Friday, September 23, 2016

Summer 2016 Anime Season Wrap-up

Summer 2016 Anime Season Wrap-up

Warning: The following post may contain spoilers from the shows I watched from the Summer 2016 anime season. If you wish not to know some plot details in the stories, or simply don't wish to find out what happens in the series that are mentioned, please exit the tab, and come join me once you've watched the first few episodes. But than again, if you don't mind spoilers, feel free to stay put.

Also, the pictures for my special posts are chosen at random. Rangetsu's art is awesome, and so is this picture. Plus, it perfectly fits summer as a season in my opinion.

So with that said, let's get started:

Ah, summer! The season of relaxing by the beach, tanning in the sun, taking long hikes in the woods, and for incredibly cool vacations. But for me, it was time to see which anime series that were coming out this season would be great to watch as summer continued onward. Once again, I decided to tackle more shows than just 2 that stood out the most for me due to more time to just sit down and relax while watching an episode, as well as seeing that this anime season seemed to have a lot of promise.

Basically, expect that there's going to be a lot of shows on the back-burner that I still need to actually see. XD But I still managed to watch and follow 5 series that managed to come out (one is technically 4 episodes, so I could consider it an OVA if I really wanted too). Though I didn't watch any of the shows from my past wrap-ups, I did get one dropped show this season, and it was after the first episode.

But before we get into that, time for my mandatory announcement that the opinions on these anime are all my own. If you disagree with me, I don't really mind, just as long as you don't complain about it if you do decide to comment and you liked/disliked the show in question. Remember, I think it's better to have discussions if opinions are polar opposite, not arguments. That even goes to people who might disagree in the comments as well. 

So, let's unveil which show I wasn't able to finish, that being:

First Love Monster.


When I first heard about this series, I wasn't sure to take the whole situation of the main male cast being all 5th graders (despite the fact that they look like teenagers) seriously or as a joke (or a mix of both), but I was curious to see how this would turn out, either by manga or anime means. Considering that this is a comedy series among other things, and that I typically like those types of shows, maybe I would end up liking this one, considering that it's in my vein?

Well, unfortunately, I didn't. Which is a shame, considering that I hoped to at least like this show enough to watch it for a few weeks. And the lead writer for Snow White with the Red Hair worked on this in the original Japanese (FUNimation did give this a Broadcast Dub), and that hopefully would have balanced out the director of Sky Wizards Academy leading the project (granted, he also directed Rosairo + Vampire, which I still need to rewatch). But in the end, First Love Monster is clearly a show not meant for me. But I might give the first volume of the manga a chance in the near future.

For starters, the animation could definitely be better. The first episode just felt kind of cheap and under-saturated to the point where it was just numbing to look at, the most iconic part of the episode coming from a rainbow effect on Kaho's face that looked like it was done in Windows Live Movie Maker (which isn't a bad editing program, but not something animators should use) which is repeated twice. It's honestly quite laughable.

What wasn't laughable was the comedy, which was more poop and penis jokes more than anything. I don't mind this kind of crude humor, but when it's repeated in the span of five minutes over and over again, it's bound to get on my nerves. Plus, several scenes either unintentionally made me die because I laughed too hard or just weren't all that clever. I probably could write better comedy than these writers can, and I'm not even a professional.

I didn't really care for the characters (other than Kota, who was super adorable), nor for the score either. I would watch the Broadcast Dub, but there's better shows that I could watch that aren't this. It's not as rage-inducing as other anime I've dropped (see Sky Wizards Academy and The Testament of Sister New Devil for reference), nor is it really memorable. Again, I may give it a chance in the future, but as of now, it's undecided.

Overall, I'd give the first episode of First Love Monster a 4 out of 10.

Time to move on to the shows that I watched as they were coming out during this season. Short discussions are a go:

B-Project (Kodo Ambitious joke will be saved for the review, which will be a collab with Luke), Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi, Qualidea Code, Servamp, and The Morose Mononokean.

Good news is that I started all of these shows on the day/week they came out, though I'm behind on the last show mentioned (The Morose Mononokean), so hopefully I'll be able to catch up with that in the upcoming weeks, along with the last two episodes of Servamp. Both B-Project and Qualidea Code I saw as episodes came out weekly, and the Nanatsu no Taizai OVA as soon as fansubs came out (hopefully Netflix will get the rights to it as soon as possible) after a few days of waiting.

But for now, let's go over each show briefly and just let my main thoughts out.

B-Project is another entry into the foray known as male idol shows (though it's based in multimedia), and I was expecting it to be pretty cheesy before I started watching the series. Truth be told, that is what I got, but B-Project did show more promise and intrigue than Uta Pri's third season ever did, but that gets squandered out in the second half in place of bland and just over-the-top drama (which I expected to happen, and I'm not really happy to see).

There's also inconsistent writing throughout the series for both the story and some of the characters, as well as some shoddy animation. However, there's some great aspects such as strong character interactions, the male idols actually showing more personality than STARISH post Season 2, and a good score aside from a few pieces. But in the end, this deserved a bit more fire that, unfortunately, it just didn't get (and no, I'm not talking about the manservice, which I also had some issues with. I won't discuss them now though).

Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi serves as a middle point before the end of the actual series, starting somewhere around the last episode, and potentially ending right before or on the dot of the Season 1 finale (official confirmation of a second season just recently was announced, so we're getting more NNT). Nakaba Suzuki, the original manga author and illustrator, helped plan the story for the 4 episodes, which gives it a place in the anime's canon. And so far, it's been pretty enjoyable. Granted, the Melioda groping Elizabeth gags aren't going away anytime soon, and the score still doesn't work for me, but there's been a fine balance between light-hearted moments and foreshadowing at what's to come. Plus, the Ban and Meliodas fight in Episode 2 was all kinds of awesome.

Plus, the animation in the best out of the shows that A-1 Pictures animated this summer that I've seen (there's also B-Project and Qualidea Code), with this series looking more polished and not as funky, staying mostly consistent throughout each episode and finally getting Ban's body proportions stable. The story has been more of a slice-of-life one, but I like the aspect of focusing on particular characters each episode, and seeing more of Merlin.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to do a full review of this short series, but we'll have to wait and see.

Qualidea Code is based off of a multimedia project created by Marvelous, a company that develops video games and produces anime, along with three light novel writers known under the group name of Speakeasy (I'll go into specifics in the review). This show sounded really interesting before I started it, albeit a little cliche, but I was curious to see where it was going to go and how it would turn out,

Though the story for this anime is very confusing at first (and stays somewhat so throughout the show if I'm being honest), things do get explained later on down the line, so patience will be rewarded in the end. There's also a good group of characters despite some shaky development, and an awesome score courtesy of Taku Iwasaki that suits the anime to a T. But the main downfall of this show is the animation, which is a complete mess all around, not getting really bad until about 4 episodes in (though there are some episodes after the first 3 that look decent). It reminds me of another show that A-1 worked on, that being Togainu no Chi's anime adaptation, but I'll make sure to discuss about both and comparisons between the two in my review.

