Wednesday, December 16, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: HAIKYU!! Volume 37


MANGAKA: Haruichi Furudate
TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
LETTERS: Erika Terriquez
EDITOR: Marlene First
ISBN: 978-1-9747-1169-7; paperback (March 2020); Rated “T” for “Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 US, $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Haikyu!! is a Japanese sports manga series written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate.  This manga was serialized in the manga magazine, Weekly Shōnen Jump, from February 2012 to July 2020.  VIZ Media has been publishing an English-language edition of Haikyu!! as a paperback graphic novel series under its “Shonen Jump” imprint since July 2015.

Haikyu!! focuses on Shoyo Hinata.  As a child, Hinata saw the legendary volleyball (haikyu) player known as “the Little Giant” compete at the national volleyball finals.  From that point, Hinata began a quest to be the best volleyball player ever.  In a sport in which tall athletes dominate, however, Hinata's height of 5'4” is considered too short.  Now, he plays for Karasuno Public High School with his rival, Tobio Kageyama.  Hinata does not believe that a player needs to be tall in order to play volleyball, especially when a player can jump higher than anyone else – as he can.

As Haikyu!!, Vol. 37 (Chapters 323 to 331; entitled “The Party's Over”) opens, it is Day 3 of the “National Spring Tournament.”  The third set in the match between Karasuno (representing Miyagi Prefecture) and Nekoma Municipal High School (Tokyo Venue Sponsor representatives), which some call the “Dumpster Battle,” nears its end.  This longtime dream match between Karasuno and Nekoma on center stage must come to an end.  So who will end?

Then, the narrative moves away from Karasuno for another big showdown.  It is Mujinazaka High School (representing Oita Prefecture) versus Fukurodani Academy (Tokyo second representative).  And Fukurodani's Kotaro Bokuto is hyped to face one of the top three aces in the nation, Mujinazaka's Wakatsu Kiryu!

[This volume includes a bonus story, “Couples.”]

THE LOWDOWN:  I am continuing my run through the Haikyu!! manga.  This calendar year I have read six volumes in a little under ten months, after not reading the manga for a year and a half.

Haikyu!! Graphic Novel Volume 37 brings the Karasuno-Nekoma Dumpster Battle to an end.  Since the series does not end with this volume, it must be obvious which team creator Haruichi Furudate made the winner.  Furudate's big twist is that the series focuses on the volleyball journey of two other schools.  I won't lie.  Focusing away from Karasuno's journey makes the series feel different, and it does affect my concentration on the main narrative.  I don't know which team to support because both are sympathetic, so …

Adrienne Beck's translation deftly captures the end of the Dumpster Battle and quickly moves onto a new story angle.  Letterer Erika Terriquez continues to shine in creating the furious comic book noise of Haikyu!! and of the game of volleyball … regardless of which school is in battle.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of sports manga will want the “Shonen Jump” title, Haikyu!!

7.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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