Inspired by a championship match he sees on TV, junior high schooler Hinata joins a volleyball club and begins training, despite his short height.
There is no denying, Haikyu!! is arguably sports anime at its finest. The story of Shoyo Hinata and his relentless determination to become the very best volleyball player brings the power of friendship and teammates to the forefront for a heartfelt story that quickly shows why the franchise has exploded in popularity.
At the time of writing this, we are about halfway through the fourth season of Haikyu!! so the team at Karasuno has gone through some real ups and downs. In the first season, we see the team learning how to cope with these wildly different scenarios and what it means to rely on one another for real strength. Sports anime is a genre that I really didn’t expect to like so much, and Haikyu!! is one of the first recommendations you will see when jumping into them. I am happy to say that all the praise you have heard is true. It’s just really good anime.
As we follow Shoyo Hinata overcoming different obstacles such as his height, abilities and personality conflicts, we start to see a real brotherhood bond take shape especially with Tobio Kageyama. The dynamic that unfolds between Hinata and Kageyama is ultimately the core of what makes this series so great. They start as unconventional rivals, competing against one another for the spotlight and place on the team. But by the time we reach the end of season 1, the support system that has developed is one that is almost impossible not to love. The rest of the team all shines in different moments led by Coach Ukai, each giving fun and sometimes insightful perspectives that give a believable and relatable feel to the team’s journey.
The first season revolves around the Inter-High Preliminary competition that determines who will win the finals and go onto nationals in Tokyo. Karasuno has lost their reputation and the “new guys” Hinata and Kageyama seem to be the team’s best opportunity to get regain their notoriety. While the first half or so of the season introduces each of the teammates and develops the bond between Hinata and Kageyama, the back half of the season is all competition, filled with intense stakes and raw emotion.
The animation quality is superb all through the first season and the character development is quite strong. The actual matches are surprisingly exciting and will keep you on the edge of your seat. While the different teammates can sometimes fade into the background, this season does a pretty good job at giving each of them at least some attention to get viewers more familiar. The individuality that drives sports helps to create memorable characters that we can relate to such as Kei Tsukishima’s struggle with lacking innate abilities. It’s a comprehensive look at what many will assume to be a mundane sport, and it’s here where the anime surprises. You won’t expect to love these characters so much, or even care about volleyball so much, but you certainly will.
As in the real world, competition doesn’t always have a happy ending. While it’s great to see Hinata inspire the “flightless crows” along with Kageyama and turn the team around, the ups and downs in season one are unpredictable. So much so, that the ending will leave you just as heartbroken as the team was. Sure, there are some pacing issues especially as the season winds down with the final game for Karasuno at the Inter-High Preliminaries, stretching everything out more and more. But it also packs so many heartfelt character punches that you just have to keep watching.
Haikyu!! season 1 is an example of a sports anime that anyone can fall in love with. If you haven’t already, this is an series that you just can’t go wrong with. There is plenty of humor and heart, and it never forgets to have fun. It isn’t perfect by any means, but it’s one of the better series you will find out there today and it just might have you outside spotting and spiking with your best friends!
The story of Shoyo Hinata and his relentless determination to become the very best volleyball player in Haikyu!! season 1 brings the power of friendship and teammates to the forefront for a heartfelt story that quickly shows why the franchise has exploded in popularity.
Haikyu!! Season 1 Review: Not a One Man Show
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Plot - 10/1010/10
Character Development - 9.5/109.5/10
Production - 9/109/10
Music - 9/109/10
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