There are many matches in Haikyū!! that leaves me speechless. But today, allow me to share with you 15 volleyball tournaments that hooked me binge-watching this stunning and bone-chilling series!
Haikyū!! fans! Get ready! Get ready to behold the power of volleyball by reliving the memories and experiences of several Haikyū!! characters on television.
From its epic matches to its bone-breaking practice games, you will never look at volleyball in the same way again! And it’s all thanks to Haikyū!! Without further ado, let’s start!
15Kitagawa Daiichi Junior High vs. Yukigaoka Junior High
While this match is unpopular to many, Haikyū!! fans might as well remember that this is the match where Tobio and Shōyō first laid eyes on each other!
Had they not met, the best matches in Haikyū!! wouldn’t have occurred; thus, making this first volleyball duel extremely important to them!
Not only did this first match manage to draw viewers to the show; but it also established their relationship: will Tobio and Shōyō continue to pit on one another, or will they aid one another?
Those are the big questions that viewers leaned on after seeing the match between the two teams!
14Owls vs. Cats: 3-on-3
This 3-on-3 practice game occurred during Tokyo Training Camp’s 5th day where team formations are:
|Kōtarō Bokuto||Tetsurō Kuroo|
|Keiji Akaashi||Lev Haiba|
|Shōyō Hinata||Kei Tsukishima|
It isn’t an official game, so it only showed a few scenes; scores for the 2 sets are:
|2nd set||10 points||12 points|
|7th set||15 points||16 points|
The winner was not revealed when the training camp ended. So, with only scores revealed for only two sets, it’s up to fans’ imagination which team won this practice game.
13Shiratorizawa Academy vs. Aoba Jōsai High
If you want to see Aoba Jōsai High defeated, it’s natural to support Shiratorizawa Academy — the opposing team that smashed Aoba Jōsai High, along with its arrogant and annoying “Great King” — Tōru!
Pity that fans didn’t get to see how this match unfolded. Fans would have seen Shiratorizawa’s mighty strength — the unbeatable Wakatoshi Ushijima (aka “Ushiwaka”) — beforehand had this match been detailed
Since this match was only presented in still frames in the anime (or in only one manga page), fans jaw-dropped at the sight of Karasuno fighting Shiratorizawa gloriously in Season 3!
12Karasuno High vs. Johzenji High
Johzenji High is a treat to viewers during Round 1 of the Miyagi Prefectural Spring Preliminary Qualifiers. Yūji Terushima (2nd-year captain) and his team made the court a “fun playground” where they went “too carefree”.
Thanks to Yūji’s unpredictability and “good time” ultimatum, Johzenji recklessly imitated Karasuno’s “Synchronized Attack” in the spur of the moment. It’s an impromptu offense coming from an enthusiastic wing spiker like him!
Johzenji High shifted somewhat from their “Valor and Simplicity” slogan during this game. But that doesn’t mean they can’t idealize nor hold up a candle to a more fitting spots club motto: “Wild and Free”.
11Karasuno High vs. Date Tech
Date Tech’s most intimidating player is “No-Eyebrows” Takanobu Aone-san. Height, long arms, and broad shoulders — he’s the impregnable fortress representing the “Iron Wall of Date”!
Up until now, Karasuno players have only faced “commit blocking”: attackers jump on a PREDICTION of where ball tosses go, delaying opponents’ movements.
But Datekougyou improved thanks to Takanobu’s threatening “lead blocking” where attackers jump AFTER seeing where the ball tosses go.
Therefore, Shōyō CANNOT be utilized as bait because Datekougyou can’t be manipulated by Karasuno’s decoy!
Lead blocking is a smart move, but Date Tech players still lost in a 3-set match against Karasuno during this Inter-High Prelims Qualifiers.
10Karasuno High vs. Wakutani Minami High
Player #1 Takeru Nakashima (3rd year wing spiker) is the core of the Wakutani Minami’s tenacity; he also dreams of becoming the next “Little Giant”.
