With a surprisingly talented set of rookies, Karasuno’s volleyball team is ready to reclaim its former glory. First, Yu Nishinoya, a talented player for the libero position, comes back, leading them to beg Asahi Azumane, known as the “Ace” to return as well. Meanwhile, the team’s hapless amateur advisor Takeda has his own plans – bring in a coach with a famous name and lots of talent.
Asahi seems to miss volleyball, but his personality type is too inclined to self-blame. While everyone else remembers him as the “ace” and that the team leaned on him far too much, what Asahi remembers is failing his teammates. He’s sure he can’t succeed if he finds himself back in front of the net.
While the team keeps trying to bring back Asahi, Takeda continues to beg the grandson of Karasuno’s once-famous Coach Ukai to come and be their new coach. Ukai gives excuse after excuse untilTakeda finally schedules Karasuno a practice game – against friendly rival Nekoma. About eight years ago, the schools were close rivals, but once their coach went into retirement, the rivalry disappeared. This is just enough to entice Ukai, who was part of the volleyball team during the height of the Karasuno x Nekoma rivalry.
To prepare for their match, Ukai sets up a practice match between Karasuno high and the Karasuno Municipal volleyball team. Asahi happens by this game and gets dragged in by the enthusiasm. The team ultimately loses this match, but they end it as a more cohesive, hopeful group.
I’m actually enjoying Haikyu!! quite a bit. There are just two things that drag it down for me – one more important than the other. The first, tiny detail is I’m starting to feel a little weird about Kiyoko, who really seems to only be a character in theory. She shows up in a panel or two, but almost never has a scene (in this volume she was a topic of conversation in one panel, I believe, but had no lines of her own). The other issue, which is much bigger, is that I almost found myself a little bored during this volume.
Volleyball is interesting to read about, and the teamwork-oriented discussions can be super-inspiring. But there are only so many fairly straightforward games you can read your way through before you’re wanting just a little bit of variety. The story of the Karasuno high team as they try to bring themselves back is pretty uplifting – I’m just ready for some more plot, or more drama. Three volumes in we’re only just completing the actual team with all the players back and a coach in place.
I for sure am still enjoying Haikyu!! enough to pick up volume 4, but hopefully we’re about to get a change of pace.
Catch Haikyu!! volume 4 on October 4th, 2016