• Titles: 2.43: Seiin Koukou Danshi Volley-bu
  • Genre: Sports!, school, drama
  • Episodes: 12
  • Studio: David Production

As a small child Kimichika Haijima had to leave everything he knew behind when he moved to Tokyo. Including his best friend Yuni. But the two swore never to forget each other. It’s been over a decade now so will they keep their promise. Yuni is still a sweet likeable guy who makes friends everywhere he goes but the Chika that has just gotten back to town is very different. He’s surly, quiet and doesn’t pay any attention to Chika at all. In fact, the only thing this new Chika seems to care about is volleyball. But the school club doesn’t even hold real practices so it’s not like they have a chance at getting anywhere. Is it? If Yuni wants to get his old friend back, volleyball may be the best way to do it. Thankfully Yuni is very tall, naturally athletic and apparently has everything it takes to make a great ace.

Aww man, watching a volleyball anime really is my comfort zone. It’s not something I think about actively but whenever I go back to Sports! anime after a while and see all those old tropes again, it just feels like I’m home. All comfy and safe. And let’s face it, out of all the sports they could have picked, volleyball certainly is one that I’m used to seeing in anime format. Sometimes familiarity breeds contempt. Sometimes it’s just cozy!

Yeah!

Production

I just saw that 2.43 was made by David Production and that explains a bit. I do like the studio. Especially in their use of framing but that greatly depends on the director. In any case, 2.43 is a generally good-looking anime. For some reason, I was expecting it to be cheaper, especially when it comes to the actual animation. But it’s not. Action scenes look good. Mouvement is nice and fluid and character designs are generally consistent.

And that’s a very good thing. I think that one of the reasons I like volleyball anime is that I think volleyball is particularly well suited to animation. It’s very 3d. The ball is constantly moving in all directions and up in the air. People are jumpîng all the time which allows for some stretching of physics to create very interesting visuals. Sports that keep the ball on the ground or generally at one level like rugby or even basketball (or hokey but that’s not a ball) don’t have as much freedom to have fun with the animation. So it’s good that 2.43 could take advantage of it!

Come to think of it, tennis is another sport that has that same advantage and there are a lot of tennis anime. Maybe I’m onto something here.

even in stills it looks kinda cool

Story & Characters

As you may have noticed, I decided to out 2.43 in the drama category. It’s a lot more serious than most sports anime I have watched but that’s not to say it’s all that dramatic. Rather, it doesn’t really inject any humour. So it might be better to call it a not comedy with some dramatic moments. It’s mostly sort of neutral and that’s not a bad thing.

Like most Sports! anime, 2.43 introduces us to a very large cast of characters and they are really the ones driving the story. In the latter half of the show, we get to know the opponents (another staple of the genre) and although I can name a lot of shows that I think do handle characterization better than 2.43, I will say that this might have been the first time that I truly did not want anyone to lose.

In fact, I actually wanted both sides to win. I was invested in and rooting for both sides equally because the show managed to make me care. And that’s very hard to achieve. At the end of the day, I (and I think most viewers) usually have a bit of a favourite. We may not want anyone to lose or be sad but we do want one team to win. In this case, I just wanted some type of fairy magic to make this the first-ever two-winner tournament.

sometimes there are no bad guys

How can I put this? Although I would say no single character really stands out that much. The leads are a bit too caricatural if you ask me and the supporting cast could use some fleshing out. The dynamic between the teams is fantastic. It’s a case where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

And did you know that 2 meters and 43 centimetres is the regulation height for the volleyball net at nationals? At least in Japan. I know that now! It’s 2 meters and 40 centimetres for all other tournaments but for nationals, the net is raised by 3 centimetres. That’s where the name of the show comes from.

Why am I telling you this… Well, it’s because I like it when a Sports! anime cares about the sport. One of the things that make me gravitate towards the genre is the exploration and embrace of passion. A passion that has no real use. Most of these kids openly state that they’re not going to become professional volleyball players but they still work like crazy at it. It’s passion for its own sake and well, I’m charmed by that.

aww ‘cmon, nothing to be embarrassed about

And when you watch Sports! anime or read Sports! manga, you can sometimes see the author’s passion for the sport they are writing about. Hajime no Ippo has 132 volumes and is still going strong because Jyoji Morikawa loves boxing and really wants an outlet for that love. He wants to tell everybody about it. And I get swept away by that kind of love.

