When this post makes an appearance, it will appear slightly less than two weeks after the manga form of Haikyuu came to an end. While I am not ready to write a glowing review of the series yet because I feel like I want to reread the whole series before doing that, I do want to at least talk about my own personal journey through it. It’s honestly astonishing how characters that are fictional can affect you so much. I’ve had a number of series that I’ve read and watched which has done that, but I am proud to say that Haikyuu is among them. Those volley ball boys can create some feelings, let me tell you.
I did have a hard time getting into the series at first. First, I tried the anime series because I am a larger anime fan then I am a manga fan and OWLS is a very Haikyuu positive group. I watched more than a few episodes and there was just something so off about the experience that I couldn’t get into it. Before long I checked out the manga with the SJ+ app and I was hooked. I don’t know what it was, but it connected in every positive way the anime didn’t for me. Was it before the experience was more personal because I can turn the pages at whatever pace I feel like? I have a feeling that might be the reason here. It doesn’t matter, the manga got me regardless.
This story, this sports series, this Haikyuu is a train that you never expect to hit you when it does. From the very get go, there is a sentimentality which already adds another layer to the world and its characters. This isn’t just a series about a tall, gifted Volley Ball player meeting a shorter, player without potential. This is the meeting of two minds from one point of view. Kageyama and Hinata are two like minds that come from different angles and existences. Hinata is an underdog unknown in an under unknown team. The work he has to do to advance himself while also advancing the team adds an additional conflict to the going affairs of the series. Of course, the conflict between Kageyama and Hinata is only one growing topics of intrigue and personality in a sea of them. Karasuno as a whole is a starting people too.
I can honestly say that there is at least one character that any person reading or watching Haikyuu can connect with. You know, if not all of them. It’s a series that is full of underdogs with all sorts of personalities and some feeling of underdog to them. When I mean everyone, I mean everything. Every single person, even the top dogs, feel like real people because there is a remaining trait of underdog-ness on each of them. There is something driving each character forward and it could be fear, something in their background pushing them. There is some hostility amongst people in the teams, but it’s always in terms of rivalry and “I’ll beat you next time”. There is a soul and a sense of positivity that really helps with the tone of the story even in the darkest of times.
This last arc has been a celebration of what Haikyuu is about. The love of the sport, people being attached to Volleyball even if they are playing it, a further along telling of people’s stories and where they are now that they are in the pros, and of course there is Hinata and Kageyama’s love for the sport and their rivalry out in the open in a way that everyone can see. It is fantastic and possibly the best epilogue that I’ve ever seen. So many moments of happiness as you watch the teams that Hinata and Kageyama are on doing major plays out of nowhere they couldn’t do before hand in ways that were impossible for them in high school. Especially Hinata and his beach volley ball training. I feel like I’ve cried so much just reading it.
Sigh, the manga is over now. That’s fine because I am going to start reading it again as soon as this post comes out. But that means, for now, no more Haikyuu. It’s been a positive sort of experience that I needed as times got dire and dark in 2019 and now 2020. From the time I binge read it to reading it in weekly installments, it’s always been there with it’s character story of players getting to do what they want in time. I’m going to missing reading new chapters each week. Whatever Haruichi Furudate creates next, if they work on another series, I look forward to reading it and hoping it’s amazing as Haikyuu. If it’s not, that’s ok. I doubt that bad and wrongness is going to happen regardless of it all.