Mobilizing Wakutani’s defenses as brandished weapons, he ensured his players are not fazed when Tobio and Shōyō initially utilized their “Quick Strike”!
Not being surprised by the wonder duo’s “Quick Set” has never happened before. But it makes this battle a clash of team styles between a championship school (Wakutani Minami) and a former powerhouse school (Karasuno)!
Top 4 is on the line; so, Wakutani can only turn up the heat higher on Day 2 of Miyagi Prefectural Spring Quarter Finals!
9Karasuno High vs. Nekoma High
This unforgettable pre-Inter-High Tournament is a practice game where Karasuno lost all 3 rounds of 3-set matches during the Tokyo Training Camp.
Nekoma’s 2nd year setter and “brains” (Kenma Kozume) utilized a “Dedicated Shift” to manipulate Shōyō. This attack irked “demon king” Tobio because his “club”— Shōyō — has been snatched!
Nekoma had an arsenal of attacks allowing the “cats to bare their fangs and sharpened claws”! These attacks include the “Stack Block” (amplified when conscientious 1st year middle blocker, Sō Inuoka, stepped in.)
Sō is one of Nekoma’s members who is “forged to connect” so he flows smoothly with the group, allowing Kenma’s observant mind to operate at peak performance!
8Karasuno High vs. Fukurōdani Academy
Coach Ukai said that if Karasuno wins on this last practice game against Fukurōdani — the best team on the Tokyo Training Camp — players can chow down on some barbecue!
Third year Kōtarō Bokuto (Fukurōdani’s wing spiker) taught Shōyō to disrupt opponents through “stillness” contradicted with “motion” (making Shōyō look as if he’s going for a powerful spike)! (Shōyō’s only really undermining his opponents with a dink!)
Pulling this feint gave Shōyō an edge that forced Fukurōdani middle blockers & libero (diving to receive the tipped ball) literally and mentally look up to the little guy! This is when Kōtarō Bokuto truly made a disciple out of Shōyō Hinata!
7Fukurōdani Academy vs. Nekoma High
Kenma Kozume and Keiji Akaashi subtly manipulated the real Land vs. Sky endurance between “Cats vs. Owls”! One shut down Kōtarō Bokuto, while the other “reset” his friend.
But being the “son of a gun” that he is (according to Tetsurō Kuroo), Kōtarō returned as a machine gun; abided the “3 Wisdoms of an Ace”; and hogged the spotlight (much to the annoyance of Tetsurō, who only stole the spotlight once)!
The lovable Lev Haiba was also demeaned by Kenma when the behemoth was compared to Shōyō.
After Fukurōdani took a complete 2-to-0-win, Lev thinks he’s the weak link; but Tetsurō encouraged Lev saying he’ll soon click with the rest of the team.
6Nekoma High vs. Nohebi Academy
It’s a discriminatory “Snakes vs. Cats” match when Nohebi’s team captain, Suguru Daishō, prejudicially kissed up to the referee, linesmen, and the crowd!
Nohebi’s unfair tactics de-claws the kitties’ high level of defense; their insults induce Nekoma’s self-destruction.
Libero Morisuke Yaku left the court because of a sprained ankle, so Lev (and substitute Yūki Shibayama) connected Nekoma’s path to victory.
Metaphorically, Lev is Nekoma’s angry “sleepy cub awoken into a lion”; he brought powerful surge attacks against the opponents. Meanwhile, Yūki helped Nekoma tied the score!
With Yūki backing Lev up, the latter realized how every member is CONNECTED; thereby, echoing the team’s sports slogan: “Connect”. It’s no one’s fault if a player messed up.
By the end of the game, Nekoma took a complete 2-to-0-win thanks to Lev’s “awakening”!
5Date Tech vs. Aoba Jōsai
Date Tech possesses the “3-man Iron Wall” in the prefecture thanks to Kanji Koganegawa — the “big-boned giant” or “super-sized” setter.
Kanji is a “golden infant”. Even if he’s clumsy, he can be guided by libero Kōsuke Sakunami so Kanji doesn’t make silly mistakes during the game! After all, Kanji has the height to serve as Date Tech’s 3rd iron wall!
