I first came across this after seeing a picture on Facebook promoting Kuroko no Basuke with pictures of the anime at subways. In the pictures, there was art of people playing volleyball. As a former volleyball player myself, I had the investigate. There I stumbled upon the manga for the show. It was done basic Shonen style. I'm not saying that's annoying but it's too common. While reading, I found out there was an anime and was counting the days until it aired.
I'm not sure how common the tale of "Rivals becoming Allies" is told but it's done right here. The story starts Hinata Shoyo, who is inspired to play volleyball after seeing someone called the Little Giant fly around the court despite his small stature. At his first volleyball game in his last year of Junior High, he runs across genius setter Kageyama Tobio. Although displaying great athleticism, it was enough and Hinata lost and vowed that he will defeat Kageyama. Once in high school Hinata bolts for the gym to sign up for the volleyball club. To his surprise he finds Kageyama practicing and must be teammates. Love the concept. The story is really dramatic and I love it! All the feels just build up and explode!
Love that too. Art style is amazing! It reminds of Pokemon Origins. In some anime's they just show a freeze frame of the characters doing something and whatever. Here, they show them doing the entire thing from hitting, setting, to serving. Love it! One of the greatest things animated is Oikawa's jump serve. It's so fluid it's almost hypnotizing. One thing that bothers me is the setting. The ball isn't supposed to spin when you set! It'll be a violation. However, I'm just being picky. After that nothing to dislike.
Great as well. The first opening was amazing! I thought it was out of placed at first but i grew accustomed to it and began loving it. Also, the characters' voices match perfectly to their personality. Kageyama has a tough serious tone. Hinata has a high pitched enthusiastic tone. I also love the sound of the ball being slammed to the floor. Another great aspect is the sound effects. They just felt right. The sound of the ball making contact with the player really takes me back to my days playing in high school. The way it sounds when it's served and when the ball touches their forearms are exact and precise.
They're all loveable! Hinata's naivety, Kageyama's arrogance, Sawamura's stern demeanor, Tsukishima's tsundere attitude. They're all developed very well. Everyone is the way they are for a very good reason. Kageyama's distrust comes from former teammates hated playing with him so much they just stopped playing with him. Tsukishima's "I have something better to do attitude" comes from fear of being disappointed. What makes a good sports anime to me is the characters. Although Hinata is pretty much the main character, the series isn't totally focused on him. Everyone is also featured just as much. You care about everyone on the team, not just the main character.
If you want a really good sports anime then here. Like other sports anime they give you some facts and rules by pausing the action and explaining. That's not here and I don't mind since I've played. Everything about this anime works.
Haikyuu!! is a series about volleyball. That means it's a sports anime. I'm not too fond of them, so this is one of the very few that I've actually watched to completion. Knowing that, here are the thoughts of somebody who doesn't know much about the genre. Some spoilers will follow.
The series is about a kid named Shoyo Hinata, who during his entire time in middle school only got to play one volleyball match (losing it horribly). He's also super short, but can jump real high. Being the shounen protagonist that he is, he doesn't let that get him down and enrolls into Karasuno high school (where his idol "The Little Giant" used to play). At the school he meets a guy named Tobio "Maximum Overangst" Kageyama, who apparently didn't know that volleyball is a team sport and is very mad about it now that he found out. The pair then meet the volleyball club of the school and after some hijinks and team building speeches and whatnot get accepted into the team (naturally, because they're the exact opposites of eachother personality wise, they get to complement one another perfectly during games).
The rest of the volleyball club consists of the following: Azumane Asahi - the gentle giant type character, who after losing a match was real depressed for a bit but gets better. Sawamura Daichi - the team captain who yells at people to inspire them and gives speeches. Takeda Ittetsu - a teacher, also the guy who explains stuff in case nobody there knows how to play volleyball (I don't, he also doesn't). Ukai Keishin - their coach, who totally doesn't want to coach them, it's just to settle a rivalry or something. Tsukishima Kei - asshole. Sugawara Koushi - some guy who's always there, but doesn't get to play all that much. Tanaka Ryuunosuke - overdosed on testosterone, rages a lot, hits the ball real hard. Nishinoya Yuu - another shorty, keeps the ball from touching the ground, super high energy. Yamaguchi Tadashi - another first year student, not even sure why he exists, poor guy got to hit the ball once and screwed everything up. Shimizu Kiyoko - the team manager, who is also the object of the guys affections, cause it's a sausage fest without her.
Now that the characters are introduced, we can talk about what actually happens during the show.
Karasuno high school used to be at the top of the volleyball game (or at least as high as teenagers can get), but now they kinda suck. After team notices the talents of our protagonists, they decide they need to shape up and aim for the nationals again (of course).
The first half of the series focuses on the team actually getting together, with not a whole lot of volleyballing going around. It's at this point that continuing watching was a bit hard, cause it got a little bit slow. After they form up though, the series gets better. The team then plays a couple of practice matches against other schools for a bit. It's at this point that something may become apparent to the viewer - it doesn't look like anybody in the team has played or studied much volleyball before. Teamwork is almost nonexistent even between the senior members of the team and the idea of tactical play is only faintly present in their heads. One would think these kids who are so into volleyball woud've studied up on this stuff, but the only tactical play they do at first is use a decoy (which stops working eventually, to their utter surprise). Nevertheless, over the course of the practice match and the subsequent matches in the prefectural tournament that they play in, the team learns how to play the game (with some helpful explanations from the club councilor).
