By Haruichi Furudate, Naoshi Komi
Crossovers, regardless of medium, can often come across as unnecessary; in some cases, they are downright bizarre. In the case of Nisekoi’s and Haikyu’s crossover one-shot, Nisekyu, it works relatively well. Both series do not require too much suspension of disbelief, nor does either series clash in tone with the other. Nisekoi is a fluffy romantic comedy, and Haikyu is a fluffy sports series. The end result of all this is a one-shot about beach volleyball and bonding.
There is a kind of arc for the cast of Haikyu, as they learn to overcome their jealousy and personal prejudices, and in the process bond with Raku. While this is still a crossover of two unrelated series, it is not presented in a particularly compelling or deep way. Still, it is nice knowing while Nisekyu was never going to aim for lofty heights, it is still a tender little story with some compassion put in. Nisekyu is not likely to win new fans for either Nisekoi or Haikyu, but it is among the better thought out manga crossovers I have come across.
The warm expressiveness of Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyu, and to a lesser extent Naoshi Komi’s Nisekoi, shines through. The Nisekoi characters are more of a low point visually in this comic. Partially the cause of this is because the characters from Nisekoi do not really visually mesh with the rest of Nisekyu, but also the characters from the Nisekoi universe really do lack the delicately detailed artwork Naoshi Komi generally draws them with. The biggest issue with crossovers is that different art styles do not always blend together naturally, and it is clear there was a struggle to convey Naoshi Komi’s usual standard for artwork here.
Nisekyu is still completely unnecessary, but neither of its parent series has much substance to begin with, so nothing was really lost in its creation. Nisekyu manages to capture both the spirit and visuals of both Nisekoi and Haikyu. This is the one area where Nisekyu is jarring occurs with accurate transfers for character designs from both series. The more cartoonish series, Nisekoi, does not really connect with the more heartwarming, expressive artwork of Haikyu.
That is a rather minor nitpick in the end product, as Niskeyu is still rather heartwarming but it is worth mentioning. Nisekyu also uses this opportunity to poke fun at both of its parent stories. Never in a mean-spirited way, but it seems self-aware of the conventions of both the romantic-comedy and sports genres which both Nisekoi and Haikyu rely on. This entirely is in the form of sneering comments from characters from the opposing series.
As mentioned above, Nisekyu is a simple bonding experience between the casts of Haikyu and Nisekoi, and that Nisekyu selected beach volleyball for this is the most suitable choice for this. Beach volleyball as a theme connects both series quite well without becoming a gimmick or too contrived. To be clear: this is no masterpiece. Considering this is a one-off crossover between two series it is nice some thought was put into Nisekyu.