Realism in Haikyu: Why We Love Sports Anime | Get In The Robot
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Realism in Haikyu: Why We Love Sports Anime | Get In The Robot

– Okay, so before I get into it, I want you to watch this clip. (loud explosion) (loud explosion) Pretty wild stuff, right? Now, I want you to watch this clip. (funky music) Now, which came first? So obviously, if you couldn’t guess, it was the real clip, but
what makes this so special is that this is a real thing
that a real person can do any time in a real situation, and knowing that this
amazing moment is tangible, something that anyone can
achieve is why sports anime is so special, but I’m
getting ahead of myself. Let me explain. (funky music) Let’s talk sports, and more
specifically, sports anime because we’re an anime channel. Sports anime are 90% hype
and 10% length explanations of ultimate moves, and I’m so here for it, so I’m gonna be leaning on Haikyuu!! for a lot of this video, and
deconstructing the elements that make up sports
anime, and why we love it. Why, one, because it’s
probably the most popular sports anime out right now, and two, well, I (beep) love Haikyuu!!. I don’t know (beep) about volleyball, and apparently, I didn’t
need to to love this show because now, I’m in the fandom now. Even though sports anime
is packed with trope, that doesn’t make it any different from any traditional
show, it’s got something that makes it special. Sure, Goku can knock me
on my ass with a ki blast, and I’d be toast. I’m not a Super Saiyan. It’s why I’m not fighting Goku, but with sports anime,
all those special skills and wild moves are things
that with enough training, I could do, or at least attempt, and that way, sports anime like Haikyuu!! is one of the most accessible genres. Not only can I learn the mechanics of a perfect layup, but I can also relate to characters’ emotions when they sink a crucial basket, or
miss an important pass because I can watch literal,
actual breathing humans do those things, and
feel those emotions, too. If you watched the NBA
All-Stars Game this year, you know what I mean. The Rule of Elam is the
most sports animation I’ve ever heard of. It even sounds like it’s
from a sports anime. Think of the reigning powerhouse losing to the small underdog. That’s real life. That happened in Cleveland
against the Warriors. Anime is real. The whole city went crazy. I know that because I’m
from Ohio, and I was there. The big, bad guy defeated
by the small hero, and now, the town’s saved. Cleveland’s saved, and
then, our hero dipped. It was the Avatar, and it was the Avatar line. Avatar disappeared when
we most needed him. That was LaBron James. What I’m trying to say
is, one of the best things about sports anime is
their surprising realism, aside from all the other
crazy (beep) that happens, but we’ll get to that later. It’s pretty impressive
that a volleyball show can go toe-to-toe with a
show like My Hero Academia. Sports anime doesn’t have the benefit of building a fantastic world. Instead, it relies on a
more grounded foundation, stuff we all have access to. Sports anime is incredibly
human at its core because we’re watching
human feats on the court, and what’s special about
sports anime is things like tropes aren’t really tropes
because they’re real. Rivals, that’s a real thing. You have someone you wanna defeat. That’s just life. Tournament art, where do
you think we got that from? Sports have tournaments. When you add all those
real things together, you get the makings of an accessible, and emotional story because
sports are emotional. I’ve cried multiple times during sports. – [Adrian] Did you cry when you lost? – I’ve cried when I lost, and I’ve cried when the team lost. I think I might’ve cried
in my last Mac Championship when I lost, my senior year. I lost my senior year. I was the reigning champion
four years in a row, and I lost because I was having a bad day, and I was like, man, my
last time, and I’m out. Real life is also emotional. That’s crazy, right, whoa, whoa. I love Haikyuu!! because
it does an amazing job of pulling in new viewers. I’m talking about people who have never watched a second of sports in their lives, people who’ve always
hated sports, like Adrian. – [Adrian] But I like sports. – Exactly, he hates sports,
but he still likes Haikyuu!! – [Adrian] I said I like sports. – Exactly, you don’t have to love sports to love sports anime. You just have to love watching humans push themselves past what they thought they were capable of, which is pretty much every shounen, so watch sports anime. It’s the same (beep), but with a ball. When I first started Haikyuu!!, I didn’t give a single
