Manga Review: Haikyu!! Vol 4 by Haruichi Furudate

May Contain Spoilers

The big game between Nekoma and Karasuno is finally on! In sports manga tradition, almost the entire volume is devoted to the volleyball match. The action is swift and the sets are brutal, with Kageyama and Hinata putting their hearts in the game. Can they beat the school’s rival?

I am not a volleyball fan and I enjoyed the game against Nekoma. While Kageyama and Hinata are a match made in heaven, they have only recently begun playing together. The Karasuno team is fielded with rookies and players who are just getting to know each other, and against Nekoma, this is a handicap. Coach Ukai has only just joined the team, and only for this practice match, and the disparity in play soon becomes obvious. The Nekoma team plays like a cohesive unit, while Karasuno functions like individual cogs in a machine. Give the heroes a weakness, and they will eventually overcome!

The art, which I don’t think I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, gives a convincing sense of motion. And the drama! The drama of the poses and facial expressions is so much fun. Clenched teeth, sweat drips, bunched muscles, speedlines galore! I really enjoyed the art in this volume. The panels flowed smoothly from one to the next, and made the gameplay exciting and suspenseful. 

Haikyu!! is a fun series so far. The team dynamics are starting to get more complex, and the volleyball matches are visually exciting, even if the sport isn’t a favorite. I did get a little bogged down by some of the game mechanics, but I think that is because I know so little about volleyball.

Grade: 4 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Shoyo Hinata is out to prove that in volleyball you don’t need to be tall to fly!
Ever since he saw the legendary player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals, Shoyo Hinata has been aiming to be the best volleyball player ever! He decides to join the team at the high school the Little Giant went to—and then surpass him. Who says you need to be tall to play volleyball when you can jump higher than anyone else?
Having lost all of their practice games against Nekoma, the cracks in Karasuno’s teamwork are more apparent than ever! With Inter-High qualifiers looming over them, Hinata, Kageyama and the rest of the team need to work hard to stand a chance. But with two of the prefecture’s top four schools in their qualifier block, Karasuno’s chances look slim. How will they overcome this challenge when just thinking about their second opponent, Date Tech, makes Karasuno’s ace, Asahi, tremble in fear?