Haikyuu, written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate, follows the story of young Hinata Shoyo. A boy inspired by “the little giant” to work hard to become a great volleyball player. Serialized in Shonen Jump and adapted by Production I.G, Haikyuu grew in ranks exponentially as it was even voted as the decade’s best sports anime. The story leaves the audience filled with emotions through moments that could even leave a non-volleyball fan hanging to the edge of their seats. And unlike other sports anime, which leaves the viewers confused, Haikyuu has its unique storytelling style. Which not just grasps the audience but also gives them full knowledge regarding the sport itself. The impact of Haikyuu was so huge that after its initial release, the number of volleyball players in Japan reportedly grew significantly.
In his first volleyball match ever, Hinata loses to Kageyama, which sparks a rivalry between them. So, wanting to defeat him, Hinata joins Karasuno High school, where he finds Kageyama. With Kageyama’s genius setting and Hinata’s athleticism, they form a deviant setter-spiker combination. And now, having the arsenal to do so, they aim to bring Karasuno back to its old ways where they aim to win the prefectures and go to the Nationals and play on the Orange Court.
Everyone on the Karasuno’s volleyball team aspires to overcome their fears and outgrow themselves. So do the players in other teams as they all have the same aim, to win. As we speak of winning, here we have listed Haikyuu’s Top 10 Matches of all time, where we will see the most impactful matches in the series.
10. Nekoma vs. Sarukawa (Spring Inter-High Nationals)
Nekoma faces Nekomata’s student’s team Sarukawa Tech in Haikyuu: to the Top. And both teams being defensive nature leads to long rallies. Sarukawa Tech, who is aware of Kenma’s capabilities, targets him. They aim to hit the ball so that Nekoma is unable to perform an A-pass, thus having Kenma keep moving. Considering Kenma, who is not the one to move more than necessary, starts getting tired through the long played-out rallies.
Having Kenma get tired from the very beginning meant removing Nekoma’s brain from the game, which seemed to be working. Having babied till now, Kenma finds it difficult to move around, even tripping over his feet. Kenma comes with a plan where the pass is off, and he moves to the position. But in fact, it was a diversion to make an open set.
Sarukawa Tech players realize that they were the ones being tricked and continue the game. As we near the end of the match, each move is tailored to perfection. But this has an interruption as Yaku cannot get the ball up properly, which leads Kenma to take extra effort. Everyone is actually shocked to see this as this set is scored, and Nekoma wins the game to move to the third round.
9. Karasuno vs. Date Tech (Inter-High Qualifiers)
Back when Asahi was in the second year, Karasuno faced Date Tech in the Spring Inter-High Qualifiers. In this match, Asahi faced the Date Tech’s Iron wall to be crushed by it and lose his confidence as the ace. Nishinoya was annoyed as he expected the attackers to do their job as long as he kept the ball up. This causes a commotion forming some cracks that are soon filled after the new first years’ arrival.
As the team tries to get into Nationals again, they face Date Tech in their second Qualifier match in Haikyuu Season 1. This was a chance for Asahi to redeem himself as the ace. And blast through the Iron Wall dominated by Second Year Aone. Hinata and Kageyama equip the freak quick, which leaves the opponents shocked as Hinata is forced to be dealt with. With few quicks done, all eyes are set on him as even Aone, a Read Blocker, starts Commit blocking Hinata. This makes him the greatest decoy as Hinata realizes how equally important his role was to the ace. He opens up new ways to attack, for Asahi, including a Back Attack.
Asahi keeps trying to break the iron wall, as Nishinoya keeps saving them from a Kill Block. And during this, we see one of Nishinoya’s most iconic moments as he digs a ball too far from him using his feet. Through constant attacks, Asahi finally breaks through as the ball drops down the net’s Date Tech side.
8. Karasuno vs Nekoma (Practice Game)
Years ago, this match was widely regarded as “Battle of the Garbage Dump.” Coach Ukai and Coach Nekomata were buddies who wanted this match to take place officially. But unfortunately for them, this couldn’t happen, and they both retired. As Nekomata came back from retirement, Takeda sensei uses this old connection to arrange a practice game with them.
Nekoma is a team in Haikyuu well known for their receives, which derives from their increased reflexes like that of a cat. So even though they do not have the best of attackers, they can still win games through their persistence to keep the ball in play.
As the match starts, Karasuno tries to break through the opponent’s defense, making use of their freak quick. They are shocked, but Nekoma’s setter and brain, Kozume Kenma, closely keeps an eye on the two and draws out a plan to stop them. Seeing that Hinata was Karasuno’s axis as an attack, they should stop him.
So, Kenma assigns Middle Blocker Inuoka to commit block Hinata. As the play continues, the freak quick is stopped for the first time, which gets repeated. Everyone thinks that considering Hinata’s only weapon being stopped; he must be devastated. But it only hypes him up as he enjoys trying to find different ways to defeat the opponent in front of him. Hinata starts opening his eyes, so Kageyama starts giving him normal sets too. And it only makes everyone think how deadly Hinata will be if he learns to use varied attacks with the freak quick. Karasuno loses the game, but this match starts to develop a bond between the two teams.
