Haikyuu!! is a sports anime about a once-great high school volleyball team that has fallen on hard times—that is, until Shōyō Hinata joins. The story primarily follows Hinata, a small boy with big dreams of becoming a professional volleyball player. After seeing the local high school team, Karasuno High School, playing on TV at nationals he makes it his mission to be accepted at Karasuno in order to join the team, only to find that they are now dubbed the ‘The Wingless Crows’ after failing to qualify for preliminaries in recent years. Hinata brings energy and enthusiasm upon joining the team, helping to rally the troops despite his height disadvantage.
One of Hinata’s main qualities is that he desires to play volleyball in spite of his height, wanting to follow in the footsteps of his equally short hero, former Karasuno volleyball player, the ‘Tiny Giant,’ a talented spiker Hinata saw playing on TV at Nationals. So, how tall, or short in this instance, is Hinata? At the beginning of the show, Hinata stands at 162.8 cm (5′ 4.1″), he grew to 164.2 cm (5′ 4.6″), throughout the school year. Hinata is so small that many mistake him for a junior high school student.
He isn’t the smallest member of the team, however. That distinction goes to Yū Nishinoya who starts at 159.3 cm (5′ 2.7″) and grows to 160.5 cm (5′ 3.2″). Both boys make up for their short stature with incredible speed, endurance, and, in Hinata’s case, his impressive jump. Hinata develops his skill as a volleyball player with his intense, often all-consuming desire to win. His strongest position is as a spiker, working in tandem with former rival, now teammate, Tobio Kageyama, a setter. Hinata is also an impressive decoy as the opposition focus their attention on his extreme jumping skills, seeing him as a threat, allowing another teammate to spike the ball over the net instead.
Hinata and the team improve together, utilizing their strengths as they face off against strong opponents and learn to work together. The team loses its bad reputation, and with it their ugly nickname, as they become a force to be reckoned with, gradually winning matches and gaining ground in tournaments. While the anime hasn’t done so, perhaps because it has yet to move past season four, the manga at least sees the team make it all the way to Nationals and beyond.
After graduation Hinata spends two years training in Brazil where, thanks to rigorous exercise and a decent diet, he continues to grow in height, reaching 172cm. The manga continues to follow Hinata’s journey as he becomes a professional player, eventually making it onto the Japan Volleyball Team for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. In 2022 he goes on to play in the Brazil Super League on the Asas São Paulo team, facing off once again against his former teammate Kageyama, both of whom promise to be the winners of the match, bringing the series round full circle.
You can watch Haikyuu!! on Crunchyroll.