Haikyuu is on Netflix. Well the early seasons are. And because my Netflix opens up on the anime homepage and Haikyuu is currently the featured show, whenever I open up Netflix I get a scene from season 1.

And I let it play every time. I get sucked into it. I’m a little disappointed when it ends. Of course I could just rewatch season 1. There is absolutely nothing stopping me except all the other anime I have left to (and want to) watch. This said, I’m pretty confident it wasn’t just a product of a passing fancy. Haikyuu is a good show. It was in season 1 and it still is.

Season 1 of Haikyuu was held together by two core character arcs. Hinata adjusting to finally being able to share his passion with a team. A happy and joyful evolution that spurred the viewers to share in his enthusiasm. Said enthusiasm crashing squarely into Kageyama’s bitterness and disillusionment. A character that loves volleyball just as much as Hinata but whose experience of finding a team had been tainted with frustration and strife.

Despite Haikyuu being a sports anime and having that build in drama of rival teams and tournaments, Kageyama himself has always been one of the prime sources of conflict for the show. His progression into a team player capable of trusting and respecting his teammates has been one of the more uplifting pats of the show but it’s been a slow road and sometimes people take a step back.

This week, Karasuno continued their practice match against Date Tech but what they actually did was reestablish how to work together. A lot of them have been practising separately for a while now and each player has their own ambitions and goals. they need to come together as a team once more and that can be tricky.

I felt a little bad for Date Tech. They played great and tried their best. Heck they won! But the episode wasn’t about them at all. They were just a device. But a good one.

In second long interactions consisting of a few out of breath words between serves, we got to see where most of the Karasuno team stands right now. Even though he won’t admit it, Tsuki is starting to actually care about volleyball and his performance. Asahi has manage to bring his insecurities under control. At least enough to try new things and go after a personal style which is good news. Noya is wavering a bit and struggling to find his place but he’s as hopeful as ever. Tanaka is slowly growing up. Daichi is probably looking forward to university and a little tired of it all but Suga is more interested than he’s been in a long time.

They’re play may have been sloppy but from this side of the screen, things are looking pretty good for Karasuno!

There was some more really great animation in this sequence. Namely when Tobio lost his cool. I’m sorry I didn’t manage to capture it 🙁

This is why I went on about season 1 of Haikyuu. It wasn’t just senility. Kageyama slipped into his old habits. It was bound to happen. The show has been hinting at it for a few episodes now. I think I may have preferred if they completely subverted expectations and by having Kageyama remain unaffected by everything that was happening around him. But this isn’t bad either. It was handled well and it’s nice to see that Tobio is still human.

The whole time Kageyama was going off and Tanaka had that great line about “The Return of the King” (almost made it my post title), I was thinking to myself that Shoyo would knock some sense into him. But instead, Shoyo did my one better. Hinata is the sort of character that does and says things where you can’t figure out whether he’s a genius or an idiot. His solution to this impasse was: what’s wrong with Kageyama acting like The King. So what if he’s a self-centred, condescending jerk sometimes. If you don’t like what he’s saying, just don’t listen to him. Problem solved!

The point here is that Karasuno is a team. Even if one of them slips or looses sight of what matters, the rest are there to make up for it. Kageyama may have grown a lot over the past three seasons but he wasn’t the only one. Every single player on that team has grown. None of them are the same as they were in the first episode. And unlike those past guys, the Karasuno of today knows how to deal with a king. They’re not gonna let a little thing like that tear them apart. They are at a point where they can just not listen. And that’s nice.

Teams that work the best aren’t ones where no one ever argues and everyone things everyone else is the best. They are the ones who can be frank abut their shortcomings and work around them. The ones that learn to sometimes just not listen. I,m stuck on that phrase aren’t I? It’s just such a weird moral to have. I’m excited about it!

Haikyuu To The Top just finished it’s first real game of the season , even if it was just a practice match, and I loved it. Except not really for the volleyball.

Can’t wait to see more!

Haikyuu s4 To The Top ep7-9 (2)

3 thoughts

  1. I missed Tsukishima’s now-I’m-mad smile. He’s cute when is angry. Interestingly, I find it much more obvious in motion than in that still-shot above. Screenshots have that side-effect that they also show you where animation makes a different. Since I’m not schooled, I don’t notice these things in action.

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