you that the thing is an ecchi anime, lol.

          CLAMP? what do you mean? They had a hand in madoka?
          and LOK is amazing.

          And comment all you want. I’ll try to reply to all of them. XD

          • I actually like Free because by 2nd season there was actually important character developments and swimathons but yeah it is one of the first mainstream female ecchi. Haruka Nanase is a character that has a lot of potential I can actually see him in an anime like Kuroko no Basket or Naruto. Or even wearing a Kamui or life fibre armour in Kill la Kill mode hahaha there are characters that are not suited for you know their series I was actually writing about it how this shounen-ai guy of Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi should just be in a shounen manga and anime with lots of fighting 🙂

            Nah, CLAMP just ruined themselves with your in your face crossovers and I hated Sakura in Tsubasa chronicles I still think some of CLAMP’s perfect works are Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, CLAMP detectives and the very mature X-1999. Yeah Clamp school detectives wasa shouta fest but some parts were interesting.

            LOK has become amazing again at Book 4. Book 3 was a clusterfuck, pardon my tongue. Book 2 was brilliant and I wished they did polish on the conflicts in Book 1 oh well. I am waiting to see how Balance balances out the series.

            • lol. is the second season good? i’m glad you liked it. lol
              and the lead in a kill la kill costume is just awesomely insane.
              and a sekaichii hatsukoi character in a shounen sounds intriging.

              that is true. clamp ruined themselves by making sajura grow up. i heard the manga is pretty good though. plus those cameos are pretty cool. if you stuck around long like clamp then you’re boundto produce some clunkers.

              oh, that’s great. lok is pretty awesome.

              • Well yeah the second season was great actually for its genre. I am old anime fan with kinda vintage taste so I didn’t come into anime on the bandwagon or train of OTP or pairings and fangirl screaming. I actually came from a time where a OTP or even pairings were secondary to plot or character development. I always loved anime for its explicit psychological analysis and unique storytelling of things that both conform and don’t.

                I think in Free! a canon pairing was already established as in Haruka/Rin though there is the Haruka/Makoto camp which I really don’t care about. About pairings the director said if Haru was a girl he would choose Makoto as a logical choice but that;s all he said about that so he himself was probably opting a more Rin/Haruka stance. Either way I wasn’t too bothered to be honest. What I liked about the 2nd TV series was actually they showed flaws in Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa and even Rei including their new character Sousuke. In the first one Rin was considered an “antagonist” due to his reluctance to accept his feelings and his flaws in swimming. That guy was on the throne on the flaw. Haruka became a bitchy bastard at times in this one and for good reason because he is hiding his deficiencies. I really wished they did not have too much of a generic ending when they pulled out some different angles. I am always interested in plot more and characters more than too much romance.

                I actually loved Satsuki Kiryuin in Kill la Kill but yes Senketsu’s armour was really cool when it is in battle mode with its crimson glow and its evolution. I like Ryouko’s badass approach and I like how she isn’t a generic badass who can tear into everything but has to learn how to use her armour. Though it was still a bit fast paced it has Ryouko facing really strong enemies. In one fight with that blind guy if Harime had not interrupted she would have lost that time because she is too cocky but then she evolves so much she might win now

                Well like how you talked about Kanade Kohinata I find Ritsu Onodera like that very expressive and has beautiful posture and a beautiful heart with ambitiousness that all the other characters severely lack. I think he is a great lead in any action oriented or different animes because of his innocence juxtaposed with skill and some experience. That’s how I perceived it 🙂

                I did not mind that Sakura grew up because the teen Sakura was shown in the manga at Card Captor Sakura end . What I hated is that they diluted her intelligence and badass attitude which was such an awesome combo with her sweet gir elements l and made her a limp, passive, clotted princess in Tsubasa Chronicles. It was horrendous and also they do crossovers just to make their own original work remembered like how they did so in Blood-C which was also poorly written even the movie (I really also hate in general that no fan can stand their pairing being criticized I mean c’mon it’s just a pairing dammit). Blood series was made stupid by CLAMP yes I loved the impetus of the idea they divulged that was very, very good and mature but I mean the execution and continuation in movie was horrible. Saya has always been a complex character even from the fragmentary stuff we saw in the 2000 film that started the franchise so I cannot understand why just simplify her on actions? I think CLAMP is having a hard time adjusting to the superficial or rather mass produced modern anime culture.

