Friday, October 14, 2016

Haikyuu! Season 2 Review

Haikyuu! Season 2 Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the second season of Haikyuu!. If you wish not to know some plot details, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series, please exit the tab, and join me once you've watched the show. Or you know, you can continue to read, since you don't care about spoilers.

Anyways, with that said, thank you, and onto the review:

So a couple months ago I started watching Haikyuu! and pretty much became obsessed with it, so much so I read the first volume of the manga from the library after wrapping up Season 1. I also jumped into this season much like with Seraph of the End's second cour immediately with no pause in between (aside from the OVA featuring Lev and a break for a few days). I was incredibly curious to see where the story was traveling next, and I hoped to be blown away by more intense games and lovely character development.

Also, since the show basically did really well in basically every category I talk about in my reviews, I was excited to see how the second season of Haikyuu! would hold up with the first season. Would it be stronger, weaker, or on the same level? Only one way to find out, and that was to watch it.

So, how exactly did Haikyuu's second season prove itself? Is it as good as Season 1, or did it fall a little short?

This GIF can probably explain everything of what I thought about this season:

But seriously, bless Haruichi Furudate for creating this series and the lovable characters in the first place.

Bless Production I.G for being involved with the anime adaptation and giving it the best possible treatment so that it's more accessible to me here.

Bless Yuki Hayashi and Asami Tachibana for being involved with such a great score that keeps my attention and has pieces that affect my heart and soul.

Bless the voice cast for being as awesome as they are with lovely performances and giving it their all.

And finally, bless the anime lords in Japan for a third season that's airing in the fall and I'll definitely be following as it comes out.

Because duh, more Haikyuu! is obviously a good thing.

I'm just going to obsess over this show until I die, won't I? Oh boy.

Why don't I pull a plug to my fangirling and go on to this season's story?


Following the Inter High preliminaries and Karasuno's crushing loss, they've been back in the shadows, licking their wounds until it'll be their time to shine. But good news is that that time may come soon, seeing as Mr. Takeda was able to allow the team to join up with several teams from Tokyo (including Nekoma), which means it's time for a summer training camp! But of course, it isn't time to daydream. We still have exams to finish! School isn't over just yet.

Kiyoko manages to recruit a new assistant manager who will take over when she graduates named Hitoka Yachi, who is very shy and nervous about being a part of the team. She eventually gets enough confidence thanks to Hinata, who helps spark courage in her to make her feelings clear to her mother and make her feel welcome to the team.

At the Tokyo training camp, a new cast of colorful characters emerges from the dark, including new teams and a new teammate, along with some smoldering tension from Hinata and Kageyama. After the visit to Tokyo wraps up, both of the first-years argue about improving their classic attack, and go their separate ways for a while in order to figure out how they can work together in order to be the best they can be out on the court.

They're able to show this off at another summer training camp in Saitama, where the Tokyo teams return, and Karasuno is able to show off more of their skills, even if they fall behind the other teams in terms of ability. Kei learns he needs to put in more effort and care about the sport he plays, and Hinata learns of a new trick courtesy of the ace and captain of the Fukurodani team, Bokuto. After another fun week, it's finally time for Spring High! And by Spring High, I mean the Spring High Tournament.

For the former Clipped Crows, it's time to show off their newly acquired skills against four brand new introduced teams, and along with a few bumps in the road, they're able to duke out against Aoba Johsai for a rematch that may leave the character themselves (and me, of course) on the edges of their seats. 

But let's not forget Wakatoshi Ushijima, the star player of Shiratorizawa, and the team that definitely needs to be watched. Both of the teams have strong desires to play against him (Hinata and Kageyama want to show exactly how players who "grow from the concrete" play, and Tooru just really wants to beat Ushijima at least once in his high school volleyball career), but as you know, only one team is going to come out on top.

The question is, can Karasuno go up against their currently toughest rivals and potentially give Shiratorizawa a good ass-whooping?

Once again, Haikyuu! had a lovely story that may have been a bit slower paced in the beginning, but was still incredibly engaging. It still had the strengths the series has had from the beginning (not relying on shonen cliches, the plot allowing time for certain characters to develop stronger than I expected, among other things), along with more hilarious scenes, some even more comical than they were in Season 1. Some great symbolism even rears its head!

