I am one of those anime fans that frequents all of the top anime companies to check out the latest news on Facebook. Sentai Filmworks, FUNimation, and Aniplex of America are places usually check updates frequently be it some new information and or licensing acquisitions. Haikyu!! is one anime series had saw several weeks back that Sentai Filmworks had gotten the license to later release here in North America for home video. The animation struck a nerve somewhat. Although what really grabbed my interest was that a few commentors who visit the Sentai Filmwork’s Facebook page also were happy about the news. The reason was very simple, indeed.
If people could be interested in the series and enough sales happened later on when it did it could convince Sentai Filmworks to eventually consider Free! Iwatobi Swim Club for license and release. Free! which has sadly not been licensed by any anime company to my unbelievable dismay. I mean the series have heard is geared for female fans more but even if that is the case I find it has a strong message of friendship and enough day to day life events to warrant some attention beyond that statement. Free! is just all female fan service. It is there but goes beyond that. After much thought I saw this push for Haikyu!! hype as quite the sly move by many people. In theory it is a pretty smart move after all. If anime companies that license a title see that Haikyu!! this slice of life sports anime is selling why not license another similar title like say Free!
Even after all that I soon forgot that. I continued to follow anime series had already planned for my Spring 2014 Anime Preview-Of Interest. Until began following the blog, Nigorimasen! On the blog there was a weekly sports anime report. Two weeks worth of reports have been covered for the Spring 2014 Anime Season related to sports anime. Haikyu!! was once again mentioned. That elusive title that had seen on Sentai Filmworks’s Facebook originally. I knew I could not continue to put it off. Somehow I wanted to see this series so could keep up at least an informed conversation with the blogger of Nigorimasen! on the topic of the series and its development. If it turned out good then I would get to experience another good anime series and if lucky a phenomenal one. The latter would be what would result!
Director: Susumu Mitsunaka
A brief run-down for Haikyu!! streaming Episodes 1-5
Available to Watch: Crunchyroll.com
EPISODE 1-Shoyo Hinata is a young middle schooler who wants to go to big tournaments to show his skills and potential as a volleyball player. The bad thing about his situation is that his school’s Boys volleyball team is a joke. It is severely understaffed and the school administration can hardly be bothered to help support his dream to get more group members to staff and make it a bigger school sports club. Hinata endures and is slowly encouraged by a few friends here and there including some of the Girl’s volleyball team members. He is the only member and he works hard every day. He works out a lot. He pushes himself so much to the point he acquires huge amounts of stamina and physical endurance to leap large heights.
A good asset in volleyball especially since for a volleyball player he is considered pretty short. The day comes one day he has longed for. A competition with various other middle schools. Many Boys volleyball teams compete and Hinata and his last minute put-together team, comprised of his friends, who have felt bad to see him work so hard but gain nothing decide to be his team. Hinata gives it his all but loses to the team lead by a boy named Tobio Kageyama known as the “King of the Court“. His sheer talent for setting volleyballs is renowned. Hinata could be easily seen as terribly humiliated but he vows he will defeat Tobio Kageyama and grow as a volleyball player to keep his dream alive of being like the little giant. The little giant or small giant , a short volleyball player, that received great fame for being an amazing volleyball player and so much so Hinata aspires to be like him.
EPISODE 2-Shoyo graduates middle school! Still when he makes it to high school he hopes to join the Boys volleyball team only to find one of his teammates is Tobio Kageyama. The guy he sees as his rival. Still the rivalry must stop if he is to join Karusuno’s Boys Volleyball team. Kageyama hates him just as much and finds him frustrating despite being very competitive with him. They get in huge trouble over their constant arguing prompting their team members to give them an ultimatum: either act like genuine friendly teammates on the volleyball team and beat their senior teammates or never be able to join. It is pretty hard for them since they have such clashing personalities and personal differences.
EPISODE 3-Hinata and Kageyama work hard to clear up their disputes. Still Kageyama can not get over his distant and rough personality which puts Hinata off. They continue to train and even though they have to beat their older senior teammates they manage to grow closer to them. Daichi Suwamara the captain of the team is so much like an older brother to them. Ryunosuke Tanaka is the jokester of the team. Koshi Sugawara is the calm voice of reason of the team who cares about everyone.