Middle blocker Takanobu Aone (the 1st iron wall) serves as the “undisputed backbone”; while Kenji Futakuchi (the 2nd iron wall) serves as a good blocker and wing spiker.
But Date Tech’s “Iron Wall” was brutally smashed by Aoba Jōsai’s ace, Hajime Iwaizumi, giving Aoba Jōsai a complete 2-0 win.
Despite losing, Kanji vowed he’ll improve so he doesn’t bring shame to Date Tech’s “Iron Wall”.
But Takanobu cautioned him that it is not always the strong and tall who are difficult to block (implying short players like Shōyō Hinata are also challenging).
4Karasuno High vs. Aoba Jōsai High Part 1
We get to see the “Great King” — Tōru Oikawa — acknowledge Tobio Kageyama’s rapid development. He no longer perceives his kōhai as a tyrant but as a trustworthy king.
As many fans know, Tōru has been belittling Tobio since middle school: he feared Tobio’s evolution.
But rather than losing his temper before “The King of the Upper Court” (like that one time in Junior High), Tōru calmly defeated Karasuno High (and still a remained jerk towards Tobio after the game).
Tōru may still be afraid of Tobio’s “prodigy genius” title; hence, his monologue, “I won’t lose to you today, Tobio!” only strengthens his resolve to beat his kōhai.
You’d think that Tobio would hate the guy, but no. Instead, Tobio seems jealous of Tōru’s abilities to bring out Aoba Jōsai’s players’ 100% efforts and smiles. He also admires his senpai even just a little bit, if not more.
Karasuno lost during this 3rd round of the Miyagi Prefecture Inter-High Preliminaries. But at the suggestion of coach Keishin Ukai, the players decided to pick themselves up by eating nutritious food even in tears.
They also heeded adviser Ittetsu Takeda’s words not to remain fallen on one’s knees. For if they do, they’ll only weaken themselves and might not get stronger at all.
3Karasuno High vs. Aoba Jōsai High Part 2
Aoba Jōsai (aka “Light Blue Castle”) fought well and fought admirably against Karasuno. Neither allowed the other to move an inch in the scoreboard because every player gave his 120% effort!
One eye-catching player in this game is Seijō’s newest recruit — Kentarō Kyōtani (aka “Mad Dog”). Despite scoring points, he also loses some due to his temper and recklessness.
Meanwhile, pinch server Tadashi Yamaguchi also gained points for Karasuno; he finally redeemed himself by proving he isn’t a spineless player!
But Tōru’s right hand (Yūtarō Kindaichi) isn’t about to let up! He also put up a good fight by spiking the ball as instructed even when Mad Dog interfered.
After an intense match, Karasuno won against Seijō by 2:1 set points.
Tōru finally (and unwillingly) “bowed down” while acknowledging Tobio as “the volleyball genius”. He also admitted to his proud self that, no matter how much he practices volleyball, he’ll possess no natural talent, unlike his kōhai.
This is a pivotal moment for Tōru because he took the first step in acknowledging his losses as well as the qualities he lacks as a talented volleyball player.
By the end of the game, Hajime Iwaizumi praised Tōru as the best setter he can have, even making a fist bump with Tōru as a sign of their long-time friendship (an anime-only scene in “Haikyū!! Movie 3: Genius and Sense”).
2Karasuno High vs. Inarizaki High
Karasuno High vs. Inarizaki High is the second-best match during the Spring Inter-High Nationals. Not only are cheering squads for both teams in full force, but it’s also because the Miya Twins won the hearts of the crowds!
Miya and Osamu Atsumu (Players #7 and #11, respectively) imitated Shōyō and Tobio’s “Quick Strike”! That alone makes the Miya Brothers a formidable foe for Karasuno to defeat!
Moreover, Miya has “crowd control” during the game. When Miya signals people to stop, the Inarizaki cheering squad ceases to play its music. When people failed to follow his orders, Miya even has the guts to call some of his fangirls “swine”!
