So it’s been awhile since I first watched Haikyuu S1, 2 years ago actually (my how time flies~) and because there’s been a sudden revival of the series, I thought I’d go back and rewatch the whole thing! And with S1 down, I am now ready to watch s3 (pshh, I watched this in the wrong order hehe)
Now, I’m mentioning rewatching because my review now is completely different from when I’d first watched it. You can bet I was screaming and tearing up when I watched this in 2014, but now…well, read ahead~
Haikyuu is a 25 episode anime about volleyball and very thirsty characters. At the beginning we’re introduced to our two main protagonists, Hinata Shouyo and Kageyama Tobio.
Kageyama is the setter for his team, he’s known as the “King of the Court,” and because his school is a powerhouse, it’s implied they’re one of the top contenders for nationals. On the other hand, Hinata is the captain of his little rag tag team of first year noobs and his best friends. They’ve never been in an official match before and they pretty much know they’re not getting far.
It’s pretty obvious how the first episode will turn out: Hinata will be defeated. And he is defeated in their match, but that loss ignites a fire in him to train harder. He now has a goal to defeat Kageyama in high school!
Of course, that’s hard to do when they both end up at the same school and are, therefore, on the same volleyball team…
This is actually where the story really begins. Kageyama and Hinata are now on the same team, however, because of their past (episode 1) and Kageyama’s belief that Hinata is useless, they start off with some trouble. Mainly that they can’t be part of the team unless they learn to cooperate with one another. It’s actually during this time that we learn that Hinata wasn’t the only one that suffered loss during his Junior High days.
In a way, I feel that Kageyama’s loss was worse because it’s not something he can just practice and get over (as we see in later episodes)
Outside of Kageyama and Hinata needing to cooperate, we also learn that Karasuno already had its own problems to begin with. We’re introduced to new characters like Noya (libero) and Asahi (Ace), and the whole loss during the last tournament when they were shut down by the Iron Wall.
All of these problems are actually the strongest parts of the series because there’s so much feeling. Even when I knew what was going to happen and how everyone would grow, I still got teary eyed and cheered for them when they overcame obstacles! (though I will admit, it was a bit embarrassing at times)
Every time they played, all the players (mostly) gave it their all and that always got me in the mood to cheer for them 100%!
Two teams that were set up as Karasuno’s rivals were Nekoma and Aobajousai (Seijou). Nekoma seemed to be a fated rival from years ago because their former coaches were rivals. Seijou became a recent rival because they were the powerhouse Karasuno had to defeat in order to continue towards nationals. Seijou also consisted of Kageyama’s former teammates (and senpai) who still viewed him as the King of the Court.
In a sense, beating Seijou wouldn’t just signify that Karasuno would regain their acclaim as a powerhouse school, but that Kageyama had grown as a setter.
We got to explore some of these characters’ back stories, such as Oikawa’s frustration of losing to Shiratorizawa and nearly hurting those around him. And like the battles between rivals, the game against Seijou was my favorite one! I remember Coach Ukai mentioned that the teams Karasuno had the most difficulty with were those with power and intelligence and both Nekoma and Seijou fit the bill perfectly.
The only thing I wish was that there’d been a bit more backstory to Nekoma. We do learn a bit about Kenma and how the team works but they’re pretty much left abandoned after they’re introduced. (Spoilers: we get more of them in s2 hehehe)
And like all tournaments, loss is inevitable. In terms of individual characters, specifically Karasuno’s team, the series did a great job showing the despair, fear, frustration, happiness, and overall feelings the team had from start to end. However, it also tried to show the loss of other teams and I wasn’t very convinced. Who were these people? Why should I care if they lost?
Even Tokonami’s loss didn’t feel all that important because as much as Daichi’s friend was in there and we got a glimpse at their past, it wasn’t enough for me to connect with them. I especially felt this way towards the girls team. When everyone was upset and heartbroken about their loss the only thing I could think was “welp, that’s what you get for not training.”
Overall, I seriously recommend this series! When I first watched this I rated it a 9 for Great! and having rewatched it I’d say it gets an 8/8.5 for Very Good, but only because I know how much more the characters have grown in later episodes.
Plus, I’m more excited about s3 at this point (hehehe)
The animation was great, the music alright (nothing really sticks but loved all the beginning songs), and the feelings and companionship was awesome. If you don’t know how to play volleyball we do get explanations all the time from and for Takeda-sensei (the teacher in charge of the team) since he’s a volleyball noob too.