Hello all you wonderful people! It’s Alexie again with another post for KawaiiPaperPandas!

 

So, like I asked in the title, what can anime bring without a solid story? Well, I’ll be going a bit into my personal preference here, but whatever you can think of you can shoot down into the comments if you’d like! Without a solid story, I honestly believe anime can still be very enjoyable. Why do I say this? Well, because they have animation and artwork. If I were to tell you how many shows I watched simply because the artwork and animation blew my mind I would take up enough space to fill an entire post, so I’ll list a few and talk about them!

First, Violet Evergarden. I know, that has a great story as well, it teaches us what it means to love and be human and accept how our lives have turned out and how to better ourselves because of it. However, upon starting Violet Evergarden you’ll be able to see just how fantastic the artwork and animation can be. And in all honesty, the two work together as well. Take this clip of Violet taking her glove off. In the background, while it is a bit blurred to give more attention to Violet’s action, you can still see each book on the shelves and the way the lighting of the room is hitting each portion. And where Violet actually takes the gloves off, the animation is extremely smooth. You can see her bite the tip of the finger, pull her arm outward, and the glove loses it’s grip on her mechanical hand. The glove dips in and wrinkles! Her hand, too, reflects the light that hits it, casting a small glow and some shadow on the metal. It’s a small detail, but one that I believe truly makes up some of the best parts an anime can bring to its audience.

violet evergarden glove pull
This is just pure beauty

Now, what about other shows? We all know Violet Evergarden had some of the best animation and artwork in recent years (as well as a compelling story), but what about the anime that didn’t have a story as compelling? The first one that comes to my mind is actually Iroduku: The World in Color.

The World in Color wasn’t the best anime out there. It dealt with time travel, had some odd character development, but what really drew me to watching that show was the artwork and animation. What I truly enjoyed was how bright the colors of the artwork of the characters and the background really were. It drew me in because seeing something so vibrant was a breath of fresh air. While some of the animation was a bit clogged in certain areas I still believe the colors during said animation were good enough to make up for it. I honestly believe if you want to watch a show that has some amazing artwork and pretty decent animation, then Iroduku is one you can totally check out if you haven’t.

Now for one last show, this one coming from a more recent season: Demon Slayer. Yep, Demon Slayer is one that I absolutely love seeing screencaps and videos of to be honest. While I haven’t seen more than eight or nine episodes at most, I think that it truly has some of the most amazing animation and artwork in recent years. While I’m sure the story of Demon Slayer is fantastic, can there be any denying that the artwork and animation of the show are top notch? I’m sure some of you readers will be able to think of more epic aspects of the show because you’ve seen more episodes than I, but there is a certain part that I truly enjoyed seeing. This picture below has some amazing artwork and color, showing just how Tanjiro has swung his blade and attacked his enemy. And it’s amazing. Check it out! The colors of the water, the whitecaps being shown, and the muted colors of both characters that draw attention to the swinging of the sword are beautiful.

demon slayer tanjiro sword skill
That blue!! Ugh…

And that about does it here for me! Without a solid story anime can still be quite stunning. Now, I know I chose two solid anime in Demon Slayer and Violet Evergarden to showcase some of what I’m talking about, but truly I think that animation and artwork can bring an anime to a higher aspect even without an amazing story. There are other examples of great artwork and animation, like the Ghibli films, and Fireworks, and Your Name that also showcase just how much impact artwork and animation can do for a story. They can be breathtaking and wonderful regardless of the story.

 

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

Hello hello! It’s me, Alexie! It’s still Tuesday for me, which means it’s time for one of my top five lists even if it’s late at night for me! So, a quick little list of my Best Girls of 2019 thus far! Let’s get into it!!