Servamp was probably the most hyped show for me because I'd seen the manga around at Barnes & Noble. Plus, the series itself sounded awesome. It started off as the most enjoyable show in the bunch, with some great action and interesting story. But around Episode 5, the pacing starts to move at the speed of sound, leaving character development and chunks of a coherent story in the dust. This is a shame, since some of the characters are fun, and the animation and score are really good.

In the end though, Kuro is the star of this anime through and through, and I'm definitely excited to talk about him since he is legit the best.

The Morose Mononokean had some shoes to fill, because it's a supernatural comedy. I've seen a few supernatural comedies in the past, and this series needed to proved that it could provide something different (like Gugure! Kokurri-san) so that it could differentiate itself from the shows in that vein. Eventually, it ended up doing so, with the show managing to put a big smile on my face every episode and being incredibly heartwarming. Hanae and Abeno interact incredibly well, and this anime was actually funny! Though it does have its somber moments. The animation has managed to stabilize after the first few episodes, and the score is also pretty fun.

I have a few minor nitpicks of this show, but overall, it's been a really smooth and nice lazy river to float in, and I'm looking forward to finish it.

Reviews on all of the 12 episodes series will be coming soon in the next few months (again, I'm unsure about Nanatsu no Taizai: Seisen no Shirushi), so make sure to be on the lookout.

Now let's move on to the shows that I'm still interested to watch from this season that I haven't yet (not including shorts):

Both arcs of Danganronpa 3.

Granted, I haven't seen the first anime adaptation full yet, nor have I actually played the games this series is based on (I have seen playthroughs though), but no matter if the first anime series is bad or not, I'm still making plans to watch these two arcs. Both sound incredibly interesting, though I'm personally looking forward to the Despair Arc since I finally get to see Ibuki animated. And considering she's my favorite character out of the franchise, I'm mega hyped to see her.

Plus, I've heard both anime are full of twists and turns, which makes me even more excited to watch both. I hope to enjoy both these stories, and of course watch them back to back. ;)

New Game.

I'm still not exactly sure why I'm interested in seeing this show. Maybe because it's light-hearted and focuses on the gaming world? Yeah, I think that fits the bill just fine. But overall, this sounds like a cute and funny slice-of-life that has promises of fanservice (though let's see how much I get annoyed by it), and I may end up enjoying it if it's not too boring.

Plus, it looks to be a better animated effort from Dogakobo like Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun was, so further thumbs-up for that.

Taboo Tattoo.

Ah, and here we have the turd of the season. So many people have basically said that this series is complete s**t, but I'm still incredibly curious to see just how bad it's going to end up being. Takashi Watanabe is directing this series, and I haven't experienced a truly bad anime series from him yet. Plus, the animation looks really interesting, and the seiyuu lineup is pretty good as well.

Though I'm mainly just curious to see R.R. Lurker in action, despite the fact that he sounds like a character I wouldn't like. But his design and the fact that Kenijro Tsuda's voicing him makes me feel good.


Hello yet another male idol show! Granted, I did get annoyed out of my mind listening to the opening (there's only so many "Shakin', sugar, sugar"'s I can take), but I want to see how good this series will be compared to B-Project. There's also a good line-up of seiyuus I like in this show, so that's a positive. I'm not expecting this to be amazing, but let's hope it's entertaining enough for me to finish at least.

Now onto the topic of FUNimation's Broadcast Dubs for this anime season. We have 14 shows (including short anime) that managed to get the coveted treatment, and I'm curious to see how Servamp and Danganronpa 3's dubs will turn out (the former due to some of the casting choices being really unexpected, but they could still work; the latter because the script better be better if you know what I mean). On the topic of short anime, there's the Show By Rock shorts that I still need to watch since Season 2 is right around the corner, but aside from that, I don't think I'm invested enough to explore the other dubs (unless I watch Barakamon soon).

And that'll end the summer wrap-up for this year. What shows did you all find to be the best this season, and which ones did you think were the worst? Do any of you agree with my opinions on the shows I discussed?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bungo Stray Dogs Review

Bungo Stray Dogs Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first season of Bungo Stray Dogs. 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:

When I first heard about Bungo Stray Dogs, I was instantly reminded of Karneval, the show that got me into watching anime more frequently. As I've mentioned before, while Black Butler got me into watching more anime after a while away from it, Karneval was the one that led to an anime craze, one that has tapered down the older I've gotten, but still has been present in how I make time in my day to at least watch a few episodes of any series.

From the main character looking to be a complete cutie while getting more confidence as the plot moved along, to the two rival organizations, as well as some of the personalities themselves, I immediately knew that this was a series I'd had to watch out for. It unfortunately did take a while for a season confirmation on when it'd start, but I was excited to know that 2 cours were announced so that if one half ended, another would come down the road (I'd still very much like another season of Karneval, but Manglobe did go bankrupt, so that hinders things. At least there's manga).

Going along with the show's unique premise, and the fact that Yuto Uemura FINALLY got another role after doing a great job in Kamigami no Asobi as Tsukito, I was all ready to go. So, how did the first half/season/cour of Bungo Stray Dogs go?

It managed to go very well. The story is very interesting, the characters all show bits of their personalities off equally even though their development isn't the same, the animation is really good, and the score still proves that Taku Iwasaki can make something great. The show may not be as great as Karneval was for me, but both shows have a great charm to them that I think certain fans will appreciate, myself included.

As for why Bungo Stray Dogs isn't as strong as Karneval was to me, the tonal shifts from a more lighthearted comedy to an intense action are more off than they should be, plus our main protagonist's writing is a bit more inconsistent in terms of his growing confidence going back into his shell at most times and only coming out when necessary. But regardless, I still really liked this series, and I can't wait to see what the second half offers.

Let's move on to the anime's story:


Atsushi Nakajima was recently kicked out of the orphanage where he was making his home. and he currently has no place to go, stuck in the clothes on his back with no money. Though he wasn't treated with kindness there, it was the only home he had, since his parents seem to be completely out of the picture. Vowing to try and find a source of money, he sees a man floating upside down in a river and rescues him.

