The initial chapters of a manga are crucial for its creator because they decide whether the manga will continue in the manga magazine or not. Some manga stories start slowly, which makes readers lose interest quickly, which eventually leads to the manga getting axed by the magazine in the initial phase.

A still of Hinata from Haikyuu first movie trailer
Hination from Haikyuu!! (Credits: Production I.G)

However, in the case of Haikyuu!!, its very first chapter was made so perfectly that it instantly grabbed the attention of manga readers. The rivalry between Hinata and Kageyama is set up so well that it keeps you hooked, despite of whether you like reading sports manga or not.

However, before making its first chapter, Haruichi Furudate, the creator of Haikyuu!!, released a one-shot version that didn’t perform well among readers. Regardless of this failure, Furudate tried again with a second version, which later became one of the best-selling manga series.

Haruichi Furudate Reflects on Lessons Learned from Haikyuu!! One-Shot Mistake

a still of Kageyama from Haikyuu first movie trailer
Kageyama from Haikyuu!! (Credits: Production I.G)

In an interview published in Da Vinci’s April 2014 Issue, the interviewer asked Haruichi Furudate what efforts were put into making the first chapter of Haikyuu!! since it is considered one of the best first chapters in manga history.

Also Read: “I actually am pretty much half *ssing them”: Haikyuu Creator Hated Drawing Comedy Scenes for a Simple Reason Despite Them Being His Favorite

Furudate replied that he and his editor felt sure about the first chapter of the one-shot version of Haikyuu!!. They thought it was perfect when they finalized the plot. However, in the important readers’ survey, the first chapter got an average ranking. 

Furudate planned the first chapter for serialization after drawing the second one-shot version of Haikyuu!!. The main idea of why Hinata loves playing volleyball was left out in the one-shot version, which made it hard for readers to understand Hinata’s motivation. 

A still from Haikyuu!! opening 1
Kurasuno from Haiyuu!! Season 1

In the first chapter of Haikyuu!!, the focus was on showcasing what kind of character Hinata was. The story was kept simple, highlighting how Hinata would drive the narrative forward. Furudate also researched on how to make the series successful in Shonen Jump, since the fourth chapter is considered crucial for the series’ survival.

“Furudate: Both my editor and I were confident in the first chapter. When the plot was finalised, I thought, “This is it!!” But in the very crucial readers’ survey, I think the first chapter had a pretty average ranking (laughs). I conceptualised the first chapter for serialisation after drawing the second one-shot version of Haikyuu!!.

I started by reflecting on the one-shot version. The core idea of “Why does Hinata want to play volleyball so badly?” was completely left out in the one-shot version, so it became a reason that was difficult for readers to empathise with. So in the first chapter, I wanted to delve into what sort of character the protagonist, Hinata, was. 

The story is as simple as it gets, and the key lies in how Hinata would make this story progress, and that’s what I focused on. Other than that, personally, I tried analysing how to make the series survive in Jump, and I think the most important key, or should I say the first stage, would be the fourth chapter.” – From an interview published in Da Vinci’s April 2014 Issue.

Also Read: “I had the most trouble with his character”: Hinata Had a Completely Different Appearance in the One-Shot as Compared to His Final Look in Haikyuu

It’s really interesting to learn about the hard work that went into creating the impactful first chapter of Haikyuu!!. Despite the setbacks with the one-shot version, Furudate’s focus on character development and engaging storytelling led to the creation of one of the first chapters ever, and launched the series into success.

You can read Haikyuu!! on Viz and Manga Plus’ Websites.

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