  1. Miku Nakano–sweet, shy, history-loving, amazing Miku! Best girl material right here! Woohoo!! Sure, she’s got sisters who look just like her, but Miku is just a step above all her sisters. (Sorry, Ayano, Nino isn’t best quintuplet for me!)

    best girl miku
    She’s so pretty!
  2. Raphtalia–beautiful, fierce, strong, and protective. Raphtalia is cute and amazing and wonderful in so many ways. I love her and her character progression is definitely worth putting her in my top five for 2019!

    best girl raphtalia
    Raphtalia being cute!
  3. Chika Fujiwara–Chika is amazing. Honestly, I don’t even know how to describe Chika, but I love her. Especially her bubbly personality and how she uses a newspaper. Chika is great!

    best girl chika
    Note: Don’t mess with Chika
  4. Emma–what can I say about Emma? She’s intelligent, compassionate, athletic, and a great friend. Emma’s ability to keep up with Ray and Norman, of seeing the abilities of her brothers and sisters when they’re playing games, and the way she trusts her family is fantastic. I’m sure someone else could give more on her, but yeah…

    best girl emma
    Lovable Emma being silly
  5. Nezuko–protective, strong, lovable, caring, cute, and amazing. Nezuko is one girl I wouldn’t want to mess with if I were a villain. She’s too powerful in my eyes. Plus she’s adorable. Nezuko is one of my favorite girls of this last year, and from what I’ve seen of Demon Slayer (I’m a bit behind), it’s a solid choice.

    best girl nezuko
    Adorable Nezuko!!

And that does it for this edition of my Top Five Tuesday! I hope you enjoyed seeing this list, and if you have any others from 2019 that you think should be in a top five let me know! I’d love to hear who you would put in yours!

 

Alexie the Great

Hello all you wonderful people! Hello Pandas! (#pandagang) Alexie here to give you another post on the fantastic KawaiiPaperPandas! This one is going to be shorter, but I think that’s fine. However, before we dive into this post, let’s give a huge round of applause and thank you to the other participants of this amazing collaboration!

Ayano of KawaiiPaperPandas–woohoo; Mel of Mel in Anime Land–hurray; Bodell of KawaiiPaperPandas–yippee; Scott of Mechanical Anime Reviews–yay yay; and Auri of Manga Toritsukareru Koto–yahoo!

If you have not read any of this collaboration, start with Ayano’s post here. After that go here. The third post is here, the fourth post is here. The fifth post is here, and the final post is here. That should get all of the suspects and their alibis in order, so you’ll be able to read this post without spoiling anything for yourself and make a decision in your head.

 

And now, the moment we’ve been waiting for: THE REVEAL!

*DRUM ROLL*….*MORE EPIC DRUM ROLL*….*SQUEALING EUPHONIUM*…..*CYMBAL CRASH*

As I went through the evidence, there was only one person who stood out–someone who wasn’t all there, someone who didn’t seem to belong as much as the others. He was quiet and kept to himself. He drank and carried a rifle–for wolves he said, but this man must have had a psychiatric problem after everything he’d gone through with these wolves he always talked about. And it looked like now he was hunting would-be heroes.

I sent a team to grab the man, who came to me with his bloodied hat off his head.

“Quent Yaiden,” I said as the team brought his forward, feet and hands tied so he had to shuffle forward. “We tested your rifle–there was powder residue, which means you fired it. We also completed the autopsy on Froppy. Turns out she’d been shot. Nobody else here has that kind of weapon with them, and we had some other compelling evidence against you. Quent Yaiden, you are hereby under arrest for the murder of Tsuyu Asui, also known as Froppy,” I said.

The man grunted and smirked as he was escorted out of UA High. “Wolves, frogs, animals…the only ones people can trust are other people and even then it’s not a guarantee they won’t stab you in the back.”

The Murderer:

Who killed froppy
QUENT YAIDEN!!!

If you guessed Quent congratulations! You were correct! This man murdered Froppy in cold blood! Shame on you, Quent Yaiden! Good thing you actually freeze to death in the wild expanse near wolves–the beasts you swore you’d destroy!

 

Thank you for reading! And if you followed this collaboration from the beginning, thank you for joining all of us on this amazing journey! It was a blast!

 

Alexie the Great 🙂

 

So what makes a fun show, or should I say how do you make a fun comedy. Well there are three ways to do it. 

  1. Put normal people in a weird situation
  2. Put crazy people in a normal situation
  3. Put crazy people in a weird situation

Those are ways to make a comedy. I shall provide examples:

Is This a Zombie is a comedy anime that puts the main character who is a guy in a weird situation by making him a zombie magical girl. 

Nichijou has crazy characters that goes thru normal situations and have them blow it out of proportions. 

And Asobi Asobase has strange characters with weird quirks that go through hilarious weird situations that shouldn’t happen in school. 