7. Karasuno vs Fukurodani (Practice Game)
As Karasuno tries to improve themselves in the training camp in Haikyuu Season 2, Hinata wants to improve too. He believes he should start opening his eyes during the freak quick, which causes a fight. Kageyama believes that his selfishness will cost the team’s balance. But wanting to step up, both of them start working on themselves to improve their quick. Hinata starts training with old man Ukai to get him a better understanding of attacks. While Coach Keishin Ukai suggests, Kageyama starts spinning the ball to stop it at the point of contact for Hinata.
And on the final day of their training week, they face Fukurodani High. Fukurodani was known to be in the top 4 schools globally, while its Ace, Kotaro Bokuto, was considered a Top 5 Ace. During this match, Hinata displays the new array of his attacks as he performs a feint taught to him by Bokuto himself. Kageyama and Hinata both feel that it was time for their new quickness as they exchanged glances. As they are successful, Hinata and Kageyama are overjoyed to bear the fruits of their labor finally. Fukurodani setter Akaashi realizes that it was an attack that was too dangerous even to attempt.
As the match continues, Bokuto, who was at the top of his game making accurate cross shots, starts losing focus. He starts misplacing his attacks, which leads him to enter his emo mode. Bokuto asks Akaashi not to set him, and he agrees. The rest of the Fukurodani were quite used to his slumps so that they can cover up for him. In contrast, he is left to win the game for them, regaining back all of his confidence.
6. Fukurodani vs. Nekoma (Spring Inter-High Qualifier Semi-final)
Fukurodani and Nekoma face-off in the semifinal in Haikyuu OVA: Land vs. Air. And as the match begins, Bokuto is quick to get the spotlight as his straight shots are as accurate as they can be. While his cross shots were received by an in-form Nekoma Libero, Yaku Morisuke. Knowing how good Bokuto’s cross shots are, they had decided to block them before the match. But Bokuto being on-point with his straight shots today, he keeps on piling them.
Kenma has a plan against this as they must allow Bokuto to hit a few more straight shots before they start blocking him in. A little later, Lev comes in and makes a few errors so, after a scolding from Kenma, he focuses much more on his game, scoring really high spikes.
As the game continues, Nekoma starts executing its plan to stop Bokuto. His straight attacks start to get blocked as Nekoma’s defense fills in gaps as time passes by. Akaashi realizes something is wrong with him as he remembers how when Bokuto excels on one part of his game, he is not able to do anything else. Akaashi takes it upon himself to open up a way for Bokuto as he is asked to hit a cross-shot. Akaashi lures in Lev to defend against a setter dump as a pass goes up, but he actually sets to Bokuto. Bokuto, thinking of the three rules of being an ace, hits an amazing cross-shot. As the match continues, Fukurodani wins the game going to the final to face Itachiyama.
5. Nekoma vs. Nohebi (Spring Inter-High Qualifier)
Nekoma and Nohebi, both having lost their semifinals, head to play the Third place match. During the match, Nohebi tries to insinuate aggression amongst Nekoma players. And as they do it, they stay on the good side of the referee. One of the moments was when Suguru Daisho hit the ball at Yamamoto’s face, apologizing later. As the game goes back and forth, Yaku tries to save a ball, which leads to him being tripped, thus hurting himself. So now, having lost their libero, they use their first-year libero, Shibayama.
He was not used to playing on the court and was thus easily intimidated. Later, they see hiding the ball away from the referee’s sight when they know the ball can’t be said. Unlike other teams in Haikyuu, Nohebi is a team willing to do anything to get the next point. Shibayama can play well now, yet Kurou Tetsuro does not seem to go out in his rotation. As him being there would be a good way to do a surprisingly use a back attack. He later chips his nail, so he gets Shibayama to replace him. Nohebi starts to rack up a few points, but Lev and Shibayama connect their block and receive to attack back, winning the game. Thus leading Nekoma to qualify for the Nationals, thus further appearing in Haikyuu: To the Top.
4. Karasuno vs. Aoba Johsai (Inter-High Prefectural Qualifiers)
Karasuno faces off against Aoba Johsai officially for the first time in Haikyuu. Kageyama gets ready to face his fears about playing against a team filled with his previous team-mates from Kitagawa Daichi. And as the match begins, Kageyama starts losing his focus on the goal. Which was to win the match as a team and not all by himself. He looks on to his old teammates giving their all while nothing happened back when he was in a team with them. After a few backs and forth between him Oikawa, he is subbed out to calm down and watch how Sugawara played.
As Sugawara comes on, he is started to be assessed by everyone. He was calm and collected and only played one’s normal sets by the book. But in his case, communication was key as he kept a lookout for his own team-mates to see what their condition was. And this would let him play the appropriate sets to the appropriate attacker. After some time, Kageyama is subbed back in to bolster their attack.
