Haikyu!! Film review of the Dumpster Battle

Haikyu!! The dumpster battle film is nothing short of spectacular. It was visually amazing with a solid storyline, but most of all it was the most exciting movie I’ve seen in a long time. You see, the film not only perfectly captured what it feels like to watch a volleyball match, but what it feels like play It.

Unless you’ve been following the 85-episode anime or have a good friend willing to give you a quick recap, Haikyu!! The dumpster battle cannot be appreciated without context. That’s because the film immediately dives into the high-stakes semi-final volleyball match between rival schools Karasuno and Nekoma. I’ll admit I was nervous about the film’s format at first, but as soon as the explosive sound of the volleyball announced the start of the match, I was immediately drawn back into the exciting world of Haikyu!!.

First let me share my fan screening experience in the Philippines. As we entered the cinema lobby, we got our free movie and walked along an avenue of tall and charming Haikyu!! displays. I sat right in the front row with a drink, popcorn and a free hot dog snack to munch on. Behind and around me were excited fans, screaming and jumping in their seats as our favorite characters appeared on the screen.

The ‘kilig’ (a Tagalog word to describe the feeling of inexplicable joy, tension or excitement) was very strong for Kageyama, Tsuki and Kuroo. We all felt the excitement and enthusiasm of the volleyball rally – some moments in silence and others in emotional fangirling. Honestly, it was stupid of us to support a fictional game, but at that moment it felt nice to be among the fans who loved the series with all their hearts.

Haikyu!!  Film review of the Dumpster Battle
Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle movie review – Cats vs. Crows

The fan screening of Haikyu!! The dumpster battle was an enjoyable experience in itself, but it was really the film that made that possible for us That Cheerful. It was well paced, perfectly balanced, emotionally charged and equally comical. There are so many points to discuss as to why it was a great movie. So much so that I feel torn between satisfaction and frustration when I want more than 85 minutes (Spoilers beyond this point.)

The Review – How Good is it?

Simply put, I really enjoyed watching the movie Haikyu!! movie. Not only was it nostalgic to see all the endearing characters again after four years, but the film itself was a bag full of sunshine! It was funny, exciting and very energetic. There’s really a lot of hype surrounding the intense rivalry between Karasuno and Nekoma and their highly anticipated “real” match, or as Hinata Shoyo puts it, a “match that can’t be repeated.” For our little giant, this was the chance to prove to friend/rival Kenma that volleyball is actually fun.

Haikyu!!  The Dumpster Battle movie review Hinata

Despite being the underdogs of the season, both schools are equally powerful and persistent in their own strategies: Nekoma with their defense and Karasuno with their attack. In fact, it’s charming how the dynamics of the rival teams are both friendly and competitive. All these crazy characters collide in a battle of personalities and wits, and while the film highlights the technicalities of volleyball, it also contains a heartwarming and emotional story that many of us can relate to in some way. I especially appreciate how this is highlighted by Nekoma’s introverted setter, Kenma Kozume. The route Haikyu!! The dumpster battle turning his indifference into enthusiasm was a rollercoaster ride that was ultimately uplifting to watch.

As far as animation goes, the film delivered everything and more. It was dynamic and fluid, combined with the brilliant attention to detail in the body movements and facial expressions – it just brought everything to life! The spikes, blocks, digs and sets on the court were all so intense that I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Not to mention how the soundtrack enhanced every heartbreaking and heartwarming moment! It was here that I really appreciated the IMAX cinema as the surround sounds immersed me in every scene.

Haikyu!!  The Dumpster Battle movie review Kenma

Overall, the improved animation and quality of the film made for a visually stunning viewing experience. There is a specific POV and panoramic shot that I can’t describe in words, except that it was all carefully animated into a simple yet emotionally poignant moment that truly embodied the heart and soul of Haikyu!!.

In addition to Kenma’s valuable history with volleyball, the film also managed to fill a spot for everyone. Tsuki’s blocks, Yamaguchi’s floats, Kuroo’s teasing, Bokuto as a proud mentor, Yaku and Nishinoya’s mutual libero respect, the weight of their third year playing, and much more. Even Kuroo’s backstory was really wholesome. Overall, I have three favorite moments that touched me deeply (instead made me ugly cry): Tsuki’s beaming smile, Hinata’s memorable high jump, and Coach Ikkei Ukai’s well-deserved handshake. Those emotional moments were, without a doubt, perfectly animated.

My only problem with this Haikyu!! movie is that I wonder what it would have been like as a series instead. The dumpster battle arc spans 33 chapters of the manga (chapters 292 to 325), while the anime previously kept the pace of adapting around 5 chapters per 22-minute episode. However, The dumpster battle film squeezes it all into 85 minutes (1 hour and 25 minutes) — that’s almost half of the original material, chopped off.

That’s the part that frustrates me, because ultimately the truth is that we’re left with quickly summarized scenes and a rushed aftertaste. “Nekoma VS Karasuno” is my favorite story, and as much as I loved the movie, it missed a few key points that I think would have been fun to see (e.g. Nishinoya’s rescue, scarier Kenma, and Yamaguchi’s spear moment).

It’s understandable for a show to change its adaptations for creative or practical reasons, but I also think it’s important that the essence remains true to the original material. Haikyu!! The Trash Can Battle manages to get through it, and while I appreciate how great the movie turned out, I’m still sad that we’ll never see the other scenes animated. That said, I have reservations about the second part.

Anyway, bad vibes aside, if one Haikyu!! fan, I’m very happy with this movie. It was a delicious treat, so if you’re craving even more fillings, go ahead and read the manga!

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle – Final Thoughts

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle Movie Review – Coach Ukai

One of the strongest points of the Haikyu!! series is the ability to present the story and make it something really engaging. Surprisingly, the movie managed to transform and create this 33 chapter arc so that it was just as well paced and crafted, balanced with the right amount of character development, action sequences, and comedy. What I like most is that the characters brought out the best in each other and by the end of the game, it was just satisfying to know that they played a really good game.

Finally, The dumpster battle leaving us with a satisfying, enjoyable and well-rounded story that tugs at the heartstrings. I can’t wait to see the next film soon… again at the fan screening of course!

Special thanks to Medialink for bringing the Haikyu!! film to the Philippines! And of course lots of love to the studio and staff for making it happen. Finally a shout-out to the Filipino fans (especially my fanscreening mates)!

Haikyu!! The trash can battle film is currently being shown worldwide. Follow the English Haikyu!! X (formerly Twitter) for updates.

Images via Crunchyroll
©Haruichi Furudate/Shueisha, Haikyuu Production Committee, MBS