(beep) about volleyball. I just played it one time
in a Powder Puff game that I do not remember,
and by the end of Season 4, I was screaming in my
room, like an actual match I cared about was happening,
and that’s the power of sports anime. Okay, yes, I love the
realism in sports anime, but I love the ridiculous visual
metaphors equally as much. There’s a whole targeting
sequence when Kai Akakura is trying to line up the
perfect shot for Hinata. He succeeds, and Hinata gets
his first quick attack spike. Sports anime does a pretty good job at illustrating the real
feelings behind plays like that one. It just happens to use
the visual metaphors like extinction-level
events, or soccer balls bathed in fire, where in Haikyuu!!, all the stuff with crows, which I love, and all this happens in real life, too. Let me throw it back all
the way to when I was a DI track athlete, which was last year. I used to do this thing called high jump which is where you start, and
you run up to a bar, and jump. Pretty self-explanatory, and that run up took about five to six
seconds, but in my head, it felt like 30, as you go through every analytical step to figure out if you’re doing everything right, just like in anime. Now, I’m thinking about
it, special moves in anime, a lot of real athletes have that, too. Michael Jordan, with the
tongue out dunk, iconic. It’s been done. This is real life still. Ultimate moves in sports anime are sick because they get the full
on shounen treatment. Okay, I know I was making
fun of Goku’s ki blast 30 seconds ago, but damn do I love them. When it comes to Haikyuu!!, the best name for an ultimate move
might’ve already been claimed by Nishinoya, but there are plenty of over awesome moves that get me hype. There are flashier ultimate
moves out there, too. Few anime have given us as
many ultimate move moments as Eyeshield 21. Sena’s Hurricane Ghostspin
would give Yusuke’s Spirit Gun a run for its money,
and Kuroko’s Basketball put a spin on ultimate moves
with its in the zone mechanic, just like Tanjiro has to
the learn the Demon Slayer Corps ultimate breathing technique, Kuroko and his buds perfect techniques like the Phantom Shot,
Emperor Eye, Animal Instinct, and a Meteor Jam. When these players are in the zone, they’re performing at
the top of their game, and that, too, is
something I can relate to. Essentially, what I’m
saying is, I can’t go Super Saiyan, but I can be in the zone. If I haven’t done a good
job yet of convincing you that Haikyuu!! and all sports
anime is a perfect blend of realism and anime
(beep), let me give it one more try. It’s time to talk about underdogs. Okay, so I don’t know about
you, but I’m pretty sure you don’t like seeing the
same person win every time. It’s pretty boring, and it
gets a little repetitive. I agree. The same thing happens with football. You’ve probably heard of
the team, the Patriots. They’re the Naruto of football. Even if you don’t watch,
you’ve heard of them. They always win, and it’s pretty boring, so when a team like the Kansas City Chiefs takes a dub finally, it’s a good time, and you probably haven’t heard of them, which, again, like in a
regular thing, pretty cool. Underdog takes the win,
and at the end of the day, shows like Haikyuu!! do an incredible job of channeling the excitement
and unpredictability of watching sports in real life. There can be massive
upsets, stunning defeats, last-minute Hail Marys
that change the shape of the entire tournament arc, and unlike the 3D chests
that a lot of shounen anime use to justify massive
reversals of fortune, in sports anime, that
(beep) really happens. In case I haven’t said it already, this (beep) is real life. I mean, for example, let’s take this clip that Adrian found. (dramatic music) Yeah, it was adopted,
shot-for-shot from this. – [Announcer] Smith’s got a piece of it. Barrios grabbed behind him, back flipped to second. On the first, a double play. – It looks like a play you can only find in an anime, but this time,
it came from real life. Underdogs are a shounen thing, in general. I’m looking at you, Deku,
but in sports anime, we know that Hinata doesn’t
have some tailed beast inside him, waiting to be unleashed. He’s not a child of destiny, or an alien from Planet Fujita. He doesn’t have the devil fruit powers, and he doesn’t have a quirk, but he does have one tool, his body. Okay, that sounds bad, but what I mean is, his athletic prowess. Hinata’s progress is solely a result of his own training and determination. He’s not naturally gifted like Kageyama. He’s got to work really