The man in question turns out to be Osamu Dazai, a member of the Armed Detective Agency who just happens to love finding ways where he can peacefully kill himself. When Dazai decides to treat Atsushi to some food after finding out that the is hungry (on his co-worker, Doppo's, tab). Doppo explains what the Armed Detective Agency is and the case that he and Dazai are working on, which is to find a tiger that has been reported to be in the surrounding area the past few days. Hearing about this causes Atsushi to immediately clamp up, feeling that the tiger is after him since it was a threat to the orphanage on a few occasions.

When Dazai convinces Atsushi to come out and help him find it due to some hefty pay, the tiger is unveiled to be Atsushi (I mean, who else would it be?), as Dazai figured out the connection between the tiger's appearances in certain areas where Atsushi was matched up and that the orphanage realized the identity of the canine and kicked him out so that he wouldn't cause any more trouble. Atsushi is then invited to be a part of the detective agency in question after a later test, whose goal is to fight evil with their supernatural abilities and get s**t done.

Of course, they're not without their enemies. The Port Mafia is determined to get Atsushi due to his tiger ability, as it racks up a high price on the black market. And there could be an even worse threat out there lurking beneath the shadows. But as Atsushi gets to know more about his fellow agency members, one thing's known for sure: his life isn't going to be the same.

The cool thing about this series as a whole is that the characters are all based off of famous Japanese writers or characters in their works. Later on, this gets expanded to feature authors internationally, including Russian, English, and American, which is super interesting considering that the characters in question seem to exhibit traits that the actual person had. 

But what I think made me like this anime a fair bit (aside from some of the Karneval parallels) is how much fun this show's plot is. I found myself really entertained by this show's comedy, but also really liking when the show got serious, with some fierce fights (ha ha, that alliteration) and tense moments that had me on the edge of my seat.

However, Bungo Stray Dogs does need to improve on its tonal shifts. While they do get better as the series goes on, I think there's still some work that needs to be done so they don't feel as abrupt as they can be, changing between a heartwarming or funny scene to someone getting shot/attacked as if taking off after the signal during a track meet. It's a little odd.

Aside from adapting some of the manga's storyline, the anime's staff also took a plot from light novels that manage to develop more from Doppo, which was pretty neat, since those two episodes were some of my favorites out of the show. But I also appreciate that the writers tried to develop most of the main characters from the Armed Detective Agency in the first cour as they could, even if it wasn't the most consistent as it could have been in the end.

Speaking of the characters, why don't we move on to them now?


Aside from the fact that these characters are based off of popular authors, all of them have such a wide mix of personalities that makes the cast in itself very diverse and unique. The Karneval parallels don't continue on for these, since the characters in both series don't go check by check in terms of traits and how they act. Well, our leads are pretty similar.

Which brings us to the first topic of discussion, Atsushi Nakajima:

Also known as:

I warned you in my summer wrap-up that I was excited to talk about Atsushi, because he is legit the most precious thing ever.

But before I get caught up in making donkey noises and squealing, Atsushi is 18 years old and happens to have very low self-esteem. He doesn't consider himself worthy due to his treatment at the orphanage where he lived, used to people calling him useless. As such, he isn't very confident in himself, but he's able to become more sure of who he is after time spent at the agency, causing him to become more dead-set and determined when his life or others are at risk.

His ability, called Beast Beneath The Moonlight, grants him the ability to transform into a white tiger, even though he doesn't have much control in how to use it. He can turn into a were-tiger by looking at the moon or by having a strong sense of protecting someone or something (such as his own life) that arms or a tail pops out. He also is able to regenerate his body parts if they are hacked off, as evidenced by one of his legs being cut off by Akutagawa's ability in Episode 3 before it heals himself.

Overall, I was a big fan of Atsushi. He definitely reminds me a lot of Nai from Karneval, as he isn't the most useful at first, nor is that confident, but becomes stronger and more helpful as the series goes on. Atsushi definitely has the upper hand to Nai, as he is able to fend for himself in battle, whereas Nai doesn't have the strength to yet due to his timid and innocent nature.

But one thing that was odd during this show was how inconsistent Atsushi's confidence could be. Don't get me wrong, seeing him kick ass and be totally OP in battle is awesome, but it seems like he only becomes this in dire situations. So it's strange when we have an Atsushi literally wiping the floor with Akutagawa in Episode 10 to an Atsushi who cowers in fear over intimidating men in Episode 11.

But I'm pretty sure this will be able to stabilize as Bungo goes on, seeing as Atsushi has still come a long time from his first appearance. I wish him luck in the situations that will definitely come in in and outside of his work with the Armed Detective Agency.

Dazai's up next:

Dazai is incredibly carefree, shadowing his past in complete mystery, and loving to find ways to off himself, which is used as a comedic gag for the majority of the series (for people squeamish to suicide, you're definitely not going to like him). Doppo constantly has to get him in line for being unreliable on jobs and just being plain lazy in general, though he does care about his work. He takes Atsushi under his wing at the agency.

His ability is called No Longer Human, which lets him nullify other ability users and their powers, though it must be administrated through direct skin contact, such as touching someone's forehead. 

Overall, Dazai is definitely the most entertaining character out of the show. Despite him being pretty joyful and not seeming to give a care about anything, he actually can be very crafty, and he has a few secrets to his past that come to light that makes you question him a bit. His suicide gag isn't handled too badly, at some points being funny, and the writers do know when to not just rely on that, such as in tough situations. He's also a good mentor to Atsushi, despite the fact that his personality is far different than the latter's.

One thing I'm really interested in seeing from Dazai is more of his backstory, seeing as some of that I'm seeing a lot in official art from the series with one of the popular characters (who I'll discuss a bit in the big ol' paragraph), so seeing them interact more will be a plus. Or just seeing more of that one character; either will do enough for me.

Doppo's turn now:

Doppo is pretty stern, especially towards Daizai, since the latter seems to go off in his own little world during missions assigned by the Armed Detective Agency. He carries around a notebook with him everywhere, which contains his ideals, as well as a schedule for the day that he likes to follow to the second. If it is impacted in any way, shape, or form, be prepared for Doppo to get incredibly pissed off.

Despite the fact that he's very diligent and strict to the point of becoming accidentally rude, there seems to be a caring side to Doppo that people rarely see. He's dependable to work with, as well as trustworthy and loyal to the agency he works with. Plus, he sometimes can become pretty naive, falling for some of Daizai's lies, which he may jot down in his notebook.

His ability, Lone Poet, allows him to create any object if written on one of the pages in his notebook. However, the object may only be the size of the planner and nothing bigger, plus obtaining a new one if he runs out of space could be expensive.

