Monday Manga Review: Haikui!! Vol. 1

haikyu-vol-1Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?

After losing his first and last volleyball match against Tobio Kageyama, “the King of the Court,” Shoyo Hinata swears to become his rival after graduating middle school. But, what happens when the guy he wants to defeat ends up being his teammate?!

Just like Shoyo Hinata I’m not the tallest, in fact I’m pretty short at 5’6″. I also love playing volleyball and have fond memories playing it during the summer with friends even briefly considering attempting to join a team. All of that had me excited to check out Haruichi Furudate‘s volleyball manga Haikyu!!. And, I was pleasantly surprised as to what I found.

The manga begins setting up the Shoyo/Tobio dynamic as the two face off in a tournament in middle school. The story is a bit choppy which made it a little hard to follow but the flow felt a little like the beginning of a film setting up the main story to come. But, once that main story starts going it’s really good and not at all what I expected.

I didn’t read the blurb of the manga so seeing the story actually being about these “rivals” having to work together is a chance. I went in expecting an action filled manga filled with action scenes of matches, imagine the end of the first Karate Kid with all of the different matches, but volleyball. But no, the story really is about two people having to work together and get along, not the actual matches and action.

There’s something that feels very “Japanese” about the story as it is about stamping out individualism, working as a team, and falling in line with leadership, all characteristics I’ve come across in my dealing with the corporate culture.

The art by Furudate is fantastic. Even when characters are arguing and not playing there’s something that’s captivating about it and what I really enjoyed is that Furudate makes sure to emphasize how much smaller Shoyo is compared to everyone else. It’s an important part of the story and the art reiterates that.

If you like volleyball, this is one to check out and shows there’s manga for everyone. It’s not the action filled focus I expected, instead, its heart is about what it takes to create a team.

Story: Haruichi Furudate Art: Haruichi Furudate
Story: 7.95 Art: 8.05 Overall: 7.95 Recommendation: Read