The Nail That Sticks Up: Haikyu!! & the Power of Weirdos

Birds of a different feather flock together.


You may have heard the somewhat gloomy Japanese proverb: “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” It works a lot like the English idiom “don’t rock the boat,” and can read like a threat against individuality. While it often gets over-used by us folks in the west as a way to (negatively and reductively) explain Japan’s cultural tendency to value the group over the individual, it’s still a useful phrase because it neatly summarizes the major downside of collectivism: If you don’t fit the mold, then you’re no longer welcome.

Haikyu!! is a show about volleyball. It’s a show about persistence and passion. It’s a show about friendship and teamwork. And now, after finishing its third season, we can add something else to that list. Haikyu is a show about defending the nails that stick up.

Here there be spoilers: Discussion about the finale for Haikyu Season 3 (Karasuno Vs. Shiratorizawa) below the jump.

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