Hello everyone. I don’t have a lot of manga that I’ve completed compared to last year, so I thought that a little post on Haikyuu would be a great way to end this year. I’ve mostly been reading One Piece and a lot of the weekly manga from my Weekly Manga Reads posts for the most part. I still need to work on a Dressrosa post that I have been slacking on and a Chainsaw man post sometime in the near future too. For now, to write something with a more positive perspective compared to yeterday, I thought that writing about Haikyuu would be one of the best way to end this year in terms of content. Especially since almost every character in this manga is a good volleyball boy. I also waited a little bit on writing this post due to the anime that is currently airing, so…
Haikyuu is a journey and an experience for a lot of good volley ball boys in this manga. The main focus team is the used to be great Karasuno who are the infinite under dogs compared to whatever team they face. Yeah, all of them considering they are now called the wingless crows. This was the year where a lot of great rookies knocked on the door to spark greatness into Karasuno once again. The two main focusing characters are Hinata who is short and inexperienced, but shows lots and lots of ability that hasn’t been tapped yet. The second one is Kageyama, a boy with tons and tons of talent that he show constantly, but has an attitude problem. The edge of talent always leans on his side of the field. After meeting in a botched match in middle school where Hinata declared Kageyama a rival, they find each other at Karasuno together. The best and worst place they can be. This is more Hinata’s story though.
Once again, these are two out of many characters in Karasuno who are only a small number of characters compared to the whole wide Highschool Volleyball sphere in Japan. Karsuno has three third years who has wishes to be the best (Daichi, Sugawura and Azumane), seconds years who suffered through something last year and are recovering from something (Tanaka and Nishinoya), and some first years once again. Hinata and Kageyama are only a couple of them. There is also Tsukishima who, at first, has trouble adapting to the reality of volleyball being something he can get behind, and Yamaguchi who’s talented is easily mauled over by the others. That’s not even all of them. It’s crazy to think about and I can keepgoing. It’s also crazy to think that this is Hinata’s story when everyone is carried with him.
This is one manga that takes a pretty standard tournament battle and adds its own twists to it. There is one opponent that Karasuno needs to defeat in order to get ranked up to the next and so on. Ok, two tournaments technically. One where Karasuno isn’t supposed to do well to show how far they have to grow still and the other where they slowly make a bid for the national championships. That carries the weight of how tough it is and how hard other teams have worked. As I’ve said in another post, every team has at least two people if not more that are extremely memorable on Karasuno’s journey. Not to mention the number of camps Karasuno is in where they lose against other teams. Being Karasuno is suffering until it’s not.
And we can go into the depth of every character into the story. Everyone player has something they are working on either mentally or physically. There is so many to focus on that I could write an entire post on each one of them. Let’s take some specifics generally though. We could talk about Oikawa for instance. He was Kageyama’s senior in middle school and now his opponent. From the outside, he’s a player with peerless strength that Kageyama can’t beat. Yet, Oikawa is also scared of Kageyama. There is a talent in Kageyama that Oikawa can see that is still untapped and he keeps moving forward and improving himself because of it. Like I said, that’s only one of so many rivalries. So many ships to because of this. All fun.
My favorite all time rivalry is, of course, is Karasuno vs Nekoma. Two teams with different ideas on how to play. Karasuno as the ones who take an endless amount of flight and pull-out crazy plays out of nowhere that shock everyone. Nekoma, on the other hand, are a very steady team that can slowly adapt to each team they play until they outmatch them. This is the ultimate rivalry in Haikyuu, yet every member of each team is best friends with the other. At least, that’s what it seems like to me and I don’t think any team member could deny these things. I love their dynamic and I think Nekoma could be my favorite team.
We could talk about an endless amount of teams and players that Hinata and Karasuno become rivals with naturally through games without even saying anything and only by playing and performing at a high level beyond what all people could do or doing crazy and shocking plans that no one expects. All of it happened inside and outside each team. One action pushes another and so on. Some players don’t have the talent to keep going while others do and can keep growing. That’s the way of the world after all. There are always limits for everyone. Each action could result in that sort of craziness occurring here and there. It keeps Haikyuu grounded.
And once again, let’s not forget that this is Hinata’s journey. Kageyama is there, but Hinata’s journey is still more focused on. He’s still the new comer into the sport. We watch him grow quite a bit in this story. From that newbie who doesn’t know the ropes to making such a large name for himself to grow bits by bits over time. Breaking out of his shell to know what he can physically and mentally do. His physically abilities still shock people, his mental capabilities are able to predict where a player will hit a ball, and just learning to be himself. Something that is resolved in the end where he does finally become the ultimate player. It’s so exciting to watch happen. When one weak moment happens for him, there is only a conclusion. A great journey that is only a small amount of where perfection comes into the conclusion.
Haikyuu’s finale is one of the best finales I’ve ever seen and I sincerely mean that. No finale I have watched or read has ever hit the themes of the story and celebrated it’s character like Haikyuu has. I sincerely mean that. It’s all based around a game after Hinata’s return multiple years after high school. It is mainly Hinata focused, but every player that has showed up at least gets one moment to themselves to shine and see how they improve. Some are in the stands and we catch up while those who went pro are at their peaks for the moment. All while Hinata is finally on a team against Kageyama, so they have the promised game against each other in the happiest sense possible. No hate, only rivalry and it’s so good.
This manga is powerful in so many was. The art improves as Hinata’s journey continues which works in tandem with the theme going on. Hinata’s skinny and small character design grows and develops muscle over time, just like a lot of characters, which adds to Hinata’s journey is going somewhere. It seems like Furudate has natural talent of changing panel sizes and dimension to create movement and a natural flow from one situation to another. There is some changing and clutter which occurs from chapter to chapter with the change of focus character and situation, but the narrative is always simple because the games always return to normal one way or another. Haikyuu is great and should be required reading for everyone.