The Haikyu!! Second DVD series kicks off straight after the practice match with Nekoma, and with Karasuno now complete to include their Ace Asahi and Libero Nishinoya, they are starting to form new attack patterns with their combined strength. We are also graced with a new opening and closing animation and theme which is fresh and suits the series quite well, and I always appreciate a bit of Sukima Switch.
The Inter High championships are beginning, and when the roster is released they see the struggle that is ahead of them if they can win their first match. They are fired up and ready to roll on the first day, and the beginning match is against an old friend of Daichi. Simultaneously the Karasuno girls volleyball team is battling it out with a tough opponent, and unfortunately it ends with their loss. The boys come through with a great victory and prepare to take on their next opponent, the very same team that crushed Karasuno three months prior and drove Asahi to quit playing.
The game with Dateko, also known as the Iron Wall is intense and their blocking power is well rounded and very solid. Karasuno get a few in first with their quick attacks, but start to struggle once Hinata is outed as a decoy. They press on, and in a pivotal moment Hinata is ablaze with energy as he steals the blockers gaze to him, and opens a path for Asahi to smash home a powerful spike. This is all a bit emotional for the seniors as the loss from their last match against Dateko is still fresh in their memory, and this turns the tides on the match. Asahi is also the one to take the final winning point, and it just feels right that it was him.
Their third opponent in the Championships is none other than Aoba Johsai, and they rest up for the night to prepare themselves for the onslaught to come. Kageyama is now facing off against his old senior Oikawa in a battle of setter skills and plays. Not just Kageyama, but the others are aware of how brightly Oikawa shines and it becomes apparent very quickly that Aoba Johsai is a strong and united team. Oikawa has monstrous serves, with quite good accuracy so he can pinpoint spots and specific people to make receiving difficult. The Aoba Johsai blockers and spikers are also tough and the team is like a well oiled machine. Kageyama starts to struggle against his senior and is soon overwhelmed by the pressure and is benched while Suguwara takes his place as setter. This is actually a defining moment for Kageyama, as he get’s to see how Suguwara works as a setter with the rest of the team, and has the opportunity to watch the match from a different angle.
The match continues on for about 4 episodes, and during that time they vary the attack patterns and player layup so it is interesting to watch and keeps you entertained. Oikawa’s serves are always a dreaded moment in the game, but Nishinoya and Daichi come out on top when they get used to receiving and keep the ball in play. They also have a few flashback episodes to keep it fresh, and we get to see the past between Kageyama and Oikawa in middle school and how their relationship became what it is today.
The DVD box set is Japanese only, and has some nice extras on the 2nd DVD. The DVD I have has Aoba Johsai on the cover, and I have seen alternative covers as well so there could a a bit of variation on what’s available. The animation is quite good in staying consistent throughout, it does drop a little in some scenes but nothing drastically. I really enjoyed the second series, because Karasuno is really coming together as a team. Their receiving is still pretty rubbish overall, but Nishinoya’s skills are overbearingly sharp and his personality is bigger than he is. I want to see how the team moves forward after their match with Aoba Johsai, will be waiting eagerly for the third set’s release.
A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.