HomeAnimeANIME/FILM REVIEW | A Fiery Volleyball Game Encapsulates a "Dumpster Battle"

ANIME/FILM REVIEW | A Fiery Volleyball Game Encapsulates a "Dumpster Battle"

ANIME/FILM REVIEW | A Fiery Volleyball Game Encapsulates a "Dumpster Battle"

Over three years have gone by since we last saw the boys of Karasuno High. In the midst of the next big volleyball tournament, Hinata, Kageyama, and the rest of the team were preparing for their next round against Nekoma High. The crows against the cats, it’s a fight worthy of the film’s title: Haikyū!! The Dumpster Battle. And in its 85 minute runtime, it captures the energy, the spirit, and even the frustrations of an important match.

Surprisingly, despite Karasuno High being the focus of Haikyū!!, it’s just as much about Nekoma High, specifically Kenma. His attitude about volleyball has been indifferent. But throughout the anime’s main series, Hinata has been trying to show Kenma the thrilling side of volleyball whenever they face off. Now that the two are competing for real, Kenma spends the game reflecting on every moment that’s led him to this game.

Of course, you can’t have a Haikyū!! movie just with reflection; you need some action. In the three rounds Karasuno and Nekoma battle, they give it their all. The hits, the passes, and the gallons of sweat that pours off the players’ brows are showcased with raw intensity. Although the quality of animation is on par with what the TV version has displayed, Production I.G still throws everything and the kitchen sink into this big screen match.

But how does the pacing compare to Haikyū!!’s third season, which spent ten episodes on Karasuno’s finals against Shiratorizawa? Surprisingly, The Dumpster Battle manages to fit this face-off against Nekoma into less than 90 minutes with ease. For starters, the film is almost a nonstop showcase of adrenaline, with the three matches brimming with electricity in practically every frame of this film. However, it’s when it’s focused on Kenna’s internal process when the movie shines.

A great example of when Haikyū!! The Dumpster Battle runs on all cylinders is towards the end of the film. The perspective is shifted onto Kenma, with the action displayed in first-person. His teammates and his Karasuno opponents are in his vision, eying every corner of the court and the ball in play. It’s two minutes of intense back-and-forth plays, placing the audience front and center of what it’s like to be in the midst of an important game.

Whether you watch it subbed or dubbed, the voice casts deliver outstanding performances. It’s a good thing Crunchyroll brought back the cast from the Sentai releases, as their chemistry helped make it one of the best sports anime dubs in the last decade. Comparing the Japanese and English performances, both do an excellent job bringing the mentality and spirits of youth from their respective countries. (The English dub also finds ways to punch up the lines a bit more, resulting in some funnier banter from the characters. However, it could’ve taken out a couple of the curse words they tossed in.)

Haikyū!! The Dumpster Battle isn’t the end of this long-running franchise, but it serves as a solid prelude to the finale. (A second film that’ll act as the true ending is currently in the works.) For those who have been missing the boys of Karasuno High, the movie is worth the long wait it’s been since they appeared on the small screen. Not only does The Dumpster Battle showcase the wild competitive side of Haikyū!!, but it also spotlights the most important aspect of playing sports: having fun!


Haikyū!! The Dumpster Battle arrives in theaters on May 31st! English subtitled and dubbed versions observed for review. Promotional consideration provided by Cori Walworth, Madison Markel, and Sarah Jarvis of Crunchyroll.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)