The Inarizaki cheering squad even goes so far as to shout “boos” and jeers when it’s Karasuno’s turn to serve!
Despite these despicable acts, Inarizaki High firmly stood its ground as the team’s sports slogan reminded them of: “We Don’t Need the Memories”.
With Ojiro Aran as the wing spiker (and Japan’s Top 3 Ace), he ensures Inarizaki gains points in every serve!
Then there’s also the no-fooling-around Kita Shinsuke — a captain who says just the right words to motivate his team members. You can even rely on him to keep the Miya Twins in check!
Miya, Osamu, Ojiro, and Kita are playing the Nationals Game at the “Orange Court” with the strength they’ve accumulated.
They might look back on past failures, but the team doesn’t dwell on them. And instead of focusing on the results (the future), they enjoy the game they’re playing today.
1Karasuno High vs. Shiratorizawa Academy
Finally, we’ve come to the best match in the anime. And in my honest opinion, I think it’s the intense battle between Karasuno High and Shiratorizawa Academy!
Not only did it exceed fans’ expectations; it also brought glory to the series with its dramatic animation, stellar OST, and fabulous storytelling!
Other than Tobio and Shōyō, there are 4 players in this match (2 each from opposing teams) who made this battle fierce:
I. Wakatoshi Ushijima (aka Ushiwaka)
Ushiwaka possesses the strength of a lion and the brilliance of a majestic white eagle. He is Shiratorizawa’s pillar, an incredible captain, and the scorer of more than half the points for his team!
His goal is to CRUSH Karasuno High, not just defeat its players. Even when his legs are giving out on him, he still permitted Kenjirō Shirabu to use him mercilessly!
II. Satori Tendō
Satori is known as the “Guess Blocking Monster” because of his frightfully accurate guesses. His predictions are on point that he can tell whether the setter is feinting, tipping the ball, or tossing to another spiker!
Despite his fun and enigmatic personality, his own backstory shed light on why he’s an oddball! But it’s exactly this attitude that made him close to Ushiwaka; they are best friends after all!
As a right-hand man to Ushiwaka, Satori brings a fresh perspective on the game that aids Shiratorizawa in taking 2 out of 5 sets!
III. Kei Tsukishima
Kei boosted the team’s morale when he stopped Ushiwaka’s powerful left-hand spike! Not only did he give the team a winning point, but his character development also got refined astoundingly!
He finally got hooked and enjoyed volleyball just as Kōtarō Bokuto and Tetsurō Kuroo hoped he would. And even after getting a bleeding injury on his pinky finger, he returned to the game as a hero.
He timed the 3-men blocking team to block Ushiwaka’s spikes, as well as amplify Yū Nishinoya’s “Total Defense” by expanding the libero’s field of vision!
IV. Yū Nishinoya
Yū was put on a tight spot in this game when he realized his most fearsome opponent is left-handed (i.e, the ball spins from a different angle when Ushiwaka slams it).
He asked Sawamura Daichi to give him 3 chances to get used to Ushiwaka’s spikes. And by Joe, he was indeed true to his word (making him the coolest libero to learn and adapt on challenging left-handed spikes on the spot!)
With Ryūnosuke Tanaka backing him up, he helped Karasuno win 3 sets out of 5 in this Spring Inter-High Qualifiers. He’s truly a different beast on the court when he concentrates on his goals intensely!
Haikyu!! is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate. Its publication in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump began in February 2012 with 42 collected tankōbon volumes released.
Hinata Shoyo is a highly passionate boy who wishes to follow the steps of his idol, ‘The Little Giant’ in the field of volleyball. Hinata’s resolve is unbreakable as he faces gruesome defeat at the hands of the ‘King of the Court,’ a genius prodigy setter Kageyama Tobio in middle school. Hinata’s dreams take fruit as he enters high school.
He joins the declining volleyball team of Karasuno High and is appalled to find the very same Kageyama as his teammate. The story follows the revival of Karasuno High and the unity they maintain to pave their way for nationals.