Season 5 of the anime is expected to animate the Karasuno versus Nekoma match, which the characters were seen gearing up for at the end of season 4.
This match has been both foreshadowed and hyped up since Haikyuu!! season 1, and is finally coming true, much to the joy of both the anime and manga enthusiasts. So, while the wait for season 5 continues, let’s look back at some of Karasuno High’s most intense official matches animated till now.
Top 5 official matches in Haikyuu!! that Karasuno High played in
5) Karasuno vs. Date Tech (Interhigh-Preliminaries, 2012)
Karasuno’s match against Date Tech was both the Haikyuu!! home team’s first major win and breakthrough past a strong opponent. The Date Tech team is known in the series for their impenetrable defence and are nicknamed “The Iron Wall of Date Tech.”
The match also served as a turning point for the ace of Karasuno, Azumane Asahi, a mild-mannered but powerful player. Date Tech was the first match in Haikyuu!! that highlighted the chemistry between the various team members.
It also showed an oddly respectful and frankly adorable friendship between the stoic Aone Takanobu and protagonist Hinata Shoyo.
4) Karasuno vs. Aoba Johsai (Spring High-Miyagi Prefecture Representative Playoffs, 2012)
Every match in Haikyuu!! highlights the specific struggles of one or more players, either of the Karasuno, or of the opposing team. Aoba Johsai especially, had a rocky history with Kageyama.
Most teammates from his middle school who had turned their backs on him, being unable to keep up with his skills, had joined the Aoba Johsai team. The team's captain Oikawa Tooru also had a complicated relationship with Kageyama.
This match was Karasuno’s second attempt at qualifying for the Nationals as the representative team for Miyagi prefecture. Previously having received a crushing defeat by the same team, this match served as redemption for both Karasuno and Kageyama.
They finally turned the tables on Aoba Johsai, ending with a complete reversal of the two teams’ positions, both figuratively, and literally. The match ended with Kageyama looking down at Oikawa in a pose that is strikingly similar to how the Aoba Johsai captain had previously looked at him during their defeat in Haikyuu!! season 2.
3) Karasuno vs. Aoba Johsai (Interhigh-Preliminaries, 2012)
The first time Karasuno played against Aoba Johsai, they were crushed completely. Oikawa’s experience and his ability to work seamlessly with his teammates paid dividence.
The title of the episode had also, very aptly, been named “Conductor.”
Despite ending in defeat for Karasuno, it became a poignant lesson and an impetus to move forward and win. The bitter taste of defeat was beautifully showcased in a post-match scene where Karasuno’s coach Ukai told them to eat and replenish themselves so they could fight once more. The boys burst into tears as their hunger took over, eating heartily.
Haikyuu!! creator Furudate Haruichi is a master of using metaphors to explore the various themes in the series. Hunger for food has, more than once, been used to depict the Karasuno team's hunger for victory.
With the crow being their mascot, other teams had even described them as scavengers, scrounging any skill they could to get the upper hand in a match.
2) Karasuno vs. Inarizaki (Spring High National Tournament, 2013)
The Karasuno vs. Inarizaki match during the second round at the Spring Inter High Tournament was one of the most intense matches of the Haikyuu!! series. The match was the highlight of season 4.
At the time, each member of the Karasuno team had polished their individual skillsets, but were going beyond their limits as they faced stronger adversaries.
Tanaka and Hinata were the ones who both got technical glow ups mid-match. The former nailed his cross and shots after having his spikes blocked repeatedly by the Inarizaki team.
This Haikyuu!! match highlighted not only the raw talent of the various players but also their tactical nous and endurance. The stamina and mental strength of both teams were pushed to the limit as the third set dragged on and on. Neither team was willing to give even an inch.
Hinata shone in this match, not only by virtue of his super-fast spikes or his skill at being a decoy, but surprisingly through the most glorious receive that brought Sugawara to tears.
The perfect receive came at a point when both teams started scrambling and moving faster. Their exhaustion instinctively made them want to end the match as soon as possible.
Hinata became a breath of fresh air that both teams needed, and changed the course of the match, giving Karasuno the clear focus they needed to achieve the win.
The theme of hunger appears again in this match as one of the Miya twins compared Karasuno, and especially Hinata’s hunger to score, to the satisfaction a food-lover felt after eating a delicious meal. But Osamu remarked on how relentless their hunger was, much like his own brother Atsumu.
Keeping aside the technical aspects and the sheer adrenaline rush of this match, the Inarizaki team also introduced a ton of interesting characters to the already huge cast of Haikyuu!!
Inarizaki players including the Miya twins, the shrewd middle blocker Suna Rintaro, ace Ojiro Aran, and the captain Kita Shinsuke became instant hits with fans of the series.
1) Karasuno vs. Shiratorizawa (Spring High-Miyagi Prefecture Representative Playoffs, 2012)
Karasuno’s match against Shiratorizawa was a watershed moment in Haikyuu!!, a do-or-die tug-of-war for qualifying for the Nationals. The Shiratorizawa captain, Wakatoshi Ushijima, was not only one of the three top aces in the country, but also the Under-19 representative for Japan for the World Youth Championship.
With a powerful left-handed spike bolstered by his trademark southpaw spin, Ushiwaka was nicknamed “Japan’s Cannon.”
This was the only official match played by Karasuno which consisted of five sets instead of the usual three. Two wins each for both teams culminate in the fifth and final set, a buildup almost as exciting as the initial foreshadowing of the match itself in Haikyuu!! season 2.
Hinata’s predatory look and defiant challenge issued to Ushiwaka irked the Shiratorizawa captain but also motivated him. The usually stoic player admitted that something about Hinata made him want to defeat him. Even the eccentric middle blocker, Tendou, remarked it was unusual for Ushiwaka to act so impulsively.
But the real star of this match is definitely Karasuno’s Tsukishima Kei. Until this match, Tsukishima was always seen treating volleyball as simply a club activity, keeping it at arm’s length. As his own insecurities and issues were explored, his hunger for improving himself also grew.
Season 2 of Haikyuu!! showed Nekoma captain Kuroo Tetsuro, Fukurodani captain Bokuto and setter Akaashi take Karasuno's first year under their wing. Bokuto told Tsukishima,
"Once that moment arrives for you, that is when you'll get hooked on volleyball."
Finally, that moment arrived for Tsukishima during this match, as he single-handedly blocked out one of Ushiwaka’s powerful spikes which everyone had barely managed to receive till then.
Haikyuu!! is a sports anime which follows many of the traditional stereotypes of its genre, but still manages to remain one-of-a-kind. The animation and treatment of the sport, along with the plethora of interesting and likable characters, all contribute to the show’s appeal.
This is further accentuated by a fantastic soundtrack and brilliant voice acting. With more projects to be revealed in January 2022, hopefully Haikyuu!! will get more new content soon.