hard to get better. He’s the master of his own destiny, unlike so many other shounen protagonists who are just fated to
be on a certain path. I think that makes his
glow-up from being an underdog that much more powerful. He’s on a path that we could follow. Those little victories
are even more dramatic when you think about how
green a lot of players on the court are. Characters like Sakamichi
Onoda from Yowamushi Pedal, and Tatara Fujita from
Welcome to the Ballroom never even thought about cycling or competitive dancing before. Most of Run with the Wind’s
Chikuseisou track team is new to track and field,
or even running, in general. Beyond lacking skill and
experience, sports anime protagonists are up against the odds, no matter how hard they work. When it comes to Haikyuu!!,
it’s all about height. Let’s just say Hinata isn’t the tallest. It’s something he can’t change, but it is something he can use to become the next tiny giant. In spite of his height, we know that he and the rest of the Karasuno
High’s volleyball team will claw their way
back up from being known as wingless crows. Even better, instead of
being asked to empathize with one soulful reject
who dreams of being the King of Pirates,
or the Symbol of Peace, or whatever, most sports
anime gives us a whole team of losers to root for, even
shows with smaller lineups like Free! and Tsurune
give me lots of options. Where do we even begin with Haikyuu!!? The whole team is dope. Daichi is probably one
of the coolest captains, and people I’d want to yell at me. Totally fine with that. Asahi, looks like an adult, scary, but he’s a softie, and I love him, Subaru, real team player,
just really nice guy, and I wanna be his friend, even though he’s on the bench a lot, and there’s Tanaka, and Nishinoya, just really great second years
I really wanna be cool with. Tsukishima, wanted to
punch him in the beginning, but as the season went on, I still do, but a lot less. Redeeming quality, I’ll feel bad when I hit him in the face this time. Then, there’s my boy Tadashi. Also sits the bench, but has
the coldest serve sometimes. Gotta work on his confidence level, but I like you, too, man. We’d be cool. And then, our boy Hinata, and Kageyama, the best boys, and I really just wanna be friends with
everybody, and I’m 23, so that sounds bad, but I’d
like to be cool with you guys. – [Adrian] You could be their coach. – I’ll be the coach. I know nothing about volleyball, but put me on the court. I know, I’ll just teach
everyone how to do track stuff, and hopefully, that’ll apply. Of course, over the series,
we’re also introduced to rival teams, and a lot of the time, they will get enough
screen time and development to stand out on their own, and possibly, become some of your
favorites to cheer for, and that’s good because I don’t know if I’d wanna watch a whole show about Yuri without the other Yuri’s fiery personality for him to bounce off of. In Girls und Panzer, even though Nishizumi is the protagonist, she
shares most of her screen time with other members of the tankery team, and before you find me in the comments, I’m counting Girls und
Panzer as a sports anime. Tankery may not be a real
sport, but fictional sports needs some love, too. On top of that, because
teamwork is so important in sports, giving all
those side characters full-on character arcs
becomes really important, too because if Hinata’s the only
one honing those skills, he’s not going to have
much of a team around him. There’s Kageyama trying to
be more of a team player, and no longer the king of the court. There’s Asahi trying to get over his fear of getting blocked. Tsukishima’s slowly learning
to love the game again, even though he thought
it was just that, a game. Honestly, all their arcs are pretty fun and entertaining to see, and things like Slam Dunk give us Mitsui, a star player who started
out as a delinquent, becoming a great player, and then, reverted to his delinquent
ways, following a bad injury, and then, there’s Megalo Box’s Aragaki. Guy was an up-and-coming boxer before losing his legs at war. We watched him work through his PTSD as he fights to destroy Joe. That’s some real (beep) for any anime, but sports anime makes a lot of time for stories like these. I mean, if you told me
I’d be moved by a scene about flower arrangements
in a sports anime, I would’ve though I’d been transported into another world, but seeing how tankery has helped Hana Isuzu become
a better floral designer pretty much brought tears to my eyes. That was the character
