Prestige TV, for the moment, is dead to me.
In a universe where humanity is dealing with dual existential threatsAnd with a variety of horrible COVID variants, I’m not sure if I have the time, energy or impulse to consume complex, award-winning TV.
no, thanks. I would rather watch disposable, easily consumable shows like Haiku instead!!
Haiku!!, currently available to watch on Netflix, is an Anime. A sports anime to be precise. Like Slam Dunk, this show is most clearly inspired by Haiku!! Focuses on a ragtag group of high school students: teenagers who are obsessed with volleyball.
Wait… Volleyball? That niche game no one actually watches or plays?
Yes. Volleyball. That niche game nobody really watches or plays.
Indifferent to volleyball? that’s understandable. This is hardly the most compelling or popular game. As someone forced to play volleyball for an incredibly painful semester in high school, I hatred volleyball, but I Love Haiku!!
And volleyball barely matters in haiku. Despite being a show that spends a significant portion of its runtime in volleyball training arcs and intense volleyball matches – in Haiku!!, volleyball is almost irrelevant.
More than anything, Haiku!! a show about people who play play Volleyball.
Following Hinata Shoyou, a below-average high schooler trying to succeed in a sport where height is placed at a premium, haiku!! – Like most sports anime – is first and foremost a show about overcoming adversity. Despite the steep challenge, Hinata is blessed with incredible jumping power and athleticism and takes his high school team, Karasuno Crows, to new heights. Haiku!! Much of Ki’s power comes from watching Hinata destroy the giants he has to compete against.
If you’ve seen any anime, you’ll know exactly what to expect: long, drawn-out flashbacks, slow motion, drama, contests that go to the wire and many, many more. infinite Rush reaction shots as hero Hinata lands incredible volleyball spikes against all odds.
I love this Can’t get enough of it. Drip this serotonin directly into my veins.
Inspired by an elaborate canon of high school sports anime, have a comfortable familiarity with haiku!!. The above provides a slam dunk template, but Haiku!! Almost any sport borrows elements from anime you can name: Prince of Tennis, Ping Pong, Hajime no Ippo. Like those shows, Haiku!! High school takes the dullness of life and elevates it into something dramatic and spectacular.
Points are won and lost. Rival teams and enemies are introduced. Crushing losses are navigated and resounding victories are achieved. It’s all done with the studied proficiency of the creators, who have clearly absorbed the legacy of this type of storytelling and refined it to a razor sheen. Haiku!! is the end product of decades of sports anime and as a result, is incredibly easy to consume. Every second is a thick, luscious joy.
But what does Haiku enhance!! Beyond the run-of-the-mill sports anime are the characters themselves. Each member of Hinata Shoyo’s team, Karasuno Crows, has their own struggles and doubts and volleyball is only the thread through which these issues are resolved. The team’s “ace” Asahi is timid and wrestles with feelings of inadequacy. Kageyama, the team’s setter, is single-minded, but suffers from anxiety after the previous team drops him in the middle of the match.
Members of opposing teams are also incredibly well prepared. The outwardly friendly, yet manipulative Captain Toru Okawa of main rivals Aoba Johsai is perhaps the most compelling character study. He is designed to be the show’s primary villain, but is ultimately bestowed with sympathy. Oikawa, who overcomes his lack of talent by raising the level of the team around him, has his own demons to slay. You can’t help but root for everyone in Haiku!! And it takes the stakes of every single match to a fever pitch.
On a few occasions I have found myself standing on my feet, punching in the air gleefully during matches.
The first two seasons of the show are available to stream on Netflix, but there are four seasons in total. If you’re impatient, you can watch seasons three and four on Crunchyroll for free.
I took it a step further. After watching all the episodes of the show, I wanted more. I’ve read every single chapter of the manga source material based on the anime now. Friends, you have a lot to look forward to. The rabbit hole runs deep.
But, for now, every single journey begins with the first step. The first step to your haiku!! The journey begins with episode 1 on Netflix. you will not regret it.