Haikyu!! is based on the ongoing Weekly Shounen Jump manga series by Haruichi Furudate. It’s one of the most popular sports series and the anime was recently voted the Sports Anime of the Decade over on Funimation… which is huge since Haikyu!! beat out the likes of Free and Yuri!! On Ice. The series follows the members of the Karasuno High Volleyball Club as they attempt to rebuild their team and win Nationals. It sounds like the premise of just about every other sports anime under the sun, but there is just something special about Haikyu!! that get’s your blood pumping! From the intense volleyball matches to the dynamic cast of characters to it’s compelling character drama, Haikyu!! is hands down one of my favorite anime series of all time!
I blame Kat Sade for my Haikyu!! obsession, because without her I would have never discovered this amazing series! This series single-handedly got me interested in the sports anime genre, I binge watch the entire series every couple of months and no matter how many time I watch this series I find my self falling even more in love with the characters and the music… and just everything! Like many in the Haikyu fandom I am eager for the premiere of the LOOOOOOOOONG awaited 4th season, Haikyu: To the Top on January 10th.
There are still a few days left before season 4 starts, which is plenty of time to catch up on the series. But, if you’re still on the fence about Haikyu!! here are 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Haikyu!!
1. Karasuno Is A Team You Want To Root For
Karasuno is the main team that the series focuses on and I’ll be damned if you don’t fall in love with each and every one of the members of the team. First years Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama are the “main characters”—despite being super short, Hinata desperately wants to play volleyball like his idol the “Little Giant” and Kageyama is a volleyball prodigy who has trouble playing well with others—and they absolutely hate each other at the start of the series, but their chemistry on the court is second to none!
Then there’s Tsukishima Kei and Tadashi Yamaguchi, who start off as these snarky side characters and as the series progresses they blossom into these lovable volleyball nerds. Especially Tsukishima, man if that kid doesn’t have the best character redemption arc in the series I don’t know what to tell you! I love my salty boi! And of course who could forget second years Nishinoya and Tanaka or the third year trio, Daichi, Sugawara, and Asahi?! Every character gets their own arc in the series and each one is more compelling than the last!
They’re all such dynamic characters and watching them come together as a team is really what makes this show so special. Through all the losses and victories you’re right there with them, because the series does such a phenomenal job of developing the characters and getting you invested in their growth! I straight up cried when Karasuno lost to Aoba Johsai at the end of season 1… but you best believe I was whoopin and hollerin when they came back from that loss later in the series!
2. The Rival Teams Are AWESOME Too!
Usually in sports anime you’re supposed to root for the main team and root against their rivals, but Haikyu!! does such a great job of developing ALL its character that you wind up liking the characters your supposed to be actively against. Karasuno faces a number of great powerhouse teams on their journey to Nationals and the series makes sure you get to know key players from each rival school before you ever see them on the court.
Aoba Johsai, their biggest rival in season 1 (and part of season 2) has Tooru Oikawa a genius setter with skills to rival Kageyama’s own and while he’s supposed to be an antagonist, Oikawa is just so damn charismatic that you can’t help but like him! Then the series sets up this destined rivalry between Karasuno and Nekoma known as the Battle of the Trash Heap, and we meet the team’s captain, Tetsuro Kuroo and yet another genius setter, Kenma Kozume… Hinata and Kenma even become really good friends as the series progresses! And who could forget Kotaro Bokuto from the Tokyo powerhouse school Fukurodani?!
During the training camp arc Hinata and Tsukishima train with members of the Fukurodani and Nekoma volleyball teams and while they’re all technically rivals the captains of both teams take the time help the first years hone their skills on the court and even teach them new techniques. But, it doesn’t end there either, in later chapters of the manga both Kuroo and Bokuto are seen cheering on their protegees during their matches when Karasuno advances. And social butterfly Hinata makes friends with at least one member from each rival team they face! The training camp arc is one of my favorite parts of the series because it gives you a chance to spend time getting to know all these great characters from the other schools! They form all these great friendships and bonds, so when they all finally face off on the court you don’t really want to see any of them lose!
3. The soundtrack is one of the best anime soundtracks EVER!
I love the soundtrack for this series, it knows just how to set the tone for the entire series. From high energy tracks for the intense volleyball matches to soul crushing sad tracks for the losses, the Haikyu!! OST is fire!!
And then there are the opening and ending songs!! They’re all good, not a dud in the bunch. The first opening “Imagination” by Spyair is my absolute favorite and the ending from season 3, “Mashi Mashi” by Nico Touches the Walls is just too good to skip!!
4. The Chemistry Between the Characters
Sports anime are all about team dynamics, as cheesy as it sounds, “there is no ‘I’ in team”. So you really see characters in sports anime grow both as individual players and as a part of their team and characters dynamics is one of the things Haikyu!! excels at—and probably why there are so many ships for this series—the bond these characters share is something that is nurtured over the course of the series which makes it even more satisfying when everything just clicks into place. The friendships, the rivalries, and the mutual respect all come into play at some point or another in the series and it isn’t just isolated to members of the Karasuno team. As they train for nationals they meet members from other teams and form rivalries and friendships that extend beyond the court.
