Appropriateness Rating: Don’t Miss it!
Entertainment Rating: Epic
Haikyuu!! is a sport anime series about Hinata Shoyo, a boy who goes to high school hoping to get an important position on the volleyball team despite his lack of experience and short stature. In junior high his team was made up of friends that didn’t care about volleyball, but joined the team just to help him have enough players to compete. This team came up against a strong team from another junior high and Hinata developed a rivalry with Kageyama, a talented player who was nicknamed “King of the Court.” When Hinata goes to high school and attends the volleyball team try out he is shocked to find that Kageyama is also at his high school, trying out for the same team. Their try out is a disaster, but the team captain gives them a chance, they must learn to work together and play against some of the existing team members from older grades in order to be allowed to join the team. The rest of the show follows this team as they try to develop their skills and win tournaments. It’s hilarious and very thrilling at the same time and you will want to watch episode after episode. It’s a great show for the whole family, but there are a few very brief things that will need to either be forwarded or discussed with your children.
Warnings: swearing, inappropriate clothing and interaction for some minor characters
The characters often swear when they are frustrated or surprised or trying to pick a fight with an opposing team. Words such a b*stard and damn and so on are used frequently by the main characters and it would be important to discuss this with children if you are watching with them.
Another problem is with the interaction with girls on the show. It’s a team of boys, but they have a female “manager” who helps run the team’s practices along with the adult coaches. This manager is often described as “cute” or “hot” by the boys and there are two boys on the team who act very silly around her. Other teams are jealous that these boys have a female manager for their team. Also, it is not very clear what her role is and why she wants to be in that position on a boy’s team rather than play on a girl’s team or something. She is like a guiding figure or mentor, but at the same time she is their age, only a school girl so it’s a little strange. Her responsibilities become clearer as the show goes on, but the silly behavior continues.
Interactions with other females are also an issue. One of the team members has an older sister who goes to college and dresses very inappropriately and sometimes the view on the screen will focus on her body for a few seconds before moving on. In one episode it also shows her waking up after having had a night of drinking with the teacher and coach and more inappropriate behavior is implied in that brief waking up scene. Thankfully this character doesn’t appear until the second season and she is only there in a few episodes.
Overall, though, these are minor issues compared to most of what your children are watching on TV or on youtube on a daily basis so you can enjoy the show together and discuss these issues with them so they understand the concerns you have about that behavior.
Messages: teamwork, practice
There are many great messages in this show. One of the main ones is team work. The best part of this show is watching the team members interact and learn to be supportive of each other on the court as they develop their teamwork. This is a great message that is often absent from shows that are all about the individual’s strengths and powers. One of the recurring themes of Haikyuu is that one person can’t win a game on their own. They need their team members to connect with them, receive and pass to them, etc. They need their team members to make them stronger and bring out their abilities.
Another great message is about practice. In this day and age because of technology and constant entertainment and having all kinds of luxuries kids often lack resilience. They will give up on something if it becomes difficult and they do not appreciate the power of practice. In this show the team’s growth is shown to be a direct result of their practice. They practice so much and fail so many times, but they never give up and in the end that is what makes them improve and other notice and they begin to win games against teams that were previously stronger than them. This is a very good message that tells kids to keep practicing and never give up.
Overall, if your kids are into anime already then you definitely want to introduce them to Haikyuu as a much cleaner option than any other serialized anime currently popular. It also has a lot less violence and gore than the current trends, including anime, so that makes it much more family friendly. Watch it together, making sure to discuss the swearing and other inappropriate things. If they are not anime-obsessed already or they are a little young to be exposed to the swearing or you don’t have time to watch together then we would recommend sticking with safer options like Myazaki’s movies. See my reviews of Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and check out his other movies as well.