Haikyuu!! Second Season – 01

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The exclamation points are back!!

OP: “I’m A Believer (アイム・ア・ビリーバー)” by SPYAIR

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I’ll say this for Haikyuu – this is one series that knows how to make an entrance.  It blew onto the scene with one of the best premieres of the year in 2014, and it returns with another splashy triumph in its second season (which like the first, will run 25 episodes).  The first half of the premiere wasn’t quite as compelling as the series’ best work, but the B-part was vintage Haikyuu all the way – GAR and hilarious and ridiculously well-animated.

As sports series go, Haikyuu may be the flashiest I’ve seen.  The fluidity of the movements is spectacular, the facial details impressive, the choreography and cinematography spot-on.  This show has a huge budget and gleefully shows it off, but you can’t really hold anything against it because it’s such a straight-shooter – a big puppy tripping over its own feet in its eagerness to make friends.  Every element of this production is first-class, right down to the music and the OP/ED sequences.  If you want a demonstration of how to get everything you can out of a manga adaptation, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Haikyuu.

Contest-wise, it would be fair to say not a whole lot has changed.  One thing I appreciate about this series is that despite having a huge cast, it never forgets that Hinata is the star – it’s his force of personality that really makes things tick.  Hinata has the ultimate Napoleon complex, really, but somehow it never gets old watching him try so hard he practically bursts a vein.  As before, it’s not so much the new stuff Haikyuu does, but how well it does the stuff we’ve mostly seen before.

Several threads are unspooling as we begin the season.  Smarting from their defeat to Aoba Johsai, Karasuno is excited when Take-chan manages to get them invited to a multi-team practice session at Nekoma.  There’s also the matter of final exams, with make-ups for the kids who fail coming the same weekend as the Tokyo camp.  Oikawa continues to be a media darling, appearing in Volleyball Monthly to taunt the Karasuno kids from afar.

It’s clear, though, that a very minor player in the first season is going to play a major role in the second – Ushijima Wakatoshi (Japan!!), the ace at Shiratorizawa.  He’s made the national U-19 team (Japan!!) and if anything is a bigger star in the high school sports universe than Oikawa.  He’s also a local, which means Hinata and Kageyama run into him when they got lost on a training run during practice.  He invites them (well – Kageayama basically invites himself) to follow him back to his school and observe practice, Ushijima (which means Bull Island, by the way) making it clear he doesn’t remotely consider two boya who couldn’t even beat Aoba Johsai a threat.

This bit is easily the best part of the episode.  Hinata’s wide-eyed reaction to the Shiratori campus, he and Kageyama’s freakout when they lose sight of Ushijima (Japan!!), Hinata’s endless spit-take reaction shots – it’s classic irresistible Haikyuu charm.  And the moment when Hinata leaps through the air and poaches the ball before Ushijima (Japan!!) can spike it is the GAR highlight of the episode – with Kageyama’s reaction as the icing on the cake.

Haikyuu is a funny sort of series – like a floppy-eared beagle driving a sports car – but somehow it just really works.  It’s a testament to just how far you can go on flawless execution and earnestness, and it’s great to have it back.

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ED: “Climber (クライマー)” by Galileo Galilei

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  1. Y

    "Like a floppy-eared beagle driving a sports car" I think you've just summed up this show in a single phrase! 😀 Jokes aside, I'm really glad to have it back, and as usually, it rocks. <3

  2. D

    Hinata's emphasis on it was pretty hilarious

  3. R


    I'm actually fairly surprised to see them adapting chapters out of order considering how closely they followed the manga in the first season, but this particular part fits in pretty well regardless of where they put it, so I'm not complaining.

    My favorite arc is part of this season so the hype train abounds. And Yachi! Favorite precious baby girl! SO MUCH HYPE.

  4. e

    Kageyama rising from a squatting position at the Ushijima gym window and regaining balance as he nears mr Japan! was flawless down to the joints angles. I literally clapped my hands at that.
    Plus you know that when Shoyo goes in Slit Pupil mode things are gonna get good…
    P.S.: floppy-eared beagle driving a sports car?! Ramon, you do know how to aim for the heart.

  5. e

    1st half of the comment went MIA. In the meantime connection dropped and LJ servers suddenly acted out hence re-post(s) too went MIA…
    TL;DR Haikyuu!!-style
    – Suga-kun babyyy <3 missed you (!!)
    – Noya <3 !!
    -Tanaka X,D <3 !!
    – Japan(!!) is filling the season jerkass rival slot very handsomely
    – Animation riches overload!

    P.S.: – DEM LEGS !! DANG.
    P.P.S.: every time Tsukki appears now I have to remind myself his name is not 'Samu'.

  6. B

    I'm sure Samu would be honoured that you've so closely associated him with his favourite character. xD

    I'd liken Haikyuu to a Lab more than I would a beagle. Knocking you off-kilter and slobbering all over you in the most affectionate way possible– ah, my happy drug hash't changed. And I need some unadulterated cheer in my life right now.

  7. l

    "Aho! Aho! Aho!" XD

    But seriously.. the anime production continues to be top notch and makes this adaptation a superb standout.

  8. Y

    Was it those birds who cried that out? xD Such a small touch, and yet it made me laugh my ass off. <3

  9. l

    Yes, the birds flying overhead of the convenience store.

  10. C

    That Shiratorizawa school was ridiculous. Horses, really? Only Silver Spoon's school is allowed to have horses!

    No, but seriously, this was THE premiere of the season. It was hilarious, engaging, fun, exaggerated, boisterous… What a treat. Thank you based IG.

  11. K

    Might be worth mentioning that Shiratori in Shiratorizawa means Swan, and continues the play on animal names in the school names of Crow in Karasuno and the pun of Cat in Nekoma. Helps to explains the image of a white bird over Mr. Japan!! for those less familiar with moonspeak.

  12. m

    When the episode started, it was as if the show was trying to show us the how much budget they can spare even with a Karasuno internal practice match. And in the second match, we get the real charms of the two leads – them getting lost, the "Japan!!" jokes and all – those just remind us how much kids they are (after seeing the badassery of S1).
    And the cuts of the leads and their animal mascots is just hilarious (talk about dramatic)

  13. s

    No but seriously, I think that after this episode poor Ushijima Wakatoshi will forevermore be called Japan!! (exclamation marks are compulsory).

    Goodness I've missed this anime. Hinata is love and Kageyama needs a Protection Squad stat. Kid's too precious to be left on his own.

  14. N

    The only thing I am slightly disappointed in is that you didn't add an extra '!' with each repetition of 'Japan!!'

  15. Good times, good times…

  16. J

    Ahhh. My 2nd favorite series of the past few years (Yowapeda is 1st) is back, and it's like the return of an old friend.

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