The boys of Karasuno High are once again on the court in Haikyuu, and their opponent is the mighty Shiratorizawa!
Haikyuu has always been one to feature visual metaphors in its openings, and this new one is no exception, but rather a prime example. Shingo Natsume, director of One Punch Man storyboarded it and it uses the song “Hikari Are” by Burnout Syndrome.
We start on a shot of Hinata’s back, only the #10 on his uniform in vision. This is a shot that was usually reserved for the Little Giant. It’s big and imposing, despite belonging to a short player. Here, no implicit connection to his idol is made, implying how he grew enough to show his own worth on the field.
He’s panting, out of breath. As we see Hinata’s face, a high mountain reflects in his wide opened eyes, his goal. A strong wind blazes, and as the other starting members of Karasuno step into the frame, we can see they’ve already climbed far up, yet the upcoming summit is still far ahead. The steaming air around the boys could be seen as a them burning up, still full of energy.
The mountain transforms into a giant eagle, Shiratorizawa’s mascot, and finally, Ushijima, their ace appears, growing taller while Karasuno shrinks.
This first scene is pretty self-explanatory.
Ushijima and Shiratorizawa Academy are strong. After a long way, Karasuno High’s team is still far from overthrowing them, but they surely aren’t giving up.
A short second scene introduces the spotlight, which will get more important later on. A flock of crows, Karasuno’s common mascot, flies in, with Shiratorizawa’s team observing them from the shadows. This is one of the few times their whole team is shown, not just in the openings, but in the complete series.
As Kageyama prepares for the serve, the title flashes in. Once again, the connection with birds is made as in a third shot, the camera drives into Hinata’s eye and shows a flying crow.
The final, fourth scene could be separated into two, with and without the spotlight.
The spotlight could have multiple meanings.
You can see it as Karasuno’s big performance. All eyes are on them, as the underdog-team goes up against the undefeated champions (of the prefecture, that is), and no mistakes are allowed. This is not training, this is serious.
I personally prefer to see it as a symbol of Karasuno’s eyes and how they grow at playing volleyball. They focus on their own side of the court, with struggling, yet working plays everywhere.
And then, from the shadows, Ushijima shatters their defence with a powerful strike.
Hinata answers the following shot of an eagle and Ushijima’s merciless eyes with a glare himself though, and once again, crows rise up to take over the screen.
Karasuno counters with their whole team going in for the attack. The Libero’s tag symbolizes their teamwork, and calm, perfect plays change the tides of the battle.
Hinata finally uses his trademark high jump and as he goes for the spike, the crow he was personified with earlier goes for the dive. A bird diving for prey is most commonly associated with eagles though, so this shot puts both birds on the same level.
As the spiked ball touches the court clad in shadows, it fills with light. Karasuno now has everything in sight and can play without any hindrances.
But, unexpectedly, this all takes place inside Hinata’s mind, as the teams line up before the match. This is also the only time in the whole opening sequence that we see the other members of the team, implying that Yamaguchi and the others won’t appear as much as prior.
As both sides approach the net, a lightning flashes and once again frames a single eagle against a flock of crows.
This is why I think there’s no way Karasuno High can lose in this season of Haikyuu
Throughout the opening, the eagle shows that it’s stronger than the crow, yet at the end, the crow catches up. A singular eagle won’t be able to win against a team of crows that are just as strong. After all, more than Basketball, Baseball or Football, you can’t play Volleyball alone. That’s what Haikyuu is about.