In the end, Doppo became my favorite character in the series, which I found rather surprising. Despite the fact that he can act hostile towards some of the others (his chosen nickname for Atsushi is Brat), he is still a very humorous character, his dramatic outbursts easily the best part about his character. But what I also liked about him was the development he got in Episodes 6 and 7, and how it further explained why he lives the way he does. Aside from that, he's a pretty cool character, and I'm really excited to see more of him.

Last but not least is Akutagawa:

Akutagawa is a part of the underground organization called the Port Mafia, and refers to himself as the dog of the company. He appears rather sickly, being extremely pale and coughing occasionally. He is mostly well-tempered, rarely losing his cool and appearing very stoic, but he does show moments of jealousy, especially towards Atsushi (though I won't say why). Akutagawa also has a very low view of the world, believing that the weaker people die for the stronger ones to live, and is willing to resort to violence in order to strengthen the Port Mafia.

Like the members of the Armed Detective Agency, he has an ability/power he can use in battle, known as Rashomon. The ability seems to serve as his coat, which can manipulate itself for attacking or protecting Akutagawa, as well as tear or consume certain items. Though it doesn't have a definite weakness, it could contribute to his potential sickness, sucking out a bit of his life force every time he uses it.

In the end, I was definitely intimidated by Akutagawa. Though he really isn't the scariest villain that this show has to offer, he easily proves himself to be one of the strongest, if not the most thus far. There are some moments where I did feel bad for him (one dealing with the jealousy, as well as hints of his backstory living in the slums on his own, which is very similar to Atsushi's past), and seeing more redemption for him will be good, since he's not the one we need to watch out for the most.

Other characters include fellow Armed Detective Agency members Junichiro Tanizaki, whose ability Light Snow is able to conjure illusions, Rampo Edogawa, the self-proclaimed "detective" whose ability Super Deduction isn't actually an ability, Kenji Miyazawa, a boy hailing from the country who can use his ability Undefeated by the Rain only when he's on an empty stomach, giving him super strength, Akiko Yosano, the agency's medic who can heal herself as well as others (if they are half-dead) if she uses Thou Shalt Not Die, and Kyoka Izumi, who was initially part of the Port Mafia before coming to the Agency and can summon a phantom via Demon Snow. There's also the president of the agency, Yukichi Fukuzawa, who has the ability of All Men Are Equal, which suppresses the other ability users' power.

As for the characters who are a part of the Port Mafia, we have Chuya Nakahara, who is an executive member of the Port Mafia and is quite popular in this show's fanbase (which means that I'm excited to see more of him), Ichiyo Higuchi, Akutagawa's partner who doesn't have an ability but has good shooting skills, Motojiro Kaji, an infamous bomber whose ability allows him to not be harmed by the bombs he creates via lemons, Ryuro Hirotsu, the commander of the unit known as the Black Lizards, Michizo Tachihara, a member of that unit who has a short temper, Ougai Mori, the leader of the whole rag-tag team, and Elise, a young girl under his personal care.

Out of The Guild, we have two definite members so far, but more will be coming. First we have Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald and his subordinate Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose ability Anne of Abyssal Red can create an alternate reality in which she can imprison people.


The animation for this series was produced by Bones, who are also known for their work on the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise, Snow White with the Red Hair, and Space Dandy.

Bones has always been known for being behind some beautiful productions, and Bungo Stray Dogs is definitely one of them. Overall having a better budget compared to the second show mentioned in the previous paragraph (mainly the second season), this anime in particular is very lush, having a great color scheme, along with some really nice attention to detail, such as in blood, lighting, facial expressions (including the funny ones that some of the characters are prone to make), and settings. The fight scenes are all well choreographed, and the animation as a whole is very consistent and doesn't stray off-model.

One minor nit-pick would be the moments where faces from far away aren't fully animated, which does work in some cases design-wise, but I can see it being called lazy by some. Overall though, this is a very smooth and lovely production from an already great studio, and I hope the second cour keeps up with this standard.


The score for this series was composed by Taku Iwasaki, who is also known for his contributions to series such as Black Cat, Noragami, and Soul Eater.

Whenever I see that Taku Iwasaki is on score for an anime I'm about to watch, I immediately become reassured, knowing that it's going to be a good one. And for Bungo, we have another winner! Overall, I really enjoyed this show's OST, as it has a mix of various styles that manage to work well together. It's not as diverse as the cultural mix that Jormungand has to offer, but rather in genres, mixing more electronic rock songs, jazz, plain electro and nothing else, and with stripped back ones that use piano. It manages to have a nice style to it, along with managing to be both memorable and fun to listen to on its own.

Onto the voice-acting, which is also pretty great. Mamoru Miyano still proves to be very entertaining no matter what role he gets, continuing to put a lot of passion into his work and easily running away with some of the best acting out of this show, and the rest of the main cast does a fine job as well (though I'm still not really sold on Hiroyuki Kagura's voice as Kenji, though that could change). The Port Mafia also has some pretty great talent, with Kisho Taniyama doing his best Hiroyuki Yoshino impression for Chuya (which is incredibly ironic, which I'll explain in the next cour's review). And of course, who couldn't forget Kana Hanazawa taking on another role showing that yes, even though she can pull off cute incredibly well, she's also got a knack for the psychotic roles just as much.

Of course, the main stand-out for me was Yuto Uemura, due to his work from Kamigami no Asobi having me instantly attached to his voice. Good news is that he's still showing why I immediately liked his voice in the first work, but this time showing off more of an emotional range that Tsukito wasn't able to give. As such, it makes hearing Atsushi all the more enjoyable, especially when he gets angry.

Also, Luke's taken an attachment to him, so expect obsessing once the B-Project review comes along.

Highlights outside of the ones I discussed are Yoshimasa Hosoya, Toshiyuki Toyonaga, Hiroshi Kamiya (and that makes 4 Kamigami no Asobi seiyuus involved in this show. Well, then.....), Yu Shimamura, Chiaki Omigawa, Rikiya Koyama, Sumire Morohoshi, Kensho Ono, Asami Seto, Wataru Hatano, Yu Hayashi, Mitsuru Miyamoto, and Takahiro Sakurai.


This definitely landed on the mark for my expectations. Despite some slight problems, Bungo Stray Dogs is easily one of the most entertaining shows I've watched all year, and I'm incredibly excited that I have more coming. There's a lot to like here, and I'm itching to experience more of it. With a planned release state-side for the manga in a few months, and a dub potentially coming on the horizon, what more can someone ask for?

I'm recommending this show to Bones fans, viewers who like action anime, people who need more precious cinnamon rolls in their lives, or for someone that needs another show that could possibly latch onto them.

Score: 9/10


Intriguing story.

Atsushi Nakajima.

