From fact to fiction, volleyball anime Haikyu!! returns
Japan and Sakai Blazers player Tomohiro Yamamoto was represented on the Haikyu!! To The Top Karasuno team.
After the completion of the “Kaiben School, Yotsuya’s Ghost Story”, Furudate proposed the series Haikyu!! to Weekly Shonen Jump. Haikyu!! was first displayed in a Weekly Shonen Jump NEXT! seasonal double issue in 2011, and after a further review by the publisher, Haikyu!! was approved for publication from June 2012.
Japan fans with cartoon representations of their favourite team
Normally the word for volleyball in Japanese is written as bareebooru (バレーボール) in katakana, a Japanese alphabet which is used for foreign words. However, if you use a pictograph reading for volleyball, it can be read as haikyu (排球). The first character can be read as expelling (spiking the ball at speed) and the second character as ball. In this case Furudate has used the pictograph spelling for volleyball but spelled out in katakana for ハイキュー！！
Furudate based the series in the city of Sendai, Miyagi prefecture. Sendai has hosted FIVB World Cup and FIVB World Grand Prix events in the past. The story is focused on Karasuno High School and its players. Karasuno had been a successful team in Miyagi prefecture, and had played in the Japanese national high school championships in the past. However, the team had fallen on hard times and was having a difficult time competing with other schools in the area.
Fans at an FIVB World Cup match in Sendai in 2015
Furudate used his experience as a player to have the series use real tournaments, such as the Japanese national high championship (Haruko) and prefectural high school championships (Todufuken-taikai) to give the story a real-life depth. Additionally, he explains rules and describes the plays (or tactics) in the story to bring those who are not familiar with the sport an easier understanding to keep them engaged. The attention to detail has been popular with manga readers and television viewers alike.
Related article: Girls' U18 and Boys' U19 national team players shine at Japanese High School Championships
Since the debut of Haikyu!! in 2012, the series has grown to 40 published volumes and was converted into an animated series and first broadcast in April 2014 with the name Haikyu!! on the MBS network. Two further series were broadcast in October 2015 and October 2016.
The ten players involved in the promotion are (from left to right): Kenya Fujinaka (Suntory Sunbirds), Hidetomo Hoshino (Toray Arrows Men), Ryoma Fujioka (Oita Miyoshi Weisse Adler), Tomohiro Yamamoto (Sakai Blazers), Shin Tehara (FC Tokyo), Hiroaki Asano (JTEKT Stings), Taishi Onodera (JT Thunders Hiroshima), Ryota Denda (Wolfdogs Nagoya), Yasunari Kodama (Panasonic Panthers) and Yu Kuriki (VC Nagano Tridents)
Also do not forget that there is plenty of merchandising with the show. TBS has a store on Character Street in the basement of Tokyo Station. The store carries goods for the different characters and shows that appear on TBS television. Sadly, Volleyboo, TBS’s volleyball mascot was not available in person at the store. We miss you Volleyboo.
However, there are plenty of Haikyu!! displays with keychains, drinking bottles, calendars, notebooks and figurines for purchase in many different price ranges.
It is not known at this time when HAIKYU!! To The Top will be broadcast internationally, but based on the success of the anime and the show overseas, it should be available in the near future.
And if you want to watch the likes of Tomohiro Yamamoto in action at last year's edition of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the FIVB's YouTube channel is the place to head.
More volleyball from Japan:
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The Ishikawa siblings - Young, talented & dangerous!
Girls' U18 and Boys' U19 national team players shine at Japanese high school championships
Stars of the game lead Denso & JT Marvelou as Japanese Women's V1 League reaches playoff rounds
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