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HAIKYU!! The Dumpster Battle Review: An Epic Showdown Between Cats and Crows

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Thomas Richards
| June 22, 2024
hello world!

When you think of sports anime, a few always come up. The main ones are Kuroko’s Basketball, Free!, BLUE LOCK, and arguably the most popular one, HAIKYU!!. HAIKYU!! has been a pillar of the anime space for years, but fans have been left wanting more since Season 4 wrapped up at the end of 2020. But now, after so many years of nothing, the next chapter in this volleyball story is upon us in HAIKYU!! The Dumpster Battle. This film is a direct sequel to Season 4 of the anime and picks up right where the series left off, right before the heated showdown between rivals. Does the film spike its way to critical acclaim? Or is it more like a failed serve? Let’s find out!

A Storied Rivalry

These crows are gonna fly (©2024”HAIKYU!!”Project ©H.Furudate / Shueisha)

As I already mentioned, Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle is a direct sequel to Season 4 of Haikyu!!. The film’s plot is the entirety of the Karasuno vs. Nekoma match at the Spring National Tournament. Besides some flashbacks and moments at the story’s beginning and end, that’s all. This film is one match. But god damn, is this match intense as balls. You’d think that from hearing that brief overview, this would be a pretty dull time, but you are not prepared for the number of twists, turns, and emotional moments that occur during this one match. You have the Nekoma setter Kenma, plotting the entire game to break Hinata’s will to keep going. Tsukishima is finding his love for volleyball and becoming even better friends with Tadashi. And don’t even get me started on the backstory of Kenma and Kuroo that made my friend burst out crying in the cinema.

And that’s just the emotional character moments. I haven’t even mentioned the pulse-pounding action that is every second of this film yet. There were the near misses, the perfect receives, the tense rallies, and even spikes that shook the ground. Granted, if you aren’t a massive sports fan, you might find some of this boring, but that’s a you problem. I was fully wrapped up in this story from beginning to end both times I saw it (once in English and once in Japanese). It might’ve also helped that I just finished watching the entire series the day before. The only negative I could say about this story is that it’s not beginner-friendly at all. If you’ve never seen the series, you won’t know what’s happening. So, just bear that in mind, but if you have seen the series, you’ll love this story as much as I did.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Intensity is rising. (©2024”HAIKYU!!”Project ©H.Furudate / Shueisha)

There was a decent amount of time between the end of Season 4 and the film (2000 to 2024), and the anime first aired over a decade ago, so I was a little concerned that some of the voice actors wouldn’t return. Luckily, every voice actor for the dub and the original Japanese returned to lend their talents to the film. Having seen the film in both languages, I can say that they both deliver on every front. Standouts are Hinata (Bryson Baugus, Ayumu Murase), Tsukishima (Leraldo Anzaldua, Kouki Uchiyama), Kenma (Clint Bickham, Yuuki Kaji), and Kuroo (Ty Mahany, Yuuichi Nakamura). Hinata’s struggle to overcome the soul-crushing situations that Kenma traps him in is performed excellently in both languages. And speaking of Kenma, the way that both actors showcased him getting more invested in the game (one scene in particular) sent chills down my spine. Tsukishima’s newfound love for volleyball comes across perfectly, and the snarky but caring Kuroo is also captured well here.

And then there’s the rest of the characters and voice cast, who are just as fantastic even if they didn’t get as much focus. Kageyama (Scott Gibbs, Kaito Ishikawa) and Lev (Mike Yager, Mark Ishii) specifically were my favourites aside from the four I already mentioned. Kageyama for his and Hinata’s little spats (which were funny in both languages), and Lev is just a fun character whenever he’s on screen. And they even had ma bois Bokuto (Ian Sinclair, Ryouhei Kimura) and Akaashi (Jeremy Gee, Ryouta Oosaka) show up! They don’t even play in this match, but I loved seeing them give some running commentary throughout. I could go on and on about how much I adore this cast of characters, but you don’t have the time for that, and I don’t have the word count.

Why Does Volleyball Look So Good!

He just happy to be here. (©2024”HAIKYU!!”Project ©H.Furudate / Shueisha)

Like the series, the film was animated by Production I.G, and they did a masterful job here. Everything looked so crisp and fluid and just a feast for my eyeballs. Usually, when it comes to anime films, you expect a leap in quality, but I was not expecting this. Everything from how the characters moved to the camera angles and even how expressive the faces were. I didn’t look away once, fearing I’d miss out on anything. They re-animated a scene from Season 1, which was a nice touch. There were two stand-out scenes, though. The first was a rally that happened about halfway through the match, and it was beautiful! It looked like it was one continuous shot, and it got my heart racing. The other was towards the end, and no spoilers here, but it was from the perspective of one of the players, and I loved how you could feel the desperation and drive to win. I wish more sports anime did this; it was amazing.

And don’t even get me started on the hype soundtrack that made everything even more intense. Besides the main theme, “Orange” by SPYAIR, the rest of the instrumental music elevated the viewing experience tenfold. It also made the moments when all music stopped even more intense. And just a little side-note, but the footstep sounds were oddly satisfying to me. It was the same in the series, and I think every anime/film/television studio should copy what Production I.G does cause it’s satisfying AF.

That boy can jump. (©2024”HAIKYU!!”Project ©H.Furudate / Shueisha)

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle was phenomenal from beginning to end. I loved the story, the characters, the performances, the animation, and the soundtrack. There isn’t a single thing that I did not enjoy in this film. The only thing I could say is that it isn’t beginner-friendly, but that can easily be fixed because you can watch the entire series on Crunchyroll right now! So what are you waiting for? Go watch Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle now! And keep it locked to Couch Soup for even more anime content to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Have you seen Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle? What did you think? Who’s your favourite character? Let us know in the comments where we can talk about the best sports anime films.

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