Haikyû !!, the passion for volleyball made manga
“The landscape from the top is a vision that I will never be able to see alone.
But if I’m not alone, maybe I’ll get to see her … »
A sign that things are changing in our country in relation to manga edition and publication is the recent arrival in our libraries of Haikyû !!. This series created in 2012 by FURUDATE Haruichi for the magazine Shuukan Shounen Jump from Shūeisha It would not have had the opportunity just a few years ago to see the light in Spain, despite its critical and public success and its proven quality. The fact of being a sports manga -a spokon- and with more than forty compilation volumes behind it, would have disenchanted the most hardened and emboldened editor. It is true, there is no tradition in our country for this type of work, but Haikyû !! has achieved in recent years a status similar to that of great titles of the genre such as Captain Tsubasa Y Slam Dunk. The completion of the work in 2020, after four hundred and two episodes and with forty-five compilation volumes, as well as the fame of its anime and the pressure from fans, have surely been decisive elements when it comes to whether today we can enjoy this manga around these latitudes.
Comic Planet He has taken the cat to the water and the bet has come out well, well Haikyû !! It became, after its departure last October, the best-selling publication in Spain. A privileged place that later has been somewhat distorted by the corresponding success of Tokyo Revengers. Planet Aware of the license he had in hand, he launched a pack with the first two volumes of the series at an unbeatable price of € 9.95. You could also find the first volume individually for € 2.95. The fact that fans respond to this type of initiative is also an issue to underline and one that the industry in its entirety should end up taking into account. Because no matter how powerful a specific license is, when it is backed by good marketing and a commitment of equal intensity, the results are obvious. That way of caring for and loyalty to the reader that the great publishers have discovered with the arrival of Milky Way Editions, Tomodomo editions and other small companies. In that sense, in recent times we are also seeing advertising for manga (and comics) in newspapers and public spaces, a type of promotion that until recently had not been tested by the sector.
For all this, one could venture that Haikyû !! it comes at the best possible time and this is also a matter to consider. In his day, Glénat he risked publishing Captain Tsubasa In our country, and despite completing it, it is an open secret that the journey and sales were not easy. Those were other times, and the recovery last year of the mythical work of TAKAHASHI Yoichi on the part of the own Planet, leaves a good account of this, also being this another of the points that surely have encouraged the publisher to take over the rights of this Haikyû !!. A work that in Japan has been a phenomenon recognized with the Shogakukan Award for Best Shōnen Manga and with third place in the Sugoi Awards sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Publishers Association of Comics of the country. This without counting the upturn in high school and high school youth who have become interested in and signed up for volleyball clubs influenced by this manga.
But how did all this start? The proposal of FURUDATE Haruichi was born from a one-shot published in the weekly magazine Jump NEXT! from Shūeisha. Soon, the publisher realized the potential of the story and began to serialize it – as we have already advanced – in its magazine Shuukan Shounen Jump. A star was born. The truth is that today the real identity and gender of the author who hides under the name of FurudateBut what we do know is that he was a volleyball player during his high school years, occupying the position of central blocker in a school in Miyagi prefecture, within the city of Sendai. This is reflected in Haikyû !!, both in his way of transmitting his passion for this sport and in his way of telling us everything that has to do with its intrinsic values to this sport, as well as in the location that the author chooses for the work and in which numerous places appear , buildings and educational centers inspired by real examples from his hometown.
This does not mean that Haikyû !! be neither a realistic cut manga nor a slice of life sports in the line of those that planted a veteran like ADACHI Mitsuru. This work is still a shōnen and, therefore, there is a certain exaggeration in the portrayal of its main characters and their actions. However, the work does convey the real tension of a game of this type, the nerves before the next match, the effort the team makes in training and the testosterone released when scoring a decisive point in a match. Also, unlike other sports manga, Haikyû !! it does place great emphasis on team building and the need to join forces and improve together beyond the individual punctuals. It is a point that is highlighted from the beginning of the work and in which it does not stop recurring throughout history. The dynamic is the usual for many shōnen, with new challenges and adversaries that must be overcome throughout the matches, but Furudate build over low heat, as if Haikyû !! was his team and he himself a mangaka served as its coach.