Show tries to develop most of its cast.

Good characters overall.

Great animation.

Nice score.

Yuto Uemura's voice acting.

Fine voice acting in general.

Show has a high entertainment value.

Super excited for what's to come.


Tonal shifts between humorous and serious bits need work.

Atsushi's growth isn't as consistent as it should be.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Haikyuu! Review

Haikyuu! Review

Warning: The following review may contain spoilers of the first 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:

Despite not being a big fan of sports in general, I managed to enjoy Kuroko no Basuke's first season when I watched it last year. Though it was over the typical episode length in the anime series I usually watch, I still found myself really liking it overall due to the fact that the story didn't rely on every single shonen cliche that seems to be popular nowadays and it had mostly great characters.

I also watched Prince of Stride: Alternative in the winter due to the fact its main sport was running (or a fictional form of parkour called Stride), which I instantly related to due to being in cross country for four years (both years in junior high and the first two years in high school). However, I've decided to not do cross country these next two years despite liking it because it's not my main passion in life. I'm more interested in something in the arts field, and I still have four years under my belt post high school.

Besides, I can still run in my free time whenever I feel like it, so there's that too.

I remember first hearing about this series back when in started airing in the spring of 2014, but didn't really see more about it until the second season premiered a year later in the Fall season. When looking at it, I was instantly reminded of the video game Mario Sports Mix, where I played volleyball all the time with my favorite, Princess Peach, and how I had a lot of fun with it. Granted, I've never really tried playing it in real life (again, I don't really like sports that make me worry I'll get a concussion), but I may someday down the road.

At first, I wasn't completely sold on watching this series until after I watched Kuroko no Basuke and talked more recently with a new friend of mine that I met online who loves the series in general. Granted, I was intrigued by the fact that boys were playing volleyball (which I've never seen in real life before, since my school has an only girls' volleyball team), but I still wasn't really on board with this show, not even after seeing clips of a character that would appear down the line.

However, after it being a year since finishing KnB's first season, and me still not even being close to starting the second, I looked back at what I watched this summer and realized I was gearing towards shonen series. I thought, "Why not keep up the tradition?" and decided to watch this within a few weeks of wrapping up Seraph of the End, making this summer the Shonen Summer for me (or SS for short).

In the end, what did I think of Haikyuu? Did it impress me? Or did it leave me wanting more?

Well, it managed to do the former for me. But it was more than that. Not only did this show impress me, it REALLY impressed me.

Not only did the show have a great story, an amazing cast of characters, lovely animation, and a nice score, there were certain bonuses I never expected this show to pull out of its sleeves. And in the end, I think this could beat KnB in a sports battle whenever I actually watch the second season, which will hopefully be this fall (mighthavehintedI'mwatchingHaikyuu'ssecondseason#oops).

Basically, this show struck gold in every category, and is highly recommended for everyone to watch. Just to get that out of the way, since there's going to be a lot of squealing and overall fanboy/fangirl-like behavior in this review.

Let's begin with the story of this show:


Shoyo Hinata has always wanted to play volleyball ever since seeing the so-called "Tiny Giant" play in the Inter High championships from a TV at an electronics store while biking to school one day, When he enters middle school, he's shocked to find out there's no male volleyball club, and vows to practice any way he can by himself in order to one day play in a game, if by asking his two closest friends to help him with receives or practicing against a wall in the gym. 

In his third year, three first years manage to join the team, and Hinata's two friends also decide to enter for an upcoming tournament, now that Hinata has a full team. Serving as the captain, Hinata promises that despite the fact their team is inexperienced, they will be able to win. However, they end up going up against Kitagawa Daiichi, a favorite to win the tournament who is notorious for their setter, Tobio Kageyama. He is known as the King of the Court, but the reasons as to why seem to differ based on several rumors. But what he is known for is his demeanor, as he is very serious towards volleyball and can be very intimidating.

Hinata's first middle school volleyball game proves to be his last, as his team, Yukigaoka, loses both sets within 30 minutes. After this game, he vows to eventually defeat Kageyama in a game once they get into high school, if they manage to cross paths on other sides of the net.

After getting more practice in before graduating from Yukigaoka, Hinata makes it into Karasuno, the same school where the Tiny Giant went and played for when he was in high school. He aspires to join the volleyball club with the intention to play for their team, but runs into Kageyama on his first day when he runs to the gym. 

Talk about another thing not going to plan! First, we have the fact Hinata's team lost in middle school in his first and only game, and now his self-declared rival is attending the same school he was going to instead of being an opponent. Things couldn't get any worse, could they?

Well, we're not going into over-dramatic territory, but Hinata and Kageyama find themselves in a pickle when the captain of the volleyball team, Daichi, temporarily bans them from any club activities until both of the two first-years are able to get along with each other following an incident with the vice principal and his toupee. As they try to find a way into getting into the club by saying they could be able to be friends and put down their battle weapons (this goes from straight-up fibbing to trying to challenge their upperclassmen), Daichi rearranges their situation. 

A 3-on-3 with two other first years who are joining the club will be on Saturday, and if Hinata and Kageyama win, they will automatically get on the team. However, if they lose, they will still be on the team, but Kageyama won't be allowed to play his favored position of setter for the year. He then assigns a second year that's a part of the team, Ryunosuke Tanaka, to play on their side, and the two begin to practice behind Daichi's back by means of early-morning practices (Koushi Sugawara, a third year like Daichi, finds out about the practices the first day the three do them, but he promises not to tell, and later helps out Hinata).

As Hinata and Kageyama continue to work together, they begin to understand each other more and form a partnership, and eventually come up with an attack that utilizes the latter's passing skills and the former's speed and agility that could leave various opponents in the dust. As the partnership grows into a somewhat friendship, the two begin to help out with the rest of the team in order to get Karasuno back to the Inter High championships and reclaim some of their former glory. 

But it's going to take a bit to get there. After all, we have a few practice matches against other great schools (one being an old rival, and the other hosting two of Kageyama's middle school teammates. Don't forget the senpai), and the Inter High preliminaries first. Oh, and we need an official coach too, plus get back a former ace. What will happen as Karasuno proves they are not the Clipped Crows and can fly again? Can they beat fierce opponents who are famous for several gimmicks on the court?

Overall, the story for Haikyuu! is definitely well-done. It is much like Kuroko no Basuke in the sense that the show has a balanced pace, meaning it doesn't move too fast for me to get lost or too slow so that I lost my interest. Plus, it does a good job at beating the typical shonen cliches that seem to pop up (and yes, that include the fact that Karasuno loses a game, but it happens later then in KnB), and the games are still very suspenseful, if definitely not more, surprisingly due to the two practice matches actually keeping me on my toes in the first half. Plus, gotta love the comedy!

