Haikyuu Chapter 369 Review & Analysis
It will be very difficult to give an introduction to this post without revealing massive spoilers for the Haikyuu!! manga, and I’m not sure how many of y’all a) read the manga or b) are current. Suffice it to say that this review and analysis of Haikyuu chapter 369 contains many and massive spoilers, and those of you who are anime-onlies may want to skip this entire thing.
Spoiler Warning: This article contains spoilers for Haikyuu chapter 369. Read at your own risk.
Many of you may remember when I began my descent into anime at the tail end of 2016 (thank you, Yuri on Ice). Haikyuu was one of the first series I watched, and I quickly became obsessed with it. It was the first manga I started reading, because I couldn’t wait until season 4 to find out what happened. (This turned out to be a good idea, considering we had to wait a little over three years for the anime to return.) The manga started in early 2012, so my three years of weekly reading doesn’t compare at all to the people who’ve been there since the beginning, but the chapters are the highlight of my week sometimes and one of the main reasons I got a subscription to Shonen Jump.
Anyway, regardless of when you became a fan or when you started reading, Haikyuu chapter 369 has given a lot of people a lot of feelings. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, some of them are neutral, and some of them are just massively confused and a little anxious and not sure how we’re going to wait two weeks to find out what’s next.
Because that is the rallying cry after having read this latest chapter: what’s next? What now? Where do we go from here?
Karasuno made it to the national tournament. For essentially the past three years of the manga, we have been reading about their various matches. I’ve posted about their game against Inarizaki and the Battle at the Garbage Dump, which resulted in their long-awaited victory over Nekoma. I’ve repeatedly said that I did not see them winning nationals. On the basis of skill level, and because this was just the first of what I assumed would be multiple national tournaments, I predicted that Karasuno would lose only to return when Hinata and the others were second or third years, which is when they would win.
Oh, how wrong I was.
Because Haikyuu chapter 369 ends with a time skip of several years, which seems to indicate that we are not returning to Karasuno when the series resumes in a couple of weeks.
It makes me extremely sad to know that we won’t be back with Karasuno, except perhaps via flashback. I’m sad that it feels as though the third years didn’t get a proper send-off. I get attached to characters, and I was very invested in that team specifically. I wanted to see them continue to grow – especially Hinata and Kageyama – and I was curious about what their new first years might look like. For nearly seven years and 370 chapters, Haruichi Furudate has developed not only the twelve members of the Karasuno High School volleyball club, but their opponents as well. That now feels – not unnecessary, because I enjoyed it, but excessive, if nothing ultimately would come of it. There were multiple indications that we would get to see certain characters again (for example, the arc with the first year training camp), and the rapid pace of this last chapter left many unanswered questions. (WHO WON NATIONALS? Was it Fukurodani?)
I’ve never really doubted that this was ultimately Hinata’s story; I could make an argument that it was equally Hinata and Kageyama’s story, but for most of the manga, we were centered on Karasuno. However, the inclusion of multiple chapters and matches without Karasuno (the Tokyo qualifiers, for starters), made it seem like this manga wasn’t really about any one character at all. I’m disappointed that we don’t get to see how these characters grew together, or what high school was like for them after this year, or see any of these prophesied rematches (Dateko? I hardly knew ye).
I understand that, in writing a series like this, it would get extremely repetitive to have the same thing happen over and over. Haikyuu has already gone on longer than similar manga – like Kuroko’s Basketball, which was only one school year and 275 chapters – and it’s taken three years for this one national tournament to conclude. People would get sick of that type of story rather quickly, and I see what decisions may have gone into only focusing on one year of high school for Hinata. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but as I said, I get it. Not to mention that burnout is a real issue with such a long-running, weekly series, and Furudate surely can’t keep on this pace for another 14 years just because I want to see Hinata and Kageyama graduate from high school.
Mostly, I just really hate time skips and always have. To me, it’s always seemed to be an excuse to skip over necessary developments and just get the story to a specific point so we don’t have to deal with all that stuff. (I’m looking at you, Merlin and Teen Wolf.) A time skip was inevitable, but this feels to have come out of nowhere and for much longer than I expected. The quality of Haikyuu has not dipped since the beginning (unlike some other manga I might mention), and Furudate has given me no reason to doubt, but I’ll remain skeptical until I see where this goes.
What is leaving me most unsettled are the uncertainties. Until the manga resumes, we really don’t know where the story is going, and right now it seems like so many things have just been sort of left open. I am a huge fan of the partnership between Hinata and Kageyama and I don’t like the idea of them not being a team (or not seeing the results of their teamwork come to fruition). It was mentioned many times that there was still a lot Hinata had to learn, skills he needed to develop, and things he needed to do. Now it feels like we just skipped all that. It feels like the story we were being told was a different one the entire time, and it’s only now being revealed to us. I’m not a fan of that at all.
In the end, though, all we can do is wait. Perhaps those beloved characters will return. Perhaps the 2020 Olympics (held in Tokyo) will play into the story somehow, since Furudate did indicate that was a goal all the way back in 2013.
Have you read Haikyuu chapter 369? What are your thoughts? Are you excited about the time skip? Apprehensive? What do you think became of the other characters? What are your theories for where the series will go from here?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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