Ao Ashi vs. Haikyuu, Will the new soccer anime replacer the volleyball king in the future? Before answering that, the more important question is why would that matter. Sports anime is old as anime itself. The first anime ever produced was back in 1928, made to boost the morale of players participating in the Olympics. It is that one genre that always has something new to offer; you will always find a popular anime or manga that stands shoulder to the rest. But why is that? What makes the genre so good is that not only does it have a large fanbase but a constant stream of authors who pour their life and soul into it, offering something new? The answer is more simple than anyone can think; it’s real.
Fantasy and Sci-fi Stories are in a world with different laws of nature, landscapes, and even species. But we can only enjoy it as a viewer; there is no such thing as ” One day I would like to slay a dragon too!” in real life. And this is where the appeal of sports anime comes in; if it’s happening on the screen, it can be done in real life.
Ao Ashi and Haikyuu
Haikyuu has been called the best anime ever since it came out; its impact was so significant that every season some school anime nowadays will have a volleyball scene in it. Haikyuu was the first Volleyball anime to come out, and it had a fresh approach to things. Back then, Slam Dunk and Captain Tsubasa were considered kings of Sports anime, their position in the sports anime community unrivaled. It is not to say there have been no good anime ever since Slam Dunk. Prince of Tsunbasa or Eyeshield 21 were great in their own right, becoming sports fans’ favorite. But nothing like Haikyuu had come.
Haikyuu was a volleyball sports manga that ended its run in 2020. It followed the story of Hinata, the protagonist, and Kageyama as the deuteragonist of the series. The two started as rivals in mid-school Volleyball competitions. Hinata’s team loses, and when he moves to high school, he vows to get Kageyama the next time they meet in court, which is much sooner than he had wanted. Both of them had wound up on the same team, and the selection team wanted to put both of their talents together, or neither will get to join the volleyball team.
Ao Ashi follows the life of Aoi Ashito, a footballer who we first meet in a mid-school soccer final. He is an exceptional player with an upbeat and loud personality. What we get to see, however, is his ability to remember the position of all the players on the field throughout the game and make strategies depending on the situation. As we move forward in the story, the story reveals its grounds to be in realism. Every sports anime has some mystical or psychological touch to it. And the lack of those elements in Ao Ashi could also be why it didn’t become a hit compared to its direct competitor Blue Lock, which focuses more on one-person soccer. But as anime aired and the real-life elements and strategies were put into a play, its appeal became clear.
In their arsenal, Shonen Sports anime have protagonists with a particular quirk, like Hinata’s inhuman leg power in Haikyuu, which plays a significant factor in their personal growth and game. Aoi has a good amount of stamina, but that is not his selling point since the beginning; it’s strategizing on the go and working with the team to reach the goal. He even played as support in the selection match to help his team score a point. Ao Ashi is the story of Aoi Ashito, who is a good-natured but hot-headed football player invited by Tatsuya Fukuda, a former international Japanese soccer player, to join the Esperion youth academy. Tatsuya Fukada aims to change Japanese soccer, and he believes Aoi could be the key to it.
Ao Ashi Vs. Haikyuu- how are they different?
As far as sports go, Ao Ashi and Haikyuu couldn’t be different. But differences aren’t just surface level; even if the stories are character-driven, they have many ostentatious and nuanced differences. Ao Ashi is a coming-of-age of a single protagonist story with teamwork furthering the character’s growth. At the same time, Haikyuu focuses on the two characters’ dynamics and the team members and supporting characters around them. They both follow their own set of rules, both in sports and in how their world functions. This is nice in itself. Often stories tend to copy aspects of famous works and put them in a different setting, which sporadically works out, but the stories are still bland and unoriginal.
Ao Ashi Vs. Haikyuu, which has better Characters?
Ao Ashi focuses on the members of Esperion Youth Academy team A that cultivates football players for the next generation.
- Aoi Ashino: Baring resemblance to the name of the series, Aoi is the protagonist of the series. His only aspiration is to play football, but other than that, he doesn’t have any ambitions in life or even anything significant related to football.
- Eisaku Otomo: Otomo is introduced as a nervous wreck ball who whimpers and is intimated by tense situations outside the field. Increase field. However, he is calm, observing the middle man among his team members. During the
- Soichiro Tachibana: He participated in the Esperion selection match to regain his competitive streak. He used to be captain of his team in his mid-school soccer club. He began to trust Ashino during those matches, and they have been good friends since
- Jun March Asari: First seen in the match against new candidates. He has a calm demeanor but looks down on Ashino, thinking he has inferior skills.
- Nagisa Akutsu: Can easily be ascribed as the Villain of the selection matches. He manipulated his opponents and was the only one to win in his selection year. Via coercion, he doesn’t like Ashino one bit.
- Tatsuya Fukuda: Can easily be ascribed as the backbone of the plot. He saw potential in Ashino and, during his moment of despair in the selection match against the Esperion youth team, encouraged him from the sidelines.
- Hana Ichijo: Sister-in-law of Tatsuya, she aspires to be a doctor and helps the Esperion team members when they are injured.
- Noriko Aoi: Ashino’s mother supports his dream but doesn’t like to talk much about it to him.
- Shun Aoi: Ashino’s older brother; he was the one who taught Ashino to play football when he was young. He also helped his younger brother with money when he had to leave for Tokyo.
The series mainly focuses on Karasuno High School’s Volleyball team.
- Shoyo Hinata: A short boy with great leg power, he aspires to be like the little giant of volleyball whom he saw on TV when he was young.
- Tobio Kageyama: He is the Deutrgonist nicknamed “King of the Court” by his mid-school peers due to his perfectionist nature.
- Kei Tsukishima: A first-year at Karasuno high school, he holds the middle blocker position on the team. He is tall and well-built.
- Yu Nishinoya: A Second year at Karasuno, playing Libro position on the volleyball team. He was dubbed the guardian deity by his teammates for never letting the ball touch the ground. He gets along with Hinata on the first day of meeting with him.
- Koshi Sugawara: He is a third-year at Karasuno high. Vice-captain of the team, he has a quiet and strong determination never to give up, and he encourages other players to do so as well.
- Daichi Sawamura: He is a third-year at Karasuno high. Captain of the team, though not talented, he is the most experienced among all his peers. He is mature and reasonable and does what’s best for the team in long run.
- Kiyoko Shimizu: Manager of the Karasuno high school volleyball team, she is of average height with shoulder-length black hair. She is sincere in her conduct but is shy when giving speeches.
- Keishin Ukai: Alumni of Kurasuno high school’s volleyball team, he has blonde-dyed hair and coaches the high school he once used to be part of.
Similarities between Haikyuu And Ao Aishi
What is it that makes them similar? They both have a motif of a crow woven into their story, in Ao Ashi crow is used as a symbol for Aoi contemplating the field. Whereas, Haikyuu the team’s name is Karasuno, which earned them the nickname crows. Other than that characters share few similarities and stand out as their own.
Ao Ashi has few similarities and stark differences. The similarities are weaved into the plot and reveal themselves in nuances as you go further into the plot. But everything we have defined so far, does it give a good metric to compare the two in their successes? Haikyuu had a surplus of positive reviews since its inception. Ao Ashi was considered underrated shadowed by the popularity of Blue Lock until the Anime’s release. If the series does take off in popularity after the anime’s release it won’t be anything new. Seven deadly sins wasn’t a well-known manga until its anime came out.
Ao Ashi’s anime is well received by sports anime fans, it can beat Haikyuu down the line. That is if Blue Lock anime is sub-par in comparison. Only time will tell.