I have found a new obsession and its name is Haikyu!! Seriously I am regretting that this show has been around for so long without me even paying attention to its’ existence. Forgive me Anime gods.
I picked up this show a few days ago on a whim. I’ve never really watched any sports anime and this showed up on my Hulu account as something I might be interested in so I thought I’d give it a whirl. People let me put this in perspective for you. There are 24 episodes and I told you I started watching this a few days ago…. That’s right I hard-core binged my way through the first season. I have no regrets. This show is amazing.
“Haiku!! Is a slice-of-life sports anime revolving around Shoyo Hinata’s love of volleyball. Inspired by a small-statured pro volleyball player, Hinata creates a volleyball team his last year of middle school. Unfortunately the team is matched up against the “King of the Court” Tobio Kageyama’s team in their first tournament and inevitably lose. After the crushing defeat, Hinata vows to surpass Kageyama. After entering high school, Hinata joins the volleyball team only to find that Tobio has also joined.”
That’s the description you’ll be given if you look this anime up but I’d elaborate. Yes, that is the beginning but the show quickly grows into something more. I would say that the best word to describe this show would be redemption each character seems to be trying to find their way past something that has held them back or hurt them. It doesn’t matter if they’re on Hinata’s team or are their opponents; each character seems to be reaching for redemption in one way or another.
The thing about redemption though is that it never comes easy and that’s the great thing about this show. It doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Teams don’t change over night due to a few good players and all teams want to win. Every player has their reasons for playing. Every player is terrified of choking and letting their teammates down. Speaking as someone who played sports I can say yes they were a lot of fun. I loved hanging out with my team joking around, but they were also a lot of pressure. I love how this show balances the two.
As I mentioned above this show doesn’t sugarcoat things and does a great job of showing what it is really like to play sports on a competitive level. Winning is a combination of mentality, natural ability, and hard work. So which do you need more of in order to win?
Hinata works harder than anyone but he wants to be an ace spiker and barely clears 5 ft. Is the ability to work harder enough to outweigh the fact that all of the blockers tower over him?
Kageyama is a volleyball genius. He has natural talent to spare but does that natural talent make up for his inability to trust his teammates? Can you play a team sport all by yourself and win?
I choose two of the main characters to emphasis this idea but the reality is that each of the players in this show is at some point or another dealing with these issues. Are they working hard enough? Is there head in the game or are they mentality shattered? At what point does raw talent take over? These are the same questions all athletes ask themselves and the answers are different for every player. This show understands that and it shows with the characters.
I think one of the big reasons they are able to highlight this so effectively is that the show truly focuses on the team and how they interact with each other. The show doesn’t have a love interest storyline because it would be totally unnecessary. This isn’t about getting a girlfriend or boyfriend this is about pushing yourself to the limit in a sport you love.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a romantic but not every story has to have a romantic love interest to make it good. Honestly for this story it would just drag it down at this point. Without the love side stories we’re able to focus on the team itself. It’s their relationships with each other that are going to make or break whether or not they become a winning team and it is clear the author understands that.
The bromance is strong between the team in this story and I love it. I’m not talking yaoi either (GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME)! I’m talking about seeing a team honestly come together as friends in order to take their team to the next level. Yes, they sometimes get angry at each other and sometimes they tease each other but at the end of the day they’re always trying to improve each other. They have a clear understanding that by helping each other out they help the team out. That is true with any sports team.
Last but not least I love this anime because it is written in a way where you connect with the characters. It has a way of making you become emotionally involved in the show. You want them to win and to become better players. You laugh when they laugh and cry when they cry. I honestly couldn’t help it.
Do yourself a favor and watch this show. Even if you’ve never really watched a sports anime before I honestly think you’ll like this. It has a great storyline and the characters are fantastic. I laughed a lot at the comedy in this show and I’m not ashamed to say that I totally ugly cried towards then end. I can’t wait to start season two.
Now it’s your turn 🙂 How do you feel about Haikyu!! Any sports anime you’d recommend?
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