Following their participation at the Inter-High, the Karasuno High School volleyball team attempts to refocus their efforts, aiming to conquer the Spring tournament instead.
When they receive an invitation from long-standing rival Nekoma High, Karasuno agrees to take part in a large training camp alongside many notable volleyball teams in Tokyo and even some national level players. By playing with some of the toughest teams in Japan, they hope not only to sharpen their skills, but also come up with new attacks that would strengthen them. Moreover, Hinata and Kageyama attempt to devise a more powerful weapon, one that could possibly break the sturdiest of blocks.
Facing what may be their last chance at victory before the senior players graduate, the members of Karasuno's volleyball team must learn to settle their differences and train harder than ever if they hope to overcome formidable opponents old and new—including their archrival Aoba Jousai and its world-class setter Tooru Oikawa.
Haikyuu!! Second Season is the sequel to the first anime adaptation of the ongoing manga of the same name, Haikyuu!!, which was ranked in 4th place in Honya Club's prestigious 'Zenkoku Shotenin ga Eranda Osusume Comic' ranking in 2013. Sentai Filmworks has announced their exclusive licensing rights for digital and home release in North America.
The sports genre.. if you're not a fan of it then it can't be helped but GODDAMN how much you're missing out. Most people don't start watching anime with the sports genre and even when they dive deeper into the vast sea of anime genres, it is one that usually is missed out.
Now how does Haikyuu, a simple series mean that you miss out a lot?
Well, a lot of sports genre is usually thought the same way as battle shounen where "friendship is magic" since many times in sports anime, as well as in Haikyuu also, shounen genre plays a great role. Even tough there are some moments that give you the shivs, make your hair stand up or get you super thrilled by a game, that's just one part of what makes Haikyuu so amazing. The real awesome parts are the most memorable characters, their individual in-depth development and the great comedy.
The story isn't anything new. A team sport: our main characters are obsessed with winning and want to make it to the nationals with their team. This is the basis for many team sport or solo sport game. It's just executed so well that you forget that it is kinda generic. While Haikyuu's storyline revolves around their team progressing towards the nationals, the ultimate goal, it is not the focus point of the story. In other sports animes, like KnB (Kuroko no Basket) or DnA (Diamond no Ace) where the team aspect is important they focus more on the skill aspect rather than, like in Haikyuu, the team synergy/team synchronization.
As the story progressess the team evolves. Sure their individual skills grow as well but that's beyond the point. One of the main characters, Hinata Shoyo, is a great example of that. The only time when we have focused on his individual development and skill growth a lot was in one or two episodes. Before that, we were given a quick flashback in the beginning of the first season of how he became what he is now. The first seasons' story as well as the seconds' focus on the combination plays of the team more than Hinatas solo growth.
there are two main art styles here. The shounen artstyle, very riveting and indimating which makes your heart throb. The other one is the more comedic artstyle, which is actually used quite a bit. One great plus of the show is how they use these two styles together. Because of the nature of the main characters, the comedic artstyles can be used everywhere. Because one of our MC's is so hyper and energetic it creates many great opportunities to use both artstyles. And when it comes to the former one, the shounen style, it makes everything extra exciting because we normally see our main character used in the more comedic artstyle.
The other main character that our story focuses on, is Tobio Kageyama. As he is seen as Hinata's partner throughout the series, he is characterized on the contrast side to Hinata. Where Hinata is energetic and easy-go-happy, Kageyama is more silent, serious and indimitating most of the time. Because he is the counterpart to Hinata and is the complete opposite of him, you can almost guess it, when he is normally used more in the shounen style, when used in the comedic style, it is super hilarious. These two create one hell of a combination which benefit from each other in every aspect.
What other shows usually use quite flashy, the colors *looking at you KnB*, Haikyuu actually is one those series where the color differentiation is not that flashy. Sure you can make the argument that Hinata has different colored hair than anyone else and one member of the core team, Nishinoya, has one part of his hair way different than the other but that's about it. It isn't used as generically as in KnB (it is the easiest one to compare this show to xD).
The general artstyle of the show, how the characters are drawn and what kind of backgrounds there are is very simple but still unique. I just love the way Haikyuu looks like.
I guess there is not much to say about characters anymore. The one and only being that Haikyuu really explores one or two players of the opposing team always. To some of the antagonistic characters we are given a full detailed backstory and Haikyuu really does that well. In the long running series it's always great to have a full in-depth backstory to every main and side character (well at least to the bigger side characters).
