Ah Haikyu!!, the sports anime that really came out of nowhere for me and has stuck with me ever since, mainly due to the fact it’s a sports anime, a subset of which I am new to. But that’s all in the past-ish, this is season two. Back in Karasuno High, we find our intrepid volleyball club training their proverbial butts off following their defeat at the end of the previous season. This, as one might expect, serves as a pretty powerful motivator for a team of competitive highschoolers and kicks off this season with a much faster pace than the first. With this in mind, and knowing the characters who make up the Karasuno team, it isn’t to surprising that this episode is comprised mainly of screaming, running, more screaming and playfully explosive team building.
As a direct continuation of the first season, this episode has the benefit of pre-established characters, allowing for development rather than introduction. This is most obvious through the opening training match of the Karasuno boys. Within a few points, we see a far greater range of tactics than the first season, with characters shwoing off a few new tricks and bringing back a few favourites. What really sold me on it was the lack of call outs, implying that time has passed an training has been undertaken. It was a nice, subtle touch. The interaction of Hinata, Kageyama and a new foe of Karasuno was also memorable, despite its brevity. Far contrasting the feeble figure he cut in his early days, Hinata stands up to this physically imposing character for both himself and the team he stands with. Whilst this sounds like standard fair for a returning anime, first episodes sometimes delve back into the chasm of introduction, which really slows down plot. So, essentially, this episode’s strongest point is that it stands as both the start of a new season and as an immediate continuation of the first.
If the intro is anything to go by, this season will also see the introduction of a few new faces and some additional development for the lesser shown. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the first season, but there were a fair few characters who spent most of their time filling up screen space. Sure Takeda is an enthusiastic supervisor, but most of his time was spent being the audience’s proxy, outright asking how volleyball is played. Helpful to be sure, but a little more characterisation would be nice.
Basically put, this is Haikyu!!, same as it ever was. Which is good. It’s where we left off, it’s where we want to be and it’s hopefully the start of another hyper exaggerated high school volleyball tournament.
If you feel like keeping up with the Flightless Crows and their (hopeful) rise, check out Crunchyroll…because that’s where you can watch it