Haikyuu

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Fandom
Name: Haikyuu
Abbreviation(s): HQ, HQ!!
Creator: Haruichi Furudate
Date(s): 20 February 2012 - present (manga), 6 April 2014 - present (anime)
Medium: Manga, anime, stage play, video game, mobile app
Country of Origin: Japan
External Links: Official website (JP) Hqv1.png
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Haikyuu (stylized Haikyuu!!; also Haikyū!!; and ハイキュー!!) is a shounen sports manga, written and illustrated by Haruichi Furudate.

Canon

The series follows Hinata Shouyou, who falls in love with volleyball after seeing a match on TV. He enters Karasuno High School, a school that was once powerful but is now low-ranking. There he meets Kageyama Tobio, his rival from Junior High and a "genius" volleyball player, who has also joined the team. The team quickly realizes that despite their opposite personalities and constant fighting, Hinata and Kageyama can perform amazing combination attacks.

The manga first started as a one-shot in “Jump NEXT!’’, prior to being serialized. Since its launch as a manga in February 2012, it has reached over 200 chapters, and is currently ongoing. It was also adapted for an anime series, which aired in April 2014, and has recently been renewed for a third season to air in October 2016.

Haikyuu fandom expanded significantly when the anime aired, existing mostly on Tumblr and Archive of Our Own. It currently has a significant presence on both websites, having been the most reblogged animanga fandom of 2015 [1], and being the most popular animanga fandom on AO3 as of March 2017. The fandom is also heavily present on Twitter, which also hosts accounts for headcanons, confessions, the fanweek calendar, and other major events specific to Haikyuu fandom.

Fandom Overview

Haikyuu fandom is large and diverse, generally separating themselves by their respective canon-related interests. It is comprised of fanartists, writers, translators, scanlators, gif makers, cosplayers, and vidders. Though there are 20+ year old fans, a significant portion of the fandom is in their teens, fitting with the recent emergence of the animanga itself.

Unlike existing sports animanga, such as Kuroko No Basuke, Yowamushi Pedal, and Oofuri, Haikyuu - along with Free! - became a landmark within western animanga fandom, particularly in the sports genre. Though other titles tend to do just as well in the Japanese market, Haikyuu is remarkable in gaining such prominence among western fans since 2014. In 2015 particularly, the number of fanworks had actually doubled in its fandom tag on AO3[2].

Being so recent and among young western fans, Haikyuu has little to no presence on LiveJournal nor has it followed other popular fandom migration trends; fans exist primarily on AO3, Tumblr, and Twitter, while vids are on Youtube and tend not to be crossposted.

Its newer nature, along with the Tumblr-heavy presence, also allows for much discussion about social justice within fandom. This includes trans and nonbinary headcanons, neurodivergent headcanons, fanart of characters with darker skin than in anime/manga art, and acknowledgment of other topics in Social Justice and Fandom have spurred since the mid-2010s. Oikawa, the most prominent rival character in the text, tends to be featured in a lot of this fanon.

The majority, if not all, of Haikyuu fandom is a yaoi fandom, though more in the slash than the explicit sense. There is some but little attention with regards to gen, het, and yuri.

Teams and Niches

Being in Haikyuu fandom allows for fans to find similar-minded fans as themselves; outside of fen who focus on one or two particular pairings, many others can be divided due to their team and character interests.

Karasuno may possibly be the most popularly liked team, being the protagonist team, though fans don’t tend to group themselves as such. However, most of their rival teams’ fans tend to group themselves in a type of niche, such as Nekoma, Fukurodani, and Datekou.

Significant to mention is also Aoba Johsai (also known as Seijou), despite being a narrative rival team, but has a remarkable following particularly among western fans. These fans tend to ship Iwaizumi/Oikawa and Hanamaki/Matsukawa - the team’s second semester third years - predominantly, sometimes cross- or poly-shipping, while having similar investments in Yahaba/Kyoutani. Kunimi also does not go ignored in Seijou ships or fans, though the same cannot always be said for Kindaichi and Watari.

It is easy to find one’s niche within Haikyuu fandom, as there are a large number of ships and teams; if one does not like anything largely popular, all they have to do is to find or create a work for a ship or team they like, in order to interact with and meet other fans. The attitude and abundance of wanting to give rare ships love allows the fandom as a whole to act with diversity rather than engage in single-minded behavior.

Though Haikyuu is vast in itself (and not just quantified by the number of works on AO3), these separated niches - particularly with cross-team relationships and minor teams - tend to be much smaller, due to the large number of them.

