I know every anime fan that watches seasonally has been where I am at some point. Namely, they find themselves watching a season of anime that seems exceptional yet no one else is talking about it…
Haikyuu!! To The Top is an amazing season of anime. It’s my favourite currently airing show and I feel like I,m the only one who’s taken any notice. I know that’s not quite true. I discovered this little app called AniTrend which is linked to AniList and tells me in reall time how many people have marked a particular show as “watching”, plant to watch, on hold or dropped. From there I know that quite a few people are watching Haikyuu and it has the lowest “dropped” rate of any show I’m watching. So I’m not the only one who’s noticed how great it is…in theory…
After years of devoted service, last week we finally got to know Shimizu a bit and it was wonderful. One of the details that stuck with me where that she wore black tights all year round because her legs are bruised from years of running hurdles. It’s a little detail that makes a character that much more solid and dimensional.
Well it turns out it wasn’t a little detail. It’s an important part of Shimizu’s character. She’s an actual person with her won dreams and ambitions, some of which simply didn’t pan out. Other’s are still ahead of her. But whatever else she may be, she’s a good manager and a powerful character in her own right. She didn’t just get the respect of the team because they had no other manager, she earned it. And this week, Haikyuu showed us all that in a few short scenes .
It was a feat of skilled storytelling taking full advantage of the medium!
I won’t lie, it makes me a little happy to find out that Shimizu could probably beat up half of these guys. I always suspected as much but I have proof now!
Haikyuu is also gently setting up the departure of the third years and the passing of the baton to the new generation. Including the new manager. I’m not sure I’ll get to see it all play out but I feel the potential and it fills my heart and mind with such lovely possibilities.
But what would Haikyuu be without volleyball? Real short. Like maybe 15 minutes all seasons combined. It’s a very sporty Sports! anime and I’m certainly not complaining. I can’t say I knew much about volleyball before I started watching Haikyuu but I have grown fond of the sport. It’s fun to watch. The jumping around makes it entertaining. And this season’s exaggerated animation style makes it even more amazing to watch!
Kageyama is an interesting character. He seems so static. A generally stoic, unsociable golden boy. That’s what he was in the first episode and that’s what he is now. Yet he’s grown so much at the same time. And he remains completely unpredictable. Just when you think he’s above it all, he breaks down and has a little tantrum. And when you think he’s about to crack under pressure, he takes it in stride and shows amazing maturity.
I think part of what makes Kageyama’s character arc both unusual and gently subversive is that it’s in many ways removed from himself. What I mean is that his evolution is deeply entwined and dependent on his relationships with his teammate. Removed from the team, Tobio is basically just true to himself. But he’s learn empathy and that’s a big deal!
Basically, hearing Kageyama calmly apologize to the team for being a bit off and need some time to get his timing down, coupled with every single person on the team instantly understanding the situation and knowing what they had to do to get everyone back on track, was the culmination of all these shared practices and matches.
Once again, this was an episode full of great moments that added up to a great whole. I can’t believe there’s only two left. I’m already a little sad about it.