Heartwarming moments of Haikyuu!!. Expect lots of aw's.
Spoilers are unmarked.
- Kageyama's awkward attempts at complimenting others are adorable, especially considering how much he struggled to bond with his former teammates.
- Kenma and Hinata's Odd Friendship, which begins almost on a whim but stays strong throughout the series.
- Just going from complete strangers to Kenma referring to Hinata by his first name and upgrading to a texting-based relationship all during one match in Miyagi, especially with someone as socially awkward as Kenma.
- The fact on how excited they get over the idea of meeting each other is just plain sweet. Kuroo describes Kenma's excitement to be akin to him anticipating a new video game. Even his teammates' reactions are adorable they're all just happy to see him interacting with someone without seeming shy or worried about what they think, and they all agree that the friendship is good for him.
- In addition, Hinata sparks something like a passion for volleyball in Kenma, and the prospect of a game against Karasuno is the only one where Kenma seems to specifically want to beat the other team rather than just win because losing sucks.
- Tsukishima's slightly soft expression whenever he's around Yamaguchi, and soft spot for him in general. While he still appears as his usual aloof self, his eyes can hold a lot of expression compared to when he's with the others - especially when Yamaguchi tells him off during the training camp. He's also noticeably kinder to Yamaguchi, never quite snarking at him the way he does with everyone else and allowing him to call him 'Tsukki' (or 'Zuggi') rather than the full 'Tsukishima.'
- It's very subtle, but seeing Tsukishima go from having only one friend (Yamaguchi) to being teased by Nishinoya and ganging up with Tanaka to intimidate other teams is heartwarming to witness.
- Aone's respect for Hinata, which starts from the first time they play. After suffering a surprise loss to Karasuno, Aone makes a point of shaking Hinata's hand afterwards. In the second season, he personally greets Hinata twice, and he tells Koganegawa that it isn't always the big players that are the biggest threats.
- The many times Karasuno practises and socialises with Nekoma and Fukurodani serves a reminder that, even if they're rivals that will fight to the bitter end on court, they are friends off the court and sincerely respect each other. This is a contrast to Karasuno's interactions with the other Miyagi schools they've faced, which are not hostile but mostly not all that amicable either. Even their interactions once Karasuno beats Nekoma out of nationals Nekoma is obviously disappointed to have lost, but seems on some level genuinely happy that it at least means that Karasuno gets to advance.
- Any shot of the other teams watching the tournaments after their defeat. Most teams are remotely keeping up with nationals, and as the Miyagi representative, a good number of them are cheering on Karasuno. The rest are generally still grudgingly happy that they won, like Shiratorizawa or Aoba Johsai, and the groups in Tokyo are actively hoping that Karasuno will win so that they'll get to play them in nationals.
Endings and Beginnings
- Hinata's enthusiastically thanks of his friends for being part of the team in their first (and last) junior high volleyball match. He knows they're no good as much as they do, but he's just so grateful for them being there.
- In the anime, after watching the Yukigaoka vs Kitagawa Daiichi match and seeing the former lose, who does Tanaka say his money's on being the tough one when he's in high school? Hinata - the little one.
Karasuno High Team Formation Arc
- After seeing how hard Hinata is working on his receives, Kageyama finally tosses to him (after previously saying he only tosses to those he deems worthy). Despite being exhausted, Hinata still runs to the toss and spikes it, happy that he's finally been acknowledged.
- Noticing how obsessed Hinata is with being the ace and how little he thinks of his role as the decoy, Kageyama snaps him out of it by helping him score in their practice match and reminding him that the decoy is just as important as the ace, and that with his toss he can help Hinata overcome any blocker.
- Nishinoya taking up extra training on block follow-ups, specifically to save Asahi's spikes that had been blocked.
- Shimizu wishes good luck to the team before their first official match, marking it the first time she breaks her Aloof Dark-Haired Girl persona. The boys, especially the third-years, are extremely moved by this.
- Michimiya comforts her teammates after their loss at the Interhigh competition, even though it's her last year as captain. She then goes outside to cry, having held her tears back so she wouldn't discourage her team.
- Little Kageyama (who's yet to develop his conceited personality at this point) sincerely complimenting Oikawa's skills and trying to get Oikawa to teach him how to serve is adorable, even if Oikawa responds with his usual petty Manchild self.
