Haikyuu!! Second Season – 02

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Haikyuu!! introduced two new characters this week: the grouchy but driven college girl Saeko and timid but smart first year Yatchi Hidoka. While Saeko barely made an appearance, Yatchi adds a few hooks for the show to tell its story, and even retell the viewer some details about volleyball and school life.

Over all, it was a successful second episode for a second season and fleshed out the non-sports side arc that the first episode’s “same old same old” was lacking.

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As an unwitting applicant to replace Team Raven’s soon to be graduating manager, Yatchi feels like a plot convenience, but she fits well enough. Her over the top panic about people wanting to kill her matches the rest of the cast’s hyper activeness to be sure and, as a academically competent student, she immediately has something to do in the story: make sure Hinata and Kageyama don’t flunk their exams.

Silly, quick, but effective at adding some high school slice of life to a show that spends the majority of time in the gym.

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Saeko adds a sense of space and context too, albeit only briefly and barely more than Hint’s baby sister and off-screen mother telling him to stop shouting. That context is that: yes, these are hyper teenaged boys, who go to school like everyone else and live with normal families. (by anime standards)

Both girls also give us a chance to see normal people respond to the cast when they are not on the court, slamming volleys. As you would imagine, they find them as over the top as we do as viewers.

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So my verdict ticks up from last week. Because Yatchi doesn’t know about volleyball, you’re probably going to get a refresh on how the game is played, which means you won’t be as lost without the first season.

Similarly, we got a scene where Hinata texts back and forth with one of the opponents from last season, which gives you more context for the relationships and challenges the team will face.

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It’s enough to make it coherent for a first-time viewer I think and, if it continues on this track, you should be fine without going back. As long as you want a hyper, Naruto-like show about volleyball, that is?

My schedule is probably not reliably open enough to review the show for you but you can bet I’ll be watching.

6_ogk

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Haikyuu!! Second Season – 01 (Quick Glance)

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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.

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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.

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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.

6_ogk