Hey hey all you Heroes and Travelers out there today I’m bringing you all another super special awesome OWLS post!! Back in December I mentioned that I’d joined OWLS: Otaku Warriors of Liberty and Self-Respect, a group of bloggers and vloggers that hope to spread a message of acceptance and understanding through thoughtful community activism!
So, in order to spread our message of self acceptance and tolerance, we’ve decided to hold Monthly Blog Tours! During Blog Tours, we each write individual theme posts on our blogs that promote our group’s values, with a bit of an otaku twist. March’s Blog Tour topic is Sanctuary!
What is Sanctuary?
Okay, so whenever I hear the word sanctuary my mind immediately brings up that scene in Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, you know the scene where Quasimodo stands at the top of the cathedral holding Esmarelda’s lifeless body shouting “SANCTUARY” at the top of his lungs as the gathered citizens of Paris cheer. It’s an epic scene and I highly recommend seeing the film if you haven’t already, it’s one of my favorite Disney flicks! *ahem* so the official OWLS prompt:
A sanctuary is a place of safety and stability. In anime, there are several different places and environments that characters call “home.” For this topic, we will be discussing various locations and settings within certain anime series.
So far we’ve had posts from Shay, Lita, Matt, and Takuto with each blogger putting their own spin on the topic! Now it’s my turn… I hinted at this in my last OWLS post, not that my pick should be much of a surprise as Takuto inferred in his OWLS post LOL… so let’s see what sanctuary means to my favorite volleyball idiots, the Karasuno Crows!
It was supposed to be just… a club
The minute I read this prompt back in Feb. I knew without a doubt that I had to write about the sports anime Haikyuu!! It’s been a long time since an anime has resonated with me as much as Haikyuu and a lot of that has to do with the underlying message of unity and acceptance. While the series does focus on the characters and their growth as players and individuals, the most important take away from Haikyuu is the growth of the team and the bond that the players share with one another.
Though one could argue that Hinata and Kageyama are the “stars” of the show, and based on the amount of screen time they have throughout all three seasons, I’d have to agree with you… However, two players do not a volleyball team make, it takes the combined efforts of everyone from the bench warmers to the starters to make on the team work. For the Karasuno Boys Volleyball team, volleyball isn’t just a sport… volleyball isn’t just a club, and the court isn’t just a battlefield… It’s home!
Rather than write a 10 page analysis of each of the characters and their personal sanctuaries (which I could easily do 😛 ) I decided to just focus on, Hinata Shouyo and Kageyama Tobio, since their narratives tie in well with not just this month’s theme of Sanctuary, but our OWLS ideals.
They each know what it feels like to be alone, so the meaning of a team is different for them than it is for lets say, Tanaka or Daichi, who have always had a stable team. Both Hinata and Kageyama have struggled to find a place where they felt accepted, so for the baka duo, the Karasuno team isn’t just a club, it’s a place where they finally belong!
“A tall, tall wall looms in front of me. What’s the view on the other side? What does it look like? It’s a view I could never see on my own. That’s… the view from the summit.”
-Hinata, Ep. 1, Season 1
After seeing his idol the Little Giant on television, Hinata decided to join his Junior High’s volleyball team, only to be told that there wasn’t a team. So, undeterred, Hinata chose to be a one man team, which with a team sport like volleyball is impossible, one player just can’t fulfill every role on a team.
He spent his junior high days fostering and honing his volleyball skills alone, sure he’d occasionally rope one of his friends from the other sports clubs into helping him, but, it wasn’t a cohesive unit. It was lonely and empty, it was a makeshift shelter and a cruel imitation of what it felt like to be a part of a team. Even when he finally manages to collect enough bodies for a proper team in his final year of junior high, Hinata was still fighting on his own.
“The fact that I made a toss, and no one was there… It’s truly frightening.”
-Kageyama, Ep. 4, Season 1
Then there’s Kageyama, who unlike Hinata, did have the opportunity to play on a proper team in junior high, only to lose out on that connection due to his own arrogance. He took his team for granted and they abandoned him, in one of the most brutal and public ways possible and as a result, his ego took a huge hit. It’s one thing to not have a team, but to have one and then lose it… I can only imagine the pain Kageyama felt in that moment, especially knowing that it was all his fault.
A team is much more than just a collection of people, performing a task, a team is a machine that only works when all the cogs and wheels work together. Sure, they were a team in a traditional sense, but the camaraderie… the bond, just wasn’t there.
“In volleyball, everyone on this side of the net is your ally…”
-Tanaka, Season 1 Ep. 6
There is no “I” in team, and as cliche as that sounds, it’s the underlying message of Haikyuu!! and the foundation of both Hinata’s and Kageyama’s individual character arcs. Prior to joining the Karasuno team, both boys took everything on alone, they didn’t have friends and allies to rely on, it was like there was a wall separating them from everyone else around them and no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t climb over to the other side.
It’s only after these two different young men join the Karasuno Volleyball Club that they learn the true meaning of teamwork and begin taking steps to carve out their own personal sanctuaries. Of course it isn’t an easy journey there are a few bumps along the way, but ultimately Kageyama and Hinata have the same goal: to reach new heights! But in order to achieve that goal, they have to place their trust in their team.
Sanctuary for the Baka Duo isn’t a mutually exclusive thing, it’s their partnership with one another, it’s their camaraderie with their fellow teammates, it’s the bonds they share with their rivals. All of those elements come together to form a space where Hinata and Kageyama can be themselves without fear of persecution or rejection. It’s a place where their individual shortcomings don’t matter, because there is always someone there to fill in the gaps and that’s what I love about this show. The characters grow together, they accommodate for each other’s weaknesses and in the process create something that’s much bigger than themselves!
“You don’t win alone… That’s why there’s six players on the court.”
Well guys, that’s all I have to say about sanctuary in Haikyuu!!! and I really hope you all enjoyed reading my post!! I absolutely love this anime and I sincerely hope I did the series justice with this post.
To restate the prompt of this month’s Blog Tour: “A sanctuary is a place of safety and stability…” and for the Karasuno Boys Volleyball team, sanctuary just happens to be a volleyball court, but more specifically the 30ft x 30ft (9m x 9m) of space they share with their teammates, their friends, allies… their family. Even within that space, sanctuary holds a different meaning for each of the players on the team, for some just being on the court is enough and for others it’s being able to make a meaningful contribution to the team.
There is still a month’s worth of Blog Tour stops left in March, next up is Rai from Rai’s Anime Blog so definitely be on the look out for that posts in the coming days!! Also if you haven’t already, please subscribe to the Official OWLS Twitter account @OWLSbloggers and the Official OWLS Blog, to stay up to date on all OWLS news and announcements!
If you are interested in becoming a member of the OWLS team, please feel free to fill out the contact form, HERE! So don’t be afraid to reach out to any of us on our blogs, on twitter, or at the contact page to learn more about us!! You just need an open mind and a willingness to have fun!