Today we are talking about Asobi Asobase. Which is a hilarious anime that I have recently watched twice, cus it was pretty fucking good. If you like comedy anime, this is the one for you.

This show is brilliant, from the likeable characters to its running gags. The show centers around three girls, Hanako Honda (voiced by Hina Kino), Olivia (voiced by Rika Nagae), and Kasumi Nomura (voiced by Konomi Kohara). I’m sure you are wondering why I included the voice actresses, I did that to give them a shoutout, because they do a phenomenal job on voicing these characters. Like holy shit it’s amazing. The yelling and shrieks the girls make are amazing and so good. It’s surprising that the voice actresses didn’t lose their voices voicing these characters. The side characters are also lovable and funny. My favorite side character being Tsugami Aozora (voiced by Aoi Yuki).

The show is about these three girls who form the Pastimers club, which is all about doing Japanese pastimes. It’s a bunch small gags that fill up an episode, so don’t expect a lot of plot. But the anime is linear and has substance. Hence funny running gags and some spicy drama bits. The art style is different from most anime, but it’s quite lovely. The facial expressions are hilarious drawn and like I said, the voice acting is on point. The OP is a trick, a soft cute song which is not how the anime is. And the ED is a perfect song that resembles the anime.

I don’t want to spoil any of the gags so sadly I won’t talk about them, but they are fun and hilarious. You will laugh out loud at some of them. To be warned, there are some adult jokes in some of the episodes, so if you are easily offended by sexual jokes, then don’t watch this anime. But then you will be missing a masterpiece. 

I hope you enjoy this series as much as I did. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a great day. 

-Tsubaki Kuro

 

Hello all you wonderful people! It’s me, Alexie, and I’m back again because it’s Monday! Have you ever wanted to simply move away from where you currently live, but you didn’t want to be on Earth? Well, I know I have, but let’s put this into the anime universe…like the who freaking thing. Where would I like to live? Where would I not like to live? Those are two questions that I’ve asked myself countless times and had plenty of conversations about with my brother and friends. So, with that let’s dive into this post!

Where Would I Live?

The first here will seem kind of obvious, but I’m okay with that, so let’s go!

  1. Aincrad (post-death game): Yeah, that may seem obvious, but I think the virtual world of Aincrad is super awesome. Different levels, different monsters, no magic, swords and fighting and guilds? Plus, the different levels of the Aincrad world? There are some awesome parts of this world that I would absolutely love to live in. The Town of Beginnings is actually pretty cool despite being, obviously, the beginning; the 22nd floor covered in beautiful lakes and forests; the 24th floor apparently is covered mostly by water with isles connected by floating bridges; Selmburg on the 61st floor (where I believe Asuna lived? Maybe?) seems pretty cool, too. All in all, there is so much inside the world of Aincrad that I could probably make this entire post about where I would like to live in that world, but I won’t.
  2. The Naruto World (Village Hidden in the Mist): Oh yeah, I went there. Not the Leaf Village, not the Sand Village, not in the Land of Lightning. No, I would choose the Land of Water and the Village Hidden in the Mist. Why? Well, it actually looks the most fitting for me. There’s vegetation, there are mountainous regions, it’s secluded, and I kind of like when there isn’t too much sun during the day. Plus, the buildings, at least in Naruto’s era, weren’t crazy tall and modified, so that’s cool.Kirigakure naruto
  3. Angel Beats school: Yup! I think that campus actually looks pretty cool in all honesty. Sure, it would mean that I’m dead, but still, that campus, which is rather small, is fairly fitting for me. I don’t like large campuses in all honesty. The campus of the university I went to (Western Michigan University) was three huge hills, which was a pain in my ass. The campus of the university I wanted to go to but didn’t (University of Louisville), was inside a city and compacted into a few blocks, with trees and awesome walkways–so kind of like the Angel Beats campus.Angel Beats campus

Where Would I Not Live?

