MY BOYS ARE BACK. *Initiate Haikyuu fangirl mode*
Seriously happy to have Haikyuu back on my anime watch list–even though this season is cut a little short at 10 episode versus the usual 12/13 episodes. But if the first episode of this season of Haikyuu is just a prelude to what’s to come….consider myself hyped.
The season kicks off as if there was no down time for the audience–it literally picks up right where season two left off and our crows are going straight into finals the next day after handing Aobajosai High their butts. So, if you’re binge watching Haikyuu its going to be seamless transition between seasons. Fans who have waited for the upcoming season may want to briefly touch up on the second season…or maybe watch it for the umpteenth time. This does get extra points because I love watching a show that isn’t effected by seasonal gaps, it throws its audience back into the story and instantly reminds you of all the things that you love about the series. This first episode of Haikyuu hits all the right notes for kicking off the season: a brief recap, moves the plot along- but not at a break neck speed- building character foundations and development, all the while building up extreme hype for the matches that are about to play out.
Haikyuu gets A’s across the board.
If it was at all possible the animation for the season has gotten BETTER. It’s looks clean, the colors are saturated and bright, nothing is sloppy– not even backgrounds or filler characters. The animation team did not get lazy and came out with complete professionalism. The action and play sequences continue to shine, distinguishing itself for each team and character, really providing an atmosphere for the audience. I hope to see this kind of quality continue throughout the season.
Plot wise, the episode is pretty standard fare but this is to be expected for a show returning for it’s third season after a year or two break. I do like how the episode is paced out–it’s like Haikyuu never stopped; we see Karasuno move directly into their next match, riding on their high of victory, but anxious facing their next opponents (and rightfully so). The episode moves along nicely though, not hurrying along too much, as it takes time to introduce to the rest of the Shiratorizawa team. Not a lot really happened in this episode. Just the usual introductions and prep on each team side, each team displaying their volleyball prowess during warm ups, and the generic cliff hanger when the match starts and Karasuno feels the intimidating power of their opponent. Its all hype, it’s all set up, but it’s so very good. It makes a great first episode for returning fans as they continue to cheer on for their favorite crows. The episode felt short–maybe because there wasn’t much meat on the bones–but it provides a solid foundation for what’s coming.
The thing that I loved most about this episode though, is that the writers knew they wanted season three of Haikyuu to just keep flowing along, keeping in mind that the audience may have had a time lapse but their characters have not. Daichi still has the bruising on his face from the last match, and everyone is feeling confident in their own skills and abilities. In previous seasons we have always seen Karasuno struggle in preparing a strategy, they always managed to adapt on the court– very much learning as they play. What impresses me about the character development in this episode though, is we see Karasuno team (not just the managers and coaches) taking an active interest in learning their opponents and how to counter their style of play. High marks to Haikyuu for really developing their cast of characters, they are not the same people they were when the series started and have shown genuine progression as individual players and as a team. That doesn’t mean to say the boys are completely different people. We still see the wild antics of both Tanka and Nishinoya, Hinata still have nervous stomach problems, Tsukishima still acts as if he’s too cool to care, and Daichi is yelling at everyone to get their acts together. The Karasuno crows still have their endearing characteristics that make them so likable and relatable. What I also appreciated, was that episode didn’t try very hard to reintroduce each team member again. Not everyone on the team got a lot of screen time (SUGAWARA, NOOOO) but I believe they will each have their time to shine.
I enjoy how this episode allows each team to kind of feel each other out. We learn that this match isn’t a best of three, but rather a best of five. Something Karasuno has never played in before, and will challenge their stamina on so many levels (especially after such an exhausting match with Aobajosai). We see something different as Karauno changes their line up, something they haven’t done frequently, to keep their talents and plays hidden until necessary. It is Shiratorizawa that opens the match with their guns blazing, claiming the first point with such dominance it’s kind of nerve wracking. However, our boys may have had their pre-game jitters, but are not tilted from letting the first point go. In fact, they look like they’re up for the challenge.
The verdict? The first episode to the third season of Haikyuu is a set up, all aboard the hype train, episode–and it’s a lot of fun. Can’t wait for the rest of the season.