But what I think are definitely stronger in this season are the games. The Spring High has some incredibly intense matches, and I like how each new team has their own distinctive traits. What's even more unexpected is some of the events that manage to take place. I won't go into serious detail about what occurs, but let's just say one brought some development that basically shook me so hard.

The teams Karasuno goes up against this time are Oginishi in a practice game (thought it's not shown as much), Fukurodani in a summer training camp match, and Ougi Minami, along with Kakugawa in the first part of the Spring High. After a break, they go up against Johzenji, Wakutani South, and that fated match with our good ol' buds, Aoba Johsai. We also get a prime viewing of Aoba Johsai going up against Date Tech (which I didn't expect at all, but Haikyuu! does continue to offer me surprises). There aren't really important games outside of that aside from snippets during the training camps.

My favorite game was, once again, the rematch against Aoba Johsai. This game is easily the most suspenseful out of the lineup, lasting longer than the other ones and providing some wonderful twists along with happenings that left me needing more (I know, I got greedy).






*clears throat*

Much like in Season 1, I pretty much adored all of the games, though the match against Wakutani South did irritate me a bit. Not as much as that one match in KnB, but there was a point where I was praying Karasuno would recover because dang it! WHY ARE THESE TEAMS SO FREAKING GOOD?!

More importantly, why don't I feel like this when I see sports in real life?

Moving on, another wonderful story was basically set on my lap, and I couldn't handle it. Knowing Season 3 is more than half the length less than both 1 and 2, I hope they can show all of the individual strengths that help make Haikyuu! stand out for more as much as it does.

Now we're going to move on to the characters:



I could talk about the fabulous character development on nearly all of the characters previously introduced, and how Tadashi and Ennoshita had the best out of everyone (though Kei also had some awesome development) and how I can't pick a favorite anymore.

I could talk about some of the characters I managed to like more this season and how I can connect with nearly all of them on a spiritual level.

Or maybe I can talk about my favorites out of the new ones?

Yes, yes. That sounds good.

And again, there's quite a few I want to talk about. So let's begin, shall we?

First up, Lev Haiba from Nekoma:

Lev Haiba is a new member of the Nekoma volleyball team and is the self-declared "ace," even though he's actually a middle blocker and a regular member on the lineup, replacing Inuoka. Compared to Hinata being incredibly short, Lev is incredibly tall, measuring about 6 feet and 4 inches. His half-Russian heritage also gives him incredibly long legs and great physical stamina. 

Even though Lev is half-Russian, he was born and raised in Japan, which means he doesn't know the language. An interesting feature about Lev would be his cat-shaped eyes, which work out perfectly with what team he's on. Though he looks rather intimidating by his height and appearance, he actually isn't all that bad, and is very childish and enthusiastic about everything. Think of him as a young child trapped in a grown man's body.

When it comes to volleyball, he is very enthusiastic about it, even though his skills still aren't the best. But he already has a signature attack; that being a Whip Spike. In the meantime, he may need a few more practices with Kenma and the rest of the team before he can fully shine. I have hope for him.

Lev technically first appears anime-wise in an OVA that was shown at the Jump Festa in 2014 and later bundled with the 15th manga volume in Japan (which means don't expect it to be licensed anytime soon) in March of 2015. Watching the OVA does provide a little more background of Lev and Kenma's partnership, but you won't miss much if you skip it (it's still awesome, though).

Other matters aside, Lev is precious and completely adorable. I like his slightly competitive nature to people he likes and his self-proclamation of being Nekoma's ace even though he's far from it. His ego may be a little high, but his enthusiasm towards volleyball and his personality completely make up for that. Besides, he's good-natured. And funny, too. 

Then again, is there anyone I don't like in Haikyuu? Nope, nada. Not even this season introduced characters I despise or don't like (though I'm watching Ushijima closely).

Before we move on, let me provide visual evidence on the exact height difference:

Yeah, it's a shocker, all right. Now I'm going to make you think of looking for people in your school and your life who are the same age/in the same grade, and have completely different heights. Sorry, not sorry.