What really is the advantage of this show is the fact that, at least I couldn't, you can't hate anyone. Every single character is made so lovable, so interesting in their own way or relatable that they just seem to stick in your head. It is rare for team sport games to have memorable side characters since they usually are shown only for a little while and are not given much of a perspective. This is what separates haikyuu from every other sports anime. The second season of this show is the prime example of this.
The shounen aspect of this anime really brings out the greatness of the voice actors/actressess. Be it Hinatas screaming "give me the ball!" Or the whole team giving the simultanious "bring it on" it is always a great moment that really highlights the characters themselves as well the team aspect and Haikyuu's own athmosphere. During the intense matches there is always playing these shounen type songs which really lift the athmostphere to to max.
It isn't only during the games that the sounds are great. When giving a flashback or Hinata and Kageyama are riling themselves up for the upcoming match there can be awesome music playing in the background. So the soundtracks and voice actor/actress performances are alwyas top notch but what really highlights the most Haikyuu's sounds are the openings. The opening songs are probably one of the most intense, mood lifting and hyping song you could've hoped for.
You are most likely familiar with One Punch Man or Fullmetal Alchemist. Their openings are really the ones that get you riled up. They set the mood and ready you for the epicness that is going to unfold. Haikyuu rivals if not for some, exceeds these two. Haikyuu's openings, be it from season 1 or 2, are the best to get you ready for the show when it comes to the sports genre.
ENJOYMENT & OVERALL
Most of you who are reading this probably are a fan of sports genre. Then you should know that sports genres animes are really enjoyable, especially when there are lovable characters and epic moments to share. These are what Haikyuu offers to you. Great characters, awesome shounen moments, intensive games featuring aspects from comedy to drama.
I thoroughly enjoyed this series and can proudly say that this is one of my all time favorites. As far as a single season by itself, it did pretty frickin' well. You can easily see that from MAL's score. Throughout the season it was always in the Top 20 highest rated of all time. When the season ended, no surprise, a sudden increase came, and now it is almost rivaling a place in the Top 10. That's how goo it is.
Should you watch this series?
Fan of sports genre or not, yes. Absolutely yes. This is a great show to start the sports genre with or if you're familiar with it, why haven't you already seen this? Sure KnB was probably more popular but this is what sports anime should be like.
This is my first review ever and I absolutely loved the show, so expect this to be very biased.
Story: The story is the best one you can get from a sports anime. Of course there's nothing complex, such as a great mystery or an awesome plot full of twists and something like that. Nevertheless, it's still awesome and original. We actually get some background on almost every character, even the less important ones. Our main characters are a yin-yang duo: they are opposites of each other, and yet, they become a single destructive weapon for their team. We also have Hinata's ambition on the Little Giant and the rivalry between Tobio and Oikawa. But overall we have a typical shounen plot: a lot of action given by a group of friends trying to become the strongest.
Art: I don't have much to say about this because I don't understand too much about drawing and art style, but Haikyuu!!'s one of the best i've ever seen on a shounen anime. The style is unique and very well made, you can see the mark of the mangaka on each character despite the fact that they are all very different.
Sound: The soundtrack is very good. Every scene has a song which fits perfectly. Each track is able to get us in the mood for the specific moment, being it sad, funny or exciting.
Character: Here's the best part of the show. Haikyuu!! has incredible characters on every team. This is not that kind of show where we care only about the protagonists. We actually love all of the players and the teams. It's hard to decide which one we want to cheer for. The character development is something amazing. We see how Karasuno's pinch server who used to be a shy and weak boy become something essential for his team, while growing his confidence and pride. The relationships between team members is also very well executed, like the one of Hinata and Kageyama or even with opponents, like Hinata and Kenma.
Enjoyment: Extremely exciting to watch. I get goosebumps on every game and I almost cry with the flashbacks. The animation studio is godlike and each movement flows like magic on the screen. Haikyuu!! is also funny and is full of "chill out" moments that make us smile. The background stories, the side characters talking on the bench, everything is just amazing to watch. One of the best shows ever, it never gets boring. read more
Haikyuu's second season continues with its excellent high-quality storytelling that made many fall in love with the first season. While Haikyuu is most certainly a sports anime at its core, it's also an extremely well-crafted tale of the trials and hard work that every player goes through. Most importantly, Haikyuu makes you actually care about what happens in the show. Whether its a loss or a victory, Hinata or a player on the opposing school's volleyball team, the show manages to grasp us as viewers and force us to invest heavily in the fictional world of Haikyuu.
