People have a lot of thoughts about Sports anime. I know a lot of fans who call it their least favourite genre. On the other hand, we regularly get new titles and they tend to do pretty well in popularity. So it’s a toss-up on whether the genre, in general, is appreciated or not.

One thing is for sure though, among those wo like Sports! anime, Haikyuu!! tends to be a fan favourite. And there’s a good reason for that.

Haikyuu!! To The Top has been back for two weeks now and we are still in the same match. it’s not even over yet. That’s sort of a given, sports anime games last way longer than real-life ones. But that’s not really what hit me about the episode. What hit me is that I really cared about who was winning.

I am a Sports! anime fan and I have watched a heck of a lot of them. I know how these animes tend to work out. They are pretty formulaic as far as genres go. And although I usually care about who wins matches, I mean the entire series’ are written so the audience gets invested in the games. I don’t care in this way. I don’t care about the sport itself. But I did today.

And that’s a shock. You see, I have always said that my love for Haikyuu stems from the fact that it is heavily character-driven and has a huge but balanced cast which it handles well. It’s difficult to write for so many characters. As such, the sport itself shouldn’t really be a consideration. And if you had asked me in the past, I would have said it isn’t.

Yet somehow, it suddenly is. I still loved seeing the twins’ contemptuous relationship. It made me smile. I was thrilled to acknowledge how easy and comfortable Hinata and Kageyama have gotten with each other and in general. It was great that Tsuki let his sarcastic bite out. And boy was I happy for Yamaguchi.

But I also got really wrapped up in the way Hinata was guarding and where he was standing. I was trying to analyze which little mistakes were going to turn out to be happy accidents and which would cause Karasuno to lose points. I didn’t just want them to win, I wanted them to win in a specific way. At one point I thought about arguing with the animated ref on a call. No one in the anime was arguing…

And that’s not all. I’m a bit on the slow side, so I need a lot of signs before realizations hit me!

As some of you may know, I work out while watching anime. I’ve been doing it for so many years that now it just feels weird to sit down and watch. I need to at least do some crunches or something. But I take it easy on the weekends. I watch much less anime on the weekends and if I do, I do more relaxed exercise. Stretching, beginner yoga, that sort of stuff. I have dozens of routines already in my tablet so I just need to pick the day and load a plan.

I started out carefully moving my neck from side to side and rotating my shoulders. But at some point, and without me realizing it, I had started doing jumping jacks and running in place. By the end of the episode, I had done hundreds of those jumping jacks along with a bunch of sit-ups and push-ups and just general cardio strength exercises. I was covered in sweat.

I’m not just trying to simultaneously bore and gross you out with a random story. My point is that I not only got into the match I was watching, but it pulled me into moving my own body. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be part of the team. So obviously I had to train. I can’t put my finger on how exactly Haikyuu managed to captivate me with an imaginary high school volleyball match but there you have it. It’s magic…

6 thoughts

    1. I know what you mean but I was just too excited – I had to watch it right away. I admire your discipline

  1. Hm, I usually either want Karasuno to win, or I don’t want either team to lose. Oddly enough, I don’t much care this time round. Maybe it’s because I don’t find the new team all that interesting (though that fox eyecatch of the twins was a dorable).

      1. Maybe diminishing returns are setting in? But, yeah, that’s probably my least favourite team so far. Not that they’re bad, but I’m just not taken with them.

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