  1. Wolf’s Rain World: Everything is frozen. Everything sucks. People are always dying and starving and that would not be awesome. So yeah, a quick one here, but seriously, Freeze City, Lost City (Jaguara’s City), Aerial City (no thanks…it’s on a cliff) seem like absolute nightmares to live in. Plus, it’s a desolate wasteland outside the cities where anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Let’s not live there. (Sorry, I have no pictures for this one…)
  2. Attack on Titan World: Literally anywhere on that planet would suck. The island of Paradis, the mainland Marleyan empire? NO THANK YOU! I’d rather not be in a freaking war and trying to survive somehow with titans able to absolutely destroy me. Nope nope nope.Attack on titan Walls map
  3. The World of High School of the Dead: Okay, I will say I absolutely love zombies and vampires and zombies, and the whole horror thing is interesting to me, but fuck living in that world. A zombie apocalypse would suck so much. Oh hey, a single zombie, cool. Oh, hey, more zombies. Oh…oh, no…a horde of zombies! *DEATH* NOPE! COUNT ME OUT! But…okay, hang on. If I can meet Saeko and hopefully try to survive with her? Then yes. That is, however, a fantasy even in the HOTD world, so the short answer is once again no.Highschool of the Dead world

And that does it for this post today! Thank you all for reading! Do you have any worlds you would love to live in? Any worlds you would one hundred percent stay away from like me? I would love to know where people would enjoy living and where they would absolutely avoid!

Alexie the Great 🙂

 

Hello all you wonderful people! I’m back on KawaiiPaperPandas again! At 11am Eastern time I had no idea what I was going to write for you all today, but I think I finally figured something out. I had been thinking about what I watch as a whole and what I actually enjoy watching (as some of what I watch I don’t actually tend to enjoy all that much). Now, just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean I won’t watch it. I have a hard time dropping shows that I start because I feel like I just committed to something and I need to see it through. I will admit, though, that I don’t watch as many shows per season as most of current followers and readers on my blog (I guess that would extend to here, too) because my attention span and memory aren’t all that great. But what drives me to finish a seasonal anime?

To give you an example, during the Autumn 2018 and Winter 2019 seasons I started around sixteen shows per season. I think I finished with about five each. And that wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the shows I started, it was simply because I forgot what days they aired, fell behind a few weeks, and then forgot about them completely until the next season started. I had a few moments where I went “Oh, X show! Wait, I never finished that did I?” I had a friend yell at me every time we saw each other because I hadn’t finished “How Not To Summon a Demon Lord” (And I still haven’t finished that…a show that aired Summer 2018. Perhaps I should finish that? Maybe…) So, with that I’ll list a few of the shows I watched during the Winter 2019 and Spring 2019 seasons (because I feel like staying in 2019) and go into why I finished a few of them.


Winter 2019:

The Rising of the Shield Hero; The Promised Neverland; Domestic Girlfriend; Kaguya-sama Love is War; Kakegurui xx; The Quintessential Quintuplets; Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka.

Is there anything about these shows that have anything in common, or is it a more balanced viewing on my part? While I will say that comedies aren’t on my usual watch-list, Kaguya-sama and The Quintessential Quintuplets were real treats for the comedy/slice-of-life-esque shows. Asuka was a total letdown in a vein of shows I have tried to get into over and over each year (the magical girl shows, just to analyze them) as the progression was blindly advancing with no real motive; and Domestic Girlfriend was my trashy anime for the season (which I loved! It was so odd and ridiculous I couldn’t stop watching).

However, the two shows that garnered the most response from me were Shield Hero and The Promised Neverland. Both were amazing in my eyes as we got to see true progression from the main cast of characters. There was a solid idea of what the characters were trying to accomplish, and villains that seemed to truly test our protagonists. Other than that, though, there wasn’t much in common with any of these shows that I can see of the top of my head.

Naofumi’s progression from a cast-aside, hate filled, Devil of the Shield character to someone who was one of the most compassionate, trustworthy, and well-rounded characters I’ve seen in a while was one of the main reasons I continued watching Shield Hero week after week (with some Raphtalia awesomeness thrown in there as well). And then there was Emma, Ray, Norman, and the rest of the children from The Promised Neverland. Each of them had their own skill set, each of them had brains and an ability to connect with the viewers in some way because of who they were, what they did, and how they acted. While I will say that later in the manga I didn’t like Emma’s character as much (I grew to like Ray more), this season of The Promised Neverland was well done in both the animation and art departments and the storytelling. Character progression made these two shows for me, and that’s saying something (as that’s primarily what I look for in watching shows) as they’ve only been around for a short time.