Bokuto's up next:

Much like what his name means (Horned Owl), Bokuto looks exactly like that, having round yellow eyes and white/gray hair with black streaks styled up (we can theorize what his hair looks like down though. Fanfics have already). He is the team captain of Fukurodani's volleyball team, along with being the ace. Much like Lev, he is very energetic and childish, though he can have sudden moments of angst and despair when he does something wrong, whether it'd be large or small.

He is well-regarded among his teammates for his enthusiasm towards volleyball and his morale-boosting. Even Mr. Takeda admits it's very hard not to root for him because of his high amount of energy. He likes to make a big deal when he makes successful shots, often yelling about how awesome he is and his catchphrase "Hey, hey, hey!" (it's done in Engrish, which makes me very happy).

Bokuto was the character that interested me the most before I even decided to watch this series, the reason being his unique look, but also because of his fun personality. The thing is, Bokuto is easily the most entertaining new character out of this season due to how he acts and his interactions with various characters. It's obvious he and Kuroo are great bros, Akaashi and him are tight due to being ace and setter on their school's team (their interactions are probably the best, considering how Akaashi is incredibly serious and Bokuto is the complete opposite), and he gets along with almost everyone under the sun.

Aside from that, he's really charismatic and not in a way that's annoying, plus he has some great facial expressions. Not as iconic as Saitama's from One Punch Man, but still, these are awesome to see in action:

See? Priceless.

Speaking of Akaashi (AKAAAASHI!), let's talk about him now:

Akaashi is the setter of Fukurodani's volleyball team as well as the vice-captain. He's probably the person who knows Bokuto the most, as he's able to put up with his outbursts along with the rest of his team. He's also to point out some of Bokuto's faults, even if the latter doesn't want him to. 

He is typically very calm and honest, not showing much emotion, and has the ability of stating things in the bluntest way possible. Though he is able to work well with most people, he does know his own weak points and occasionally will point something out if it's amiss, as during some 3-on-3 games he played with Bokuto, Hinata, Kuroo, Lev, and Tsukishima, he pointed out the height difference between the two teams was unsettling.

All in all, even if Bokuto is more interesting than Akaashi himself, I still really liked him. He's able to work well with Bokuto even if their personalities are complete opposites, and he's definitely a nice person, helping out with his team and being on good terms with them despite being one of the youngest members. I still want to see more of him though, because his exchanges with Bokuto are pretty funny, and I do ship the ship the most out of all of the possible ships, if you know what I mean.

Moving on to Yuuji:

Yuuji is the captain and the wing spiker of Johzenji's volleyball team, despite only being a second year. Aside from having a tongue piercing (which I've never seen in an anime up until this point, at least a normal one (R.R. Lurker from Taboo Tattoo has several)), Johzenji's group of men are known as the Party Team, due to their easy-going playing nature, their unpredictability, their excitable energy, and for their slight hiccups. Basically, if Johzenji were a "stereotypical" college, their frat parties would be lit AF.

JK. I probably won't attend parties like those when I go to college. Not exactly my scene. But getting back on track.

Yuuji is easily very energetic as well as playful, immediately like many of the other male characters from this series, forming an attraction to Kiyoko and asking for her number when he first meets her (he also calls her Glasses-chan). It's unclear as to whether he'll be successful in the future, but as of now, Yuuji, your request has been denied. He is also shown to not really put any serious thought into volleyball, seeing as he only saw it as a sport he played for fun and nothing else.

As captain, he's definitely a strong motivator, but might need a bit more practice with keeping his team's game up with making mistakes. Johzenji typically plays 2-on-2 games during their practices after they exchanged coaches and the second-years began to showcase their wonderful colors. With more time, Johzenji will grow, and maybe learn how to use their unpredictability with greater results.

Basically, Yuuji was pretty fun. He's pretty wild and a little immature, but seeing him play was quite interesting. There's something about a team that plays in a way where you don't know what will happen next that's actually quite exciting (and unpredictable he-he), and I wouldn't be mad if we got to see more of him.