With most sports anime, the pacing of the story is hard to bear. In some shows, a match can last nearly half a season. With Haikyuu, it never felt this way. Each episode had a succinct amount of storytelling and the pacing was perfect. From the training camps they attended, to the matches that were played, each episode was a thrilling ride that always managed to be satisfying. One of Haikyuu's biggest strengths is how it properly sets up each story arc with the necessary back stories to each character. This type of information provided is exactly why this show is so good. It gives you the “why should you care” for nearly every aspect of the show. Haikyuu also mixes the elements of a story masterfully. Comedy, action, shounen, it's all there and perfectly balanced. Comedy was put in at the right times and had me rolling on the floor on more than one occasion. The action is thrilling in the big matches and the shounen aspect of “improving” is so engraved in the viewer, it just feels so good to root for Karasuno. The attention to detail in the story is by far one of the best of any shows I've seen and it truly makes for a great watching experience.
Production I.G has done a great job with the animation for Haikyuu. The animation quality is top-notch and most importantly, consistent. In fast-paced action scenes, the animation becomes incredibly intense, but it's very well done and gives a much needed “oomph” for climaxes in the story. Character design is varied and unique as well. Far too often in other anime shows, the characters all look alike. Haikyuu does not experience this with its large cast of characters that are appealing and uniquely designed.
Haikyuu's voice acting, background music and OST are, like the rest of the show, great. The OP and ED are fitting for the theme of the show. The background music in scenes are also utilized very well. Some other shows try to force insert songs in scenes that do not fit well but Haikyuu does not suffer from this. Haikyuu's OST is near perfect and manages to help emphasize the emotions experienced in the show. Google Haikyuu's OST and prepare to be blown away (or just listen to it while watching).
The characters of Haikyuu are most definitely its strongest point. I briefly mentioned this earlier, but Haikyuu fully develops each character in the show. The characters all grow throughout the series. None of them are 'perfect' from the start and altogether gives it a certain type of realism. Most people like to root for the underdogs and that's essentially the same feeling you get from Haikyuu. There is no 'Gary Stu' as each person has their strengths and weaknesses. Even the seemingly perfect Oikawa Tooru has his own weaknesses in that he is not a 'prodigy' but someone who worked his way up. I also appreciated that each character in the show has an impact. For example, Yachi, the manager, is not someone who just stands on the sidelines cheering Karasuno on. Haikyuu shows you her back story as well as her perspective. This greatly adds to the storytelling and to her character in general. Same goes for Tsukishima. His backstory is fleshed out and tells us why he acts the way he does. Each character is important to the overall story and is truly a 'cog in the machine' for Haikyuu.
My initial thoughts upon seeing the preview for the first season of Haikyuu is that I couldn't possibly find volleyball interesting. Now, 50 episodes later, I can't fathom how I'm going to wait for the third season. Haikyuu is not 'perfect' and of course has certain elements like 'they can't be losing all the time' armor plot. But again, Haikyuu is a fictional anime with the sole purpose of entertaining you. In this case, it is very much about the journey, not the destination. If you only care to look at the small conveniences that a story may take, you'll miss out on everything else that makes it great. For me, Haikyuu was an enjoyable show that I looked forward to watching every Sunday. With fully developed characters that you can care about, a great OST and masterful storytelling, Haikyuu is worth your time as it is an excellent example of just how entertaining anime can be. read more
As you probably already know, competitive spirit, teamwork, communication, and perseverance are all common themes that unite the sports genre as a whole. Therefore, to truly differentiate one show from other similar shows, scriptwriters need to engage the audience in a remarkably new and refreshing way.
I think for some people, this show is able to connect with them on some deeper, meaningful level. The way that this show engages with its audience is truly something else. The way Karasuno interacts, the way they crack jokes, and their never-ending drive to succeed – it makes you feel excited. It’s as if you are there physically with them, cheering the underdogs on as they take on the world around them.