- Ukai treats the Karasuno team to a meal after their loss to Aoba Johsai, reminding them that they have to eat up if they want their bodies to recover and continue growing. He fondly watches everyone while they both eat and cry at the same time.
Tokyo Expedition Arc
- After feeling down about herself as "Villager B", Yachi gathers the courage to tell her mother that she's going to become Karasuno's manager (with Hinata's help). Afterward, her mother (who's been been nudging her to become stronger and more confident in herself, albeit in an Innocently Insensitive manner) tears up over her daughter's growth. Later on, she helps her with her volleyball poster and hugs her when she successfully settles on a good design.
- Young Tsukishima's expression to Yamaguchi confessing that he was too scared to try out any of the other sports because he was scared holds a lot of emotion for someone who goes on to be the resident Jerkass.
- Karasuno is super excited when Hinata and Kageyama finally succeed with their new quick attack at the week-long Tokyo camp for the first time. Hinata then keeps telling Kageyama how incredible he is for perfecting his new toss, which leaves Kageyama flustered and unable to respond properly, much to the team's amusement. Yachi meanwhile is jumping for joy, happy that the pair who'd fought weeks ago are now getting along again.
Spring High Preliminary Arc
- Shimizu gets cornered by a few yet-to-be-encountered Johzenji players, who have her surrounded, pinned against a wall, and are asking for her number. Hinata, upon seeing this, instantly puts himself between her and them despite the fact that they're largely a foot or more taller than he is, and through discussing volleyball he ends up getting distracted enough to leave. Before leaving, Shimizu thanks him for being there, and the biggest heartwarmer is that that's the end of it: unlike Tanaka and Noya, who like to brag about every iota of attention they get from her, and the third years, who are very protective of the only female member of their team, Hinata is content to be there when he's needed and then move on, never feeling the need to tell the rest of the team anything about it.
- Karasuno shows a lot of encouragement to Ennoshita during his first official match as Daichi's substitute. He has a lot of doubts, but then sees that no one on the team is surprised that he's been called in the match which shows they have a lot of trust in him. Several of the members get a flashback to when they recognized Ennoshita as the responsible hard worker that he is, and there's even a scene where the second-years all unanimously and immediately agree that he's the best choice for captain including Tanaka and Nishinoya, who are typically overexcited glory hogs.
- Yachi tries to find medicine to help with Yamaguchi's anxiety and also gives him advice on how to cope with it, because she knows how it feels like. She then immediately gets sick right after Yamaguchi tells her about his Aoba Johsai match, leading everyone to joke about how he had passed on his nerves to her.
- The entire reaction to Yamaguchi finally landing a successful float jump serve in an official match, against Aoba Johsai no less:
- Tsukishima at first seems to downplay the moment, annoying Tanaka then he continues on and shows he's not surprised at all, because he knew how hard his friend's worked on the serve and had complete faith that he would eventually succeed, and in fact was taking everyone else's excitement as an insult to Yamaguchi.Tsukishima: Why are you all acting so surprised? In the past five months, he's practised serving harder than anyone else.
- Yamaguchi gets completely mobbed by the Karasuno players on the court first, and then when he's switched out the benched players all smother him with joy too.
- As Yamaguchi's mentor who's witnessed the boy suffer through obstacles to master the serve and become of use to the team, Shimada understandably has the most proud and tearful reaction out of everyone.
- Tsukishima at first seems to downplay the moment, annoying Tanaka then he continues on and shows he's not surprised at all, because he knew how hard his friend's worked on the serve and had complete faith that he would eventually succeed, and in fact was taking everyone else's excitement as an insult to Yamaguchi.
- Oikawa, despite disliking Karasuno, delivers one hell of a speech about them to Ushijima. Especially notable in that he never admits Kageyama's skill when he's around, preferring to try to slap him down.Oikawa: If you keep all of your attention on me, you're going to get stabbed from the direction you least expect. My junior isn't smart, and isn't even close to my level yet... But now that he's not by himself, he's strong. When crows flock, they might even kill a huge, white eagle.
- Kageyama, Hinata, and Yachi's Friendship Moment in the anime in the gym after their win against Aoba Johsai, where they celebrate Hinata and Kageyama's new quick. It's also a direct parallel/contrast with Kageyama and Hinata's fight earlier on.
