Sports anime has been thriving in Japan and the rest of the world. They can be just as good as any shonen anime. In fact, the characters playing a sport against another team brings out almost the same feelings as watching a high-intensity fight scene. If you find this hard to believe, maybe you should try out a sports anime for yourself.
If you are trying to understand the hype over sports anime, then you should try watching Haikyuu!!. It is a volleyball-based sports anime that follows the story of a short volleyball player named Shoyo Hinata. The anime was so popular that there are even stage plays and video games about it.
If you’re also looking for a long anime, Haikyuu currently has four seasons and a number of movies to keep you busy. Here’s a simple watch order guide for Haikyuu!! to help you get into the field.
Haikyuu!! Season 1
Haikyuu!! Season 1 introduces the main character Shoyo Hinata who isn’t too large of a guy, but he definitely has large ambitions. He saw a shot player score in a National Championship for Volleyball and had since wanted to be the next big thing in Volleyball history. He managed to get a team together, but another junior high school team utterly annihilated them.
Now in high school, Hinata decides to sign up for the volleyball team. But, to his surprise, Tobio Kageyama, a member of the opposite team’s volleyball varsity, is now in the same high school as he is and is joining the same volleyball team.
The first season of Haikyuu aired on April 6, 2016, and ended on September 21, 2014. It covers the first parts of the manga up to the conclusion of the Interhigh competition.
Haikyuu!! Lev Genzan! (OVA)
The OVA introduced the arrival of Nekoma High School’s new volleyball player recruit, Lev Haiba, a Half-Japanese and Half-Russian student who grew up in Japan. The OVA shows the surprising background and progress of Lev Haiba and his relationships with his other teammates.
Gekijo-ban Haikyuu!! Owari to Hajimari (First Movie)
This movie is the first of a two-part compilation series of movies based on the Haikyuu!! manga. It covers the first season of the Haikyuu!! anime adaptation of the sports manga. Viewers can choose to skip this movie, but also it’s nice to have a good refresher before you begin season 2. Additional scenes from the manga that weren’t shown in the anime are present in the movie. An example is a scene that shows Kenma and Kuroo’s childhood in Chapter 32 is now present in the movie.
Gekijo-Bban Haikyuu!! Shousha to Haisha
This is the second part of the first set of compilation movies for Haikyuu!!. It starts where the first movie left off and includes the remaining parts of season 1. Like the first movie, if you feel you want to proceed to season 2, you are not missing a lot if you decide not to watch the first two movies. A couple of additional scenes are included, but it is hardly referred back to in the series.
Haikyuu!! Season 2
Kurasuno High is eager to do better. All the team members are now working hard in practice, taking off from the first season. The faculty advisor receives a message from Nekoma to invite his team to their training camp along with the high school teams. Most of season 2 focuses on Hinata and Kageyama’s teamwork. The group meets other amazing teams and other top players. Now, everyone is working towards Spring Nationals.
Season 2 has a total of 25 episodes that ran from October 4, 2015, to March 26 of the following year.
Haikyuu!! vs Akaten (OVA)
Just because you are playing for the school doesn’t mean you are excused from schoolwork. You still have to perform and balance your academics to be able to participate in club activities. The OVA takes place somewhere in the second season. Here, both Hinata and Kageyama have to take a make-up exam for a test they both failed. The problem? The exam dates overlap with their training camp schedule.
Haikyuu!! Season 3
Despite only having ten episodes, Haikyuu!! season 3 is definitely one of the most exciting seasons of the series. The anime showed a thrilling match against the school’s strongest rival team. Fans get to witness and appreciate the other high school team and their members. Which of the two schools will come out victorious? Kurasuno or Shiratorizawa?
Haikyuu! Toukushuu! Haru-kou Volley Ni Kaketa Seishun (OVA)
This is a special OVA that revisits some of the matches from the spring tournament. It features highlights and several other memorable moments from the second and third seasons. As a bonus, the OVA also features interviews of the players during the matches. Of course, you can skip the OVA, but this is a pretty fun watch. The interviews make it a fun revisit.
Haikyuu!! Movie 3: Sainou to Sense
Speaking of revisiting, Haikyuu Movie 3 also takes us back to the volleyball boot camp and even covers the match against Aoba Johsai High. New scenes are included, similar to the older movie. While you can watch this after the second season, I prefer watching this compilation series one after the other. This is because season 3 just covered the finale of the tournament. I like to look at seasons 2 and 3 as one connective story.
The fourth movie is the second compilation movie to this one.
Haikyuu!! Movie 4: Concept no Tatakai
The 4th movie is the final part of the second compilation movies. It covers the third season, the entire final match in the Spring Tournament. After winning their way up the finals, Karasuno now stands in the finals. The tournament’s winning team has the opportunity to represent Miyagi Prefecture on the National Stage. In all honesty, I feel the third season deserves a movie to wrap it up. I am happy that Production I.G. made it possible.
Haikyuu!! To the Top (first part)
Due to the pandemic, the 4th season was split into two parts. After their Amazing triumph against the national level team, Shirtoririzawa Academy, Karasuno High now set their sights towards the Nationals. Both Kageyama and Tsukishima manage to score invites to play and train against stronger volleyball players to better prepare themselves for the tournament. However, Hinata receives no invites and feels left out.
Hinata, desperate to receive some sort of special training in preparation for the tournament, tries to sneak himself into Tsukishima’s training camp. However, he wasn’t allowed to play and was only allowed to watch as a ball boy. Despite not receiving any physical training, Hinata uses this opportunity to observe and learn from other players by watching them.
Haikyuu!! To the Top (second part)
After the team made the necessary preparations for Nationals, they now enter the National Stage for volleyball. The season starts off with a pretty tricky first match against Inarizaki High School. It turns out that this school was last year’s runner-up in the Spring Tournament, and they seem to have become strong enough to enter Nationals.
The team finds Inarizaki’s Miya brother especially difficult to handle in the match. Right off the bat, Karasuno is already overwhelmed by the cheers of the supporters coming from Inarizaki’s side. It looks like part of the second season has a lot of promising matches ahead if this is just the first match.