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"HAIKYUU!! The Dumpster Battle" Movie Review: Well worth the wait!


"Haikyuu!! The Movie: The Dumpster Battle" (Originally "The Decisive Battle at the Garbage Dump" is the newest installment of the "Haikyuu!!" franchise that was divulged back in 2022 as part of a two-film announcement with the first being a sequel and the latter being the finale to the series. It's been about four years since the end of season four and fans have been eagerly awaiting this continuation. The long awaited match-up between long time rivals Karasuno and Nekoma keeps fans of the teams as well as fans of the series cheering for both sides throughout the entirety of the film.

The movie was released in Japan on February 16, 2024 with a U.S. release date of May 31, 2024 with most theaters showing it Thursday, May 30th. For those who don't know, "Haikyuu!!" is a popular sports anime centering around volleyball created by Furudate Haruichi serialized as a weekly manga for Weekly Shonen Jump and later adapted to an animated series. Here is a spoiler-free review of the film.


Most people don't need to have watched the series in order to enjoy this film because it does a great job at showing key points from the series to help viewers understand the connections between the characters. But, watching the series will give you an edge when viewing the film as well as a deeper connection to the characters themselves. The title, "Dumpster Battle", itself comes from the use of the teams' animal motifs - Karasuno (crows) and Nekoma High (cats). The film does a wonderful job at creatively inserting the symbolism through out the film from feathers dropping, to being stuck in a bird cage, to interactions between actual cats and crows. It doesn't feel forced and honestly, it adds a little bit more competition to the film really pushing the rivalry to the forefront. The film picks up where the anime series left off following the second round of the Spring Tournament. Karasuno has already beaten Inarizaki, led by Atsumu and Osamu Miya who are a part of the few characters that we don't actually get to see in the movie.

First off, the animation is phenomenal - TOHO Animation has absolutely knocked it out of the park (or more aptly served an ace) with this film. The animation is fluid enough to feel fit for the big screen yet the animators were able to encapsulate the exhilaration, the drive and the desperation of a volleyball match with so much riding on the line. It keeps a lot of little nuances such as showing the characters' faces through the net without covering them that the series had, but smooths out action scenes seamlessly. The series itself already did an amazing job at showing the action of volleyball but the film picks it up a notch using angles to really drive home the pressure the teams and characters feel. The film uses sound effects as well as both teams cheering sections perfectly as they interweave them throughout the match. It almost makes you feel as if you've left the darkness of the theater and have entered the sharp blinding lights and tough seats of the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym. The musical score is used splendidly in being soft when we're getting flashbacks and perfect in keeping the energy high throughout the match itself. From the beginning of the movie until the final credits, the sound design really helps to pull you into the experience and make you feel like you're a part of the crowd. SPYAIR, who did the first season's opening theme "Imagination", was brought back for the ending credits theme with a new song "Orange" and hearing that brought back so many memories. It was the perfect choice for the ending credits theme!

While the series itself is centered around Shoyo Hinata as well as his team from Karasuno High, the series itself does an amazing job at introducing strong, memorable characters and this film is not short of them. The film does an amazing job of diving even deeper in to the backstories of a few of fans favorite characters. We get a look back at some key times in Nekoma's setter Kenma Kozume's life from meeting Shoyo (which fans already saw in the series during the Spring Training Arc) to meeting and then learning volleyball from his childhood friend Tetsuro Kuroo. We also get more interaction between Kenoma's Kuroo and Karasuno's Tsukishima which goes to show that you don't have to be on the same team to have an impact on someone and help them grow. It also brings in other fan favorites such as Satori Tendou, Suguru Diasho and Kotaro Bokuto with teammate Keiji Akaashi. It doesn't focus on one character, it does an amazing job at showing that each player is driven by something different and that the meaning of the game is different for everyone, but they're all connected. It goes to show that interactions in life as well as on the court have significantly impacted the each and every single player.


The film does a perfect job at continuing what the series started which is creating a sports series that makes it nearly impossible to cheer for one single team. And even if you do have a favorite team, your favorite character might actually be on an opposing team. And by the end of it, you might have even shed a tear and thanked the teams for the memories (even thought Inarizaki doesn't need them).

"HAIKYUU!! The Dumpster Battle" is a must-see for any and every "Haikyuu!!" fan. It's different than the OVAs and it blends very well with the series. It did miss a couple of things that the manga contained but not everything can be animated. It's one of the few series that you can watch in either subtitles or English-dubbed (even though the dubbed is a lot more unhinged and entertaining) and you won't miss something. The only thing I'm nervous and curious about is what the next movie will contain because there's still quite a lot left in the manga including a few more matches, the time skip arc, MSBY and Brazil to name a few. Regardless, it's an emotionally driven sports anime well worth the watch and this movie is a perfect continuation of the anime.

And don't forget to stay after the credits - there's a short scene that you do not want to miss!



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