The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Haikyuu!! S3

Title: Haikyuu!! Karasuno High School vs Shiratorizawa Academy aka Haikyuu!! S3
Genre: Comedy/Action/Drama
Company: Production I.G.
Format: 10 episodes
Dates: 8 October 2016 – 10 December 2016

Synopsis: Having defeated Aoba Josai in the semi-finals, the Karasuno squad now has to face the powerhouse Shiratorizawa team, headed by the powerful and intimidating Ushijima Wakatoshi. Other than their reputation, little is known about these new opponents and so the Karasuno team will need to learn both Shiratorizawa’s scoring strategy and how to shut it down if they have any chance of advancing to nationals. Everyone is pumped and ready for what will likely be one of the biggest matches of their lives.

The Highlights
Spotlight: Turned on Tsukishima and the Shiratorizawa players.
Tone: Great balance of humour, action and drama.
Intensity level: High.

Haikyuu!! has proven itself to be one of the best and most entertaining sports anime on the market. This third chapter presents an isolated event, one big game, over its ten episodes, and yet manages to keep the excitement and spark that has marked the franchise.

The focus shifts deftly between the intensity of the match and the quieter character moments and flashbacks. Unlike the previous major opponents, Aoba Josai, the players on Shiartorizawa are almost complete unknowns and so the series takes some time to establish their styles and personalities. Ushijima, the powerhouse ace, turns out not to be as cold as previously suggested.  He is flanked by a cocky middle blocker, a wannabe ace who both idolizes and resents Ushijima and a setter who wants to be part of something greater than himself. Their strategies and goals clash with Karasuno’s, putting all their money, so to speak, on Ushijima to lead them to victory, while Karasuno focuses on a team game with each player contributing.

Like previous seasons, the Karasuno players each get their moments, from an incredible dig to a timely kill or a well-placed serve, but the main attention this time is given to Tsukishima. By the end of the second season, he was one of the few players who hadn’t really broken through in some way. Against Shiratorizawa, he is challenged by his opponents to be better, forcing him to decide what kind of player he wants to be. However, as much as I like getting more Tsukki, I can’t help but wish that Asahi, Sawamura or even Kageyama were given a little more time in the spotlight.

The animation is once again stellar, with dynamic angles and smooth movement, though some of the best cuts are repeated several times with different characters. This was the case in previous seasons as well, but here it is more noticeable due to the increased game animation. The comedy is well placed, lightening the tone without distracting from the drama and intensity of the game. Hinata’s boundless energy and enthusiasm helps with this as well. Always present is the commentary from the sidelines, but it comes from a variety of characters with different perspectives, including the community team members and the coaches, which helps keep it from becoming boring or distracting.

Across ten episodes, Haikyuu!! manages to keep the excitement up, with several great individual and team moments, new characters and a tense but fun atmosphere. Fans of the series will not be disappointed by this latest chapter. The ending leaves open the possibility of more Haikyuu!! in the future, though I’m not sure how much more room for growth these characters have left. Regardless, the third chapter is a solid addition to the franchise.

The Rating: 8

Reviewed by: Kaikyaku

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