Haikyuu Chapter 401 Manga Review: “Promises”
Haikyuu!! has essentially been a rollercoaster of feels since the time skip in October. (It was all the way back in October!) But knowing that there is precious little time left for this manga (it’s been confirmed that the series will end on July 20) has made every panel that much more emotional for me. Haikyuu chapter 401 feels as much like a love letter to the fans as it is to the characters. Promises, indeed.
Haikyuu chapter 401 marks the end of the match of the century, but for the audience, not the characters. As Tsukishima reminds everyone, it’s literally the first game of the season. There are many more matches to come for these guys, even if we the fans will not get to see them ourselves. That isn’t going to stop me from weeping endlessly over every page, devastated that I won’t be able to witness these characters go even further.
There is a lot going on in “Promises”, which isn’t very surprising, as it’s the penultimate chapter. I guess the first thing I should mention is that the Black Jackals won! Considering the score of the game, and the fact that there are so few chapters left, this should not have been a shock. But I was very surprised that Furudate chose to be slightly more realistic and slightly less shonen protagonist by having Bokuto and not Hinata score the winning point.
In retrospect, though, having Hinata return to his vaulted position as Greatest Decoy in order to lure the defenders away from the final spike (he even managed to fool Kageyama) lends a sort of poetry to the entire sequence, which was gloriously paneled across multiple double spreads. Even though I knew that the Black Jackals were going to win, my heart was still in my throat reading those pages.
Hinata saving the ball with his foot was glorious, a perfect reflection of how much skill he has acquired in the missing years, and I truly wish that Nishinoya were watching the match and not off somewhere in Italy. But I got chills when I saw the slide jump across the court, which is exactly the move that Hinata pulled in his first game against Kageyama. It’s that move that made Kageyama notice Hinata in the first place. Everything has come full circle.
And finally, finally, Kuroo has made his dramatic reappearance – in a suit, no less! Kuroo works for the Japan Volleyball Association and approaches Hinata to ask for his help in making a video proving that all types of people can play volleyball. Considering how many characters in this series were discouraged from playing because of their height, I love that they chose to use Kuroo in this way. Hinata’s journey (and Hoshiumi’s, to a lesser extent) is proof positive that if you have the drive and the passion, you can overcome your disadvantages.
It was lovely to see Kuroo in Haikyuu chapter 401, and I know a lot of fans have been anxious waiting for him to pop back up, but there are still a few characters who are MIA that I’m hoping show up in the final chapter. Not to mention, I’m very eager to see where a certain alien-obsessed setter is in the current timeline.
I have to say, I started crying when I read the panels where it’s revealed that Hinata and Kageyama are still competing against each other. Aside from the obvious competition – being the volleyball game they just played – they battled over everything when they were in high school, and it warms my heart immeasurably to get this evidence that they are still as close now as they were then. We got a hint of this when Hinata was in Brazil and he texted Kageyama that selfie of him and Oikawa, but the fact that they are still keeping score indicates that they see each other on a regular basis.
I have said this many times over the past few months, but it bears repeating – Hinata and Kageyama’s relationship is the core of this franchise, and knowing that it continued while they were on separate continents and that it will likely continue long into the future makes me really happy. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it. I love those two and I am just so thrilled that they have the same relationship.
It’s not just Hinata and Kageyama’s relationship, though; it’s all of the characters. And what makes Haikyuu chapter 401 so special is that Furudate is fully aware of that and has given us multiple reunions. The Karasuno third years and first years all congregating, Sawamura and Bokuto greeting Kuroo, Akaashi interviewing Bokuto for his magazine, Kageyama telling Kindaichi and Kunimi that he wants to play with them again – this chapter sneaks in these small moments to remind the fans why they love this series in the first place. As if we needed the reminder.
But no, can I back for a bit and focus on the fact that Kageyama spotted Kindaichi and Kunimi in the crowd and actually told them he wanted to play with them again. I don’t want to just gloss over that moment because honestly, that is huge for all three of them, but especially for Kageyama. Kindaichi and Kunimi turning their backs on him in middle school really affected him as a player and as a person. He was offered a spot at Aoba Josai but chose to go to Karasuno, and the rest is what as we’ve seen it. To see them reconcile and even want to play together again shows how much all three of them have grown.
Also, I need to talk about how Romero introduced his son to Hinata, and his son was so nervous meeting him. It is amazing seeing someone looking up to Hinata from the get-go. That little chibi-chan deserves it. It’s also a nice mirror of the chapter that focused on Romero. All of these players grew up watching and idolizing Romero, and now Romero’s son does the same to Hinata.
But, y’all, that ending. THAT ENDING. Many people speculated that we would get to the Olympics. I was hoping we would get more time there, but honestly, I’ve almost forgiven everything just because of that final shot of Haikyuu chapter 401, with Hinata and Kageyama in their Japan national team uniforms. (Y’all. They have the same numbers. I’m not crying, you’re crying.)
Everything ends next week, and I am not emotionally prepared for this.
Have you read Haikyuu chapter 401? What did you think?
P.S. It was also revealed today that season 4 of the anime, after being pushed back due to everything, returns this October.
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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