With the conclusion to Oikawa’s first (and hopefully not last!) major arc as a character coming in Episode 25 of Haikyuu!!’s second season, I wanted to analyze his character thus far. Oikawa’s a goofy ladykiller, and easily the most developed of the non-Karasuno players. Haikyuu!! is filled with foil and complementary characters, and Oikawa is the most important of them all. Despite Hinata’s apparent role as main protagonist, Oikawa’s foil with Kageyama is perhaps the most important relationship in the series, and the competition between these two setters is really the focal point of the new Karasuno-Seijoh rivalry—not to mention the story of the entire first two seasons.
Let’s figure out how he got there and what makes him such an essential character.Read More »
If you’ve read some of my other Haikyuu!! essays, you know how valuable I consider the show’s world. Often in sci-fi/fantasy stories, the world becomes as iconic and alive as the characters—think of Academy City in the Raildex series or the Sybil System in Psycho Pass (or think of Westeros, to bring some Western media into the mix). These storyworld constructs—be they cities, technology, or nations—play as large of a role in the narrative as any character, and oftentimes are a guiding (or even driving) force in the story.
Without spoiling anything from those series I just mentioned, let’s quickly clarify. The goals and purposes of Academy City drive certain characters to create near-catastrophes in Raildex, even if their intentions were pure-hearted. In some ways, the city and its government are a mystery for us to explore via various arcs. The Sybil System poses a moral dilemma, as well as a safety risk. Even if we aren’t hooked by the crimes committed in Psycho Pass, we are eager to watch law enforcement and morality play out under the regulations of, and in obedience of, the Sybil System (a certain scene with a certain main criminal comes to mind…).Read More »
I’ll admit it, I’m obsessed with Haikyuu!!. Just when I think I want to take a break from writing about this show, it pulls me back. With the ridiculous number of interesting characters in this series, and the brilliance with which they’re all developed, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Ennoshita’s true arrival as a character over the past two episodes is just the latest in a long list of spectacular storylines. So, with an elimination match and an opponent’s development to boot, let’s figure out how Haikyuu!! gets us invested in the “don of the second-years”.
To start, let’s just briefly mention that we meet Ennoshita way back in Season 1, and we do get to see and hear him a few times throughout the series—to the point we have a general idea of his personality. However, not until Episode 17 of the second season do we discover his history as a volleyball player.Read More »
With the second cour of Season 2 of Haikyuu!! approaching—and the more serious matches of the tournament with it—I’ve decided to take a look back and write about some details of the show thus far that will help hype me (and hopefully you) up! The episode that hypes up the second season the most absolutely must be the last episode of the first season. Let’s figure out what the last episode of Season 1 shows us about these characters and their emotions.
The episode opens with a montage of Hinata’s successes and failures from the tournament, which is mostly to refresh our memory and set the tone for the following sequence of classroom shots. We get to see every character’s state of mind the day after their loss. Some emotion is conveyed through their postures and expressions, but all of this is meant to be expanded upon later in the episode. This is mostly a groundwork. Let’s just run through a few groups of characters so that we’re on the same page:
Just when I got done talking about all the history Season 1 of Haikyu!! gave us, Season 2 delivers the best backstory of them all. I’m not talking about Tsukishima’s story with his brother, I’m talking about the minute and thirty seconds we get for Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi’s backstory is a masterful piece of simplistic storytelling. As the series’ name says, this is a quick show, so let’s figure out just how much Haikyuu!! can get done in 1:30 (a caveat: I will be referencing and taking for granted what we know from Season 1, but like I said, a sequel succeeds by utilizing what it set up in the past).
Right off the bat, three lines: you’re a freckle-face, you’re puny, you need to bulk up so you can serve us. Each insult contributes something to Yamaguchi’s motivation, and explains why he is who he is now. Yamaguchi touching his freckled face as he stares into the mirror shows us that the person he used to be (to some extent, still is) is carved into his memory. The bullies calling him puny and pushing him around explain that Yamaguchi comes from a place of powerlessness—perhaps lameness is a better word. The complaint that Yamaguchi needs to be stronger to be of use to the bullies parallels his desire to become a better pinch server so he can be of use to Karasuno.
Season 1 of Haikyuu!! Was an adrenaline-pumping hypefest. A lot went into creating that atmosphere—a killer soundtrack, a fiery protagonist, creative animation, etc.—and that’s all still present in Season 2. Yet, to just ride the same waves as the first season would be lazy. It’d be unlike Haikyuu!!. Season 2 comes at us with even more tactics to excite us, most of which only work because this is the second season. So, without further warm-up, let’s figure out why we get so pumped.
The questions to ask are: what does a first season set up? and how can a second season capitalize on what’s been set up?
Most obviously, a first season provides a ‘past’ for the story. We know volleyball as it exists in this universe; we know our main cast; we know what the characters have achieved or failed to achieve. We know Hinata and Kageyama have grown from hot-headed rivals to a freak-of-nature tag-team. We know Asahi was convinced to rejoin the team, finding his love for volleyball in the process. We know all the third-years are risking poor college entrance exam grades in order to play one last tournament. Yeah, we know a lot.
This gives us two important tools to start Season 2 with: inherent stakes and inherent familiarity. We go into this season with investment because we’ve experienced this team growing and fighting. Instead of ‘Who are these guys? What do they want? Why do I care?’, we ask ‘How is my boy Hinata going to become the ace? Will Yamaguchi get to successfully serve in a match? Can Karasuno get revenge on Aoba Jousai?’ There’s a promise that the characters we already love will be tested at the end of this season. We don’t need to discover that this time around.