Spring 2019:

Bungou Stray Dogs; Attack on Titan; Kimetsu no Yaiba; Wise Man’s Grandson; Carole & Tuesday; Midnight Occult Civil Servants; We Never Learn; and some shorts…

The Spring 2019 season didn’t have as much going for it in my book as compared to the Winter 2019 season, but we did get some decent to good shows this time around. Attack on Titan came back with a bang and didn’t let up; Bungou Stray Dogs ramped up their second season with a thrilling third season that is looking to be my anime of the year contender (we’ll see how that plays out); the comedy show Wise Man’s Grandson was decent in a way, but eventually fell flat in my experience; Carole & Tuesday continued to impress me even though it was slower than the others I was watching; and Kimetsu no Yaiba…how can I put this…burned out after about ten episodes for me. We Never Learn was decent for what it was, but really it wasn’t what I expected it to be considering my friend was amping it up to be a great comedy (having read the manga).


In looking at all the shows I have listed here, is there any common denominator that kept me interested? I don’t see a solid genre of shows, so that can’t be it (although watching only a single genre in a season seems ridiculous). No, what I think kept me watching each of these shows was, for the most part, the progression we got throughout the weeks the shows aired. While I know some of the shows didn’t have as much progression, there was still some. The most interesting progression in my eyes came from The Rising of the Shield Hero, Attack on Titan, The Promised Neverland, and Bungou Stray Dogs.

What can we surmise from this list? Character progression is the key factor in making a show worthwhile for one or multiple seasons. Attack on Titan had great character development through its third season, giving us backstory we anime-only viewers didn’t know, connecting dots and going all the way back to the basement that had been denied us since season one. With the thunder spears leading off the second half of season three, we got a look at just how far the Scout Regiment was willing to go in order to take the threat of the titans away from humanity. We got a look at the history of Grisha Yaeger, the family history of Eren, and how this whole titan business started. Marley and Eldia, the political structure of the Marleyans (is that how it’s spelled?) and what they were doing to the Eldians.

Okay, and here, I do want to take a small tangent and talk about the historical aspect of this Marley vs Eldia thing. Yes, it is full of Nazism. It’s true. The Marleyans were subjecting the Eldians like they did the non-Aryans which included Jews–even German Jews; homosexuals;  Blacks; communists; Gypsies; Slavic peoples in the Balkan states and Russia; and Muslims. Is the inclusion of that a bad thing? People complain that Attack on Titan has hints of Nazism, and I’d say it has pools of Nazism. However, is that really a bad thing to add into a story if it progresses the story and gives it life? The Nazi regime and their persecution of the groups above was a true and terrifying thing, and I think Attack on Titan has every right to base a story line off it to show a newer generation just how terrifying such a thing can be. If we bury the past we’re sure to repeat the past, so Attack on Titan throwing these historical aspects into our faces is, in my opinion, a good thing.

With everything relating to the historical aspects of Attack on Titan, it grabbed my attention even more than it already had through almost three complete seasons. I’m a huge history nerd, and my grandfather was even forced into the German army to fight in Stalingrad (he was born in 1927, so he was 14-15 years old and was seeing a Jewish girl at the time) and then again at the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes in Belgium in 1944-1945, so the fact that Nazism was that prevalent in Attack on Titan grabbed my attention in a matter of seconds. (Oh, and before attack me, fuck Nazis. Fuck Nazis. They forced my family member to be a pawn in their game at a young age–which is a personal hatred–and have no moral standing in the world at all because they’re sick, twisted, and subhuman. Fuck Nazis…) I also studied the political time frame of German history between 1918-1950 in school, so it’s something I sort of enjoy.


Anyway…on a topic other than Nazism and Germany, Bungou Stray Dogs was simply one where the story continued to surprise me. The different abilities of the Armed Detective Agency and Port Mafia, the character progression in how they all used their abilities, the undermining and backstabbing that went into each group prevalent in the show, the relationships each character had with another cast member (it was almost like you could match them up with one other and be like “yeah, they’re opposites”) and having to work together to take out a common enemy? Everything about Bungou Stray Dogs made me want more as the season progressed. And let’s not forget Akutagawa working with Atsushi again…because that was epic as can be.

In Bungou Stray Dogs, I think it was the detective aspect and the way that the different groups went about trying to outsmart each other with their collective minds that sealed the deal for me. We had so many intelligent cast members vying for control of Yokohama, different plans being set in motion, and everything coming together to derail what was an uneasy alliance between two hated groups that realized if either one was going to survive they needed to work together. Plus, the fight scenes are top notch.