Kageyama coming meant Hinata would now be able to do his freak quick. So the match continues, but Karasuno does not seem to be getting ahead. So, Ukai uses Yamaguchi as a pinch server. It was his first game, so he messes up and hopes to be better the next time. As the game goes into the third set’s final stages, both teams refuse to let up. Hinata starts using his broad but is eventually stopped as well. So, having no other options left, Kageyama deploys the freak quick, but it gets blocked, and Karasuno loses the match, getting eliminated from the Qualifiers.
3. Karasuno vs. Shiratorizawa (Spring Inter-High Qualifiers)
Karasuno faces Shiratorizawa in the Finals, where we witness how much of a monster Ushijima Wakatoshi is. His left-handed canon is one that even Nishinoya is unable to deal with. But he soon gets the hang of it, putting Karasuno back in the game. The second set is a battle between the middle blockers, Tsukishima Kei and Tendou Satori. Tendou Satori making use of his Guess Blocking shuts out the freak quick. While Tsukishima comes with a plan to stop Ushijima. They use Total Defense, where they would force Ushijima to hit a straight only to be dug by Nishinoya.
Shiratorizawa setter, Shirabu starts getting restless thus makes the mistake of setting a low ball. Ushijima has no way another way but to blast through. Knowing this, Tsukishima uses it to shut down Ushijima and winning the set. This is truly a beautiful Haikyuu moment where Tsukishima finally views Volleyball as more than just a club.
Karasuno loses their third set and heads into their fourth set in a scenario that could cost them the match. This is a difficult scenario where everyone was getting tired, but Ushijima was still going strong. To stop him, Hinata starts jumping and running all around the court, winning the set for them.
During their final set, Tsukishima hurts his finger, forcing him to go to the infirmary. During this, Hinata must take the reins to block Ushijima. He is suggested to make a soft block by Ukai, which he technically does so. Tsukishima comes back on the court, which a double save by Nishinoya follows. As the rallies go longer, Ushijima starts getting frustrated. And Karasuno uses the Synchronized attack for Hinata to score the final point to win the finals.
2. Karasuno vs. Aoba Johsai (Spring Inter-High Qualifiers)
Having lost their last match against Aoba Johsai months ago, we had seen Karasuno crying over their meal in the first season. Having gone through that heartbreaking state, Karasuno has come back to redeem themselves. The reborn Karasuno faces Aoba Johsai head-on as they make an impact from the very beginning. Oikawa had improved his serves, making them much deadly, but Karasuno does not let up as they dominate the first set. As the set is about to be over, Aoba Johsai subs in Kyotani, a double-edged sword who smashes the ball out of play.
In the second set, Karasuno put Sugawara in the game to increase their options to attack. Kyotani makes an awesomely sharp cut shot as the play goes on, which leaves everyone in dismay. But this wasn’t a complete threat as Kyotani was reckless and was bound to make mistakes. To stop them from racking up points, Yamaguchi comes in as a pinch server. He redeems himself from the mistake he made last time as his serves lead Karasuno back at a tie with Aoba Johsai. But sadly, Karasuno loses the set; thus, the teams going into their fateful third and final set.
This set again starts with the impending threat of Oikawa’s serves. After Kyotani clashes their horns with Tanaka, he loses his composure, making plenty of mistakes that lead him to be subbed off. But he makes a comeback making another beautiful cut shot trying to help his seniors go to nationals. In the match’s final moments, everyone gets in the zone as no one makes a mistake. But Hinata wanted to redeem himself from the defeat from last time in Haikyuu as he can see his opponents thus aims perfectly to win the semifinals.
1. Karasuno vs. Inarizaki (Spring Inter-High Nationals)
Karasuno faces Inarizaki High, the runner-ups in the Inter-High Nationals. The team was well equipped with the Atsumu and Osamu – The Miya Twins, a top 5 ace Ojiro Aran and Middle Blocker Suna Rintaro. The match begins with the dual wielder Atsumu’s insane serve. Where we witness Inarizaki’s cheer squad impact the match from the seats themselves. As Hinata was hyped up seeing Hoshiumi Korai play, he too starts jumping as high as he can, changing his point of impact rapidly. Later, when Kageyama and Hinata display the freak quick, Atsumu Miya proposes to Osamu to try it too. The Miya Twins are successful as they are the only alternates able to do it in Haikyuu. As the play goes on, Tanaka starts going into a slump, so he gets himself back up to hit an insane cut shot to win the first set.
In the second set, we met Inarizaki Captain Shinsuke Kita, a punctual person who did what he did to the best of his abilities. During this match, we even see Nishinoya fight his weakness of overhand receives. But thinking back to his training with Kinoshita, he can receive them well. But the moments which truly grasp us are surrounding Hinata’s growth. He makes precise receives against spikes from Rintaro and Aran. And by the end of the match, as everyone starts playing as fast as they can, Hinata calms them down, making a really high receive. They can breathe and think well when their attack is returned by the Miya Twins using Twin’s Quick: Minus Tempo Reverse. This quick is blocked by Hinata and Kageyama winning the match, as they are the only ones who predict this move.