Ships

Despite that there are presently no canon ships in the animanga itself, an immense amount of shipping is done within fandom due to the large ensemble cast. Almost all popular ships are yaoi, with few het and even fewer yuri outliers. Fandom tends to name smoosh to refer to pairings, emulating Japanese fandom which does the same.

The most popular ship is Kageyama/Hinata (also known as kagehina.) Kagehina was number twenty as one of the Top 20 ships "most reblogged" in 2016 on Tumblr[3]. Fan-wise (and fanwork-wise) it tends to be followed by Iwaizumi/Oikawa (iwaoi), which is the most used ship tag for the Haikyuu fandom on AO3 as of February 2017; and Daichi/Sugawara, (daisuga.) A significant portion of the fandom likes to distinguish what they refer to as popular or “canon” pairings, versus “rare” pairings; “canon” pairings tend to include:

  • Kageyama/Hinata (kagehina)
  • Iwaizumi/Oikawa (iwaoi)
  • Daichi/Sugawara (daisuga)
  • Asahi/Nishinoya (asanoya)
  • Akaashi/Bokuto (akaboku or bokuaka)
  • Kuroo/Kenma (kuroken) and Kuroo/Tsukishima (kurotsukki), which are equally popular Kuroo ships
  • Tsukishima/Yamaguchi (tsukkiyama or yamatsukki)

Though “canon” is not used in the traditional sense, most of these ships are considered as such due to their close relationships in canon, in which they tend to have a relationship of setter/spiker, captain/vice captain, childhood best friends, or senpai/kouhai. Within fandom, this basis usually attracts a large following, also adding to the “canon” context of being widely popular. Further analysis will also note that most of the ships are within the protagonist team, all others being members of the more significant rival teams. Kuroo/Tsukishima is the only of the listed above that is a cross-team ship.

Additionally, there are characters who tend to be paired together, often as comic foils, to form ubiquitous ships which are more likely to be found as secondary pairings in multi-ship fanworks. These include Hanamaki/Matsukawa (matsuhana), Kyoutani/Yahaba (kyouhaba), and Yaku/Lev (yakulev.) The small amount of popular het ships include Daichi/Yui (daiyui), Yamaguchi/Yachi (yamayachi), and Akiteru/Saeko (akisae), the last of which features characters who are older siblings of characters from the protagonist team. The most discussed F/F pairing is between the protagonist team’s managers, Kiyoko/Yachi (kiyoyachi). Occasionally fanworks may also mention or focus on some adult characters, most notably Ukai/Takeda (ukatake.)

This wide variety of ships in the Haikyuu fandom has led to much debate about what constitutes a “rare” ship[4]. However, due to the size and nature of the cast, there is also a strong tradition of shipping characters who have little to no interaction in canon. Many of these “rarepairs” have attained a significant following.

A notable difference between English and Japanese fandom is that while many of these "canon" ships overlap, Kageyama/Sugawara and Oikawa/Kageyama are largely prominent in the Japanese fanbase, while receiving much less attention among western fans.

Events

A large component of Haikyuu fandom is its fanweek events, which often run for a week, though there have also been “months,” “weekends,” and ten-day periods in similar formats. Most Haikyuu fanweek events are for particular ships, like Kuroo/Kenma Week or Oikawa/Sugawara Week, although there have also been events for particular characters (like Iwaizumi Week), or teams (like Datekou Week.)

In March 2016, Haikyuu Fan Weeks (@hqfanweeks, hqfanweeks on Tumblr) was created in addition to the fanweek calendar maintained by togekissies, to help fans keep track of all present and future fanweek events.

Haikyuu Big Bang is the fandom’s big bang event, a summer big bang that started in 2014 with new annual rounds ongoing. It is hosted primarily on Tumblr.

Also noteworthy is the Haikyuu Holidays Exchange (stylised as @hqhols), a biannual event hosted each summer (hqsummerhols on Tumblr) and winter (hqwinterhols on Tumblr). The first exchange was hosted in winter 2014. The exchange takes place on Archive of Our Own and has grown from 49 participants in winter 2014 to 144 in summer 2016, making it one of Haikyuu’s largest fandom events.

Several other gift exchanges have also taken place within Haikyuu fandom:

Fanwork Examples

Archives & Fannish Links

Resources

References

  1. Tumblr’s 2015 Most Reblogged Anime/Manga
  2. 2015 A (Statistical) Year In Fandom
  3. 2016’s Top Ships
  4. hqrarepairweek 2015 on whether kiyoyachi counts as a rare ship, Haikyuu!! Rare Pair Exchange 2016 exclusion list