The wait has been long, well only a couple of months but it feels longer, but Haikyu!! Season 1 Collection 2 is finally here from Animatsu/Manga Entertainment.
As mentioned in our review of collection one, which you can read here, sports anime are still rather a hot topic with many fans hoping to see their favourites someday get a UK release. Thankfully, for me, Haikyu stands tall as one of the best examples of sports anime done well. I made no illusion to the fact that Haikyu is easily one of my favourite manga and has quickly become one of my favourite anime too. Its clear sports series are making waves in the anime world and Haikyu is easily leading one impressive charge.
“In the wake of the blistering practice match against the Nekoma High School team, the Karasuno High School volleyball squad digs in and vows to bring their game up another level. Prior to the arrival of the new freshmen, the general belief was that Karasuno’s day in the sun was over, but while the ongoing rivalry between Hinata and Kageyama has inspired everyone to push themselves even further, there’s still a lot of friction that’s ultimately slowing down their game.
It’s not until the announcement of the brackets for the Inter-School tourney are announced that the reality of what they are attempting to do finally takes hold. As talented as each of the team members may be individually, they have no chance of winning unless they can finally come together as a seamless unit. Can Hinata and Kageyama put their battle for dominance on hold long enough to take on the overwhelming brilliance of the Aoba Johsai squad? The aces are high and the kills are merciless as Karasuno explodes off the court in the second thundering collection of HAIKYU!!” – Animatsu Entertainment
Following on from their practice match against Nekoma, Karauno, are finally ready to put their practice to action with the start of the inter-school tournament. This part of Haikyu focuses a lot more on each of Karasuno’s members and the demons they face going into the tournament. The third and second years, especially Asahi Azumane and Yū Nishinoya, struggle to overcome their complete defeat in the previous tournament against Date Tech High School, a school they are set to face off against if they win their first match. The relationship that dominates the end of the series is that between Tobio Kageyama and Tōru Oikawa. Kageyama struggles to overcome his senior and Oikawa sets out to prove that even genius can be beaten.
There’s some very serious competition taking place within this half of Haikyu but the series isn’t without its funny moments. It has to be stated again and again that the characters in Haikyu are just brilliant. Each interaction Karasuno has with another school always ends up with a loud chorus of laughter from me as each of the team’s unique personalities shine through. The series really blend the serious and comedy elements perfectly. I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout the whole 12 episodes, even more so than the first half.
Again I’m blown away by the amazing visuals that Production I.G continues to produce. The action throughout season one of Haikyu is absolutely fantastic. Each volleyball match is presented with such perfection that you feel every single movement, every breath taken and the emotion that the characters go through every step of the way. I’m still a huge fan of the character designs they really set the series apart visually and I implore anyone put off by them to give it a shot and you’ll soon come to love them.
As with part one, the series only comes with Japanese audio and English subtitles a decision I’m completely fine with though it probably would have been a good series to include a dub for. Although as I stated in the review for part one, the Japanese cast does an absolutely brilliant job on the series and I couldn’t imagine the characters any other way. The opening theme from episode 15 is “Ah Yeah!!” by Sukima Switch and was used as the ending theme in episode 14. The ending theme from episode 15 is “LEO” by tacica; both are really good though probably not as good as the first two.
Extras available on this release are, again, pretty standard, including clean opening and closing animations and the usual Sentai Filmworks trailers. Trailers included are for Gingitsune, Needless, Medaka Box and To loveru Darkness.
Haikyu!! Season 1 Collection 2, and the series as a whole, from Animatsu Entertainment, has a perfect blend of action, character development and comedy that I haven’t felt from a sports series since the classic Slam Dunk manga. Whether you’re a fan of volleyball or not, Haikyu will definitely impress from its fantastic visuals to keeping you on the edge of your seat with brilliant action.