3 mind-blowing lessons from a Japanese anime

How often do you find yourselves watching something exciting, which presents a slice of life making you question your own existence and passions in life, that you failed to pursue just because you didn’t do what you could have? Haikyuu is something that made me question myself.

Beach Volleyball court
Image by Robert V Ruggiero from Unsplash

If there’s something that can tell us more about our true selves than anything else in this world, it is through sports. I played soccer for as long as I can remember so I was never fond of volleyball. It was some time ago that I stumbled upon this volleyball based sports anime series called Haikyuu. As you might have guessed, I fell in love with Haikyuu.

Anyone who knows about Haikyuu, feel free to skip the next two paragraphs.

Haikyuu begins as the story of a boy named Hinata Shoyo who was inspired by a high school volleyball player nicknamed ‘The Little Giant’. There is a widely accepted notion that only tall players can play the role of a middle blocker in volleyball but watching the little giant leap and hit the ball past tall blockers was a moment in which Hinata decided that he wants to become a volleyball player.

The story starts by showing the challenges Hinata faced to practice volleyball in a school that did not have a volleyball team. Despite the shortcoming that he faced, Hinata somehow managed to bring a team to the regional middle school volleyball tournament where the first and last ever match they played was against a powerhouse team that had a prodigy named Kageyama who would later be teammates with Hinata. Obviously, Hinata’s team was devastated but that never stopped him from continuing his passion.

Later, Pursuing his dreams, Hinata joins Karasuno High School which his idol, The Little Giant, represented. To his surprised, he finds Kageyama, the prodigy who would be together playing for Karasuno. The story demonstrates the hard work, perseverance, strategies it takes to re-establish a volleyball team at Karasuno who was once a powerhouse, now branded as “The flightless birds”.

The main theme of the story is about the journey of a team that is currently fallen giants, Karasuno, how they would restore themselves, get stronger, and compete against other teams in Japan to eventually become national championship.

What’s so special about Haikyuu?

  1. There is no antagonist or villain

Haikyuu shows you the perspective of both the protagonists. Yes, you read that right. There is no such thing as an antagonist in this anime. Haikyuu is one of the rarest anime of its kind that will provide you an insight into the minds of not only its main characters but the other characters from different teams that Karasuno faces throughout their journey.

Each character is unique and the author deep dives into each of the player’s minds. In a volleyball court, there are so many players. Each player has practiced for countless hours to be present there, at the court. Each faces mental barriers, the blockages throughout their journey, that can either make or break a person.

The ones that made it in this world are the ones who conquered themselves before they conquered others. Haikyuu portrays the unique perspectives of life that each character represents and how the different individuals combine as a team to achieve one common goal.

In life, in this competitive world, how often do you stop and acknowledge someone else’s efforts? Do you pause to think about someone else? Do you acknowledge their struggles, or are you just competing in a rat race that society expects you to? Let’s understand and acknowledge that each and everyone is struggling and trying their best to overcome them just like the characters in Haikyuu.

It is the nature of sports to be competitive. Everyone wants to win. However, only those that have worked harder than others get the victory. Do you push yourselves harder each day? Are you obsessed with results and crumble when you do not achieve them?

2. Little things that are done correctly over a period of time = Results

Here are some quotes from a character named Shinshuke who has been introduced in Season 4,

“You gotta do it every day. Properly, every day.”

“I’m basically built from my daily routine, and the results are nothing more than a byproduct.”

While aiming to achieve something, we often forget the most important thing, the process. If we get the process right and work hard every day, results are merely a byproduct. There are little things in life that you should get right to achieve big results.

3.Your Inner voice is powerful

Here’s a quote from one of my favorite character, Oikawa Tooru that will give you a reality check,

“Today might be the chance to grasp the chance to let your talent bloom. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after or the next year, maybe even when you’re 30. I’m not sure if physique has anything to do with it, but if you think that it will never come, it probably never will.”

Did you believe that you can do it? If yes, then what stopped you from achieving what you could have? The world is full of noise. People, media, your own mind, and everything else telling you what you should do, how you should be, and most importantly, you should not do this, and/or you cannot do this.

When we are surrounded by a noise like these, our beliefs get cluttered. Your inner voice now is what you get influenced by. We lose sight of what we are seeking to do amidst all the noise we are exposed to.

Oikawa is a character who failed many times and despite all those failures, it is an inner voice that guides him, making sure he does not lose track of what he should do and it is because of the inner voice that Oikawa can bounce back and be one of the deadliest characters in Haikyuu, nicknamed “The Great King”.

Conclusion:

Haikyuu has been one of the best influences of my life, not only entertaining me with its content but making me question everything about myself. We all find answers as we go but do we actually find the right questions that need answers?

These are some of the questions, I asked myself while watching Haikyuu:

  1. What am I competing against and what am I competing for? Is this how I want to live my life, running a rat race?
  2. There are things I wish I had, I wish I could do but am I working towards getting it? Are my efforts enough? How do I get the process correct?
  3. What is my inner voice? Am I encouraging or sabotaging myself?

I am still looking for answers to these questions. Finding these answers is a lifelong process for me.

Thank you for reading this.

Software Engineer. Reader. Topical/Observational Writer. Anime fan. Traveler. 24. Wanna chat? Hit me up at atulzh07@gmail.com

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