Though again, I'm basically trash for almost all of these characters, so basically that would apply to nearly every single living breathing person in this lovely series.

I'm getting distracted again, aren't I? Whoops.

The last male character I want to bring up is Kyotani:

Whose nickname (christened by Tooru) is Mad Dog, and no matter how many times I hear it, I will always end up thinking of Mad Dog McCree.

"In Chinatown, they end up stiff, but not from too much starch." *gasps*

Ah, lovely references that no one else but me gets! XD

Anyways, Kyotani is considered to be one of the strongest members on Aoba Johsai's team, along with being a very strong second-year. However, his poor attitude and his refusal to work well together or treat anyone with respect causes several of the team's members to keep their distance (aside from Iwaizumi) and as such, no one really goes out of their way to talk to him.

He's easily the most visually shocking out of the team, as he has dyed blonde hair with only two stripes of his original black color left. Even back in middle school, he was known for his bad sportsmanship, occasionally losing his temper. But his angry personality actually works well in games, causing him to hit incredibly powerful shots, as well as serves (though none can be good as Tooru's, whose serves can only be described now as "OMG SO MUCH POWER IN THEM WHAT?!")

But in the end, all the poor boy wants to do is play volleyball. He just needs encouragement from his team members and wants to be accepted for who he is, just as long as he respects his senpai and doesn't piss his team members off too much. He has the strength, but he just needs to control it a little more.

I was REALLY surprised with how much I actually liked Kyotani by the end of this season. He's very rude and not afraid to voice his opinion sometimes, but to be able to sympathize with him and see that he just wants to play the sport he loves made my heart melt to the floor. Truth is, I'd probably never be comfortable playing against him in a match in any sport ever in my life (I don't like intimidating people), but he seems like a big softie underneath, and I really hope he's able to get along with the majority of his teammates in the future (even if some of those hostile comments will pop up undoubtedly).

The last character I want to discuss (and who I nearly forgot, how dare I) is Yachi:

Yachi is a first year at Karasuno who is recruited by Kiyoko to be another manager of the volleyball team and also to replace her when she graduates. Yachi is at first very shy, often being intimidated by various people and quick to pass judgement on some due to first impressions. She also isn't very confident, not seeing a lot of good qualities in herself. 

However, as the season goes on, she is able to become more confident in herself and sees Karasuno's true potential. Even though she may be a bit clumsy and not the most outspoken person in the world, she is pretty smart and organized, thanks to her mom working as a graphic designer. She helps Hinata and Kageyama with their studying for exams when Tsukishima proves to not be enough (also, his attitude).

Overall, I really liked Yachi, and she is my favorite female character from this series. She reminds me of myself in a way, since I'm pretty shy and have the tendency to get freaked out about certain things, but I'm able to become more confident when the situation calls for it. Yachi's growth as the series goes on is great, and I love how she's not quivering a lot in fear now, being more open towards the team and admitting her nerves when she gets the chance. I could tell her confidence was boosted every few episodes and her morale boosted higher, and I'm excited to see where else she'll go as she sticks with Karasuno.

Much like last season's review, instead of doing a big honking paragraph of all of the old/new characters, I'm going to do screenshots of the other volleyball players I found more important, then describe other new characters in a paragraph following this display:

Hyakuzawa from Kakugawa, whose most distinguishing traits is his height, measuring 6 feet and 7 inches. His team relies on that for most of their power during games.

Yahaba from Aoba Johsai (the one with the brown hair) gets more involved in Season 2, helping Kyotani's mood during the match against Karasuno when he starts getting too angry (no wonder they're shipped together; I can see it), along with also being more memorable.

Takeru from Wakutani South, who is quite charismatic that sometimes it's a wonderful thing to have that energy, yet at other times, it did get on my nerves a bit. But still, his energy is understandable, considering how big his family is.

Koganegawa from Date Tech, who is their new setter, as well as being a first-year. He's pretty inexperienced, but he'll fit in just fine with the Iron Wall with more time.

I should also mention the current captain of Ougi Minami, Yoshiki, but he immediately put me off due to the fact that he looks uncannily similar to Date Tech's coach (who I wasn't the biggest fan of), but their former captain, Noboru, was pretty nice. I just thought Kakugawa was stronger and slightly more memorable, Hyakuzawa playing a factor into that.