I will say that Bungou Stray Dogs and Attack on Titan were my favorite shows for the Spring 2019 season, and I think the reason behind that is how much progression we ended up getting. Each of the shows that I saw this last season had some progression, but none could match the depth of these two shows in their third seasons. Is that a fair metric? Probably not as the characters have been around for years while the newer anime have just started, but still. I think there’s an ability with Attack on Titan and Bungou Stray Dogs to make us care so much about the characters and their well being that none of the other shows I watched cared to dive in to.


Character progression is the main reason I watch an anime. If there is nothing going on between the characters and the plot to drive it forward then what’s the point of watching? Characters drive plot and plot drives characters. It’s a balancing act that demands each portion’s attention. If the characters are failing but the plot is progressing and seems like it should be great, then is the anime good? If the plot is failing but characters are great and interaction between them is fantastic and enjoyable, is the anime worth watching? Some might say yes, as one can outperform the other and make for a good anime, but the truly phenomenal anime are ones were the characters and plot are driving each other through conversations, through group actions (Attack on Titan), through flashbacks (Bungou Stray Dogs), and with a villain that is pronounced and well-rounded in itself.

I do believe that without character progression a show is not worth my watching. And that’s because I’d rather not get a progressing story with a stagnant character. Now, I will be fair here and say that what I mean isn’t like the isekai genre’s level-up thing where the character progresses in skill points and abilities or whatever, but as a character. Is she a hard-ass who finds a soft spot for a younger boy and raises him to become just as badass as her? Does she free slaves and take out slave owners? Is she helping to protect a group of people from a tyrant? If the lead does not grow emotionally then I do not see a point in watching a show that could have been touted as an adventure story, or action story, or whatever.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what drives me to finish seasonal anime. The progression of our characters.

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

 

Hello all you wonderful people! I hope you’ve all been doing well. Anyway, I’m back with the Panda Gang for my slotted Monday post! Let’s hop into this one as it’s something I’ve wanted to talk about but never have before–at least not on WordPress.

 

So, obviously, Haikyuu!! is my favorite sports anime, but I’ve never stated why it’s my favorite. There have been many sports anime, and when I say that I mean MANY. MAL has a list of 666 title under their Sports Anime category (so, does that mean sports anime are the devil?) I don’t watch many sports anime, but for some reason Haikyuu!! stuck with me. I’m even reading the manga! Anyway, back on track. Why is Haikyuu!! my favorite sports anime? The characters’ interactions and growth, the way the sport is played out, and it’s intensity and playfulness mix.

 

 

Character Interactions and Growth:

I think it’s fairly obvious what this means, so I’ll skip that. However, when we first start Haikyuu!! volleyball is just something that our main protagonist Hinata is fascinated by. He saw a player from Karasuno High School on tv and wanted to be like him because the player was extremely short and volleyball is for tall people. Now, that’s all great and whatnot, but in the real world, volleyball is really for tall people. It’s almost impossible for shorter people to win any games against players who are close to seven feet tall (or two meters tall).

Hinata got a team together, lost a match against the person who would become his rival (Kageyama) and the typical shounen thing started. MC and rival, blah blah. The two meet at Karasuno High School and join the volleyball team. And then the character interactions begin in full.

Through three seasons of Haikyuu!! we got characters that are quiet (like Kenma and Tsukki) but they’re also some of the smartest players in the show. Kenma and Tsukki’s abilities to see how their opponents are playing and adapt their respective teams to situations is remarkable. It shows leadership and an ability to react to situations on the fly. What I really like about these three seasons of Haikyuu!! though, is that the teams mirror each other. The hot-heads of Karasuno don’t get along with other hot-headed players we come to meet, yet there is also a respect for each other because both teams know that without the opposing side they wouldn’t be nearly as good as they currently are.

There’s the positional battles of the show, too. Kenma of Nekoma is a setter just like Kageyama is a setter for Karasuno. They subtly play against each other, trying their best to one-up the other and get an advantage. There’s the middle blockers of Tsukki (Karasuno) and Kuroo (Nekoma) going toe-to-toe with each other, and other spikers as well (Asahi of Karasuno and Bokuto of Fukurodani).

