Haikyuu!! has always reminded me of Bleach…albeit drawn with a quarter the budget and doing away with all the plot to focus exclusively on its orange-haired hero’s tactical growth. Maybe it’s unfair to call Haikyuu out on this, given that many sports anime feature underdog teams (and players) with potential and the drive for fame and Naruto-like-enthusiasm.
If anything set the original season apart, it was that the team loses their big game anyway, not even making it to the final show down of the regionals, let alone to their goal: the nationals. That, and I swear the characters’ chins and overall head design is the ugliest in all of animedom.
You’ll like it if: you enjoy stories about the little guy struggling to be the best, about teams coming together, and enjoyed the first season, without which you won’t have enough context for the characters’ motivations to grip you.
You may not like it if: you didn’t watch the first season and get to know the dozens of characters, rivalries and relationship growth. Season 2’s opening is also a little disappointing is how quickly the characters ‘rebound’ from their crushing defeat. Everyone is driven, without reserve, for heroic ‘revenge’ and absolute victory in the Volleyball world. And guess what? A new tourney is already just around the corner for our heroes to grow, surprise more opponents with their speed and tactics, and probably win the day.
This is the deep-fried candy coat of fun that I watched Haikyuu for and my criticisms are a little unfair. Watching characters wallow in self pity or be broken by defeat would have been a bold move for a show that sets the stakes at: win volleyball or not.
But goodness! Season 2’s first episode already feels like more of the same. Watching is a guilty pleasure show, to be sure.