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The Scene In Haikyuu!! That Went Too Far

Volleyball anime "Haikyuu!!" is laser-focused on its core premise: Shoyo Hinata and Tobio Kageyama are two volleyball prodigies who differ in their approaches to the game but are united in their desire to be the best they can possibly be. While "Haikyuu!!" occasionally devotes some screen time to moments in its characters' lives unrelated to volleyball, these are few and far between. Virtually all of its characters are defined primarily by their relationship to the sport, and even their interpersonal relationships are largely colored by concerns related to volleyball.

As a result of the commitment of "Haikyuu!!" to volleyball above all else, the series is largely lacking in fan service compared to most other shonen series. On the whole, fan service can broadly refer to anything meant to appeal to fans on a surface level, largely unnecessary for plot purposes but included simply to evoke base pleasures in its viewers. While fan service in, say, a Marvel movie could be a reference to Marvel comics ephemera, in anime, the term generally refers to sexualization of female characters (via Urban Dictionary).

That said, whereas "Haikyuu!!" Season 1 is virtually absent fan service whatsoever, from Season 2 onward, the series begins to indulge in those sorts of moments with more frequency. This upward trend ultimately culminates in a scene in "Haikyuu!!" Season 4 that ratchets up the degree of fan service just beyond the realm of good taste.

The 'lucky perv' incident

In Season 4 of "Haikyuu!!", the Karasuno High boys volleyball team attends Japan's national Spring Tournament, representing Miyagi Prefecture. Their debut on a national stage marks virtually the entire team's introduction to the world of high school volleyball outside of their hometown's region. For some characters, this means the introduction of new rivals. Main protagonist Shoyo Hinata, for example, meets Korai Hoshiumi, whose similarly short stature immediately threatens Hinata's dream of succeeding a player nicknamed the "Little Giant," his volleyball idol. Karasuno High libero Yu Nishinoya, meanwhile, almost chances into what he calls his "lucky perv" incident.

In short, in Season 4, Episode 9, upon Karasuno High's arrival at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, which serves the Spring Tournament's venue, a player from another team bumps Hinata into Nishinoya, who falls towards Kanoka Amanai, revealed to be a childhood friend of wing spiker Ryunosuke Tanaka. While Nishinoya falls toward her in a state of bliss, the moment is punctuated a shot in which Amanai's breasts take up almost the entirety of the screen. While characterizing Nishinoya's teenage sexuality as fittingly pathetic — a semi-frequent occurrence throughout "Haikyuu!!" — may have merit, it's the show's unabashed sexualization of Amanai that crosses a line.

The scene is brief, and Amanai becomes a character with her own minor dramatic arc soon after. Nevertheless, given the relatively minor amount of fan service in "Haikyuu!!" as a whole, Nisninoya's "lucky perv" incident stands out as a brief descent into a lower and baser form of entertainment, thankfully thwarted as soon Amanai breaks Nishinoya's fall and the series continues on as usual.