Other new characters include the whole teams of Ougi Minami, Kakugawa, Johzenji (they have the best female side character manager) and Wakutani South, Saeko, Ryunosuke's older sister who easily wins the Best Onee-san award for her great energy and care for her brother, as well as having just about as much energy as her younger brother. Finally, we have the famous Coach Ukai, the grandfather of Keishin who helps Hinata grow stronger when he and Kageyama spend time apart from each other.


The animation for this series was once again produced by Production I.G, who are also known for their work on shows such as Kimi ni Todoke, Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, and Blood-C.

Once again, I was treated to some lovely animation from Haikyuu! Mostly everything remains the same, but it's clear this season had a higher budget, as there's more interesting shots and risks taken, as well as better quality in overall animation. Sure, we do get some use of opening animation from the 2nd opening (I didn't mention it last time since it was only one scene, but this time it was several), but that really doesn't matter, considering this series is 25 episodes regardless, and it isn't used frequently compared to what I've seen in the past. 

And while they might not be a lot in terms of subtle manservice, I think there was a little more sprinkled in there for my viewing pleasure (Bokutooty! HOOT HOOT HOOTY!). Gotta love anime guys playing sports, am I right or am I right?

Production I.G. hasn't disappointed me yet with the series I've seen from them, and I hope to see Haikyuu! continue with that trend, because it keeps on going upwards rather than Uta Pri's downwards, so it's clear the animators still have interest in making Haikyuu! look pretty. I'm definitely excited to see what Season 3 has in store.


Yuki Hayashi and Asami Tachibana return for their composing efforts, both having collaborated before on shows such as Soul Eater NOT! and Robotics;Notes. They also have produced scores by themselves, with Hayashi working on Blood Lad, Classroom Crisis, and My Hero Academia, and Tachibana working on Aoharu x Machinegun and Attack on Titan: Junior High (along with being a part of the Seraph of the End OST team).

Again, the score for this series was quite fantastic. Like many other second seasons I've seen, aside from some old pieces making their appearance, a lot of new ones pop up, some of them easily taking my attention once I heard them along with having me on bated breath. Two pieces, Greed and Moonlight, are exceptional in terms of when they are used and in the beauty of the tracks themselves, and easily stick out at the favorite among the entire list. Yuki Hayashi and Asami Tachibana continue to work well together in order to deliver an incredibly cohesive and endearing set list, and I'm excited to see what will happen with Season 3.

The voice acting is still quite awesome, and there's still a good mix of experienced and lesser known seiyuu who all do pretty great jobs with their characters. I actually even managed to grow on some of the voices that didn't leave that strong of an impression on me before, which is awesome!

New highlights for this season include Isamu Yusen, Tooru Sakurai, Kengo Kawanishi, Shunsuke Takeuchi (who was 18 when Kengo first appeared in the anime, potentially 17 if they recorded way in advance), Mark Ishii, Masayuki Shouji, Ryohei Kimura (who basically sounds like Kise on drugs as Bokuto, or a more rough version of the former for a more tame comparison), Ryota Osaka, Ryota Takeuchi, Sumire Morohoshi, Yuka Komatsu, Takahiro Sakurai, Shouta Yamamoto, Atsushi Abe, and Hiroshi Naka.


Once again, Haikyuu! is proving to be an amazing series that is my new obsession. Everything about it is insanely working for me, and I'm incredibly excited for more to come. Even if it's 10 episodes, Season 3 is going to be another awesome season, and I hope it doesn't let me down (though I doubt it will).

This season of Haikyuu! is recommended to fans of the first season, along with fans of sports anime in general. If you haven't started Haikyuu! yet, I have to say you may be missing out on an amazing anime series that may just become one of your new favorites.

Score: 10/10


Another awesome story and pace.

More likable characters are introduced.

Fantastic character development for some already in the series.

More pretty animation.

Lovely score.

Voice acting is on point.

More intense and entertaining games.

Still amazing to watch and experience.


None major.

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