The strongest bonds are those between the members of the Karasuno team. These are characters that have been working together, honing their volleyball skills for the common goal of making it to Nationals. There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into their training and there are times when they don’t always connect, but when they manage to grow as a team that’s when everything really comes together.
5. It’ll make you wanna play volleyball
Haikyu!! is an anime about volleyball, so the actual matches better be on point! I was never the athletic type, and I’ve never really been much of a “sports fan” but for a hot second this anime had me entertaining the idea of actually going out and joining a community volleyball team. All of the characters really love volleyball and you feel that passion throughout the series. Even when they’re training hard, you can really tell that they’re enjoying what they do and the series takes the time to show just how intense their training can get! I also like that they break down the different strategies each team uses, like Date Tech is known for their iron defense, Nekoma is known for their flexibility, and Shinzen likes to use combination attacks.
You learn about the sport along with the characters, from the rules and regulations to the different positions and their roles. By the time you finish watching the first season you should have a pretty good understanding of the volleyball. But the matches… the volleyball matched in this series know how to build the tension and usually you can kind of figure out whether or not the main team is going to win or lose, but with Haikyu!! you are literally on the edge of your seat until the very last minute!
6. Who Doesn’t Like A Good Underdog Story?
At their core most sports anime are underdog stories, following a team or a player as they train to win some tournament or another. Haikyu!! follows the same basic premise—Karasuno was once a powerhouse school of their prefecture, but over time fell into decline, earning the nickname “The Flightless Crows”. At the start of the series, it’s been years since Karasuno participated in the National Tournament and no one really expects much from the team. But then four first years join the club bringing their own unique talents to the team and suddenly it looks like Karasuno might have a chance at making it to Nationals for the first time in years.
With each new episode you watch Karasuno work to rebuild their team and hone their technique. Their are a lot of growing pains as each member tries to find their own stride as individual players and as members of the team. Some get overshadowed by the more talented members of the team while others struggle to temper their talents for the mutual benefit of the team… but at the end of the day each member is an important part of the team. They don’t always win (and boy are the losses hard), but watching them overcome their setbacks together as a team is what makes this series so fun to watch.
7. The animation is gorgeous
Haikyu!! has some pretty great animation that really captures the fluid movements and speed of the players while playing volleyball. I know it’s just an anime, but you can feel the force behind each spike and effort in every movement the players make when they’re on the court, because the series focuses on every detail! There are even these moments when they’ll slow things down so you can see all the moving pieces of an attack and it’s beautiful! It’s super hard to describe how great the animation is with just words (I’m sure someone else has done better) so I’ll just include this gif of Hinata spiking!!
8. Hinata Shoyo and Kageyama Tobio Are the Ultimate Power Couple
Hinata and Kageyama start the series off as rivals and slowly build a sense of mutual respect and trust as the series progresses. Their personalities are like night and day, but what I always loved about these two is how well they complement each other. They’re both looking for a place where they belong and people that accept them for who they are and they find that in each other. They make up for each other’s weaknesses and throughout the series you see the growing pains of their relationship, and trust, there are moments when they’re literally at each other’s throats but when they put their differences aside… magic happens.
They have this amazing quick spike that completely takes everyone by surprise and I just love everyone’s reactions every time they use it! Even their own team members can’t believe how well they can pull off such a complex move. Besides, I just love the way these dorks are with one another. One minute they’re yelling at each other about something stupid, the next they’re geeking out about a new volleyball technique… it’s cute really.
9. The Humor
I love Haikyu!! for all the reasons I stated above, but you know what I am a sucker for humor and this anime has it in spades! Some of it is a bit silly, but between the rigorous volleball training and the matches, it’s nice to have some moments of levity to break up all the tension!
When you put a bunch of high school boys in a room, you’re bound to get some crazy shenanigans going on… and seriously, there were some scenes that had me straight up cackling! Like the infamous wig scene in season or Noya and Tanaka’s attempts to woo Kiyoko or Hinata getting beamed by a volleyball…
10. Haikyu!! is a lot of fun to watch
There are a lot of reasons to watch Haikyu!! but the most important one is because it’s just an all around fun series! The characters are great, the character development is even better, the volleyball matches are all nail biters, and the animation and score are absolutely perfect! But it’s more than that, Haikyu!! is a series with a lot of heart and that’s what makes it so relatable and fun to watch.
There is something special about this series that no matter how many times I watch it I never get bored! The manga is in its final arc and even with the series winding down I know that even when it all comes to a close these characters and this story will stick with me. So if you haven’t already, give this amazing series a watch and definitely tune in for season 4 when it premieres, you won’t be disappointed!
Thank you for reading and Supporting Blerdy Otome! If you like what you see be sure to drop a like or a comment to let me know your thoughts about Haikyu!!