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Sports anime sparks new interest in volleyball

In early 2014, anime and manga creator Haruichi Furudate, released the first season of a new sports anime entitled “Haikyuu!”, meaning “volleyball” in Japanese. The show gained popularity during the following years, but viewers skyrocketed once quarantine hit the world last March. “Haikyuu!” became a popular addition to many students’ watchlists.

“My friend bugged me for a good solid three months before I was bored at school and decided to watch it,” said freshman Libby Sanders. “I started it in June while at school waiting on my mother to finish some work and decided to give it a try.”

Several anime watchers have approached the show with little or no previous knowledge of the sport. After watching “Haikyuu!,” fans were able to gain a basic understanding of the game of volleyball, its positions and the team-building experience. The show has made it so that actual volleyball players and fans of the anime now have something in common.

“[The volleyball team] are all like sisters to me. I’ve played with a lot of them since middle school,” said senior and Varsity volleyball player, Ava Little. “I love watching others play volleyball. I love watching the JV team, the middle school team and I love watching college volleyball, too.”

Fans of the show, including Sanders, enjoy watching the games and seeing the characters develop their skills and exceed in their positions. Although the characters may be fictional, watchers of “Haikyuu!” are able to empathize with their struggles and learn more and more about the rules of volleyball as the show continues. The characters also have complex backgrounds that help viewers to understand the relationship between teammates.

“I do enjoy watching the show and seeing the characters grow and develop,” said Sanders. “Watching the games is amazing since the characters that had been underdogs for all their life, in the end, receive the attention and praise for their hard work.”

Sanders, whose older sister played volleyball in the past, has had the opportunity to relearn the game and how it works while watching the sports anime. “Haikyuu!” allows the audience to determine which position they could play based on shared characteristics between themselves and the characters.

“I’m pretty short, so I’d probably pick libero; that would probably be the best pick for me,” said Sanders.

The show’s manga, which is the graphic novel that the anime is created from, ended back in July. The show currently has three complete seasons and a fourth one in the making. There are also plans for a fifth season to come out in the coming years.


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