12 Days of Anime Day 4: Jumping on the Haikyuu Hype Train

Yeah, yeah. I know that Haikyuu is not a 2016 anime, but I started watching in February while the second season was airing, so it counts! Admittedly, Haikyuu was a hype train that I tried to avoid for a while, and I can’t actually remember the specific reason I had for eventually watching it. Lots of shows get really hyped, so I’m always a bit wary before jumping in (looking at you, Re:Zero).

My favorite parts about Haikyuu are probably the music and the characters. Each character felt like they got a fair amount of focus in the series and I can’t think of any particular one about whom I’d really complain. The soundtrack for the show is also solid, my first real introduction to Yuki Hayashi as a composer. I really enjoy listening to the songs on their own and in the show itself, they make the games feel incredibly intense.

I don't know if anyone else felt like this, but I really appreciated that the show didn’t seem to force you to know how the game is played and didn’t really try to beat it into you either. I knew basically nothing about the game of volleyball before I started watching and I felt like learning the rules was a fairly natural process. Nothing was being spoonfed and stuff wasn’t getting highly technical. For example, the shogi cats song in 3-gatsu no Lion feels like a bit of an overreach.

As a random side note, another cool downstream benefit of joining the hype train has been with my own family. I introduced my siblings to the show and now I can talk with sister, who plays volleyball in high school, about her own games. We’ve got a few years of age difference, so it’s pretty sweet.

So now, time for a weird segue. Let's talk about Yuri on Ice. On its face, it seems to have very many of the same aspects as Haikyuu. It would seem like it should be a strong candidate for me, opening my eyes to the figure skating world in the same way Haikyuu has helped me see the volleyball world. The reason I would give for not jumping on that hype train lies within the sport itself. Honestly, it's just a personal preference thing.

Figure skating is a performance, a form of expression that I feel I’m ill-equipped to understand. In game design, there’s a distinction between a competition, which is a conflict where players can only outperform their opponent, and a game, where a player can directly interfere with the performance of their opponent. Arguably vague guidelines, but in my mind, sports like volleyball fall in a completely separate bucket than a sport like figure skating. So I hope that explains that.

So that’s my piece on...well, I guess sports anime in general, but mostly Haikyuu, right? Hope you enjoyed and let me know what you think about posts like this.

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