Haikyuu!! ReviewKatrina Hummel
Nowadays there is an anime for pretty much every sport, even some ones that don't seem like having an anime for said sport would be possible... (I'm looking at you Free!) But volleyball was one where I thought, oh hey maybe this could work! Haikyuu!! was a pleasant ride full of laughs, feels, and good old fashion diving for volleyballs action.
The Haikyuu!! anime aired in April of 2014, with 25 episodes animated by Production I.G. The manga has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since 2012 and is still running, so if you're like me and cant get enough of this anime, the manga is there to fulfill your needs, you junkies you.
The plot starts with middle school student Shoyo Hinata catching a match of volleyball for the national championships while passing a TV store. One of the star players of that match is the number 10 of the Karasuno Volleyball team, nick named The Little Giant. Shoyo, being quite short himself immediately idolizes someone who, despite being at a disadvantage height wise, uses his jumping power to gain an advantage. He then decides to join his middle schools volleyball club, except hes the only member... Still he forges on, training hard so that one day he can stand on a volleyball court during a tournament. Practicing by himself everyday, and conning his friends into helping him practice every now and then, he finally manages to get a small team together and enters into a local tournament with his rag tag group of friends. Only to be up against the school who is one of the best, good enough where people say they could win the championship. This team they are facing includes the king of the court Kageyama Tobio. Of course they suffer a crushing defeat, but not before Shoyo gets a chance to show off his speed and jumping ability he worked so hard to build alone. Shoyo vows to defeat the current king of the court, thus he enters Karasuno high school and rushes straight to the volleyball club to begin his long road to defeat Kageyama only to find..... Yup you guessed it, the king of the court himself also entered Karasuno high, and the volleyball club. This was just the first episode, you can see what they have to overcome next... Not the wall of blockers stopping spikes, but each other and learn how to work together.
Honestly, its the characters that totally make this anime one of the best sports anime I have ever seen. It reminded me a lot of Ookiku Furikabutte, that baseball anime with the super lovable dork for a main character, and that made Ookiku stick in my mind. This is my second time watching through Haikyuu and I don't normally rewatch things so soon after seeing them the first time unless they're amazing. The characters here all have their own little quirks, things their great at, and things they could all use a little bit more work on... Personality wise AND volleyball skills wise. There will be some character you like, and someone you dont like, I promise you.
The animation is really good! Its different from what I'm used to, but that makes it stick out, not in a bad way but a unique way. Production I.G. has a lot of skill under their belt, so even the different animation style doesn't stick out, and remains natural and fluid throughout the whole series. Their are a couple moments where the animation really shines through, during especially dramatic moments and times when they are emphasizing speed and power. These moments are extremely well animated, yet the rest of the episode doesn't lack on animation either.
I had to watch a few episodes with headphones, and there were times when I just turned the volume up because the BGM made it so intense, you'd think their lives were on the line with a volleyball match! The music matched the scenes really well, and never seemed out of place. The voice actors all did an amazing job bringing the characters to life, and the voices all seemed to match each characters personality.
Overall I loooove Haikyuu! Its got to be one of my favorite sports anime and have already recommended it to a few friends, so here's my official recommendation to you! Even if you don't specifically play volleyball, I felt motivated to get out and do my best at practically anything thanks to this anime!
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.
"Hello! I'm Katrina, a senior in college and major in Japanese. My interests include anime and Japan, but recently also drawing and guitar. I'm looking forward to doing a lot of anime reviews!"
About the Author: Katrina Hummel
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