Haikyuu!!: To the Top ep1 – A Fresh Start

This one is staying on this site! Starting next week, you will only see Haikyuu on Sundays as the other two series will be over on Karandi’s blog. I’m sorry, I’m not sure what she has in mind for the scheduling yet . On here I will be reviewing Somali on Saturdays and Haikyuu on Sundays. Sounds like fun, right?

I’m not sure how many of you know this since I don’t mention it much here, but Haikyuu is one of my very favourite series. The fandom does scare me a bit though… This said, I love large ensemble casts and this is one of the best with great group dynamics and a lot of characters with unique but consistent personalities and logical interactions. I feel similarly about Durarara!

This is actually something that’s very difficult to do and maintain in a series, and without it Haikyuu would become a pleasant but run of the mill Sports! anime in my view.

This is why I was a little afraid to watch this episode. It was like meeting a crush after not seeing them for a long time or having diner with your idol. The potential for disappointment was through the roof. Not to mention production shake ups and other set backs. And it’s not just the series. I’ve changed too since I last watched this show. I’ve seen a lot of anime. My tastes and standards have drifted, refined, degraded… It’s a different show and I’m a different person so to expect the same effect is unreasonable.

All I can say is, it’s so good to be home.

Although the episode mostly centred on Hinata, as the series tends to do in early season, we still got to see pretty much everyone and had a soft reintroduction to the Karasuno team and some of their rivals. In the first few scenes, I thought the art style may have changed a little. Been cleaned up and standardized a touch. I have to admit that 5 minutes in I didn’t care anymore. These were the kids I knew, that’s all that mattered.

Character consistency is very difficult to pull off, especially in a large cast and through multiple character arcs. But in the end Hinata is still the impulsive, overenthusiastic pest he’s always been, Kageyama is still the stoic yet surprisingly dorky natural, Tsuki is still abrasive and elitist.

But with 3 seasons and a few movies under their belt, Hinata is now aware of his strengths and weaknesses and knows his own potential, Kageyama wants to be a team player and learn from others, Tsuki’s arrogance is as much a front as anything else and his teammates have come to consider him a friend despite this.

They are the same guys we met in season 1 but they’ve grown, but figuratively and literally. The measurement scene was so much fun and what reassured me that I had nothing to worry about as far as Haikyuu!: To The Top goes. It was classic Haikyuu shenanigans and I was thrilled to see them.

Oh yeah, I suppose I should let you know what happened in the episode. Well, Karasuno is going to participate in the Volleyball Spring Tournament so everyone is excited and a little nervous about that. There’s a lot of practising to be done. But Kageyama has also been invited to participate in the All-Japan under 19 volleyball training camp. A huge honour.

Since most people on the team agree that Kageyama is their best player (Noya is very good too but…you know…) the news is met with congratulations and optimism by everyone except for Shoyo who is just full of jealousy.

Meanwhile Tsukishima has also been invited to inter-team practice with some of the strongest high school players in the region and once again, little Hinata is left out.

Side note, from what we learn at the beginning of the episode, Hinata has grown to be 164 cm. He is still one of the shortest but taller than Nishinoya at 160 cm. Both are considerably taller than my 152 cm…

I went on that little height tangent to whine but also because it seems that the decision to invite Tsuki to the practice was due at least in part to his impressive height as the coach in charge is a fan of aggressive and physical players. Naturally someone like Hinata wouldn’t fit in there. So of course he decides to crash the practice!

In just this first episode Haikyuu!: To The Top did a fantastic job reminding us who all the characters are and establishing two different arcs all the while setting some personal stakes for the ones involved. I also noticed that both managers, coach Ukai and sensei Takeda had a relatively good presence right off the bat which is nice to see. Not being on the team, they sometimes get forgotten.

To me, this was a very strong start to the new season. It seems they’ve matched up Tsuki and Shoyo together for the next few episodes which sounds hilarious and good development potential for both characters and they’ve isolated Kageyama in a group where he may end up one of the least skilled. Something he has never had to deal with in any way. Both scenarios are really full of promise.

Moreover, it was just so good to see everyone again and I can’t wait until next week!

Irina

I'm much nicer than I seem, we should be friends!

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12 Responses

  1. Jiraiyan says:

    I have nominated you for Real Neat Blog Award. Congrats. Feel free to ignore it if you want. LOL.

    https://otakuorbit.com/i-got-the-real-neat-blog-award/

  2. tanteikid94 says:

    it í back. Let fly higher.

  3. LitaKino says:

    This episode was magic that is all !!!

  4. I am a huge sports fan yet have never watched a sports anime (unless Children’s card games are sports now). I think I need to change that soon, leaning towards checking this out due to yours and others enthusiasm but I would be open to suggestions?

    • Irina says:

      Bridge is an Olympic sport….Just sayin…
      Depends if you want to see actual sport or a spectacle. Haikyuu is a great one, I’m a big fan of Hajime no Ippo (boxing), Kuroko no Basuke is a fantastic soap opera…

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