A typical plotline includes a protagonist and an antagonist. The antagonist is someone who opposes the protagonist, or the main character. This often puts the antagonist in the villain position. The antagonist is someone who is evil, who is getting in the hero’s way, someone who needs to be stopped and hated. But what if the antagonist isn’t the enemy, but is just an opponent.
Friendly rivalry’s happen all the time. Soma and Akira are rivals, and technically, Akira is an antagonist but not in an evil way. In a respectable way. Melodias and Ban are rivals, and neither of them is the villian.
In Haikyuu, we identify Hinata, Kageyama and the Karasuno team as protagonists, but who are the antagonists? Everyone else? Sure. But these antagonists aren’t villains. Haikyuu has no villains.
Sure, there may be frustrating opponents. Oikawa teasing Kageyama may make you want to hit him in the face with the ball, but you also respect him as a player.
In the first round of preliminaries, Karasuno has the upper hand. They are so much better than the other team, they crush them within the first half of the episode. Its one point after another after another. In this situation, because most protagonists are described as underdogs, Tokonami should have been the protagonists and Karasuno would be the big bad bullying team, the antagonists. In fact, we see more introspective scenes from the Tokonami team than Karasuno during the match. There are lots of memories from Ikejiri, who attended middle school with Daichi and now belongs to the Tokonami team. He would remember quotes from Daichi, about not giving up. It was very much a protagonists ramping up to defeat the final boss type feel. But Karasuno was not the enemy, and Tokonami was not the hero. Both teams were just that… teams. They were equal. This was emphasized when Ikejiri commented on how Karasuno was not making fun of them or taking them lightly. Bullies are the type of people who mock you and go easy while being condescending. That was not happening here.
Even Oikawa, who was observing the match, admired that despite having a clear advantage and a second match later on, that the Karasuno team gave their all.
The girls team was also competing, and it gave a different side to the volleyball game. They were not as dedicated to training as the boys, and went in with a poor mentality. The leader, Michimiya kept remembering things Daichi had said to her to try and keep the team inspired. They eventually lost their game, and it showed them crying, It showed a lot of female players crying. The contrast between the male team winning and cheering and the female team in tears.. It was saddening. Then came a montage of ‘fallen’ players whose season was over now. It showed various reactions to the loss, from crying, to anger to solemn silence. Females and males.
It bridges the scenes between the wins and loses well. The constant memories of Daichi in both Ikejiri and the female Karasuno team switched to those characters well, and in bringing up Hinatas loss in the preliminaries, it carried it back over to the realization that they had won in an official match. His face though! 🐱
I wasn’t a fan of them showing the females sobbing but not the males at first, but they did show more males crying during the montage. The Tokonami players as well were fairly upset. And granted its probably the most realistic reaction. Girls would cry. Im just being nitpicky. I keep praising the show because I like it so much, I cant ignore things. Hinatas leg was all wonky in one scene. It was all thin and wobbly. I do like how the net kinda fades away when looking through it to see someone’s face. Nice touch!
So match 1 of the preliminaries was pretty quick. I remember where it left off in season 1, so the battle against Dateko is next. There will most likely be a focus on Asahi since they are the team that broke him in March. So my next post will be all about that match. It’s a good match. Hinata didn’t use his freak quick in this first match, because they didn’t need to.
Because we weren’t seeing a lot of impact from the Karasuno side, and did not get to hear Kageyama screaming and Tanaka hollering, the Karasuno team seemed rather.. Professional compared to when everything is focussed on them. Its not a good or bad thing, its just something I noticed. Its like the phenomena where something is broken, until you go to get it fixed. In tv land, nothing big happens unless your focussing on it.
I know I know, its not 5 episodes. But id rather go battle by battle at this point instead of cutting off in the middle of a battle. There’s often a lesson to be learned in each one. Im still hoping to reach the October 8th deadline, but I may not, but im definitely finishing this and covering Haikyuu Season 3!!
Checkout my other Haikyuu Posts HERE and Checkout Hitori no Shita, HERE!
Thanks for reading!