Dreams, especially when it comes to Japanese anime and manga, are made to be realized. At any cost. The culture handed down by this message is intimate, profound and absolute but at the same time cynical and ruthless since the same dreams risk breaking in an instant against the granite rocks of reality. The first part of the fourth season of Haikyu !! it can be summed up in this way. Daichi, Asahi is Ashashi, the three students in the final year of the Karasuno high school, they did it. The goal, unthinkable until then, of reaching the national high school leagues has been incredibly achieved, thanks to the help of the young and arrembanti "primini", Tobio Kegeyama, Hinata Shoyo is Kei Tsukishima, for which the same dream pulsates strongly in the veins, albeit with motivations and an identity if we want different.
This first round of episodes (in Italian simulcast thanks to Yamato Animation and Paramount Network), whose ending strongly and decisively refers to the next, focuses in particular on the growth and maturation of each element, each of them definitely irreplaceable and fundamental for the purpose of continuing a dream that has now become reality but still everything to live and defend. As the title itself says, moreover, the young "Corvi" travel to the top (To the Top), but the road to success is far from easy to follow.
One for all…
After subverting all the negative predictions, beating the super favorites of the Shiratorizawa in the final for the qualifications for the Nationals, Karasuno athletes they are ready to live for the first time a unique, unforgettable but at the same time formative experience, an almost mandatory stage for achieving a subsequent status for their career but also more simply in their own lives.
Once again, in fact, the latter start with the favor of the decidedly hostile prediction, not being able to count on a top team staff, not necessarily a limit until then, but which risks proving to be a determining factor at certain levels . The coach knows this well Ukai and the team manager Takeda, who organize a real tour de force to try to get as prepared as possible to the very important appointment, which for the three students of the last year (the aforementioned Sugawara, Azai is Daichi) represents the first and last chance to live an unforgettable experience, whatever the future chosen by young athletes.
It is, as we said at the beginning, of a real daydream, achieved however with every single crumb of strength of every single element of the rose, whose efforts, in some way, are rewarded not only on the choral level but in some cases also by analyzing the individual.
Tobio is Tsukishima, but somehow also Hinata (we don't want to anticipate anything), have been selected for a rally or, better to say, two different rallies, reserved for the most promising players in the country, put together to work closely for several weeks under the eyes of the greatest experts in the sector. This clearly represents a unique opportunity for the three young players, but also a problem in the general economy of the team, forced to prepare the difficult debut at the National Championships without three of the key elements of a team built suddenly and in which the latter, among the last grafts, are fundamental.
Much of the season, or rather the first part of it, follows the preparation for the much coveted National tournament, the real pinnacle of a season of great successes and goals centered with so much effort and dedication.
All this culminates in the last few episodes in which, finally, the team comes together to kick off the dances, in a tournament start that quickly puts our heroes in front of an opponent practically impossible to overcome. In fact, on the Karasuno road, the fearsome arises Inarizaki, the second force at national level, but to find out how the arduous clash will end, we will have to wait for the second part of the season, expected to be scheduled for next autumn.
Less action, more introspection
The paramount importance of the moment, in which every single game could be the end of a dream, of a path that for some is the last chance before the inevitable and frightening growth, represented by the transition to university, is also reflected on the direction in itself of the series, much less frenetic than the previous ones and that focuses more on elements such as dialogue, reflection and introspection.
The narrative arc in question, once again adapted for the small screen from the studio Production I.G., is decidedly more intimate, more mature, deeper but at the same time, in some ways, slower and more complicated. During the season, in fact, the "dead" moments are always reduced to the bone but are still a constant, precisely because of the choice to focus too often on what are the sensations and emotions not only of the athletes of the Karasuno High School, but also those of the many illustrious antagonists of the series, whose thematic background is deepened to offer a more three hundred and sixty degree view of what revolves around the gigantic cast of the work of Furudate.
Just the management of the cast, now more than ever, represents one of the highest quality points of the series, which in addition to embellishing and expanding the viewer's knowledge of what the main characters are and which we have already learned about in these In recent years, it has also been enriched with decidedly interesting new faces that seem to have the credentials to be even more valid antagonists than those already encountered so far.
It is the case, above all, of Korai Hoshiumi, who shares with the protagonist Hinata the same "bad luck" on the physical plane (he is just over one meter and sixty tall) but at the same time the same physical explosiveness and perhaps even higher, which guaranteed him a place in the national elite despite the obvious physical limitations. The goodness of a cast that is already excellent and cared for in its facets expands with the introduction of what seem to be the "final bosses" on duty, that is the twins Osamu is Atsumu Miya. In particular, the latter, considered among the best five players at a national level, arrives on the screen with an intoxicating stylistic and thematic charge, typical of all those "villains" difficult to forget and for which we almost sway at the expense of the protagonists themselves.
It must be said, however, that the new grafts still have a lot to say and in all likelihood we will see them better in action in the second part of the show, which seems destined to be the antithesis of the proverbial quiet after the storm of this first round of episodes.
We were struck, however, by seeing the human side of every single Karasuno player. It amused us, for example, to see a Tanaka super clumsy grappling with his first real crush or witnessing the almost caricatured scenes of an increasingly awkward Hinata net of great talent, but also that to increasingly emphasize the past of the three students of the last year and how they arrived to achieve a goal that seemed destined to remain only a dream.
Everything changes, of course, and life ahead: the basic message seems to want to be this, but with the awareness of never losing sight of what one's dreams are, although they risk remaining so, in most cases.
As already mentioned during our first look at Haikyuu 4, on the occasion of the very first contact with the series, the comparison with the work of Furudate you feel strongly from the very first bars.
If aspects such as animations, always very credible and treated in detail, albeit in some cases forced to show the side of some unnatural movements and minor blunders, and in general the overall performance remain almost unassailable aspects of a show that has always been technically on the shields , to surprise and convince is the new care given to the realization of an increasingly commendable character design. The new "polygonal" models of the various characters, both of the protagonists and of the antagonists but also of all those surrounding elements, are now characterized by an even more refined and convincing graphic design.
The models themselves are accompanied by a harmonious, delicate line, and above all by an intoxicating chromatic explosion, in which every single pigment seems to literally forcefully emerge from the screen. This contributes heavily to the increasingly evident differentiation of an imposing cast also on the artistic front, certainly one of the most varied and layered on the scene.
The work carried out by the studio is accompanied by an excellent sound sector, once again decidedly in line with the high standards to which the series has accustomed us, on which, however, there are some doubts regarding the dubbing of some characters. As we already mentioned in our first look, the voice actor of the protagonist continues not to convince us Hinata Shoyo, sometimes almost out of place and not at ease in the role of an all in all simple to interpret character.