development I love to see, and it’s rare for side characters to get that special treatment. Rivals are also well-developed
in sports anime, and good sports anime
is packed with rivals. What’s great about these rivalries is how, yes, characters may yell, and fight, but they generally push
each other to be better because when you face your opponent, just as much as you wanna be at your best, you want them to be at their best, too, and in Haikyuu!!, it’s just the same. You have Hinata and
Kageyama at the heart of it. They go from rivals to teammates who are still rivals, just ones who can work together, and drive one another to always get better, and
the way it’s represented in Haikyuu!! is really well done. Once again, to throw it back to my days, during high jump, you also
had a high jump partner, and you both were
competing for first place, but in a real competition, your points, and their points matter,
so if your partner doesn’t do well, overall, that’s a loss. Obviously, you still wanna be the best, but your partner isn’t your real rival. The other team is, and besides, they’re the person who keeps pushing you, and without them, you probably wouldn’t be as good as you are now. I wouldn’t have PR’d if
by my boy, Cody Stein, word to Cody Stein,
who went to Ohio State, and I was at Akron. We’re going head to head all week for who got the best height. It was me, and then he matched me, and then I got higher, and
then he matched me again, and then I got higher, and
then he matched me again, all the way to the national championship in Austin, Texas, where we met, and we went to the national championship, and he got me, so I hand it to him. Word to Cody Stein, great
teammate, and rival. It really is anime because really, the win wouldn’t mean
as much if your opponent wasn’t really putting their heart into it. Even Rin can feel if Haru isn’t at the top of his game in
Free!, and despite the fact that she’s infuriated
upon seeing her again, even Nagisa rose to realize her rival may need some support before they can face off again in Hanebado. They all know victory isn’t sweet if you’re just competing on your own, and neither Hinata nor
Kageyama give an inch when it comes to their dedication, and when running for
the clubroom together. I haven’t even gotten to
the squad on the sidelines, the managers, coaches, and cheerleaders. Where would our favorite teams even be without their support systems? Watching Karasuno find
their coach in Ukai, and following him as
he grows into the role, it’s one of my favorite things about the whole (beep) show. Even before becoming their coach, he supported the Karasuno
boys by feeding them from his shop after their practices, and he only becomes their
coach because of the hard work of their club advisor, Takeda, who, despite being an amateur
when it comes to volleyball, truly believes in the
boys, and does everything in his power to give them the resources they need to grow, and hone their skills. Sports anime, like most shounen, makes hay from the master-student dynamic, but there’s a key difference. In sports anime, the coach
isn’t some Master Roshi or Netero type who’s
somehow incredibly powerful despite being 80. More often than not, the
coaches can’t exactly keep up with their players on the court, but they’ve got the wisdom of experience to add to the cause. Personally, I’m way more
into a master-student dynamic where the master isn’t some God to your powerful mountain monk. I love Coach Akagi from Slam Dunk because dude looks like every gym teacher I ever had in my Ohio
Public Schools growing up. Eyeshield 21’s Coach Dover
Roku is a straight up drunk, and so is Nanbu from Megalo Box. Mentors and coaches in sports anime aren’t these untouchable gods. They’re just regular people. I love that in sports anime, the coach can’t just step in, and kick
ass when things get tough. Imagine Naruto if Kakashi and Jiraiya hadn’t been there to save him
when he was in deep (beep). Same goes for Kite and
Bisky in Hunter X Hunter. Zoldyck Killua would be
dead right now without them, and a lot of shounen
anime, the mentor character is an airbag, where, if
something goes wrong, they’re there to save your life, but that’s not the case in sports anime. The best they can do is train you well, and cheer you on from the sidelines. Like I’ve been saying, sports anime is so close to real life
that we get to experience real relationships that reflect it. That being said, if there’s some decrepit, non-man who knows how to jump really high that would like to train me so I can go to the Olympics, I’m down. It’s in Japan, too, man, (beep). All this talk of mentorship
