Some volleyball related pun, I don’t know
- Episodes : 1
- Genre : Sports, Shonen, Drama
- Airing Date : September 2017
- Studios : Production I.G.
Haikyuu!! Movie 4: Concept no Tatakai Introduction
The anime recap film is a very interesting beast. Around the time the idea first came into being, these sorts of movies were able to breath new life into almost failing franchises like Space Battleship Yamato by finding them a wider audience and many good examples can still be found today, such as this year’s One Piece: Episode of East Blue, which used a movie budget to retell a story that was originally shown with sparse movement and incomplete backgrounds as a dynamic sakuga showcase. Unfortunately, between then and now, most compilation films have fallen flat on their face.
With how much of a show needs to be omitted from a compilation film, fewer talented directors tend to leave some of the most appealing elements on the cutting room floor. Sometimes memorable ancillary elements are thrown out the window in order to focus squarely on the major plot points, be they fun or not, and other times even making the plot followable is too much to ask. So where does the 4th Haikyuu!! compilation movie fit on the scale of anime recap films?
What We Liked About Haikyuu!! Movie 4: Concept no Tatakai
The film recaps the third season’s match between Karasuno High and Shiratorizawa Academy and hits most, but not all, of the right points. The match is easy to follow and character subplots are preserved well enough and despite cutting a lot of content, the story still feels mostly complete and satisfying from the opening running training to the characters’ tearful finally.
1. A decent example of how to do recap movies
It’s not going to draw in any fans the manga or tv series wouldn’t have, but it does make the right choices in what to cut and what to keep to come off as a faithful retelling. The best animated moments of the third season are all here, the plot is easy to follow and enough moments of levity and character building are preserved to stop it from feeling dreary. The story arc it takes from only lasted 10 episodes, too, which means that while the movie is still on the faster side, there isn’t too much material crammed in to wreck the pacing.
2. Cuts the bullshit
Haikyuu!! rightfully has a well-earned reputation for delivering standout animation, but like fellow Weekly Shonen Jump alumnus Dragonball, it mostly does so by way of a few scattered moments of incredible motion intercut with a lot of other characters standing around and talking. Now to be fair, this does give the show a chance to explain the more technical aspects of what’s going on, but it still slows down the experience nonetheless, so it’s nice to see this sort of direction kept to a minimum in the film.
3. All the qualities of Haikyuu!!
With how much we’ve been playing this up as a faithful condensation of the arc in the show, it should come as no surprise that everything fans love about the Haikyuu!! series will be present in the movie. It has the same style and animation quality along with the same plot points and character beats that have made it one of the most popular sports manga/anime franchises.
1. It’s only a volleyball game
That's not to say that volleyball games aren't cool, but from start to finish, there are only a few fleeting minutes spent leading up to the match or seeing the results. Yeah, everyone's coming to see the match, so of course, they're going to focus on it but that doesn't mean they can't spend some time fleshing out the couple of scenes they have that take place off the court. There isn't even a training montage, what even is a sports movie without a training montage?
2. Doesn’t contribute anything of note
As faithful a compression as this film is, it does little else to justify its existence. There’s no new animation, no additional main plot focus given, and it doesn’t even condense that much of the anime. Sure, on one hand recapping only 10 episodes gives the movie easily balanced cohesion and entertainment, but on the other hand, of course, it was able to keep it cohesive and entertaining, it's only recapping ten episodes. Most people can manage to watch that many anyway.
3. All the faults of Haikyuu!!
As we’ve been saying, the movie is a faithful adaptation of the arc it’s recapping and that means warts and all. If you don’t like certain aspects of the series like how little buildup opponents get, how plot points that could be solved quickly get dragged out forever or the shallow and already tired crow metaphors are overused, that’s still all in the final product.
The 4th Haikyuu!! movie is harmless enough and succeeds in recapping the third season, but as both a standalone film and as an entry in the Haikyuu!! franchise it doesn’t do enough to justify being watched for any other reason. On the plus side, it’s still Haikyuu!! for the many people who like it, but on the downside, those people will generally be much happier sticking with the show or manga.