This Review contains spoilers.
“A wall looms in front of me. A tall, tall wall…”
Published: 2016, by VIZ Media: SHONEN JUMP
Genre: Sequential Art, Manga, Sports, Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Contains: No Warnings.
Haikyu!! tells the story of young Hinata Shoyo, a volleyball enthusiast who hadn’t had the chance to play with a complete, equally passionate team until reaching Karasuno high school. Prior to this, Hinata’s enthusiasm led him to a volleyball competition with a small, inexperienced group, where he met the ‘King of the Court’, Kageyama Tobio; a talented, yet arrogant Setter for the opposing team. They lose, but Hinata’s strong will led him to promise that one day he’ll manage to beat him. That is, until they both end up attending the same high school.
As someone who watched the anime before picking up the manga, I was expecting something with more depth; however, I was pleasantly surprised by how precise the show was to the book form. The characters and plot stay accurate to the text, simplifying the reading experience for me. The story itself is very easy to follow – although, sometimes a little slow – which makes this series a lighthearted evening read for those not wanting to concentrate on intense plot lines. The way Haruichi Furudate draws movement is another key factor of the series success, thankfully being so simple and easy to follow, and making the sports side of the manga more entertaining to read.
For me, the characters make the story, not having met anyone in this volume worth disliking, and the comic relief of the dialogue in places further emphasises how fun the series is. Kageyama’s mysteriousness and difficult past eventually leads you to sympathise and understand his character, when with his first appearance you might be led to dislike him with his arrogance. His sparring relationship with Hinata is the backbone of the volume, until the ending where they form some kind of agreement as the cliffhanger. However, for me, my favourite character is Tanaka, a hot-headed second year student, and the comic relief of this volume. His intimidating appearance accompanies his dialogue, managing to create an uncomfortable lightheartedness to his character. However, that being said, as someone who had previously watched the anime, the humour was somewhat lost in the book form. Although, this manga doesn’t appear to take itself seriously, I did find the humour in places fall flat when accompanied with the art, whereas in the anime the humour was more easily read. However, that could be simply due to the formats.
As a whole, I enjoyed reading this volume and will possibly read on in the future. The story was entertaining – regardless, of how I have no knowledge of volleyball – and the characters were all easily lovable.