How I learned about “Love” through Miya Atsumu

If you’re an avid Haikyuu!! fan, whether it’s the anime or the manga, you know the struggle of finding that one favorite character. At least in my case, I continuously rotate my favorite character from time to time (please raise your hand if you have the same struggle). I mean, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s so hard to pick a favorite when you can relate to bits of their struggles throughout the story.

Then enter Miya Atsumu.

My first impression towards the character was somewhat… unpleasant. I mean, the first picture that I saw from the character was him sticking his tongue out, bushy angry brows, clawing fingers mimicking the jackal and all that jazz (please do not show me that picture without any precaution hahaha).

Yeah, it was unpleasant. Especially when you watched the first half of Season 4, Atsumu really came off as this sleazy looking guy with sleazy looking smile. I of course, never doubt about his talent, and I never doubt about his passion towards volleyball. He comes off as rude and provoking, like that typical jock that you usually find in typical 90s Hollywood movies. But then again, there’s this little part of me that wants to believe that Furudate sensei must’ve created his character for a reason. Atsumu was definitely created not for that simple reason of being just a jock character. One thing that I learned about following the series is that you can never hate one character. Never. You can’t argue with me on this.

Therefore, I gave myself a chance by reading the manga starting from the Inarizaki arc and boy, I am glad that I did this because eventually the character grows on me. Throughout the manga, and now that I am following the second half of four season of the anime religiously, there are three things that I learned that revolves around “Love” through Miya Atsumu:

1. It’s okay to be passionate about things you love, and it’s okay to show it out loud

Growing up in a family that is very conservative and was taught to not ‘show too much of your opinions’ in public, it frustrates me that most of my adolescent years, I couldn’t show a lot of things due to my shy, introverted, and ‘just-hold-it-back’ nature. Now that I am a bit older and wiser and had experience of living alone (which helped me shape my personality and way I see things better), in a way I relate to Atsumu and his passion for volleyball. We all have things we are passionate about. Whether it’s related to your hobby, your favorite tv show, your favorite outfit, everything. From Atsumu, I learned that it is okay to be passionate about things you love. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best of the best from doing things that you love. I always think that humans, as complex creatures, have this hunger to evolve and to be better, and that is exactly how I want to live the rest of my life. Sure, there are probably some days when you feel like shit because you can’t get what you want. But hey, at least I tried my best doing things that I love. Therefore, nowadays I don’t really think too much about the result. While I also believe the end-result is important, especially when it’s related to work, I think it’s better for me to enjoy the whole process first rather than being stressed on unnecessary things that may hinder the process of me getting that result. Also, I don’t really think too much about others’ opinion now. Maybe it also comes off with the age, but as long as I don’t harm or hurt others, I will continue to do things that I love to do, and show it out loud to others.

2. You can’t please everyone, and not everyone will love you

When Episode 21 of the season 4 was aired, to say that I was sad after seeing that scene of middle-schooler Atsumu being shunned by his teammates due to his ridiculous standards (which comes off as cocky) is probably an understatement. I was too heartbroken to see it, to the point that I had to pause the video and went silent for about one minute, before finally continuing the rest of the video. I too, had similar experience when I was in elementary, when some of my friends shunned me because they thought that I was ‘too smart’ and ‘too perfectionist’. Of course, back then I was super sad about it. But now, when I looked back and think about the experience, I am glad that I went through the phase quite smoothly. Because, newsflash, the experience made me realize that you can’t definitely expect everyone to like you. Again, humans are such complex creatures that you can’t definitely expect everyone to act and feel the same way as you do. We have our own views, we care about things that we want to care, we are living our own lives, and that’s completely okay. At least now, I always vow to show compassion towards people that I truly care about. This also goes with the saying that ‘as you grow older, your circle of friends and family will eventually become smaller’, and it’s okay. As long as I am surrounded with people that I care and they also care for me, then I’m okay with it.

3. There are many different kinds of Love

When I first found out that the word engraved on his poster is “Love”, my initial reaction was a mix of surprise and a sense of pride. This is a bit personal, but the meaning of my real name is “to be loved”. So, in a way, I feel this surge of happiness when Furudate sensei decided to put the word “Love” on his poster. Sure, I always believe that the concept of “Love” for me is love doesn’t have to be linked with romance. The word “love” can mean a lot of things, depending on how you want to interpret it. In Atsumu’s case, of course, the word “love” for him revolves around his utmost passion and devotion towards volleyball. While I know that everyone in Haikyuu also have the same passion and devotion towards the sport, I couldn’t help but relate to his utmost effort to give his best to his spikers and to the sport in general. That is probably because I am a perfectionist, but I truly relate to him in that sense. Through his character, I also learn that love is indeed powerful, and you can show your love in many ways. While the concept of love remains abstract in my head, at least now, I am not afraid of the word anymore, and I embrace it. After all, there is nothing wrong with giving a lot of love.

TLDR, while the title seemed like a love letter for Miya Atsumu, this writing is actually just a love letter for myself, that I managed to survive this year despite the fact of course, 2020 was a whole lot of shitty year thanks to COVID. But one thing for sure, I am so, so glad that I found Haikyuu!! this year. The series has taught me a lot of things about life in general, that I wished I found the series sooner. But it’s okay, it is better later than never. And for the case of Miya Atsumu, all I can say is that I might love the character a little bit more than I intended. And it’s okay, just embrace it. Cheers!

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