Haikyuu!! is an anime focused on the sport of volleyball with four seasons in which none of the characters are developed. The plot focuses on competitive tournaments, which often do not allow plot development. Characters follow the athletically gifted but short Hinata Shoyo and his partner Kageyama Tobio, making them unoriginal. Shoyo forms Karasuno High School’s Volleyball team in the hope of reclaiming glory to compete at Nationals.
Haikyuu!! as a sports anime
Society is socializing more and more with anime, especially sports anime. Haikyuu!!! follows most tropes of mainstream sports anime but never falls into mediocrity. Hinata Shoyo would be the perfect protagonist to live out the standard trope that the popular and fit extroverted shounen protagonist has while Kageyama Tobio serves as his slow loner partner and ultimate rival.
Other characters like Tendou Satori and Oikawa Tooru are easy binary characters like Tetsuro “Terry” Nadono, who is the dorky rival character.
Haikyuu!! is a masterpiece as a sports anime. But it’s not just for sports fans; each season reveals hidden layers in the characters beyond two-dimensional characterizations. Rival teams, teammates, and friends all grapple over difficulties with themes that are easily relatable to audiences.
As shown in Haikyuu!!, all the characters with despicable qualities are justified in their actions with something good. There are no evil or malevolent characters (unless you count Karasuno). All the high school boys are engaged in nothing less than a highly competitive sport which refines relationships, provides variety to an otherwise broken norm, and is capable of producing great results.
What Makes Haikyuu!! Different
Haikyuu!! is a sports anime that can also sometimes be poetic. Furudate Haruichi’s use of symbolism, especially in naming the various teams is striking.
Karasuno from Haikyuu!! represents the karasu or crow, and this animal is unpredictable and heavy on the offensive. Nekoma from Haikyuu!! is more cat-like, steadily waiting and slowly wearing down their opponents\\\’ defenses to find the right moment to pounce upon victory. Inarizaki from Haikyuu!! is fox-like in their quickness and adaptability, among several other teams such as Fukurodani (owl), Shiratorizawa (white eagle), Johzenji (monkey), Nohebi (snake).
On the more non-animal side, we have the Iron Wall of Date Tech, a name that referred to their absolute, impenetrable defenses and their ability to score consecutively off failed spikes by their opponents.
The Assassination Classroom and Haikyuu!! manga and anime both grapple with the themes of high school and sports like Ushijima before it.
Another noteworthy example is how a character will reflect on a ball they’ve caught. For instance, this shows a raw hunger for winning and a sheer love of volleyball.
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