                I mean like you I am not really a diehard otome fan. I just happened to go through Tumblr or your site and pick up what looks design good or time passable fun. I don’t always have the time or patience nowadays to see long animes when they become saturated with weird sexual vibes or fanservice. I only saw Queen’s Blade because I play the MMO and was surprised that they had very interesting moments and matured ones including a realistic depiction of a warrior as a novice which I hardly saw in DBZ or even Naruto because all their characters start out “gifted” and become too strong in too little a time. I was happy to see how badly Leena sucked and I felt involved in her ascension as a greater fighter and warrior not to mention you empathize and love the integrity and nobility in Claudette.

                I think Legend of Korra also suffered in making Korra’s journal too generic at first so I am happy that in Books 2 and 4 Korra is learning how to be more spiritual because that is important. Unlike Aang Korra is actually very cocky at the beginning being always told she is an avatar so when she met opponents that were stronger and even didn’t have to use bending I was happy. I felt compared to Aang she faced more brutal challenges and I liked that.

                • well, I guess I’d have to try Free for myself soon haha. i think you’re reading a bit too much on things though but that’s just me. I also do like the psychological analysis and the storytelling in anime. 🙂

                  I’m a bit opposite on Ryuko I don’t quite like how she was presented in Kill la Kill. I honestly think Satsuki is a better lead especially with how she was the focus on the later parts of the anime along with her drama against her mother.

                  I dunno Ritsu in shounen sounds plausible I guess he has a soft side akin to a hero but then again, he spent bent down on a table being f*cked by someone bigger than him writhing in pleasure the entire run of the series Maybe he can work in shounen but I guess the potential sex of Sekaichii just does it for me.

                  I don’t read manga so i honestly don’t know how CLAMP is doing these days. Well yeah though, Sakura in Tsubasa Chronicles suck. I don’t imagine her a damsel in distress like how tsubasa turned her into. and people really hate Blood C. I haven’t seen the movie but I think series was good. The accelerating gore is a CLAMP M.O. that I actually think worked in the series.

                  Queen’s Blade has a game. oh wow XD

                  • Yeah that part about Ritsu bored me to hell. So have you watched Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi both seasons? The potential sex does what for you like the series is just that and you are like okay whatever this is a fujoshi or gay fluff and I take it as that?

                    I think what I disliked about Blood-C is Saya’s lack of complexity and the acknowledgment of Fumito by her which no incarnation of Saya would do much. I mean I understand she is empathetic but Saya does look at the collateral and direct damages people do. So I think the anime was a bit crappy. Also Fumito’s desires are pretty generic and kinda stupid. It shows his grasp of things are pretty immature and fucked up.

                    I have a feeling you enjoyed Queen’s Blade a lot XD I liked the pacing and story development the echi was just blah for me. I mean I wouldn’t mind seeing Tomoe and Leena et together and in anime I don;t really bother much even if Claudette got with her though as her half-sister it would be kinda weird though for Leena the anime focuses on Risty, Claudette and Tomoe as her pairings I think. I think personally Leena if she wants a shoujo-ai stint should just date Tomoe.

