Home Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle Movie Review

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle Movie Review

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle movie is nothing short of spectacular. It was visually amazing with a solid storyline, but most of all, it was the most thrilling watch I’ve had in a long time. You see, the movie perfectly captured not only how it feels to watch a volleyball game, but how it feels to play it.  

Unless you’ve followed the anime of 85 episodes or have a good friend willing to give you a quick summary, Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle can’t be appreciated without context. That’s because right off the bat, the movie dives straight into the high-stakes semi-final volleyball match between rival schools, Karasuno and Nekoma. I admit that I was initially nervous about the movie format, but as soon as the explosive sound of the volleyball signaled the start of the match, I was instantly pulled back into the exciting world of Haikyu!!. 

Before all else, allow me to share my fan screening experience in the Philippines. When we entered the cinema lobby, we got our movie freebies and walked past an avenue of tall and charming Haikyu!! displays. I was seated right at the front row with a drink, popcorn, and a free hotdog snack to munch on. Behind and all around me were excited fans, squealing and jumping in their seats as our favorite characters appeared onscreen.

The “kilig” (a Tagalog word to describe the feeling of inexplicable joy, thrill, or excitement) was very strong with Kageyama, Tsuki, and Kuroo. We all felt the suspense and enthusiasm of the volleyball rally — some moments in silence and others in emotional fangirling. To be honest, it was silly of us to cheer for a fictional game but at that moment, it felt nice to be amongst fans who wholeheartedly loved the series.

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle Movie Review – Cats Versus Crows

The fan screening of Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle was an enjoyable experience on its own, but it was truly the movie that allowed us to be that happy. 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 it makes me feel torn between satisfaction and frustration of wanting more than 85 minutes (Spoilers beyond this point.) 

The Review – How Good is It?

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

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 offense. It’s even charming how the dynamics of the rival teams are both friendly and competitive. All these silly characters clash in a battle of personalities and wits, and as much as the movie highlights the technicalities of volleyball, it also features a heartwarming and emotional story that many of us can relate to in one way or another. I especially appreciate how this is emphasized through Nekoma’s introverted setter, Kenma Kozume. The way Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle transforms his disinterest into excitement was a roller coaster ride that was ultimately uplifting to watch. 

Animation-wise, the movie delivered everything and more. It was dynamic and fluid, matched up 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 at the court were all so intense that I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Not to mention how the soundtrack enhanced every heart-pounding and heart-warming moment! It was here that I truly appreciated the IMAX cinema because the surround sounds kept me absorbed in every scene.

All in all, the leveled-up animation and quality of the movie made for a visually stunning viewing experience.  There’s a particular POV and panoramic shot that I cannot find words to describe, except that it was all carefully animated into a simple yet emotionally gripping moment that truly embodied the heart and soul of Haikyu!!. 

Aside from Kenma’s precious history with volleyball, the movie also managed to fill in a spot for everyone. Tsuki’s blocks, Yamaguchi’s float serves, Kuroo’s teasing, Bokuto being a proud mentor, Yaku and Nishinoya’s mutual libero respect, the weight of the third years playing, and many more. Even Kuroo’s backstory was really wholesome. Overall, I have three favorite moments that tugged at my heartstrings (rather, made me ugly cry): Tsuki’s radiant smile, Hinata’s momentous high jump, and Coach Ikkei Ukai’s well-deserved handshake. Those emotional moments were hands down, animated perfectly. 

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

That’s the bit that frustrates me because, in the end, the truth is that we are left with quick summarized scenes and a rushed aftertaste. “Nekoma VS Karasuno” is my favorite arc, and as much as I loved the movie, it missed a few key points that I think would have been nice to see (Nishinoya’s save, scarier Kenma, and Yamaguchi’s spear moment, for example).  

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 its original material. Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle manages to pull through, and while I appreciate how great the movie turned out, I’m still bummed that we’ll never see the other scenes animated. That said, I’ll be holding my reservations for the second part.

Anyway, bad vibes aside, as a Haikyu!! fan, I’m really happy with this movie. It was a delightful treat,  and so if you’re up for more extra fillings, please 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 about the Haikyu!! series is its ability to present its story and make it into something very engaging. Surprisingly, the movie was able to transform this 33-chapter arc and create it to be just as well-paced and crafted, balanced with the right amount of character development, action sequences, and comedy. What I love most is that the characters brought the best out of one another and by the end of the match, it was simply fulfilling to know that they played a very good game.

Ultimately, The Dumpster Battle leaves us with a satisfying, enjoyable, and well-rounded story that tugs at the heartstrings. I cannot wait to see the next movie soon… at the fan screening again, of course!  

Special thanks to Medialink for bringing the Haikyu!! movie to the Philippines! And of course, lots of love to the studio and staff for making it into a reality. Lastly, a shout-out to the Filipino fans (especially my fan screening mates)! 

Haikyu!! The Dumpster Battle movie is currently screening worldwide. Follow the English Haikyu!! X (formerly Twitter) for updates.

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

You may also like

The comments are temporarily unavailable for maintenance.