When the dazzling exhilaration and smoldering emotions of matches or events are in the spotlight, sports anime thrive. The tale is driven by those breathtaking action scenes, but because of how fiercely the characters are competing, it also hits home when the action stops so that the characters can take a breath and be themselves. Food and how it affects the teams is a theme that appears in some of Haikyuu's most enduring and beautiful sequences.
The trips of the enthusiastic Karasuno players are enhanced by allowing them to enjoy some team-building and emotional relaxation or to celebrate their victories. These diligent young people prepare their own food. As they lose their competitive faces to fill the void left in their spirits and tummies as a result of weariness and cumbersome competition, the players find the necessary balance to keep themselves moving forward.
Comforts and Connections from Convenience Stores
After a rocky start, Karasuno starts to unite after watching their first-year members display drive and talent. What could have been a bittersweet gathering turns into an empowering snack at the convenience store. As most of the team finally unifies, Sugawara encourages Kageyama to take the reins as a setter, but not without offering an ongoing challenge. Hinata also has the realization he is in an actual volleyball club. The leading duo has found their spots, and their connection to Karasuno begins to feel genuine.
Karasuno's team eats at the convenience store after their tense scrimmage with Seijoh. However, the team unifies after their match and is eager to pursue a bright future. Hinata gains newfound excitement as he waits to meet Asahi, and the seeds are planted for Keishin Ukai to become the coach. These small moments at the convenience store deeply strengthen Karasuno's member's bonds and respect. As the team unwinds, only to get scolded by their future coach, their family dynamic starts to come together. A snack break solidifies the team's presence, at least in Hinata's mind.
Karasuno Welcomes Emotion and Accepts Humility
Haikyuu's first sanctioned match with Seijoh goes in favor of the opposition. Having made great strides and proven themselves against Dateko, the loss to Seijoh is a blow to their traction and pace. Kageyama and Hinata take things especially hard, as Oikawa and his powerful posse challenges their combination.
Now that Ukai is leading the team and adding a sense of relative maturity, he encourages the crew to accept their emotions. Buying the team nourishing comfort food while helping them find peace leads to a powerful display of humanity. Were there any prior doubts in the team's mind as to their standing, this removed them. It becomes clear they have formed a family of choice.
Barbecue Power and Creating New Bonds
After their loss, Karasuno can sharpen their talons in a training camp with influential teams like Nekoma and Fukurodani. What starts as a series of humbling losses turns into an empowering experience. Through tense competition and friendly rivalries, new connections and skills are born.
Witnessing the same intense rivals relax, crack jokes and bond over the glory of barbecue spotlights the beautiful union gained through friendly competition. Even the most taciturn members of Karasuno -- Nekoma and Fukurodani -- let loose and enjoy themselves. Likewise, Tsukishima forms genuine bonds during the training camp, culminating in healthy and awkward banter at the final celebration meal.
This barbecue sequence does a beautiful job of bringing the background members into the foreground by concentrating on everyone's appreciation for their thoughtfulness and sustenance. As the story progresses, these teams count themselves in the upper echelon as they eventually cross one another's paths to the goal. So much weight and world expansion occur during this meal, reinforcing future scenes with extra emotion.
These simple meal sequences can be goofy, emotional or relaxed. While they lack the kinetic energy and powerful animation of the matches or training series, they carry and build impressive weight into the story. Pulling back from the court to humanize even the most inhuman players makes Haikyuu feel more genuine and impactful.