                    • I have reviewed the first season. For some reason, I cannot find a good copy of the second season and I just kindof forgot about it. XD I am hungrily excited to review Love Stage though. It came out in Summer 2014 and it’s a shounen ai like Sekaichii. Might not be as good though.
                      um yeah, as a guy who have seen tentacle porn ad boku no pico without being mentally disturbed, a yaoi doesn’t really affect me In fact, a friend of mine is so into it that I was once forced to read one where two dudes stuck beer bottles up their ass. Its..yeah…something.

                      lalalalala. I haven’t seen the movie yet. I guess Blood C’s Saya just isn’t something people like. Then again, some people hate how much of a crybaby Saya is in Blood plus. Maybe its because Blood the last vampire is just too awesome XD

                      I have only seen one episode but I can tell that its mega dirty. It’ll possibly trump High School DxD in the ecchi fan service department. XD

  4. Pingback: Haikyuu!! Review | The Pantless Anime Blogger | aevumus ♠

  5. No one enters “the zone”. It’s a silly trance-like state where your abilities rises from beyond 100% as seen in Kuroko.
    Weak
    ^

    No one enters “the zone,” which is a silly trance-like state where your abilities rises from beyond 100% as seen in Kuroko!
    Stronger!

    Ze English xD.

    Anyway! Nice review! I’ll take time later to comment more but it seems you liked it ALOT!

    Rather surprising to me actually 😛

    Fun as always! ~7*

    • oh gosh, I do admit my english isn’t all that good. Thank you for the correction. I also know my use of tenses changes in my review.
      But then again, when you write a 5700 plus words in a review then you kinda let small grammatical things like that go.
      thank you for reading my review

  6. Nice review! This is a series I absolutely fell in love with and had me at hello. Like you, I finished the anime in one sitting and the rest of the manga in another. Still, I must’ve seen the anime about 5 times, and not once have I ever noticed a hair flip by Kageyama. Now, I’m probably going to back and watch the show all over again to see if I notice it this time.

    I don’t have anything against yaoi pairings, but for the life of me, I can’t ship any of these characters together. I guess it’s because they all act so much like brothers that shipping them romantically feels incestuous to me. It kinda squicks me out, to be honest. :S

    But THANK GOD I’m not the only one with a massive crush on Sugawara! I think he’s my first anime crush, which I never thought would be possible. But now, I don’t feel so alone anymore. T_T

    • I’ll make a GIF of it just for you so you can see it as well. Its just asubtle motion though kinda like the GIF above.

      What? Kageyama and Hinata is my secret awesome otp XD Well yeah, the tema work translates to the characters almost being like brothers but still, they’re my otp. XD

      first anime crush? that’s nice. 🙂

  7. Pingback: [Anime Review] Haikyu!! (2014) - The Grand Shuckett

  8. nice review. I find Haikyu is mooooreeee amazing than KNB. It only took one episode to take get my interest and attention, while KNB took more than 10 episodes to make me interested.. and it is not the same vibe as what Haikyu can give…. and thats true that HAIKYU is mmmoooreee realistic and believable, while KNB is hard to make it convincing. like how can they delivered the idea of the Kuroko’s lack of presence.. and why he got bleeding when he played Kise,,, I dont really get the straightforward Idea about Kuroko’s and Kagami’s objectives for being the best in basketball like what Kageyama and Hinata have. it is sooo much in a very different level. Really…
    I dont really agree with the statement “if Kuroko plays volleyball instead then it’ll be exactly like Haikyuu”.. It will not because although they have similarities about the first duo combination and stuff but basically we cannot say Hinata is replaceable by Kuroko or otherwise because the approach of both animes are different.
    For me, if i must find the similarities between the duos, it is like Kuroko’s skill is more like Kageyama.. both of them are the setters, right? also the shadows that protects the lights (Hinata and Kagami). Both of them also have oikawa-Kise type…
    the relationships and interraction between the duo are also different, although both Kageyama and Kagami love touching their partners’ hair.. because we cannot say Kuroko= hinata, or Kageyama=Kagami..
    the slow-pace motion delivered in the volleygame in this anime is more entertaining and realistic than KNB. the chara developments for all of the team in Haikyu are more beautifully developed. like how they emphasized that all of the team are important and deserve to be explored more… like how they explored Tsukki and Yamaguchi in the lastest episodes..

    but KNB is not that bad. it is not as good as Haikyu I feel…

  9. Pingback: “Haikyuu!!” Gives Me Life and This is Why – The Weekly Three with Maj

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