Are Two Haikyuu!! Movies Really Enough to Adapt the Final Arc?

   The following contains spoilers for Haikyuu!! by Haruichi Furudate, Adrienne Beck and Erika Terriquez, available in English now from Viz Media.

   It has been a long two years for Haikyuu!! fans waiting for news about a potential Season 5, but the official Haikyuu!! Twitter account has revealed a two-part film that appears to adapt the remaining chapters in the beloved volleyball manga. There was initially some confusion — it had appeared there would be a new season in addition to the movies — but this was later clarified by the account.

   The announcement brought mixed emotions from fans; on one hand, they were elated knowing an animated film adaptation of the hit sports series is on the way. Others, however, are upset that the rest of the Haikyuu!! manga — more than 100 chapters — will somehow be adapted into two movies. Is it really possible to successfully adapt so much material into just two films?

   Haikyuu!!’s Story So Far

Yu and Shoyo from Haikyuu!


   Ever since Shoyo Hinata saw the Little Giant, a volleyball player who seemed to fly on TV, his life was forever changed. The sight inspired him to play volleyball and he met his first rival in middle school: Tobio Kageyama, who was a genius setter and notoriously known as the King of the Court. When Hinata arrived at Karasuno High School, he hoped to improve so he could play against Kageyama once more — little did he know they would now play on the same court as teammates.

   Hinata and Kageyama became known as the freak duo thanks to their special technique where the former would be able to spike the latter’s superfast set with his eyes closed. After a key defeat in Season 1, the Karasuno team realized they all had to evolve in order to get better. After their win over Aoba Johsai in the semifinals, Karasuno went on to defeat Shiratorizawa in the finals to qualify for Nationals. Most recently in Season 4 of Haikyuu!!, Karasuno paired up against the talented Inarizaki team, where Hinata and Kageyama had their hands full with the Miya twins.

   The Remaining Manga Arcs in Haikyuu!!

Nekoma team cat eyes


   Following Karasuno’s triumph over Inarizaki, they must now face Nekoma in the legendary Battle at the Garbage Dump. Karasuno and Nekoma have faced each other many times in practice matches, with Karasuno’s aggressive offensive style often coming up short against Nekoma’s unflinching resilience and their ability to never let the ball hit the ground. Karasuno will then play against Kamomedai, who were first introduced in Season 4 of the Haikyuu!! anime. Disaster strikes and their first time at Nationals ends soon after.

   After graduation, all the players have gone their separate ways. Some have decided to stop playing volleyball after high school and others, like Kageyama, have gone on to become professional athletes. Hinata, however, has gone on a different route — all the way to Brazil, where he takes up beach volleyball to improve his skills in every aspect. When he returns to Japan, he’s like an entirely different player and the match between his team and Kageyama’s team is of epic proportions.

   How the Rest of Haikyuu!!’s Manga May Be Adapted

haikyuu karasuno inarizaki victory


   The studio opting to go the movie route for Haikyuu!! — rather than adapting the rest of the anime into a few seasons — may be due to budget restrictions. After all, Season 4’s production did suffer some setbacks due to the pandemic. Other popular series such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Demon Slayer have seen incredible success with their respective anime movies, and the volleyball series may be following the same trend.

   As devastating as it might be for fans to see Haikyuu!! adapted into only two movies, this does mean the animation will be of movie quality. There is no release date yet (besides the kick-off event in August 2023) which means the animation team will have ample time to work its magic. But two movies attempting to cover approximately 110 chapters and five arcs isn’t exactly encouraging. At around two hours apiece, they will only cover 12 episodes of a regular anime season. Season 3 of Haikyuu!! was focused entirely on the Karasuno vs. Shiratorizawa match while the second cour of Season 4 adapted the Karasuno vs. Inarizaki match.

   Assuming the two movies will cover the rest of the series — including the time-skip arc — it’s fair to say the material will be heavily compressed or even cut in order to include everything. The first part of the movie duo may focus on the Battle at the Garbage Dump and do a short segue into the Kamomedai match, with the second part focused on the entirety of that match before doing a brief glimpse of Hinata and Kageyama now playing pro. Depending on run-time, Hinata’s training in Brazil might also be included in Part 2 as this was a huge part of his development as an athlete. However, the focus on Karasuno would mean other characters who have become so beloved in the fandom might not see the big screen — and the Haikyuu!! manga has always made it a point to focus on teams other than Karasuno.

   Will Haikyuu!! Final Be the End for the Anime?

   Another possibility is that the first Haikyuu!! Final film may focus entirely on Nationals, which by itself would be a huge endeavor to undertake. Material will have to be compressed and decisions will have to be made on what can be explained in exposition or omitted altogether. This would allow the second movie to follow Hinata’s journey to Brazil — as well as the time-skip arc, with Hinata and Kageyama playing against each other once again on their respective teams — without compromising the source material too much. This would also allow a chance to focus on other characters aside from the two protagonists.

   However, it might not be the studio’s intention to cover everything in two movies. The last season of Attack on Titan was set to end with Season 4 Part 2, but unexpectedly announced a Part 3. Haikyuu!! may do the same and continue the story in the form of movies, OVAs or even a new season. If the studio is going down this route, the first two films could focus on Karasuno’s two Nationals matches with the rest — including the finals in Nationals — adapted at a later time.

   Haikyuu!! Final Movie Release Date

The main cast of Haikyuu!! from season 5


   To date, there has been no official announcement for the release date of Haikyuu!! Final, however a movie kick-off event is scheduled to take place sometime in August 2023. The theater release for the films is anticipated for late 2023. In the meantime, fans eagerly await the official word from Production I.G. and Toho Animation for when they can expect the films and which platform they choose for a global digital release.

   Haikyuu!! is a truly beloved series by sports fans and non-sports fans alike. While many had hoped to see another season, hopefully the two-part movie will give the series the proper send-off it deserves — however it chooses to adapt the rest of the story.

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