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 🙂

 

 

Hello. I’m new here. And I pulled a fast one on you from the start! Okay, sort of, I just moved my introductory post from July 1st to June 29th. My name is Alex, but I go by Alexie the Great on WordPress and Twitter because I can. And I like it. And whatever else I decided to do it for somewhere around a year ago. Oh, and there’s a thing about Alexander the Great in there, but I’m not a military general who died in India, or wherever he died (I don’t know if that was ever proven factual).

Um…yeah, this is pretty neat. Ayano (I’ll save using her real name here) has invited me to become a content creator on her blog! And I am all for it! This is an exciting opportunity for me to grow my own fan base, find new bloggers, and collaborate even more with an amazing person. So here I am! I’ll be posting every Monday as well as every other Tuesday for top fives/tens (Ayano has a solid Top Ten Tuesday thing going, so we decided to rotate every week). I’ll probably stick to top fives on Tuesday because I like the shorter lists.

Anyway, there’s an intro for you I guess. Now, I’ll give you my usual opening–the opening I use on my own blog and one that my followers know and get this thing started:

 

Hello all you wonderful people! I hope you’ve been well, but if you haven’t I hope you get better soon.

It’s me. I’m back. And I’m on a new blog! Yeah. Okay, anyway, since you’ve probably already read the other paragraphs above this, let’s get into a post that I’d been thinking about, but never got around to writing, and then Ayano came along and actually suggested it. Sneaky Ayano is reading my mind. Could you, like, not do that? I’d appreciate if you didn’t read my mind like a psychic ninja voodoo person (Okay, I have no idea how a psychic ninja voodoo person could ever exist, so let’s forget I said that…)

Anyway, this is a tough post for me to write because when I thought about anime or manga that have influenced me I couldn’t think of anything. I know for a fact that when I talk to my brother or friends about shows I can rattle off countless shows and manga series that I’ve enjoyed and that have, in one way or another, subtly or not so subtly changed me as a person. The list I have includes four titles with a little something extra written in at the end.

 

Haikyuu!!–Seriously? This shit again? Yeah, fucking HAIKYUU!! This is my jam. I love Haikyuu!! because of the characters and the humor, and the interactions the characters have both inside their own teams and with other teams. There are tall characters, intense characters, quiet characters, calculating characters who rarely show emotion (but when they do, oh boy is it a fucking ride! I’m looking at you, Tsukki and Kenma!), and they have shrimpy characters. Anyway, Haikyuu!! was a show that I started watching while taking a physical education class at my university. Yeah, I took a volleyball class. And it was amazing. Haikyuu!! got my into an analytical state of mind while playing. I was careful of my position, I looked to see if the blockers were guarding a straight spike down the line, or if they were guarding more for a cross to the opposite side of the court. I focused on different formations, quick attacks, being a decoy after too many quick attempts, and so much more. Haikyuu!! got me so involved in volleyball that I actually got volleyball shoes, a volleyball bag, and a harder indoor volleyball from my mom for my birthday. So yeah, if there’s ever a way a sports anime/manga can be influential just remember what Haikyuu!! did to me… Oh, and I’m still playing to this day. What’s even better is I’m a middle blocker (Kuroo, Hinata, Tsukki).

Laid Back Camp–Okay, this one is sort of odd, but I bought some volumes of Laid Back Camp a while ago and also started watching it after too many years of having it sit in the back of my mind. Anyway, I love how this manga/anime actually gives readers and watchers information. You actually learn about how to go about different aspects of camping. It’s great because it isn’t something that makes a huge joke about it by being too serious or too lighthearted. It’s information and it gives you that information in a blunt way. And I love that about Laid Back Camp. My brother used to go backpacking and I wasn’t ever really one to enjoy doing stuff like that, I don’t know why. However, after reading that manga and watching the anime, I started to wonder why I haven’t done that sort of thing before. If my brother can do it so can I, right? So I asked him about it, and he started talking about his backpacking stuff, the pack he uses, the essentials he brings with him, and whatever else he feels like bringing along (it’s mostly just essentials, but some things for fun). And I started to look into it. I want to go out into a forested area, or a mountainous area, and set up my own little camp site. I think that would be amazing in the springtime or the autumn months. Not too hot and not too cold for me, but just right. Brew some coffee in a French press or something, make some stew from scratch…mmm… So, thank you Laid Back Camp for getting my to think about going to the outdoors and camping!

Log Horizon–Okay, odd choice, right? Log Horizon influenced me? In a way, yes. If you know Log Horizon you know it’s an MMORPG isekai show. Well, I used to play a ton of MMORPG games when I was younger (or, only a few years younger than I am now). I used to play Guild Wars (super bad at this), World of Warcraft (also super bad at this one) and Star Wars: The Old Republic (I was actually good at SWTOR!!) and eventually I started playing tabletop RPG games. However, I think it was the fantasy world of anime and the ability of Log Horizon to show me how these fantasy RPGs can work that got me into my current favorite RPG game: Dungeons & Dragons (is that supposed to be italicized?)… Yeah, I play that. It’s amazing being able to mentally slip away from the actual world we live in and be somewhere else. Right now I’m actually running and D&D campaign with my brother and some friends as the players, and it’s been a blast. We’re not too close to being done, but I want to speed the game up and get them so immersed in the world that they don’t want to leave. However, after we finish this campaign we’re going to do a Star Wars campaign. That will be a lot of fun. So, honestly, I think it was the MMORPG isekai anime that got me thinking about D&D and influenced me enough to pick up an adventure book and become a Dungeon Master. So, thank you Log Horizon for being that catalyst!

Your Lie in April–Another odd one, I think, but nonetheless Your Lie in April reinvigorated my love of classical music. I’ve always been a huge music guy, and will listen to practically anything if I’m feeling up for it. However, this show truly made me fall in love with the classical genre again. It was heartwarming to listen to the pieces they chose for the anime and I think that anyone who has a love of music should give it a watch, or another watch, because they play some of the greats. I’ve always enjoyed listening to movie soundtracks, and one of my favorite composers is Hans Zimmer. If you’ve seen Inception; or Mission: Impossible; or The Last Samurai; or HBO’s miniseries The Pacific; or Interstellar; or Gladiator; or Pirates of the Caribbean; or THE LION KING….Hans Zimmer did those. I love his work, and Your Lie in April reminded me of just how much I love that genre. I listen to it almost daily because I can’t get enough of the beautiful sound of the instruments, the emotion of the pieces, and whatever else may come from listening to classical music. I credit that anime for everything it has done for my musical taste.

 

And with that last portion, does anyone else absolutely love anime OPs and EDs? I listen to them all the time. I have an entire playlist dedicated to anime on my phone, taking OPs and EDs, songs that play during the show’s 20+ minute episodes, and I think they’re all wonderful. I can’t stop listening to them. My favorites from the last two or three seasons have come from Bungo Stray Dogs in “Setsuna no Ai” (OP) and “Lily” (ED), but feature films also have some amazing soundtracks and songs. RADWIMPS is one artist I love after hearing what they did for the movie Your Name, and they’re coming back for Weathering With You which I am stoked to see!

Anyway, that’s a little bit about me and just a few of the anime/manga that have influenced me over the years. It’s a short list, but it’s what I have!

 

Thanks for reading!

Alexie 🙂

 

(Note: I found the feature image here)

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