We get almost an entire season of training between seeing Karasuno practice by themselves and then them being invited to the Tokyo training camp by Nekoma that it’s truly possible to see the growth in each character depending on what they were practicing, who they were playing, and how they reacted to their teammates and rivals at the time. The most amazing acts of character growth came during this training camp, as the simple conversations between teams connected with the players and they seemed to become even fiercer rivals. The Nekoma/Karasuno rivalry (or, Battle at the Trash Heap) became one for the ages.

Still, though, while the teams’ personalities sort of mirrored each other, it was nice to see that each team had characters with differing personalities. Instead of getting static characters to fill a large cast we’re given fleshed out backstories to some characters, clear goals for others that are being driven toward, and goals for the first years that have been stated since the beginning. Everything seems to be completely separate but when you look at the fact that volleyball ties them all together, they bounce off one another, encourage each other to become better, and help people when they’re down.

haikyuu karasuno and nekoma
STARE DOWN!

 

The Way The Sport Is Played:

Sports anime take liberties, I know that much. While I haven’t seen many sports anime in recent years, I saw enough in the years before Haikyuu!! to realize that there seemed to be some supernatural aspect to the anime that took away from what it actually was–a sports anime. Kuroko’s Basketball and Prince of Tennis are two shows that had certain aspects which took away from the sport being played. There were odd abilities in Prince of Tennis that didn’t make any sense with laser noises and yellow lines, and Kuroko’s Basketball had some awkward nuances with how the characters moved and passed and shot the ball that didn’t feel natural. Plus the different colors the show had when things happened based on who had the ball took away from what was actually happening on screen.

In Haikyuu!!, though, there was almost none of that sort of thing. Sure, some of the ways the characters were able to react to the ball, or control just how they were going to toss and hit the ball didn’t make much sense (like Kageyama being able to completely stop the ball while tossing to Hinata is physically impossible), but what I would think as 95% of the show seemed completely viable from a player’s standpoint.

The show went through all six positions on the court, and even had the ability to show how the middle blockers rotate out from the back row after serving. The libero (Nishinoya, my spirit animal) took over for the middle blockers on the back line, and we even got to see the DS (defensive specialist, aka Daichi) in action taking only a back row role. With every aspect of the show the positions played a role, and the physical abilities of the characters were an important aspect. Daichi got hurt when he collided with Tanaka and had to step out for a while. Tsukki got hurt in season 3 when his hand was cut and had to go out for quite some time. The injuries are real, the players need to recover from them for however long it takes.

Also, the way the ball is hit is actually pretty real as well. Float serves actually do react in the air like that some times (not every time, but some times), and being able to attack the way Karasuno does is a truly viable way of going about winning a point. However, Nekoma’s way of being a true defensive team and keeping the ball alive until the other team makes a mistake is also a way to play volleyball, but it’s much harder in the long run and you need an insane amount of stamina to continually bend your knees like they do.

haikyuu teach me rolling thunder

 

The Intensity Mixed With Playfulness

Now, the above portion of this post went into how the game is played and seems to be more true and real than other sports anime. That actually goes into the next part of why Haikyuu!! is my favorite sports anime. We mix the two previous portions into one. It’s an intense show when the characters are playing the sport with the characters berating each other and joking, but outside of the sport, the characters’ personalities are on full display. We have Nishinoya and Tanaka being ridiculous and protective of the “eye candy” of the show; Kageyama and Hinata messing with each other because they trust each other so much; Daichi’s seriousness in trying to control his team when they completely disobey what he tells them; and to top it all off, a coach that is kind of too laid back but who also wants the best for his team and players.

 

Now, sure, most sports anime may be super similar to Haikyuu!! in the fact that what I’ve listed above happens in most of them, but I think Haikyuu!! did a better job than the other sports anime I’ve seen. With everything mixed together and fairly solid animation, especially in the close-ups, Haikyuu!! has solidified itself as my favorite sports anime in recent years.

Oh, also, uh…the OPs and EDs are pretty freaking great to top it all off!

October should be pretty cool, too, right? We have more Haikyuu!! coming in some form! I can’t wait! I’m really hoping it has something to do with the national tournament that the manga has been covering. That would be freaking sweet!

 

If you enjoy sports anime: do you have a favorite? I’d love to find out, so let me know in the comments!

 

That’ll do it for me today, everyone!

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