Arbitrary rankings are fun! Especially when a show gives you a nice concise group of people in an easily defined group that you can then argue and re-arrange the order of how good they are. I did this with the Tiger and Bunny hero team back in the day and that was enjoyable, because it allowed me to both talk about the things I liked and things I didn’t like about Tiger and Bunny in a fun format. So I’m going to use that system for Haikyuu and rank my favourite to least favourite members of the main volleyball team in the show. Get ready for some serious Opinions to hit you square in the face.
Because he provides me with a seemingly endless supply of pissed off Kageyama faces. Also because I love how he’s a natural asshole who is desperately trying to curb his natural dickish instincts and be nice to people. You can see him mentally straining with the stress of being nice to people and restraining the way he speaks to people. He’s got an actual character arc where he goes from stuck up ponce to someone who has learned from his mistakes and is trying to become a better person. In a show that moves as friggen slowly as Haikyuu does, it’s great that there’s actually an arc that has been properly developed with at least one of the characters. But yeah, it’s mostly for the pissed off faces.
You know that scene in anime where our main character walks down the street and accidentally bumps into a bunch of street punks. He says sorry only to turn around and see this skinhead asshole with shark teeth glaring at him going “watcha gonna do ’bout it ehhh” while he cracks his knuckles and tries his best to arc his body over his victim so he appears more menacing? That’s Tanaka. Except this time he’s on your side and you can stand back and cheer him on. Tanaka is the sempai you always wanted to have and, more importantly, you are the kohai Tanaka always wanted to have.
Yeah he’s got some annoying traits. He’s basically the stupid airhead genki girl in a dude’s body, which is normally one of my least favourite character archetypes. But he’s definitely grown on me. I like his enthusiasm for the dumbest things and that the show makes fun of him for that. He’s bounding up and down behind Tanaka yelling “yeah yeah you tell him”. Sometimes my natural cynicism takes over and I find him eyeroll-inducing, but other times his natural enthusiasm for the game is infectious. Plus the faces of the opposing team and spectators when he pulls of his Secret Move with Kageyama is absolute gold and my favourite part of the whole show. Apart from pissed off Kageyama faces.
It turns out my favourite characters in Haikyuu are the massive arseholes. Not sure whether that’s because I’m tired of the shounen inspirational speeches the show trots out regularly or I just find arseholes funny, but anyway. Tsuki is basically just one big walking arsehole. He is a gaping anus on legs and a pair of glasses. Every line he utters is him being a bumhole. He appears infrequently enough that it hasn’t stopped being funny to me. Maybe he’ll eventually have an actual character arc, but for now he’s funny just being the giant arse.
Starting to drift towards the characters I don’t like now, although I’m generally OK with Daichi. I like his angry eyes he gives people when they’re too busy fucking around being shounen idiots and makes them get back on with the plot, because Haikyuu really could do with more people kickstarting the plot. He does stupid inspirational shounen speeches, but they’re short and don’t clog up an episode. He’s got an interesting team-player dynamic in that he’s an all-round talent rather than being good at one particular thing, which shakes up the team in interesting ways. He’s not much of a character but he’s not a noticeable drag either.
There’s an interesting thing building up with Suga and how he’s been displaced by the widely more talented first year and the possible growing resentment in his mind towards that, but it hasn’t been really explored yet. Otherwise he just sits around being kinda useless. It really feels like the author forgot about him when building the team and realised too late there wasn’t a position for him anymore. Perhaps the author didn’t really like him?
7: This guy
He is the irritating loudmouth inspirational speech giving blockhead idiot shounen protagonist. He is the Blackstar from Soul Eater. He is the Naruto from…oh what’s that anime’s name…oh yes, he’s Naruto from Ojamajo Doremi. He’s irritating as fuck and will never shut the hell up with his big shounen chest chumping. The speeches are dumb, irritating, take up way too much time, and reiterate the same goddamn points the show has been bringing up since the start. They’re not even particularly interesting points. He’s basically just saying “yo man I got yo back”. I managed to say that in 6 words, and quite frankly the first two words aren’t necessary. He doesn’t need several episodes to say that.
Noya is an irritating shounen protagonist, but I know how to deal with that. Other characters respond to him in ways that are potentially entertaining because he wears those feelings on his sleave. Asahi meanwhile has internal monologues of the most eye-roll inducing manner. His melodramatic internal monologues are like those out of a josei manga with stretched metaphors and making mountains out of molehills. Those internal monologues are arguably even worse than the shounen shouted speeches because at least other people can react and be entertaining in their own way. With Asahi we’re just stuck in his head as he turns dreadful amateur poet. He finally appears to be graduating beyond that, so maybe if I held out a few more episodes he would no longer be bottom, but I can’t ignore those stretch of awful episodes where he moped about, ruining the show.