- The anime adaptation adds in a lot of support from the Karasuno students and teachers after the boys' team defeats Aoba Johsai and advances to the final against Shiratorizawa, which is a nice touch and shows how proud they are:
- When the team returns to school, it's shown that a many students and teachers had stayed late to congratulate their win. Michimiya and her friends go up to Sawamura to personally congratulate him, and Hinata and Kageyama's teacher calls out to them from the classroom.
- The vice principal actually organises a group of students to go to the Shiratorizawa match so they can cheer for them (something that the team was previously lacking compared to the powerhouse schools). Since it was organised on a whim with little practice, they don't sound all that convincing compared to Shiratorizawa's fearsome chants, but they try their hardest throughout the match anyways. When Karasuno wins, everyone is ecstatic, including the principal (who had a lot of grievances with the boys' team thanks to Hinata, Kageyama, and Nishinoya stirring up trouble).
- After a lot of planning and patience, Tsukishima finally blocks Ushijima's spike, which gives Karasuno the second set. Tsukishima (who's had mixed feelings towards volleyball up until this point) thinks back to Bokuto telling him how that "one moment" will get him hooked, and he pumps his fist with a roar of satisfaction. The entire Karasuno camp the players, coaches, managers, and the alumni in the stands are stunned by both the block and the sudden emotions from him. Akiteru in particular tears up, touched by how much his little brother has grown.
- Ukai does not forget to give words of encouragement to Narita after he's done subbing for Tsukishima, praising him for keeping his composure during a really stressful time (Karasuno having fallen behind in the fifth set and surviving a few match points). In the manga, the players on the sidelines can be briefly seen running to Narita and celebrating his hard work.
- Everyone's reactions to Karasuno clinching the match against Shiratorizawa and advancing to Nationals after many years of being the "fallen crows":
- Akiteru excitedly points to Tsukishima while bragging about him to a stranger next to him.Akiteru: RIGHT THERE! THE ONE WITH THE GLASSES! THAT'S MY BROTHER!
- The overjoyed second years pounce on the first, who are too stunned to absorb what has just happened but largely carried the match as half of the starting team.
- The third years share a tearful hug with each other and scream, being the most emotional out of the team. After a shaky start to their high school volleyball journey and having doubts over how much time they had left, they've now done what their previous captains had so desperately wanted to do yet couldn't. Bonus points for the multiple flashbacks they have to their first year, where they slowly but surely realized that Karasuno wasn't the powerhouse they remembered and their third years would never see nationals, much less win. They had no reason to hope otherwise until the new crop of first years.
- Every one of the Karasuno coaches and managers cry Tears of Joy, from the manly Ukai to the usually stoic Shimizu.
- Michimiya and her friends are ecstatic that their fellow third years on the boys' team have gone the distance and will go on the biggest stage. In the anime, Michimiya calls out to them and beams when Sawamura holds up the lucky charm she gave him.
- Akiteru excitedly points to Tsukishima while bragging about him to a stranger next to him.
- The Shiratorizawa coach Washijo at one point during the match tells his team that if they make a poor showing of themselves, he'll make them run back to the school, a threat he'd followed through on in the past. The team interpret "making a poor showing of themselves" to mean "if they lost"; however, his first words to them after the match are "well played" and to get on the bus, showing that even after losing he doesn't think that they've disgraced themselves at all.
- The Shiratorizawa team has a meeting some time after the match, and before it ends Ushijima goes out of his way to give advice to each and every underclassman. The other third years are surprised by how much he's observed the team. Goshiki is terrified when his turn approaches, regretting how much he's boasted about being the next ace when he still has a lot of room for improvement and he knows that there are any number of things that Ushijima could say to him right now. Ushijima's words to him? "I'm leaving the team to you." As the underclassmen show their thanks, Goshiki bawls like a baby while the other third years try to cheer him up.
- Nekoma's reaction to Yaku spraining his ankle during their qualifying matches. Yaku himself is pretty upset about it, but, while his team is scared, it brings out the best in them Taketora is too focused on defense to succumb to the other team's taunting, Yaku expresses his faith in the substitute libero, the rest of the team reassures Kuroo that Lev's mistakes won't be something he has to shoulder on his own now, and Lev finally realizes the value of Nekoma's teamwork when he's faced with a libero who isn't as 'infalliable' as Yaku is.
