Some people said there were almost no good anime in the season of Spring 2014. I beg to differ. Haikyuu has been one of my top favourites for 2014 for far (and yes, I count it as a Spring 2014 anime), and it has even made my Summer 2014 a lot better. (That having said, Haikyuu would probably be in the top few for my summer 2014 rankings if it could count but nah..). Haikyuu is a solid example of an anime well done. A top tier anime that hits straight in the heart. It does takes the risks for having cheesy moments but they are more often than not, pulled off very well. Haikyuu takes the small tiny details that matter and expands and makes them powerful motifs that overall leads to a very pleasant and emotional experience.
Haikyuu is a 25 episode long series about high school volleyball. (with an ongoing manga and an almost definite season 2) And just like all other sports anime, it takes the format of “tournaments after tournaments, matches after matches”. It is inevitable. What else can you do about sports anime anyway? Haikyuu does manage to make every match memorable, fresh and emotional. I cannot tell you how many times the wave of feels started rising up my throat almost causing me to choke. That is how good Haikyuu is.
My favourite motif in Haikyuu is the motif of losing. It is so great sometimes that you wonder what kind of experience did the author go through to write so well in that aspect. It’s almost as if the author has been in such a same situation before! Yeps, it got real, that kind of real. Where you could almost literally feel the character’s pain! The concept of losing and reality is something most sports anime don’t really grasp very well and I have to say Haikyuu really did a pretty darn good job! Well done.
Granted, Haikyuu started off slowly but in retrospect the slow start was kind of necessary for the character development. In the first quarter the episodes were kinda bland and the MC (Hinata) could come across as annoying and it becomes easy to hate him. The backstory (then) of Kageyama was also pretty generic to me at the start. I almost let this one go but I’m glad I stuck to it. (don’t worry, you’ll start to love them soon!) The moment characters such as Asahi and Nishinoya were introduced, shit got real. Everything started to become crazy intense and interesting. The overall vibe and Haikyuu became suddenly vibrant and it became very easy to fall in love with Karasuno as a team.
Every sports anime has it’s “training phases” and setup stages. While most of the time these can get pretty boring, Haikyuu’s setup episodes and all are pretty darn good. In fact, it might be possible that sometimes I find myself enjoying the setup episodes more than the actual matches. The comedic value in Haikyuu is high and Haikyuu in it’s “non-match, non-intense” mode is actually pretty entertaining to watch. Else, if they’re not in the mode for some comedy then it’ll probably be a trip on the feels train. So either way, it’s still pretty good!
As a sports anime, Haikyuu focuses a lot more on team play than physics defying special moves. I think the moves in Haikyuu can still be considered realistic (from someone who doesn’t know or play volleyball). Tactics, team play, team spirit and even the psychological aspects of sports are very neatly elaborated on. In addition, there are several “plot twists” here and there during the matches which makes things even more interesting! I would say that while Haikyuu can come across as predictable, trust me, you find yourself gasping at a lot of situations where you were shocked by the turn of events!
Minor spoilers ahead (but I’m not going to be explicit here). Haikyuu does it’s far share of trolling as well. It takes a character, puts him on the bench. Makes it seem like he is going to be the generic “side character” with no character development, air time and whatsoever. Just when you think he is going to be just one of those “extras”, the author swaps him in at one of the most crucial points in one of the biggest matches. And at that time, you’d think he’ll reveal some secret training plan and owns the shit out of everybody? No, he fails and looks like a joke. but the good thing is now he has some determination and drive to do something about himself. great job Haikyuu. This is trolling at it’s finest. And that is what I love about Haikyuu. he takes an extra and makes us all look forward to the next time he gets swap into the court again. I just had to mention this because this just made Haikyuu about 10 times more interesting.
Now on to the dialogue. I’m the kind of person that pays a lot attention to what the characters say, their monologue, internal state of mind etc etc. Haikyuu does extremely well in this sense. I’m pretty sensitive to such things and I really hate it when no effort is put in the dialogue of a series. If whatever that is spoken in the Haikyuu anime equates to the speech bubbles / bubbles in the Haikyuu manga, you can really say that the author really puts in effort and churns out pretty darn good dialogue. I don’t have an example, but trust me, sometimes the way you say things matter and Haikyuu happens to say things the right way at the right time to generate those feels.
The animation in Haikyuu is superb. I have to say that they really put in effort to the point where you can actually watch the match from the animation and not always have to rely on the text and dialogue to really know what is going on. More often than not, I find myself paying more attention to the animation which is a good thing. The animation does allow a certain tension to be build up during crucial points and I have to say they have done it the way that it could not be done better. Well done.
In a nutshell, I will definitely miss Haikyuu for the joy and anticipation it has given me every Sunday. My Sunday 5pms have officially become void of meaning as of the moment episode 25 ended. As you would have expected, my rating of Haikyuu is definitely high. I’ll give it a 9.5/10 (A+) and it will definitely be one of the best animes of 2014 and top sports anime of all time!
Definitely watch this. Even if you don’t like sports anime. seriously.
This definitely needs a season 2! I’d say maybe Spring 2015?