and vulnerability brings me to my next, and final point. In sports anime, the stakes
feel high all the time, but in comparison to say, Hunter X Hunter, or Attack on Titan where
the fate of humanity hangs in the balance, the
stakes in most sports anime are relatively low. Yeah, it would suck to
lose the (mumbles) side, but no one’s gonna die because of it, and believe it or not, I think
that’s one of the best things about sports anime because
it means our heroes can lose, like in real life. Real life isn’t one, big
shounen training montage where you come out the other side with superhuman powers,
but that’d be pretty dope. I would go to do that. We fight our battles every day, they just happen to be against someone breathing too close to you on the subway, instead of against the villain. Yeah, that subway
breathing guy beat me up, but when the potential to lose exists, everything just feels more important. The show is really unpredictable
because believe it or not, they could lose every match,
and it would make sense, and the world would keep going, so it adds an entertainment value. There’s actually some serious,
edge of your seat moments where you truly don’t know if
the pass will clear the net, or if a ball’s gonna sink into the basket because you really don’t know
who will win, at the end. Even if you do know,
the drama, the tension, it’s all still there. I think it’s important to watch our favorite characters lose. How many times has Ash
lost in the Pokemon League? Because then we get to
watch them work hard to move past those conflicts, both physically, and mentally. In sports anime, we see characters dig in, and train hard to get over the barriers, trying to get them now. Hinata always talks about
the walls in his way, or the mountain he wants to
desperately to see beyond. We start the series with him facing defeat at the hands of Kageyama’s
middle school team, and learn from that loss
before entering high school. A lot of sports anime will
show their main character or main team losing. Yuri starts off his
journey heading back home after the end of a humiliating defeat during one of his competitions. Hanebado! kicks off by showing Nagisa being completely shut
out during a huge match, resulting in two of the main characters even questioning why they’re
playing badminton at all, and insey winsey little spoiler. Skip 10 seconds if you
don’t, haven’t seen Season 1, they lose, and everyone’s
crying, and it hurts. Showing teams lose is important, important for us to see as the audience, important to feel great
character development, and important for when they, eventually, through all that hard work, get the win, and speaking of, because
they have the potential to fail, it’s so amazing
to watch our favorite teams take home the win. When characters lose,
train, reflect, and adapt, they come back stronger. Those moments are some of the best to see because we get the payoff. Haikyuu!! is great about making
sure victories are earned. It’s satisfying to watch everyone’s hard work come together. In volleyball, it’s the
collaborative nature of all those teams
playing being nailed 100%. You can’t help but root
for them to keep winning, and Hinata vows to keep doing just that. I’m not gonna lie, work on this video really takes me back. I’m not crying. My eye just hurts, I
promise, but honestly, it is emotional. I promise I’m not crying. There’s something about sports that always makes you want to get stronger, and those are the only
times where I felt like a real protagonist in life
was when I was training, trying to get better, so I can go against the competition, and watching shows like
Haikyuu!! really take me back, and for people who haven’t tried it, I think you should. Just sports, in general, any competition because that feeling of
being in that moment, those bullet times, or those rivalries, or those mentors adds a lot of flavor to your life, so would recommend. Supposed to go to the (beep) Olympics. This is making me sad. [Adrian] You? – Yeah, I was very close to
getting a qualifying mark to get into the trials, but
they raised the trial heights because it’s expensive
to host the Olympics, so they’re like, all right, we want only the elite, elite, elite, so they raised the thing, and I couldn’t qualify for trials. I qualified for world, professional worlds with my mark. – [Adrian] Why are you doing this? Why didn’t you do that? – It’s too late. I really like anime, Adrian. I’m Curt, this is Get in the Robot, your anime explainer. I’m not crying. (calm music)


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