‘Haikyuu!!’ spikes audiences’ imaginations

Through immersive visuals and a well-constructed score, Haikyuu!! sets itself ahead of other ongoing sports series.


The Couch Critic

The Japanese volleyball series Haikyuu!! was able to bring two of my favorite forms of entertainment together into a bundle: anime and sports.
They are worlds that are fairly separated and rarely mixed aside from one-off filler episodes, but when combined they can breed great results that can almost simulate the sensation of real sports through a heavily dramatized lense. Haikyuu!!
To start with the positives; the series makes full use of all the tools it has as an anime to simulate the energy of a live sporting event.
One way this is done is through the triumphant score which pulls you into the most emotional moments at just the right times.
This is done best during the final rally of the Inarizaki match as the teams desperately fight to continue playing before finally climaxing at the final point of the game.
The anime also makes great use of camera angles and perspective to aid its story. The way it frames characters to accentuate their large size compared to the 5’3” main character, Shoyo Hinata, is done to aid the narrative and make us perceive them as walls that the main characters must topple to proceed.
Animators also use spinning angles during matches in some parts to make the visuals more interesting.
Despite the difficulties that come with drawing characters from a variety of angles, the animators execute these perspective switches with near flawlessness, for the majority of the series. The clearest asset the story has, and truly what sets it apart from other series in its genre, is the large array of well-written characters.
There are dozens and dozens of characters in Haikyuu!! and almost every one of them has some kind of backstory or unique personality trait that makes them notable.
The series feels like it could be told from the perspective of almost any character from almost any team, with only a few notable outliers that I’ll address later.
It creates this world that is not only strengthened by the characters we see, but by the possible array of stories we never get to see. Everyone has a story.
Despite all the great things this series has to offer, there are some negatives, and amongst those some are negligible but others are very noticeable.
The first negative is the fact that the end of the series (in the manga) feels a bit rushed, as if the author, Haruichi Furudate, got a bit tired of the series by its end and wanted to wrap it up quickly.
Unfortunately, this has caused a number of unanswered questions about certain characters and teams that never quite got their proper focus.
This particularly applies to Ubugawa, Itachiyama and Ichibayashi High who, despite playing important roles in the story, we know little about.
Season 4 of the series also lacked the same level of animation as previous seasons.
The art style was more minimal than previous seasons to mirror the original manga style. This alone isn’t a problem but it seemed as if the animation team had trouble properly drawing the proportions and the movements of characters in the most recent season.
Overall, Haikyuu!! is a great anime series and considered by many to be one of the best sports anime/manga ever.
The characters are great, the story is compelling and it teaches you a lot about volleyball when you watch it.
Watching Haikyuu!! alone turned me into a big fan of the sport in real life which just shows the amount of influence well-done art can have on an audience.
The series gets an A- rating and would be nearly perfect with some added content and more consistent animation standards in the most recent season.