Haikyu!! is a volleyball manga by Haruichi Furudate, running in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump. Despite having already been adapted into 3 series of anime, Haikyu doesn’t seem to be losing steam any time soon.
My favorite parts in the anime series so far are the matches against Aoba Johsai (nicknamed ‘Seijoh’). Karasuno have played three matches against Seijoh, including a practice match, and each match makes me feel excited to watch the progress of Hinata, Kageyama, and Team Karasuno. Team Seijoh is the most polished team in their prefecture and are confronted by Team Karasuno, which is in the process of growth. They always play a close match all the way to the last set, which gives me goosebumps.
There has been no fourth season of the anime announced yet, but I’d like to write about my favorite episode from the anime. It’s the 24th episode of the second season, titled ‘The Absolute Limit Switch’. It is adapted from the 143rd – 147th chapters of the manga, which are collected in volumes 16 and 17 of the paperbacks. If you have the manga and the anime DVD, have them handy before you read.
The Pinch Server
Yamaguchi is sent out as a pinch server when the score is at 20 – 20. In the anime, Tanaka, Azumane, Sawamura, the audience, and Tsukishima give their support to him in that order. This scene exists only in the anime. Azumane does seem to run into Yamaguchi when he enters the court in the manga. However, we don’t know what he says to Yamaguchi.
‘We are counting on you, Yamaguchi.’ ‘Stay calm.’ ‘Give it your all.’ I was moved by the fact that no senior member said anything to put pressure on Yamaguchi, who hadn’t been so good at handling pressure. When Yamaguchi enters the court for the first time during an official match, they encourage him desperately to calm him down. They thought that he didn’t need their encouragement. At the climax of the last set, in that crucial serve, they trusted him without any doubt. It was a scene that demonstrates Yamaguchi’s progress and his teammates’ trust in him.
I became emotional at the scene where Tsukishima tells Yamaguchi to get a nice serve in and throws him the ball. His words did not doubt Yamaguchi, and he did not fear he may crumble under pressure. I was almost in tears watching Tsukishima, who is rational and not moved by emotion, give Yamaguchi his trust.
Tohru Oikawa is Not a Prodigy
Around 15 minutes into the episode, and in chapter 145 of the manga, Kageyama performs an unexpected dump shot and scores a point. In reaction, Oikawa looks at Kageyama and Hinata saying, ‘you little brats.’
In the manga, you just see a panel of him shouting the line. However, in the anime you see him dive after the ball as he says the line. We then see a short sequence that was original to the anime. Lying on his stomach and looking up at Kageyama over the net, Oikawa overlaps Kageyama with the volleyball prodigy Ushijima, whom he was never able to defeat. Oikawa knew too well that he wasn’t a prodigy, therefore vowed to win agaist him, and devoted all his and his team members’ time to ruthless training. As a result, his team was able to match Shiratorizawa, to which Ushijima belongs, and other prominent teams nationwide. However, another talented volleyball player is now standing against him and he finds himself just looking up at him powerlessly. I felt his pain when I watched the scene which accentuated Oikawa’s feelings of inferiority.
The protagonists of Haikyu!! are inarguably Hinata and Kageyama and the story revolves around Karasuno High. I think it’s the sign of a great story to be able to make readers empathize with an opponent and to want to support them.
The Rivals of Karasuno
Karasuno has two main rivals, Nekoma and Seijoh, but the two teams are different to each other from the view point of Karasuno.
Karasuno and Nekoma are aiming to have a ‘Battle at the Garbage Dump’ which was named as such since both teams are represented by animals usually seen in a dump (karasu = crow and neko = cat). They wanted to play a single head-to-head match and vowed to have this match during the National Tournament. Their relationship can be called a friendly rivalry and if their match comes true, both teams will enter the court smiling happily. They have so far played only practice matches, which are different from official matches in term of fighting spirit and the sense of tension that exist between players. I hope to watch their ultimate battle from the bottom of my heart.
On the other hand, Karasuno and Seijoh are arch-nemeses. They must defeat the other in order to progress . They are destined to fight against each other. In the Inter High Preliminaries, Seijoh defeated Karasuno, whereas in the Spring High Representative Playoffs, Karasuno beat Seijoh. The official match record so far is even. Next time they play a match, both teams will consist of different members. I can’t wait to watch their fateful matches which will continue further.
The Haikyu franchise has been expanding in a variety of media, such as a theatrical omnibus movie with new scenes and a stage play based on each match, not to mention the original manga which is overheating with the start of the National Tournament. I can’t imagine how fast the story moves, though I vow to keep up with Haikyu!! with my full strength.