Unfortunately for Hinata and Kageyama some junior teammates like them have also arrived like them clamoring to be on the Karusuno High School’s Boys volleyball team. The main reason it is so unfortunate is because Kei Tsuikishima hates guys like Hinata and Kageyama that are too passionate or intense. They obviously clash but in a different way than Hinata and Kageyama. Hinata and Kageyama have an underlying almost close unexplainable connection that if they are given enough time they could come to be close friends while Tsukishima just seems utterly annoyed with them outright. Even so Tsukishima has a close teammate to him who is also one of the junior members, Tadashi Yamagushi, who seems more care-free between the two of them. A lot of seriousness but still the series has a lot of instances of comedy which is a humor that find addicting!
EPISODE 4-Somehow Hinata and Kageyama works out their differences and make a strategy on the court to play up their better playing qualities to cover for their weaknesses. Once they both work together they can overcome both of their weaknesses. It is not all easy since to get to that point a lot of humiliating moments first show up including ones where Sugawara [Suga] is told by Tanaka to fight on in advicing Kageyama and Hinata on teamwork and playing up their strengths in the sport that is volleyball.
EPISODE 5-Hinata and Kageyama make it to the team. Still they have to go off against Aoba Johsai High’s Boys Volleyball team in a practice match. Hinata is finally on a real volleyball school team. He has managed to find a partner to work on the court as a duo alongside Kageyama but this new practice match that the school has just gotten has him more than a little nervous. So much that he throws up! Hilarious since Hinata’s worry could be easily seen if the characters payed close attention to him.
Voice Actors/Voice Actresses [Performances that stand out]
Ayumu Murase–Shōyō Hinata
Kaito Ishikawa–Tobio Kageyama
Kouki Uchiyama–Kei Tsukishima
Haikyu!! is my official fourth slice of life anime series. My second that is actually sports themed (weirdly enough could get into the series despite hating all sports). The first being Free! Iwatobi Swim Club.
In the world of anime there are just too many anime series that deal with supernatural, action, and or Fantasy more. There are more genres of course but finding a good slice of life can be hard since some don’t stand out or you may find that many just have very nonsensical story concepts that really carry no real strong passionate power. Haikyu!! has a lot of heart. Hinata’s will to be like his hero the small giant is pretty lovely to see and just the trials that come with getting to that point. Still wont say not watching also for the hilarious comedy present. Since there is a lot of good comedy.
With animation in the series have found no real faults. The first episode was quite flawless. Some of the best moments are when Hinata executes his powerful jumps. The movement and obvious power is there. Since loved the animation thought why not check up on the animation studio through sources. The studio was Production I.G. One of the most cutting edge studios and also the studio that releases a lot of really well animated works: Blood +, Blood-C, Guilty Crown, FLCL, XXXHolic, Patlabor, Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Another, and many more works of animation.
In the area of music, within the series with the series so far have come across the opening theme song (OP) which is fantastic. It is cheerful and upbeat much like this series. The ending theme song is another winner like the OP. It is performed by NICO Touches the Walls. I had actually encountered this band when saw [C}-Control: The Money and Soul of Possibility. The song was titled Matoryoshika. They were the band that performed the OP for that series and at that time thought what a wonderful song. They are a very good band, indeed.
Haikyu!! came as a real shocker to the system. I think this one of the most beautiful series have ever seen and it is only on its fifth episode with an all-around full complete set of 25 episodes to release. It is still airing but I am absolutely in love with it. So much so finally decided to review the series so far before later feeling like it would just be too hard to do so. It is quite the amazing anime series so much so cannot compare to another. If your looking for a care-free but contradiction of an anime series look to Haikyu!! Right now happy Sentai Filmworks licensed this series since could easily buy the series now having only seen 5 out of 25 episodes.
NOTE: Surprisingly Susumu Mitsunaka the director of Cuticle Detective Inaba with its quirky humor also directs Haikyu!!
OPENING THEME SONG [OP]
Imagination by SPYAIR
I just have to recommend this song. So good! The vocals resonate.
ENDING THEME SONG
Tenchi Gaeshi by NICO Touches the Walls
Sounds sad but jumps to extremes of cheerful.