But what I think sets Haikyuu! above Kuroko no Basuke is the fact that the story gives time for various characters to breathe, allowing them to interact in various situations that the latter had, but didn't use them as well. While the games of course give most of our players the time to shine, it's off the court where nearly everyone shows off more of their personality and distinguishes themselves as a person. This even goes to characters that don't really matter in the grand scheme of the plot, which I was happy to see. I'll discuss more about this once I get to certain characters in the next section, but when you've got a team that manages to not become a hive mind and bring diverse personalities to the table, it's always an amazing thing. 

I should also mention there were several instances of symbolism I felt were just on point. When the cats and the crows would come out to represent both Karasuno and Nekoma, I was just like:

The teams Karasuno go up against are Aoba Johsai (who they face twice: once in a practice game, and then in the Inter High preliminaries), Nekoma in a practice game, and Tokonami and Date Tech in the Inter High preliminaries before Aoba Johsai. We get brief game glimpses of Karasuno's female volleyball team, and a later game where Aoba Johsai goes up against Shiratorizawa. Outside of the games between teams, there's the 3-on-3 and a match-up between Karasuno and the Karasuno Neighborhood Association, which is made up of former Karasuno volleyball players.

My favorite game would definitely have to be the official match between Karasuno and Aoba Johsai, as this game is the most suspenseful. Normally, I don't like shonen battles or games that drag on for too many episodes, but I didn't really mind it for Haikyuu!, as there were enough twists and interesting events happening in the game itself to keep me wanting more. Plus, the atmosphere was so tense I was convinced it would pop at any minute and bring about ugly colors.

Oh, and can I mention the last few seconds of that game? DAYUM!

Unlike in KnB, I don't have a least favorite game, seeing as I pretty much liked/lurved all of the matches and had very few issues with them overall. 

But in the end, I was again impressed by a sports anime story with Haikyuu! It had all the same strengths as Kuroko no Basuke, along with some new ones for my viewing pleasure. I'm pretty sure the second season will have the same great elements, though may be a bit slower paced in the beginning.

Time to talk about the characters!


In my Kuroko no Basuke review, I started the character section by discussing the teams the Generation of Miracles were on (at least the ones that popped up) and what I liked/disliked about them. Much like with that show's first season, Haikyuu! manages to give each teammate their own variation in personality so they're able to stand out more from the leads. This also goes for more of the other teams this time around as well, though mainly to Aoba Johsai and Nekoma.

But one thing that's definitely better in Haikyuu! are the designs for each member being much more versatile, as the Karasuno volleyball team and the other main volleyball teams for that matter all look different (aside from Tokonami, since they were more of a side team, outside of the player who was Daiki's teammate in middle school). They don't look the same with their brown/black hair and black eyes; there's actually more than just that. As such, it felt like more of the characters mattered to the overall team, especially on Karasuno.

This section's going to be tricky to write because I have to choose a select amount of characters, since I'll probably be prone to gushing over all of the major characters because I like/lurve them that much. I swear, I could do that for 20+ people; it's a given.

So for now, I'm going to talk about the two main players from Karsuno, Hinata and Kageyama. But let's go over Hinata first:

Shoyo Hinata is a first-year at Karasuno, and serves as a middle blocker on the main lineup of Karasuno's volleyball team. Though he lacks the height that is needed to blocking balls from going over the net (he is 164 cm, which is around 5'4" in height), he compensates for this with his incredible speed and jumping reflexes, making him a threat on the court. He's given the nickname The Greatest Decoy due to how unstoppable he seems to be when working with Kageyama on his signature fast attack. Despite the fact that he's a beginner and isn't extremely tall, he wants to be able to get past tall blockers in order to see the other side of the net, much like the Tiny Giant. 

Hinata is typically very cheerful and loud, always seeming to be excited about something. However, when playing a game, he becomes a more determined version of himself, not willing to give up in either a practice game or an official match (where he can look quite scary). He can be easily intimidated by opponents that are taller than him by a certain amount, but he eventually shakes it off and keeps his head high. His confidence also improves throughout the series, as he doesn't get as nervous before playing games as he did before the Aoba Johsai practice match. 

But what also gives him more certainty is his partnership with Kageyama during games, eventually burying their old rivalry in the past. Despite the fact the two don't get along at points (Kageyama often calls Hinata an idiot or a dumbass on a regular basis), the two still have a good friendship and are able to work together incredibly well.

Much like with Kuroko, I managed to become immediately attached with Hinata once I started watching Haikyuu! And I mean, how could you not? He is just so adorable! I love Hinata not only because he has a strong will, but also because he's just so cute. He has some great skills on the court, and I like his relationship with Kageyama and how it isn't just a plain and simple friendship. It's slightly more complex than Kuroko and Kagami's bond from the forever mentioned KnB, and I like how the former two have more of a rivalry than just being plain BFF's. And even though Hinata may not look like a threat, there's always the great satisfaction in proving opponents and spectators wrong. With a mix of these two qualities, Hinata easily stands out among the pack as a strong character overall, but a very good lead.

Why must you be so cute?

Kagayama's up next:

Rumor has it Kageyama's nickname, King of the Court, was given to him due to his incredible talent as a setter at Kitagawa Daiichi. And while he was notorious in middle school for his talent, he was also known by the members of the volleyball team to have an incredibly bad temper, refusing to cooperate with any of them. As such, the nickname was born, and during a later game in the middle school championship, the starting lineup became incredibly fed up with Kageyama's orders to just move faster so they could hit one of his passes that they all purposely ignore one during the first set, and the coach asks Kageyama to sit on the bench for the rest of the game. What follows is KD losing that match.

Now in high school, Kageyama has learned a bit from that experience, but he still doesn't have the best social skills, often getting angry easily. However, he has understood that teamwork is pretty important in volleyball, and as such starts to rely more on the players of Karasuno rather than his own personal game. He has also grown to accepting other personalities that don't match his own, such as Hinata and Tsukishima, and his setter skills are improving (yup, he's still setter all right).

It's no surpriseI would draw parallels between Kageyama and Kagami because they are similar. Both have bad tempers, are aggressive at points, and occasionally have moments where they don't get along with their respective partners. But I think I prefer Kageyama because he doesn't read as stereotypical shonen male lead like Kagami did. For starters, we learn more about his background at the start of the show, and even if he looks like a total asshole in the first few episodes, I managed to sympathize with him. 

