「三日目」 (Mikka Me)
While the epilogue finale of Haikyuu was mostly subdued like I was anticipating, there sure were a lot of frustrated outbursts to keep things interesting. It was somewhat humorous since it’s not often we see Kageyama blow his cool
Aside from that, this episode proved to be both a heart-wrenching and promising look at Karasuno’s volleyball team, whose desire and determination to improve foreshadows some exciting things to come. It also re-emphasized that Shiratorizawa—and not Aoba Jousai—is the real team that they need to strive to beat if they expect to have any hope of getting to the nationals and doing well there. That in turn implies that they will at some point improve enough to compete with not only Oikawa’s group, but also Ushijima Watatoshi’s (Takeuchi Ryouta). The mere thought of that makes me tempted to go check out the manga, but I’ll refrain from doing so in anticipation of a second season. With that said, on to the final impressions!
To Random Curiosity readers old and new, the most meaningful impression that I can probably say about Haikyuu is that if I had known about it sooner, I would’ve gotten out of my two-plus-year blogging hiatus sooner. That’s coming from someone who doesn’t normally follow sports anime too, except the odd one that catches my eye while doing research for a season preview. However, as someone who used to play a fair bit of volleyball and been enamoured by the sport, I’ve longed for a modernized anime about it. There’s a lot of anime about baseball and soccer given their popularity in Japan, but volleyball always seems to be forgotten for some reason despite its popularity. Along comes Haikyuu and that void is finally filled. It’s not filled in just any old way though, as Haikyuu turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and engaging anime series that I’ve watched in a while.
That’s largely credited to how the series highlights many aspects of the sport, presents them in a non-alienating way to those who are unfamiliar with it, and features a huge cast of unique and relatable characters to draw viewers in. That last point is especially important, as Haikyuu not only tells a multifaceted and layered story from the protagonists’ perspective, but also from those of their opponents. At times, I found myself torn between whether I wanted our protagonists to win a match or their opponents. Because of that, I found the series very true to the friendly yet competitive nature of volleyball, where the lack of direct contact with one’s opponents makes it really easy to appreciate what they do well on their side of the net. Generally, nothing is considered a “dirty play” in volleyball, so once a match is over and the disappointment for the loser has subsided, experienced players will generally take away what they did well and how they can improve based on how their opponents played. Haikyuu has done an exceptional job at depicting this nuance, and uses it effectively as a means to propel the story forward for the members of Karasuno High.
Volleyball aside, I can’t stress enough how good Haikyuu is to those who aren’t into sport or sports anime altogether. The series has a knack for engaging viewers by telling a story where subplots just flow seamlessly into one another. It also has the perfect balance of seriousness and comedy, and knows when to use each of them so that it doesn’t disrupt the competitive mood. The production values—despite some dips in quality in one or two episodes—are well above average thanks to Production I.G and the music that goes with it is incredible for inducing feelings of excitement and anticipation. When we put all of that together, it simply means that Haikyuu has all the makings of a great anime. This adaptation is well-poised for a sequel and based on how the manga volumes are selling in Japan, it looks like it will probably get one. If you haven’t gotten on the Haikyuu bandwagon now, as one fan of anime to another, I strongly suggest that you get on board now and find out first-hand what all the well-warranted commotion is about. It’s been a pleasure covering the second half of this adaptation and I look forward to covering a potential second season in the future.
Full-length images: 15.