For me, I appreciate how some individuals who were disregarded in the first season are now given much more depth. Consider Tsukishima, for instance. After losing to their ever-so-favorite rivals, the Karasuno team is rebuilding as a team and honing their skills by attending training camps. It is during this when Tsukishima’s time to shine came. In a single episode, we learned why Tsukishima is so deeply affected by his brother’s betrayal and why Tsukishima is such a lone wolf. Thanks to a push by his close friend Yamaguchi, Tsukishima finally learns the true meaning of teamwork, and, from this, he begins to participate in team-building activities (i.e. playing mini-games against with other schools in the training camp). In the first season, you know he would never ever do something like this. It is very fortunate that Tsukishima decided to change; if he didn’t, he would never have been able to hone his skillset, which becomes especially important during the spring qualifiers. Another example: Ennoshita. He becomes a key motivator for the team. He has some big shoes to fill, and he would never have been in this position if it weren’t for Daichi.
Another thing that I really liked about what Haikyuu is how the antagonists (i.e. Karasuno’s rivals) are also characterized. How many shows out there have you watched where you have had one-dimensional villains (or antagonists or bad guys or whatever you want to call them) that you couldn’t relate to? Too many, right? Fortunately, Haikyuu breaks away from this by giving a lot of the antagonists some serious backstory. Most of the time we are able to learn what volleyball means to the rival, what kind of a team player they are, and why the match means so much to them.
But there’s only one major downside that I can think of: there’s an obvious imbalance regarding the characters. Haikyuu has a tendency to characterize just one individual at a time. People who were given a decent amount of screen time during the first season (e.g. Nishinoya) are suddenly ignored this season; others (e.g. Hinata and Kageyama) decrease in significance. On the other hand, some of the second year benchwarmers still get no screen time. It’s a shame, really. If the show were able to balance out its characters better, we would have been able to understand better how the team operates as a whole and see much more team synergy as a result.
Now moving onto the plot – the plot is more of a mixed bag, to be honest. Yes, it’s exciting to some degree, but the pacing of the plot is not Haikyuu’s strongest point. It’s rather sluggish, and it’s usually due to the following factors:
- The characters talk a lot. Like a lot. Imagine you and your best friend talking. Multiply that by 10.
- They all think a lot too. They are trying to anticipate their opponents.
- The characters are given a backstory.
- Characters are trying new flashy moves. Groovy.
- Sensei is playing the “I’m new to volleyball please explain everything to me” or the “listen to my wise words” role for you.
- The team that Karasuno is playing against is surging ahead in number of points, and the characters are trying to think of a way to fight back.
- Or they’re literally just hitting the ball back and forth endlessly. Who’s going to get the point?
This constant pattern causes each major match drags out over 2-3 episodes. I’m not entirely sure if this is necessary – although they are all technically well-incorporated, there is a point when you become impatient and want to know what the results of the match are. As for non-matches, there is sometimes extraneous information that really serve no purpose in the context of the show. I wouldn’t say 10 minutes of eating BBQ after a nice, long training camp and male volleyball players commenting on the superficial looks of the high schools’ assistant managers was necessary.
And then there’s plot armoring. I really hate to say it, but for shows like these, plot armoring is inevitable (would you want to keep watching a team that keeps losing? Unless you’re a diehard fan, I didn’t think so), so it really is a question of how well-balanced it is. It is easy to say, “You know, they deserve it, they’ve been working hard as a team” and allow the underdogs to keep winning consecutive matches. Fortunately, for Haikyuu, plot armoring is heavily restricted to what is absolutely necessary. For instance, Karasuno doesn’t have to win every practice match (as an audience member, however, I know you’re secretly praying for them to win. Don’t worry, I did that too) and good thing they don't – otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to learn from their mistakes.
Now briefly for one more positive thing about the plot: there's humor and it's well-incorporated throughout the show. Haikyuu would have been utterly flat without it. The way the characters interact and make fun of each other came off as very natural. It kept the ball rolling, especially when things got extremely sluggish.
Art and sound were all excellent. Animation was done very well by Production I.G (see Ao Haru Ride, Kuroko No Basket, and Kimi ni Todoke), although nothing was truly that remarkable. For sound, the OP was very moving and embodied the whole competitive spirit. Voice acting was decent too for the context of this show.
So is it the best sports anime ever? Eh, debatable. It has a lot to offer in terms of characters and will keep you on your toes, but the show is terribly paced. Given this, if you thoroughly enjoyed the first season, don’t worry; you will like the second season too due to its similar execution.
Now that that’s all out of the way, it was a fun ride when it lasted. I can’t wait to see what the third season has in store for us.
Author's Disclaimer: Please remember, this is my own personal opinion. I critique anime primarily on how the story is executed and how well-rounded the characters are. This review is not meant to target any other review but was intended to provide a more holistic analysis.
It should also be noted that this is a full-fledged review of the entire season.read more
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