So in May the housemate and I sat down with a bottle on rum on the eve of my 24th birthday, and watched Haikyuu!!
Since that drunken night I’ve been looking at Haikyuu!! very closely as a writer, and I’ve started to see how cleaver the mangaka of the series, Haruichi Furudate, is. They’ve used so many awesome techniques to give the manga a life of its own.
Let me explain:
Furudate obviously spent a lot of time coming up with names for the teams and players.
The Karasuno team all have nature/land related names, which fits well with their school being named after crows:
Kageyama = shadow mountain
Hinata = sun/sunflower
Tsukki = moon
Daichi = ground/swamp
Sugawara = sedge plain
Yamaguchi = mountain entrance
Tanaka = rice field middle
Nishinoya = west valley
Azumane = east peak
Then you have Nekoma, which contains the word for cat (neko). Most of the players there have cat-related names:
Tora = tiger
Kuroo = black tail
(Kenma) Kozume = lone claw
Lev = lion (in Russian)
Then you have Fukurodani which is named after owls, Shiratorizawa which is named after swans (but they use a white eagle as their animal representation…?!) I’m not 100% what Dateko’s name translates to in English, but the second part of the first word of their full name (Datekougyou) means industry, or mining industry, which relates back to their “iron wall” reputation.
The way Furudate designed the characters was also really cleaver. They make their characters fit the names of their team, or the things they are named after.
So Lev is Russian, and he has the appearance of a Russian Blue cat (silvery hair and long limbs):
And Kenma has the same colouring as a calico cat:
Do I even need to point out how much Bokuto looks like an owl?! (Bokuto even means horned owl)
Hinata’s orange curly hair looks like a hand drawn sun:
Another little thing I like that Furudate did with his manga, is the reoccurring theme of flight.
So when Hinata joins Karasuno, Daichi explains the school used to be a powerhouse, but their strength has gone down, leading to people calling them “the fallen champions” and “the clipped-wing crows.”
He says that Karasuno have lost that something that made them fly – whether or not this happened after The Little Giant left the team is unsure. But it seems that losing that player that could fly caused the team to fall.
How that Hinata has joined the team, someone who proudly tells Kageyama in chapter 1 “I can fly”, Karasuno have regained their ability to fly. He is The Little Giant version 2, and is symbolic of Karasuno being able to perform to a high standard, and therefore no longer have clipped wings.
I’m so excited for season 3 of Haikyuu!! (the housemate and I watched the first episode this morning), and also for continuing the collect the manga volumes as Viz Media release them. It’s truly a piece of masterful manga writing, and a series that provides that manga really is a storytelling form worthy of attention.