The story stars Shōyō Hinata, a young elementary school student who after watching a volleyball game on television is fascinated by this sport and by the figure of a player nicknamed “The Little Giant” due to the strength and leadership he shows despite his short stature. This is an aspect with which Shōyō identifies and through determination manages to become part of the Karasuno Institute volleyball team. There he meets Tobio Kageyama, a more experienced player who plays in the position of setter, with whom he has already had a confrontation in the past and who is contemptuously nicknamed “The King of the Court” because of his character. Shōyō and Tobio will have to put their differences aside to build a strong team for the new season and fight to become the best against powerful opponents such as Aoba Josai and Shiratorizawa.
It is through Shōyō that we discover the fundamentals of volleyball, making an introduction that goes from the basic to the most technical, but that at no time becomes a condescending, heavy and over-explanatory approach. Haikyû !! It is a manga in which we stay for its characters, really three-dimensional in their way of seeing sport and volleyball, although we do not have more references from them about their personal life and their lives beyond the field of play. It is their passion to improve – and not necessarily to be the best! – that Furudate manages to move us in a very close way, we are more or less familiar with this sport. The first volumes of the series published in Spain are very introductory in this regard, because its author does not take shortcuts and does not get us fully into the most competitive part of volleyball. All that will come later, but when it does, there is already a base so well built that it enhances the epic and adrenaline of the series.
Furudate is a big fan of One Piece from ODA Eiichirō and one of his favorite series is Tekkon Kinkreet from MATSUMOTO Taiyō. These small confessions about his particular tastes are striking because we could consider the author’s work in Haikyû !! as a kind of combination of the sensibilities of both referents. On the one hand, Room He has always shown his interest in the construction of plots and characters, making his magna work not a simple shōnen to use and has many more leisurely passages in which the action takes a back seat. But on the other hand, when the action appears it is truly explosive and conveyed through a drawing with a lot of personality. The same thing happens in Haikyû !! that complements his proposal with that spark in the dialogues and that perfect handling of the dramatic tension that we find in many of the master’s works. Matsumoto.
In this sense, the visual style of Furudate it might appear at first glance to be that of any other standard Japanese comic book publication. But as soon as we enjoy reading, we will verify that its author makes use of a very refined and precise narrative that in a way can remind us of the uses and ways of another great one such as OBATA Takeshi. Haikyû !! It is an intense job and that is achieved by its creator through sheer attention to detail and tremendously agile development, both when the characters are on and off the pitch. But when we are in the latter case, Shōyō and his teammates make us feel very good about the rhythms of a volleyball match and, specifically, those scenes that seem frozen in time and that always mark the future of a match. Furudate combines in these cases more kinematic cut vignettes and splash pages that make use of certain anatomical licenses that give us a great sensation of movement (and, in any case, without reaching the excesses of TAKAHASHI Yōichi in Captain Tsubasa, noticeable influence in this aspect).
Ultimately, the popularity of Haikyû !! it is well deserved and it is a work that may well be liked by a wide spectrum of readers. It is a dynamic and spectacular story with a large dose of humor, but at the same time it has an intimate and dramatic component that engages in the same way as the progression of its protagonists and the challenges they must face. This means that it is not as light a reading as it might seem at first glance; Haikyû !! It puts you fully into its history but it is not designed to be left parked for a long time since its proposal is very choral and full of nuances to taste monthly. What is clear is that betting on this title does not imply any type of risk for lovers of the genre, specifically, or for manga addicts, in general; Its quality – as we said at the beginning of it all – is beyond doubt and even its only handicap – its long length – can become an incentive over time. Because once we are fully involved in this game, we are not going to want it to end.
• The team spirit that reflects the work of Furudate.
• The intention and agility of his narration.
• A very careful visual section.
• The intimidating length of the work.
Original Edition: Haikyuu !! Nº 1-2 JAP (Shuukan Shounen Jump / Shūeisha, 2012 – 2020) National edition / Spain: Haikyû !! Nº 1-2 (of 45) (Comic Planet, 2021) Script: FURUDATE Haruichi. Drawing: FURUDATE Haruichi. Inked: FURUDATE Haruichi. Translation: Sandra Nogués. Format: Closed series. Launch pack volumes 1 and 2 (of 45). Paperback with dust jackets & hellip;
Haikyû !! No. 1-2, by FURUDATE Haruichi. The passion for volleyball made manga
Haikyû !! No. 1-2, by FURUDATE Haruichi. The passion for volleyball made manga
Jordi T. Pardo