I think that you can see an author’s passion in the little things. In how they have the characters explain the sport with such passion that you almost want to go and pick it up yourself as soon as the episode is over. Or when they lovingly detail the equipment used and how to take care of it. How they slip in their favourite brands… or how an author enthusiastically discusses different net heights for specific tournaments and you can tell they think that’s just so cool. Well, I think that’s cool too. Maybe not the information in itself but the passion behind it.

If you read all the way down to here, you may have picked up on the fact that I enjoyed 2.43. I did! However, I think it’s time we got some real talk out. 2.43 is an anime written for me. It caters to my particular likes. But it’s not a perfect anime by any stretch of the imagination. For one, the pacing is horrendous. I’m not kidding, it’s downright bad and even I couldn’t get completely past it.

I,m sorry but it is!

Some episodes drag on while at other times events zip by in a way that makes you not too sure how they got from point A to point B. Characters stay in neutral until they have some sort of emotional storyline but then the built-up isn’t timed well so they just seem to be having outbursts out of nowhere.

It doesn’t render the show unwatchable but the pacing is just bad. If you are wondering what bad pacing looks like, this could be an educational watch.

Moreover, the characters are sort of generic. Like I said, they come together very well and I think the chemistry is fantastic but if you take any one character in isolation, they just sort of fade. And that’s a big weakness for a character-driven story. Audiences naturally want to connect and identify with someone and as it is, the experience might end up feeling a bit shallow.

Realistically, it’s probably an average anime. It just happens to be an average anime full of stuff I like so that works out great for me!

You might like this anime if:

If you enjoy ensembles with no stars and like Sports! animes that are abut the sport, then I think you would enjoy 2.43

My favourite character:

Oda! What can I say, I like nice boys, a lot!

Suggested drink:

a Japanese Highball obviously!

  • Every time Yuni blushes  – awwww
  • Every time anyone mentions Sato – take a sip
  • Every time any of Yuni’s cousins show up – take a sip
  • Every time the boys measure themselves – take a sip
  • Every time Chika is grumpy – offer him a sip
  • Every time someone mentions the spring tournament – raise your glass
  • Every time Kuroba and Chika argue – take a sip
  • Every time we hear the words Meisei Academy – be intimidated
  • Every time there’s a 3 person block – take a sip
  • Every time the Seiin coach chimes in – pay attention
  • Every time anyone calls Chika a prodigy – take a sip
  • Every time Chika smiles – finish your glass
  • Every time Subaru is gonna take the team to center court – wish him luck
  • Every time Hajima is a beast – take a sip

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

9 thoughts

  1. I watched it because it was pretty, and I liked the music a lot and… it teetered on the edge but never got too boring or bad to drop. Average is a good word – yet somehow likeable enough to prompt me to read about it and reply.
    I agree, I wanted both teams to win or merge or something. Oda was one of my favorites too! Him and his friend had great chemistry. I liked the grumpy cat too, which isn’t that easy, his character type often comes bland and boring to me. Yeye you’re better than everyone and only care about the sport snoooore.
    You are so right about the pacing! I didn’t think about it much at the time but looking back, oh yes.
    Fun fact: this was my first volleyball anime. 🙂 I want to watch haikyuu too but trying to tempt my partner into it too.

  2. My first take at seeing the post title: Did I see this? Then: Oh, right: nationals net height. Yeah, I’ve seen this. The meaning of the title is what I remember the most about the show. I also remember being more into it at the beginning of the show than at the end. And the pictures do make me remember the characters. But in hindsight I’m entirely neutral on the show. No positive feelings, no negative feelings. Nothing really. I’ve seen it to the end, but that appears to be it for me.

    1. Average anime, that sounds about right! I figure it’i going to be the average viewer experience for this one.

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