- Oct 25, 2017
"To the Top" is Season 4 of the anime series ハイキュー( or "haikyuu" - literally translates to "volleyball") based on the eponymous manga by Haruichi Furudate which started in 2012. Reddit has a further breakdown on the meaning of the name and why it's written in katakana instead of hiragana. The last anime episode aired almost 3 years ago (December 10, 2016) so it's been a long hiatus for the fanbase. If you have not seen S1 to S3 please watch those seasons first as nothing will make much sense jumping into S4 directly. The manga and show was also made in such a way that it slowly teaches you about volleyball including the rules, positions, techniques, jargon, strategies, etc. as the show progresses.
I only have a passing interest in volleyball as a sport and anime in general, but this show is really something special. ProZD sums up my experience:
The show mixes hand-drawn animation with CG elements (the volleyball spinning) very well to create dynamic action that is very different from the static volleyball angles typically seen on television.
The show also uses a very memorable soundtrack to warm your soul and tug at your heartstrings. The stories are a more grounded version of typical sports anime so no magic serves or teleportation spikes here, but it is filled with goofy Japanese teenagers trying & crying hard.
The series has been so successful that there has been a 20% increase in Japanese high school volleyball since the manga started, which is doubly impressive considering Japan's shrinking student population.
Volleyball's popularity in Japan is peaking with Japan's surprise 4th place finish in the men's and 5th place in the women's FIVB World Cup 2019. The 2nd cour will be culminating with the Tokyo Olympics (July 24-Aug 9).
The two main characters are two first years: middle blocker Hinata Shoyo a 5'5"/164cm redhead with a 40"/101cm vertical leap (think Mugsey Bogues dunking a basketball), but no formal volleyball training and Kageyama Tobio - a 6'/182cm setter who is a top prospect to become a professional volleyball player but has emotional and communication issues to work out. Both students played each other one fateful day in middle school and ended up together at Karasuno High School, a small school in the Miyagi countryside.
- A brief summary for each Cour and OVA is listed under blurry spoilers - click to reveal
Season 1 = Manga volumes 1 to 8 (chapters 1 to 71)
Cour1: Karasuno team adjusts to having Hinata and Kageyama
Cour2: Karasuno fail to qualify for the Interhigh tournament losing to Aobajohsai in the quarterfinals
Season 2 = Manga volume 9 to the middle of volume 17 (chapters 72 to 149)
OVA1: Nekoma's Liev introduction
OVA2: Hinata and Kageyama failing exams extended story
Cour1: Karasuno trains in Tokyo with top Tokyo teams
Cour2: Karasuno finally defeat Kageyama's arch-rival and senpai Oikawa/Aobajohsai and qualify for the Spring Tournament Miyagi regional finals
Anime Season 3 = Manga volume 17 to volume 21 (chapters 150 to 190).
Karasuno upsets Shiratorizawa to qualify for the Spring Tournament as the Miyagi regional representative. The season ends with Kageyama being announced as a participant in the National Youth volleyball training camp.
OVA 3 & 4: Manga volume 22-23 (chapters 191-206)
The Tokyo regional playoffs
Season 4 = Manga volume ?-? (chapters ?-?)
Cour1: Appears to be the drama surrounding the National Youth Volleyball training camp and the Miyagi Regional freshmen camp
- The previews tease out several people who I have no idea about but I'll update the OP once we learn more about them.
- Links are to official site model sheets with basic stats, school, and position
The ultimate decoy 1st year Middle Blocker for Karasuno that was not invited to the National Youth training camp
The genius 1st year Setter for Karasuno that was invited to the National Youth training camp
Karasuno's other 1st year Middle Blocker
Coach WASHIJO TANJI
The head coach of Shiratorizawa
AKA Guess Monster and 3rd year Middle Blocker from Shiratorizawa
The young Shiratorizawa ace Wing Spiker looking to replace Ushiwaka, the only 1st year starter on his team
AKA Radish head, a 1st year Middle Blocker from Aobajohsai, former middle school teammate of Kageyama
The 1st year lazy guy Wing Spiker from Aobajohsai, former middle school teammate of Kageyama
The 1st year baby bird giant Setter from Date Technical
The 2.0m (6'7") tall first year Wing Spiker from Kakugawa. He just started learning volleyball and expected things to be easy with his height.
Coach HIBARIDA FUKI
Japan's Olympic Men's team coach
Crunchyroll airtime is Fridays: https://www.crunchyroll.com/anime-news/2020/01/09-1/two-haikyu-ovas-are-ready-to-serve-on-crunchyroll
Official site: http://www.j-haikyu.com/
Reddit sticky infos: https://old.reddit.com/r/haikyuu/comments/em8cui/season_4_discussion_thread_information_and_season/
Fandom Wiki: http://haikyuu.wikia.com/wiki/Haikyuu!!_Wiki (beware of spoilers)
Trailer 1: To the Top https://youtu.be/gJv9fFJmnCA
Trailer 2: Hinata https://youtu.be/FJ_zbB3tV8Q
Trailer 3: Kageyama https://youtu.be/6QkarVdrgGQ