Well, pains me to say, but I’m gonna be the wiener who has to tell everyone the flaws of Haikyuu! again.
I’m going to preface this review by saying that because I play volleyball, lots of the issues I have with the show are specific to someone who has actual knowledge of high-level high school volleyball, so because the vast majority of this fanbase doesn’t know anything about volleyball outside of this show, you might not be as annoyed at certain things as I am. This is just one humble man’s opinion.
First off, I want to say that Haikyuu is not a bad show by any means, and in fact, I think it’s better than the vast majority of sports anime. Unfortunately, I don’t like shounen, which Haikyuu makes itself painfully obvious that it is one. There’s no subtlety, everything is tell, don’t show. They try to teach you the sport of volleyball as you watch and act like you’re 8 years old while doing so. They have to explain each and every little intricate rule, which ultimately makes the show less entertaining and harder to sit through, especially when you know everything they explain in the first place.
I’m just going to get this out of the way right now, the animation for this show is fantastic, as expected. There is nothing to complain about from the art or sound departments, except for the fact that S2 had a better OP, but that’s subjective ;) Soundtrack can’t be expected to be incredible for a 10 episode series about literally one match, but the sound design and effects are spot-on as usual, so I don’t think it really matters at all.
One thing I can truly say is a virtue of the show (aside from the gay undertones, those are always of high quality) is that the atmosphere of the matches in Haikyuu are great. There’s enough tension and stress without it causing the viewing experience to suffer, but it’s also realistic enough to not just turn into a joke or feel like there are no consequences. The rivalries are quite plausible and well-developed (if a bit cheesy at times) and I love the camaraderie between members of different teams, it warms my heart.
Another thing I like about Haikyuu is how nothing comes easy. You sometimes see in sports shows that if you just put training in, you can’t lose. That’s not the case at all, you have to have talent or your work means nothing. The players in Haikyuu all have to use their individual skill-sets to better the team’s chances at winning, and while it’s not necessarily a revolutionary concept, it’s executed well beyond mediocrity.
There are many other things I like about this show, these are just the ones I’m best able to provide my unique opinion on rather than just the standard “i like haikyuu beucase haikyuu is good!” redundancies you see with every show’s reviews.
Now we have to get to the things I don’t enjoy about Haikyuu!
The main complaint I have so far is how stupidly overpowered Ushijima is. Let me tell you something: I have played against the #1 club volleyball team in the country. They have 3 players on the youth national team. None of them are even close to as unstoppable as Ushijima. That kind of power to just blast through blocks does not exist (if you’re at all competent which obvious Karasuno is), his inability to be stopped, and the fact that he only hits hard just grinds my gears. Another thing about Ushijima is how the show pretends lefties are inherently more difficult to play against. It’s just not true. Spin doesn’t affect passing almost at all and trajectory is barely different aside from the fact that they just have more range from the left side.
Now onto the games. They’re too perfect and choreographed. Everything that happens is either pass, set kill, or pass, set, hit, other team digs, set, hit. There’s no chaos, which is what makes volleyball so much fun, the unpredictability and sheer magnitude of sensory overload and things you have to pay attention to all at the same time. Now I understand that they can’t animate all of this because that’s just unreasonable, but it still is a legitimate point to bring up. The games don’t feel natural, they feel like a writer mapped them all out (which obviously still would’ve happened if they DID feel random, just don’t worry about it and hit that “Helpful” button below my review) and eliminated unpredictability.
The final thing that made me want to poop my pants were some of the ridiculously basic things these players are just learning. I cannot believe in episode 2 they had to explain what the position “Opposite” was. Position names are quite literally the first thing you learn in volleyball and the opposite is just anyone who hits on the right side. Boggles my mind. Another thing related to this is the follow-up assumption that Karasuno doesn’t have an opposite if their own fan doesn’t know what the position is, but that’s not right because on their combinations, Sawamura comes in to hit, meaning he’s their opposite when he rotates to the front row (which is half the game btw). I truly don’t understand. Something else they mention is using the strategy of taking away angles to force them to hit to certain areas. That is also something you learn the very first time you learn how to block. Yet again, I don’t get how these national-level high school athletes don’t understand this basic stuff.
I will say though, all in all, I am enjoying this season and will continue to do so simply because it’s Haikyuu! I love volleyball and I love anime. Mix them together and you get a special order delivered straight to my doorstep. Anyway, if you enjoyed or hated this review, feel free to send me feedback, I truly don’t mind either. Thank you for reading! read more
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