By Dustin Cabeal
If you haven’t watched the anime and are just reading the manga, then this is an important volume to pick up. I feel that with most of Haikyu!! you can actually miss a volume here and there and be okay since the tournaments are so drawn out, but this is not a volume to be missed. While it’s not as strong as the last volume, it does begin the second tournament which determines who goes to nationals and since that’s the team’s goal… well, it’s important to start the journey with them.
The one downside is that if you have tournament fatigue, then you’re not going to be super happy here. The plus side to this is that they go rather quickly in this volume as they make short work of not one, but two teams. It sets up the next team as well, but they’re just a footnote compared to what’s teased with Blue Castle.
The bulk of this volume is focused on Hinta and Kageyama’s new quick set. One thing of particular interest in this volume was that the old coach said something ominous about their quick set, but we’ll see how that plays out in the future. Otherwise, there’s a bit of character development for Kei who is the third character that sees the most development in this arc. I don’t particularly know why he’s chosen to be developed so much, but I will say this… it’s amazing and worth it. He adds so much to the story just in this volume.
The artwork, of course, continues to be distinct and enjoyable. Again, there are new characters introduced, and they’re distinct and memorable, even if they’re short-lived in the story. That’s the most impressive thing about Haruichi Furudate’s artwork that he’s able to make a variety of characters that are distinct, but more importantly, express some of their personality in their design. The thuggish looking character is, in fact, thuggish which is just shows how easy it comes for Furudate.
This a solid volume and one that I highly recommend you read, but it is just the beginning. The real treat will be in the next few volumes, but again, you need this one as the foundation for the rest to make sense. I’ll echo my review for the last volume and say that if you haven’t tried a sports manga that you should give Haikyu!! a shot.
Haikyu!! vol. 12
Story and Art: Haruichi Furudate
Publisher: Viz Media