I’ve seen some people have a love/hate relationship with sports anime. I honestly avoided it for years. In my mind I thought, “I don’t want to watch live sports, so why would I sit through an anime about sports.” Well, I tend to stumble onto amazing anime by accident. I was joking around on crunchyroll not knowing what to watch and I was mocking an anime that was about male volleyball. I was like, “Who would watch an anime about volleyball?” I clicked on the first episode as a joke meant to annoy the person I was with and it turns out the joke was one me. Before I knew it I devoured the first two seasons and then was watching the simulcast of season 3 waiting anxiously week by week to find out what happened in the volleyball game.
“Haikyu!!” (or I’ve seen spelled Haikyuu!! I went with the crunchyroll spelling) turned out to be one of my favorite anime and one that I try to get people to watch. It is a hard sell to tell someone to watch an anime about male volleyball. Most people don’t watch a lot of volleyball where I’m from anyway. However, I have managed to convert a few and if you give it a shot you will find an anime that has some intense emotional moments. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in an anime or cheered so loud.
“I may be small, but I can jump!”
Enter the main character Hinata
He has been told constantly that he is too short to play volleyball or get better at sports since everyone else is so much taller than him. He is the type of character that you will love. How relatable is someone who has been told they can’t do something? Yeah, I’m sure you have never faced that in your life. He never gives up. Even if he suffers loss after loss he proves to others that if you work hard you can improve and fulfill your dreams. Normally, a short player won’t spike or be a blocker but he has strength in his legs and a desire to keep playing. He is constantly surprising everyone with what his body is capable of even though he is short.
Then the other character that is the direct rival of Hinata is Kageyama
He is an amazing setter and was the upcoming star on his middle school team. He doesn’t like Hinata and the feelings are mutual. They constantly get in trouble and don’t want to play with each other on the volleyball team. Seeing their relationship grow through out the series and to see Kageyama open up to the team is a fun emotional ride. Finding that they are stronger together is a nice lesson for anyone to learn.
There are so many amazing characters in this anime. I just mentioned two, if you watch you will slowly grow to love them all and their backstories are told with great thoughtfulness and it doesn’t drag down the flow of the anime at all. You began to feel their loss when they lose a game and you rejoice when they have an amazing move on the court.
“Haikyu!!” does something amazing with the rival teams also. You began to see more into their characters and then you don’t even know who you want to win! The whole third season is basically one match and it is amazing and intense.
The think I like most about this as someone who doesn’t play sports is that the focus isn’t just solely on winning. They just want to keep playing. How it works is that basically if they lose at the tournaments they are done. I guess the seniors graduate from the team at that point and are no longer a part of the club. I mentioned before that you will get attached to all the characters and the thought of any of them not being on the team anymore is heartbreaking. I love that the focus is on the relationships and that they want to play together it makes it about more than just winning.
It also makes it about the characters caring about something beyond themselves. The volleyball scenes are more like a fight scene and they are loaded with intensity. Check out this video from the crunchyroll facebook page. Just watching it makes my heart pound. You want them to not be held down, but to rise up. They have to face a lot of tough teams and they don’t always win, but they have those moments where they will fight until the very end of the game.
Maybe sports anime isn’t for you, but if you love a good character and story give it a chance. “Haikyu!!” will surprise you! Happy watching!