I'm glad he was able to turn around his behavior from trying to take control of the volleyball game (focusing on himself to be more clear) to focusing on the others around him, even if it took a little time. Plus, I can definitely see he's getting more comfortable being on the court and able to collaborate with Hinata. Their arguments, small or big, are done very well, and it's definitely a sign the two are adapting to their own strengths and trying to see how they can get better, a big reason why I like their partnership.

Time to shift onto the other main players at Karasuno. But this time I want to handle talking about them differently, giving them each a quick snapshot because I like all of them. Dedicating only a sentence to some of them would be too hard on my heart. XD

I'm going to go in order from upperclassmen to underclassmen, starting with:

Daichi Sawamura (Dadichi).

Daichi serves as a wing spiker (though is also pretty dependable for receives) when on the court, and is also Karasuno's captain. He's able to build a strong foundation for the team as a whole, and is very calm and considerate. However, he has proven to be incredibly intimidating when angry, and as such, he is feared along with being respected by his teammates.

Koushi Sugawara (Sugamama).

Koushi is the vice captain of the volleyball team, as well as serving as a setter (he was the official setter until the arrival of Kageyama). Koushi is typically very cheerful and gentle, serving as a beam of support during games, though he's also honest, admitting to Kageyama in the game with the Neighborhood Association that he lacks the skills Kageyama has as a setter and is slightly jealous because of it.

However, he is also a good player, being very perceptive of other's movements, and very intelligent, helping out Hinata and Kageyama with signals and signs when preparing for their fast attack. But above all else, he's someone that could be easily depended on, and that's probably why I like him the most out of the cast.

Though, to be honest, trying to decide between Hinata and Koushi on a daily basis is tough, as it always changes depending on my mood. It's like Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy from MLP all over again.

Asashi Azumane.

Asahi is a wing spiker, along with Karasuno's official ace. Though he left after his second year following a match with Date Tech, a team infamous for their "iron wall," in which he never could land spikes past said wall and questioned his self-confidence on going back on the court again, he rejoins the team before the Neighborhood Association game following a talk with Hinata and Kageyama, gaining some of his old self-confidence back.

Despite his intimidating appearance, Asahi is actually quite fragile, being described as having a "glass heart," and Daichi mentioning himself that Asahi doesn't have any ace-like presence. However, he does starts to take his position on the court more seriously when he rejoins the team, and hopes he doesn't get the title taken from him while he's still at Karasuno.

Yu Nishinoya.

Yu is Karasuno's libero, known as the Guardian Deity. This is because he's known as being a great libero, earning an award for being the best out of his prefecture while in middle school. He's very energetic and easily excitable but still considerate of his teammates' feelings. He's very close friends with Ryunosuke (which I'll talk about next), and it's easy to see why, considering the similarities in their personalities, along with their infatuation with the team's manager, Kiyoko. 

Yu is also known to come out with random attack names for his receives, such as his most known one, Rolling Thunder (which makes me think of a Sailor Moon or Precure attack). Though he can act rather impulsive in real life, he's able to become more serious and focused during a game, giving his best on defense to make sure the ball doesn't hit the floor.

Ryunosuke Tanaka.

A wing-spiker on Karasuno who's easily the most intimidating out of all of them. Though he's actually pretty sweet, Ryunosuke is still brash, unapologetically loud, and easily angered. He's also very good at looking out for his juniors on the team, and gets very excited when scoring a point (in the 3-on-3, he rips off his shirt twice while screaming his lungs off).

Because he can be quite scary when he's trying to make frightening faces or just from his looks alone, most people are actually quite scared of him outside of the team. Though Daichi's there to make sure he doesn't go off the handle, he sometimes can't help but go after anyone who has a crush on Kiyoko Shimizu on opposing teams, since he has a crush on her as well. As such, he and Yu often act as guarddogs for people who get too close.

A highlight of Ryunosuke's character is when he asks Hinata and Kageyama to call him their senior (Tanaka-senpai), which he typically follows with a burst of laughter and, "AGAIN!" It's easy to see why underclassmen could look up to Ryunosuke, even though he at first seems to be pretty creepy (he reminds me of an upperclassman on my high school's cross country team I really liked).

Kei Tsukishima (Condescending Little Twit or Salty Hoe, depending on what you like better).

Kei is one of the first-years Hinata and Kageyama go up against in the 3-on-3 before officially joining the team. He's known by his passive attitude towards volleyball in general and the ability to be extremely blunt towards his teammates. He often pokes fun at Kageyama by referring to him as the King (even though it pisses the latter off) and doesn't really get along with Hinata due to the fact that he dislikes people who are very energetic and hot-blooded.

Despite this, Kei is still an effective middle blocker, due to being the tallest out of the team's main lineup, but his skills can only go up from here. Now, if only his attitude was improved on the sport in general, and he'd definitely be someone to watch out for.

Tadashi Yamaguichi.

The only person on the list that technically isn't on the starting lineup, Tadashi serves as a middle blocker. He is Kei's best friend and has been for a few years, seemingly being the only person the latter likes (even though Tadashi is told to shut up multiple times). Though he's a little shy and doesn't open up that much, he tries his best to contribute what he can to the team, even though he feels as if it isn't a lot.

As of now, he is currently working with Makoto Shimada from the Karasuno Neighborhood Association to perfect one of his special moves, the jump float serve. He is used as a pinch server during the Aoba Johsai match, where he almost gets a clean shot but not quite. But with more practice, I'm sure Tadashi will get one over the net. Next Aoba Johsai match, anyone?

So overall, Karasuno is full of a lot of diverse personalities and great characters, proving that yes, a sports team can be filled with people that can actually look after one another and treat each other like a family (throwing a lot of shade here). And while Seirin, again, had that in Kuroko no Basuke, I care about more of the characters here since they don't blend together in their looks and personalities. I like a group of characters with diverse personalities, and even if they act like one body at points, those traits still shine through. And Karasuno definitely has sparkle.

There are three other second years on the team, which I'll briefly mention when I do my character wrap-up. Same with Kiyoko, Ittetsu, and Keishin.

But what about the other teams? Time for a highlight of one of the players/captains, and that, my friends, is Tooru:

*braces self for fangirl impact*

Tooru is the setter and captain for Aoba Johsai's volleyball team, and is quite popular with the ladies due to his good looks. He used to attend Kitagawa Daiichi for middle school, and graduated after Kageyama's first year. Though he is known for being very flirtatious and childish, he's actually a very respectful captain, bringing out the best in his team members, and a very serious opponent others shouldn't underestimate. 

