Recently I’ve finished the 2nd season of Haikyuu and out of interest I’ve also seen Kuroko No Basket. Both are considered to be very similar but there are some important differences which might make you love one and hate the other.
Both are sports anime featuring a male team in either volleyball (Haikyuu) or basketball (Kuroko No Basuke) with 2 principal main characters supporting each other, combining their power to become even stronger. When looking at footage of both, it’s immediately clear that Kuroko No Basket takes on a darker more mature art direction, while Haikyuu is vibrant and more energetic.
This change in art direction runs through other elements of the anime. A main point of difference, and one of my main gripes with Kuroko No Basket is that the characters in there are just very skilled professionals. They’re all depicted as prodigies, very strong and muscular. In Haikyuu, they’re normal high-schoolers with no abnormal physical abilities. They’re depicted in a normal way that is very relatable to me. They fail, they joke around, they train hard and you see them getting better.
Kuroko No Basket might have the upper hand when it comes to story intrigue. Right from the get-go you’re introduced to 5 rivals from the main character’s past, with your goal being to defeat them in the end. Haikyuu’s story sometimes doesn’t go anywhere and it can feel stretched out. I also really liked how at the end of Kuroko no Basuke’s first season your teammates were spectators and not partaking in a match, a great change of pace.
I didn’t like season 1 of Haikyuu, but season 2 of Haikyuu restored all of my faith and might even be one of my favorite anime seasons ever. Half of the second season is about the Haikyuu characters feeling not strong enough and training to get stronger. Characters who were silent in the first season get more screen time and there’s some really great and funny character development going on.
Every episode of Haikyuu’s second season had me either laughing, in tears or feeling relatable (and being in more tears -_-), compared to how Kuroko No Basket introduced these (emperor) eye superpowers on top of Kuroko’s already unrealistic misdirection abilities. It just didn’t hook me because it felt like I was watching a fantasy anime, and not a slice of life sports anime.
I also really enjoyed the vibrant colors and animation of Haikyuu, and every team member has a special place in my heart. It made watching every episode a special experience. Kuroko No Basket just didn’t attract me as much with it’s more darker art direction, and to me only Kagami and Kuroko were the highlights of the show, I’ve forgot about the other cast members (except Kuroko’s dog)
Some might like Kuroko No Basuke more, but I really had to struggle to keep on watching at times. I’m a sucker for colorful visuals, childish and cute characters and an epic and motivational soundtrack, so Haikyuu is definitely my favorite here. Haikyuu just has more realism going on, and every team member just clicked. And the soundtrack, God. Every episode was just a delight.
What’s your favorite sports anime?