30 Day Anime Challenge | 02

….I have a lot of favorites. But if I were to choose one of those other ones I would be repeating myself throughout this challenge, and I’d prefer a wide variety to discuss in these posts. So…the prompt says,’Favorite anime so far”. So far being the operative term for me, what does that mean?-So far… in all of the anime I’ve watched? So far… this year? So far… this season? So far…this week? I’m probably over-analyzing this a bit but so far could mean anything. But if I were to choose a favorite so far right now at this very second it shouldn’t be a surprise that Haikyuu! is in the top spot currently. I’ll save those other favorites for the other categories.


 

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Haikyuu is one of my current favorites and the leads the pack in the sports anime genre that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I’m also a fan of Kuroko No Basket and Free! but Haikyuu! is just on a level of it’s own. It’s quite possible I’m hyping this anime, but I genuinely feel like this particular sports anime is a cut above the rest.

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LOL I just realized Kuroko and Kagami (kuroko no basket) have a similar pose/photo

 

One of the reasons as to why I love this anime is that while telling the stories of the deuteragonist (dual protagonists) they manage to weave how the game of volleyball is played quite seamlessly into the plot. As someone that’s not overly familiar with the sport and the positions that are the rules of the game are explained through the eyes of our clueless club advisor Takeda Sensei or even at times our main character Shoyo Hinata or several other characters like Coach Ukai (senior).

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The best screenshot I could find when they were explaining positions/plan of attack

I also really enjoy this series because of the emphasis on team play. Individually everyone has had to grow in order to create a stronger team as a whole and they don’t want to entirely rely on a sole character’s skills; which I feel is the case for Kurorko No Basket. Another positive aspect of this anime is the character development of a lot of the players, and I plan to do an in-depth overview on each of them as separate posts. In comparison to the other sports animes I’ve watched; the focus is often on the main character and their respective teams.  In Haikyuu, we often get to view other teams perspectives on a match and what other character’s are feeling or struggling with. These additional stories add more depth to the story and to the relationships between characters. We also get an outside look of how Karasuno looks to other people.  I like that we get to see the whole picture of the world of Haikyuu and we’re not just stuck to one view only. Each player on Karasuno’s team has had the spotlight on them at some point, so we get to see the entire team grow and learn together throughout the series.

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Kageyama being overly excited to touch the volleyball

My favorite of the series is Tobio Kageyama. So far the progression of Kageyama’s character in the story has been really satisfying in terms of pace and story. He’s so serious about volleyball that it’s the only thing that occupies his brain; in fact he’s a volleyball genius. But underneath all that he’s actually he’s a socially awkward bumbling idiot that can’t express himself correctly. What’s not to love?  How can you not love these adorable goofballs?!

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…I think this was again a bit more in-depth than I had intended it to be – but it seems I can fully nerd out on each of these topics – and I’m completely okay with flying the nerd flag high in this space.

Anime Re-watch: Haikyuu! S1|Ep 5

  A Coward’s Anxiety

The 3-on-3 match wraps up as Hinata and Kageyama’s “quick attack” is shaping up to be a powerful weapon; one that the team hadn’t entirely anticipated. With victory in their pocket the duo is accepted onto the Karasuno Volleyball team and given their track suits to make it official. Just as they start to practice as a team; they are told they’ve been given a chance to face against Aoba Josai (aka Seijoh), a top 4 team in their prefecture,  in a practice match. However, there’s a catch; Kageyama has to play setter the entire match. Hinata’s excitement can’t be contained; but that slowly turns into anxiousness causing Hinata to completely freak.

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In this episode we’re introduced to a couple of new characters.  First, we meet Ittetsu Takeda. He’s a teacher at Karasuno High and the Volleyball Club Advisor. He’s a total newbie, which is one thing that I like about this character. My other reason to like Takeda Sensei is that they take advantage of his inexperience with volleyball to seamlessly explain the rules and positions used in the sport as the series progresses without really disrupting the flow of the story and character development.

We’re also introduced to Michimiya Yui, a childhood friend of our team captain Sawamura. I’m curious what other meaning she has to the story overall; but so far we know that she’s the female version of Sawamura: team captain of the women’s volleyball team.

There was also a brief glimpse of Hinata’s baby sister Natsu.

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In terms of character development in this episode; there is some subtle progress from all the characters. But there’s a lot of focus on Hinata in this episode. Since the beginning of the series Hinata has always dreamed of being on a volleyball team and have a full team. With that dream partially realized; it’s about to come full circle as their practice match with Aoba Josai gets closer. After his position as a “middle blocker” is established; Hinata starts to feel a lot of pressure, especially after he’s been nicknamed “the ultimate decoy” and Kageyama tells him, if he’s not effective then none of their attacks will fail. It all boils down to his insecurity of being a volleyball player with no technique. He really wants to stay out as long as he can on the court; but realizes he can easily be replaced by other players –this intensifies his anxiety to play in the match; causing Hinata unable to sleep the night before and effectively making him a nauseous mess on teh bus ride to Seijoh.

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Kageyama’s development is actually quite humorous if not kind of cute n this episode.  As he’s told he’s required to play setter for their upcoming match; he chases down Sugawara after practice to tell him that even though he’s going to be the starting setter; he will earn his place on the team. This catches Sugawara off-guard as he didn’t think Kageyama worried about that kind of stuff, which causes Kageyama to be confused and ask why Sugawara thnks that. Sugawara goes on to explain that Kageyama is clearly superior to him in terms of athleticism and talent. This frustrates Kageyama because as someone that takes volleyball seriously, no amount of talent should surpass experience.  Sugawara is his elder, his senpai, and he truly respects that above everything else.

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On top of that, Kageyama struggles to come to terms with the fact that despite his talent, he still needs to gain and earn the trust and respect from other players; something that the his former egocentric self wouldn’t have thought about before. The facial expressions on Kageyama here are priceless as he struggles to speak so honestly about his feelings.  Sugawara completely thrown off by this comment is glad to see such positive changes coming from Kageyama and can’t wait to show Kageyama’s former teammates from middle school (who are on Seijoh’s team) how much he’s changed.

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Tsukishima also has some airtime on here, and he says a few comments that really stand out. It’s pretty clear Tsukki has a chip on his shoulder, but we’re not sure why.  He clearly enjoys volleyball, as we see in that brief moment he takes the match seriously; but other than that what motivates him to play? His pointed comment,” commoner’s losing to the king isn’t that surprising” makes it clear that Tsukki has major insecurity issues. Gomen Tsukki!

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And I should note, Yamaguchi has a brief internal dialogue. Unfortunately though, he’s the ONLY first year not in the starting rotation.  What motivates Yamaguchi to play? Since he has no special skills, or special height like the other first years, what will he do to stand out on the court alongside with them?

 

Anime Re-watch: Haikyuu! S1 | Ep. 2 & 3

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Sidenote: Please bear with me as I’m still experimenting with different formats and layouts/structure on how I want to do these reviews.  I’ll be skipping the synopsis in this post as an experiment. Here goes Day 2 of Haikyuu! Reviews! 

In both episodes we’re introduced to 6 more characters total. Each character has their own defining characteristics, and each one has something loveable about them (for the most part), so it’s only natural I’d want to talk about each of them first — but only talk about what’s in the related episode pertaining to them. I will probably add more to their character profiles as this goes on as I’d like to do a series of blogs that highlight specific characters.  After that I’ll focus on a couple of important scenes and break those down as well. Continue reading