Tokyo Nationals Arc
- Chapter 224 of the manga has a great moment between Hinata and Kageyama. Kageyama starts to revert to his 'king-like' ways, causing him to shout at Asahi for messing up a play. When he realizes what he's done, he's instantly terrified that he'll create a rift with his team again and starts to apologize, when Hinata makes the point that that's simply who he naturally is, and that if they have a problem, they'll just talk to him about it, not cut him out. The rest of the team emphatically agrees, saying that they were never trying to make him totally stop asking a lot from them as a setter, and that it wasn't even fair for them to expect his skills to carry if they wouldn't try to making things easier on him as well. It ends with Hinata playfully putting a rolled up towel on Kageyama's head to recrown him "the new King of the Court" ... but from Kageyama's perspective a page later, it feels less like a joke and more like he's actually been crowned again. With this, Hinata helps Kageyama get his confidence back, and the rest of the team assures him that it's alright to make demands of them so long as they're productive and not completely one-sided.
- Shimizu helps get Hinata's bag back in time for Karasuno's first match and has Yachi stand in as the main manager for the first time (up until this point Shimizu's been the one to stay on court). She passes Hinata's bag to Yachi from the stands, and it's a touching way of symbolising Shimizu passing the baton to the first year. This happens after she reflects on her time as Karasuno's manager and how she's determined to face her final challenges with them with full confidence and satisfaction, regardless of how much time she potentially has left.
- Apparently, spotting his "No. 1 Disciple" Hinata watching in the stands is all it takes for Bokuto to get out of his funk during Fukurodani's opening match (he didn't like that they were playing in a smaller stadium than the others) and lead the team to victory.
- Inarizaki's cheer squad starts to have an effect on both Karasuno's play and their confidence in their match, something that Ukai and the alumni notice. Then Saeko and her wadaiko crew turn up and deliver some epic music and cheers of their own this helps change the atmosphere for Karasuno and reassures them that they have a lot of support behind them as well.
- Yamaguchi gets subbed in the first set of the Inarizaki match but panics because the emergency exit sign, which he's made his "visual reset cue" (to help him calm down before serving), has been blocked from his view by one of the banners. Before his anxiety gets worse, he spots Shimada standing nearby and holding up his Shimada Market bag — the same item that had acted as his reset cue during his jump float practice pre-Nationals. Yes, Shimada had checked on the emergency exit sign earlier and ran there with all his might to hold up the Shimada Market bag as a second visual cue just so he could help calm Yamaguchi down during his serve. This helps Yamaguchi to deliver a service ace and build Karasuno's momentum.
- In Chapter 278, Kinoshita feels down that he couldn't score with his jump float serve against Inarizaki (at this point, he's acted as a pinch server a few times in the tournament but with little success) and thinks he hasn't accomplished anything in the match. When Nishinoya finally counters Atsumu Miya's own jump float serve with a successful overhand receive and helps the team score, who does he thank? Kinoshita, because he was the one who helped Nishinoya with his overhand receives by practising his serve. As the two friends pump their fists in each other's directions, the chapter title is revealed to be "Hero of the Guardian Deity", showing that Kinoshita's been crucial to Nishinoya's development and is being far more helpful to the match than he's realized.
- After the Inarizaki match, the Karasuno group watches the news back at the inn and have a laugh at seeing themselves on TV (because most of the shots shown are less than flattering). After an incredibly tense and draining match, it's nice to see the team loosen up and be all smiles.
- When the much-anticipated and exhausting Battle at the Garbage Dump ends, the Karasuno and Nekoma players go to do their formal handshakes with each other across the net and with the referees. Afterward? A few members go out of their way to give each other a lot more personal greetings, such as the two captains hugging each other and Sugawara's friendly shoulder bump with Yaku, showing how deep their Friendly Rivalry runs. The two teams watch the remainder of Fukurodani's match together afterward, and Nekoma later cheers for Karasuno during their quarterfinal match.
- After Fukurodani wins their third round match, Bokuto spots Nekoma with Karasuno and immediately goes to congratulate Nekoma's third years, hugging Kuroo and Kai and fist-bumping Yaku.