By Dustin Cabeal
I don’t particularly like reviewing a bunch of manga together, but this is a series that I fell behind on and then got caught up on all in the same day. I didn’t see the point of writing seven reviews that will all say pretty much the same thing. That and the fact that I’m watching the anime and have no idea which came first the chicken or the egg, and I don’t particularly care.
I will be doing this differently. I’m not going to sum them all up, but rather sum up the series and give a quick hit and the score for each book. Since the sixth and seventh volumes aren’t out yet, I’ll spend a little more time with them than the rest. Here we go!
Haikyuu follows the Karasuno boys’ volleyball team as they try to reclaim their former glory. The patchwork team must grow and develop with a mixture of prodigies, veterans, and rookies that all want to take the team to the nationals.
Volume 1 – Score: 4/5
Based on what’s here alone and ignoring the rest of my knowledge of the story, I would read the rest of the series based on the groundwork that’s done here.
Volume 2 – Score 5/5
This is where the book finds its personality and really hooks you. You want more of these characters, and you can start to see where their journey is heading.
Volume 3 – Score 3/5
This is one of those volumes that’s good, does a lot for the characters, but at the end of the day it doesn’t stand out on its own. It’s a bridge between the beginning and the main plot. It’s necessary, but if done correctly (which it is) you won’t even remember what happened in the volume.
Volume 4 – Score 3/5
Kind of the same. It picks up, but primarily this volume is to showcase the crazy moves and get you excited for the tournament.
Volume 5 – Score 5/5
Really good. Why? Because we’re in the tournament. Emotions are running high, and there’s the possibility of failure around the corner. Our third years are fearful of their last days of volleyball and rookies are desperate to play more. That and the team must face the team that took them out of the tournament last year.
Volume 6 – Score 4/5
The only reason this one isn’t a five out of a five is that it leaves you hanging in the middle of the battle. Otherwise, this starts the great battle between Aoba and Karasuno. There wasn’t as much character development as I thought there would be. The anime did a far better job with that, but the drama and the battle are very exciting. I flipped through the pages quickly.
Volume 7 – Score 4/5
Kind of the same reason here, we’re not finished, and it’s hard to say this one stands on its own. It needs the previous volume and the next, just like those two volumes will need this one. It does have a massive amount of character development which I gobbled up. Everyone seems to grow a little, but I hate to compare it to the anime again, but the anime did it better. We’ll see, maybe the next volume will nail it, but for now it was solid character development with a well-paced story and a lot of action.
The art overall is consistent and fantastic. There’s so much personality, and it varies from goofy to serious. It covers the spectrum from over the top to subtle which makes it an emotional rollercoaster visually. The character designs are great, but occasionally a few of the characters would strangely look the same when posed a certain way. There are some charming author notes in which he acknowledges continuity errors in which characters are in the wrong spots on the court to receive the ball which was interesting and also shows just how closely people are paying attention.
Overall… I would watch the anime first. I don’t usually say that, but its one of the best anime out there and while this manga is great and I would read more, it’s just not as good. It’s still a hell of a read if you haven’t watched the show, but let’s be honest… you probably have because it’s not like manga fans aren’t also anime fans and vice versa. It’s very entertaining and has a lot of the same magic as the anime, so if you’re just looking for more, this is it.
Haikyu!! vol. 1 through 7
Creator: Haruichi Furudate
Publisher: Viz Media