He also holds a grudge against Kageyama, who he affectionately refers to as Tobio-chan. This is because despite the fact that Tooru is a well-known setter in his own right (and also has killer serves), he feels inferior to him because of the fact Kageyama is also an incredibly good setter, and was pegged as being a great player as soon as he joined the middle school leagues. But he is also intimidated by Shiratorizawa's biggest force, Ushijima, which is his main reason for practicing as hard as he does, so one day his team can beat him.

Even though Tooru is kind of a slimy asshole (no, wait, he IS a slimy asshole), he is framed incredibly well so that we, as an audience, can sympathize with why he pushes himself as hard as he does. And even though he can be a jerk, he has his moments, whether it'd be his banter with Iwaizumi or any of his teammates, or pulling off a serve with the audience shouting "Ole!" in the background. After all, rivals don't have to be 100% evil all the time. And while Nekoma shows better examples of that, Tooru is a bit more complicated, and I'm interested to where the show will next lead his character.

Rather than make a LONG list over which other characters pop up in this anime, or skimming over some of the team members in Kuroko no Basuke, I'm going to go over team members from each team Karasuno faces off (not including the Neighborhood Association, but I'll list two in the Karasuno section) that I think are important and memorable. But like I mentioned earlier, let's first mention the last few members of Karasuno's volleyball team.

We have three other second years who aren't as important to the story, but Ennoshita stands out the most (the other two are Kinoshita and Narita), Kiyoko, the third year manager who has several boys all across the land crushing on her, Ittetsu Takeda, the faculty advisor who doesn't know much about the sport, but is still incredibly optimistic and adorable. And, finally, we have Keishin Ukai, the grandson of the legendary Coach Ukai who eventually begins coaching the team permanently following the Nekoma practice match (he originally was going to do it up until them following persistence from Ittetsu), who's very reliable and definitely cares about the players he's coaching.

Let's bring out the important boys out from the other schools, starting with Aoba Johsai:

Here we have Iwaizumi, Kindaichi (or by his nickname christened by Hinata, Onion Top), and Kunimi.

For Nekoma, we have:

Kuroo, Kenma, Yaku, Taketora, and Inuoka.

From Tokonami, only one's a stand-out:


Finally, there's Date Tech, which has:

Aone and Futakuchi.

Besides the various other team members, managers, coaches, and alumni, we also have the captain of the female volleyball team at Karasuno, Yui Michimiya. Aside from that, I think I covered everyone else for now. XD


The animation for this series was produced by Production I.G, who are also known for the other big sports series Kuroko no Basuke, Blood+, and Maria the Virgin Witch.

When I watched Kuroko no Basuke, the animation for the series was very well-done. There were a couple of issues I did manage to catch, such as odd hair from Kise earlier on, and weird muscular inconsistencies I'm pretty sure were able to get fixed on DVD. So when I started to watch Haikyuu!, I was hoping the great highs that were in KnB would be reached.

Good news is that they were, even maybe better too. Some of the quirks such as the silhouetted necks and realistic sweat pop up again, but overall, I can tell a lot of effort was put into this production. Nearly everything is this show was good in terms of animation, from movement to character consistences, and even when the animation dips a little bit, it's not majorly noticeable to throw off viewers because of it. Watching games is always exciting, and the comedy bits have their own feel to them as well.

There wasn't as much subtle manservice compared to Kuroko no Basuke, but then again, I shouldn't always be looking for that in every single sports anime I watch. We're not pulling a Free: Iwatobi Swim Club here. XD

But other than that, everything is gorgeous in this series, and I'm pretty sure Production I.G. will keep their focus on making it maintain that way.


The score for this series was composed by both Yuuki Hayashi and Asami Tachibana. Both have worked before on Soul Eater NOT! and Robotics;Notes together, though the former has lent his talents to DRAMAtical Murder, Kiznaiver, and Diabolik Lovers. Asami Tachibana has worked on the OST's for Aoharu x Machinegun, Seraph of the End, and Attack on Titan: Junior High.

The last collaboration between these two composers proved to be successful, but the funny thing about it was that the two shows in question (Soul Eater NOT! and this one) premiered in the same season. However, I prefer Haikyuu!'s score because there were more moments where I instantly glued my eyes to the screen, hungry to watch more. Like all of the scores I like, there's a great balance between pieces that are bright and peppy against ones that aren't. Both Hayashi and Tachibana work incredibly well together and on their own, their styles working together to create a very cohesive work.

Switching onto the topic of voice-acting, Haikyuu! brings out the best in that too. If you're expecting a lot of cross-over between this and Kuroko no Basuke, there's not a ton (outside of Yoshimasa Hosoya for now, whose role as Asahi is a complete opposite character compared to Junpei), and offering up the main roles of both Hinata and Kageyama to seiyuus that were relatively new at the time (Ayumu Murase and Kaito Ishikawa respectively). But all around, the cast for this series does an amazing job at bringing their A-game, and that goes even to the side characters that don't play a big role in the show's overall plot.

I have seen around that a demand for an English dub from Sentai Filmworks (the company who owns their series's distribution rights in the US) is pretty high, so we'll have to wait and see if that will come true in the future. I'm personally indifferent to the idea due to experiences with Sentai dubs in the past, but if it gives them the chance to expand their male acting pool, that'd be good.

Highlights include Ayumu Murase, Kaito Ishikawa, Satoshi Hino, Miyu Irino, Yoshimasa Hosoya, Yu Hayashi, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Koki Uchiyama, Soma Saito, Toshiki Masuda, Kazunari Tanaka, Hiroshi Kamiya, Kaori Nuzaka, Asami Seto, Shuhei Sakaguchi, Tomoaki Maeno, Daisuke Namikawa, Hiroyuki Yoshino, Arthur Lounsbery, Makoto Furukawa, Atsushi Tamaru, Yuichi Nakamura, Yuki Kaji, Seigo Yokota, Shinnosuke Tachibana, Kyosuke Ikeda, Hiroki Matsukawa, Masatomo Nakazawa, Nobuaki Fukuda, and Hiromu Miyazaki.


Overall, I'm completely surprised I grew to like this anime series as much as I did. Much like with slice-of-life shows, I haven't found a bad sports anime yet, though I haven't explored the genre as much as the other one I've mentioned. But in the end, this series caught me by its claws from the first episode and wouldn't let me go. Everything across the board was addicting, and this guy is looking forward to more of this series.

This is highly recommended to fans of sports anime who haven't seen this show yet, to people who want to have a whole group of likable characters to root for, people who want a longer anime series to binge, or fans of all the feels, because this show will definitely give you those.

Score: 10/10


Great story and pace.

Lovely characters who are all likable in their own way.

Great character development even for some of the side characters.

Pretty animation.

Fantastic score.

Great voice acting.

Games are entertaining and intense.

Very enjoyable to watch.


None major.