Most of the character development happens over the course of the matches they play in. Usually it takes the form of introspections they all have when they're behind on points and need some extra motivation to keep going. Most of the guys have their own stories and they are told in the form of flashbacks (the prefered method in anime it seems).
I felt like the series was a pretty good introduction to the game of volleyball, considering it seemed fairly realistic in how it's played. The games were shown in a way that was easy to understand even for a novice and some things were explained (like the various player positions). Nobody has any seemingly inhuman abilities (like, for example, Kuroko's Basketball, which I couldn't finish), so I could get a decent grasp of what an actual game of volleyball would look like. I also liked that the protagonists couldn't always succeed on willpower alone, with multiple times where their inspirational speeches and the following ultimate attackes were shot down by the opponents, thus displaying their difference in skill.
The animation is superb, especially during the matches, with a little lower quality in the other parts. It's intense and conveys a sense of speed and power very well when it needs to with plenty of dramatic slowdowns and exagerated motions. Character designs aren't too special and pretty realistic (Hinata being the exception with his crazy hair).
Sountrack is pretty good, but I wouldn't say it's anything exceptional. The OP does a good job of hyping up the viewer for what's to come, while the ED makes you think (yeah, try hard guys!).
Overall this series surprised me enough that I might get around to watching the other seasons at some point and I think it's a pretty good start if you never really watched sports shows before.
Secret Santa 2016 Review
I'll start by saying that I have not finished the anime (yet) and that I am a volleyball player myself.
Stumbling across a volleyball anime, as a player, was very intriguing, but at the same time what kind of killed it for me.
Haikyuu follows hinata, a height-challenged volleyball player with a dream to become the top and the struggles of the team he plays in. They face problems such as lack of teamwork/teamspirit, rivalries between individual members, as well as tournaments and rival teams.
The story is presented well, with good pacing and structure. The story also depends heavily on your investment in the characters as person and understanding their personal struggles. The volleyball is just a setting in which this can play out and, to me, wasn't taking the main stage, though I like that they pause every so often to explain rules and tactics.
Sadly this is also where haikyuu started to lose me. As a somewhat experienced volleyball player, the sometimes overlong rants on tactics/setting either bored me or conflicted with my own opinions, distracting from the story as a whole.
Animation and Sound
The animation and sound are quite good. The animation is crisp, fluid and lively, as well as showing many perspectives. The sound, however, hasn't overwhelmed me yet, but is certainly not bad.
Now, this is where haikyuu really lost me. Let me say up front that this may be less of a problem for many, but to me the characters were completely unrelatable. Not because I couldn't understand the struggles themselves, but because the way it plays out in the anime differs so vastly from my personal experience that the characters got less and less believable.
It could be a culture difference, since I'm not really familiar with japanese culture, other than anime (nor american other than live-action series/movies, for that matter), but at points I disagreed so much with the anime that it became an annoyance and I lost investment.
Haikyuu is by no means bad, certainly if the other reviews are to be believed, but it just couldn't grasp me personally.
As for how it fares as sports anime, I have no idea, because this is the only true sports anime I've watched so far.
*looking for new anime to watch*
Why is an anime about volleyball rated so highly...seems a bit weird.....might as well give it a go.....
OH LOOK I BINGED THE WHOLE SERIES IN 3 DAYS THAT WAS GOD DAMN AMAZING. ON TO SERIES 2!
Taken from my Haikyuu!! review in my account in myanimelist
Haikyuu is a volleyball anime that tells a story of a not-gifted-in-terms-of-height freshmen high school student named Hinata Shoyo, who dreams to become the next "little giant" in volleyball.
Just like any other sports anime, it tells a story of hope and dreams but one thing that sets it apart from other sports anime is the realistic nature of it. Without any supernatural moves like in Kuroko no Basket, Haikyuu successfully make the characters' development as real as they can. Hinata's super fast reflexes, Tobio's monstrous tosses, and Nishinoya's great saves can be attain in real life with years of practice and dedication to the sport.
What amazed me more than the other sports animes I've watched, Haikyuu delivers the message that nothing is impossible with great work and dedication like Hinata's height disadvantage, but nonetheless excels in the sport he truly loved. And the beautiful photo of what a captain really is, Daichi-kun! To never break down, to never lose hope, and to hold the team until the end.
The other thing that makes Haikyuu unique is the perfect display of volleyball as not only a mere sport but a fight that can only win with a connected team. Tobio character brings this message into light as he slowly learns himself to play as a team, not an individual and to trust his teammates in the game. He even had the best rival and the best partner he can ever wishes for, Hinata!
Haikyuu has also this special thing about it; that sets them apart and form a big gap among the other sports animes. Its a rarity for a sport animes to concentrate on the extra characters or those characters who are created merely to make the protagonist/s shine even more brightly. They even have a long part of expressing their regrets and their thoughts about losing, which made me cried a lot because I knew that feeling too well.
Overall, Haikyuu is a emotional ride of tears, laughter, and frustration that you can feel from the characters, whether main character or extra-character. An anime where you can learn a lot and reflect a lot about your life.
"There must be thousands of guys in this country, whose last season gets cut short. Winning all the preliminaries and going on to the nationals. If all this were a work of fiction, those guys who go to the nationals would be the protagonists, and the rest of us would just be extras. But regardless, we got to play volleyball" - Hayato Ikejiri