First Listen: The music of Haikyuu!!: TO THE TOP Part 2<span class="wtr-time-wrap block after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">6</span> min read</span>

Haikyuu is one of those anime that don’t really need an introduction. It’s a shounen, it’s about sports and the best thing about it is that the matches are filled with highlights. That’s why there’s such a fuss. And the music definitely does its part…

The Opening Theme. Was that it? “Toppakou” by SUPER BEAVER

Discover more on SUPER BEAVER’s YouTube channel.

So, a few weeks back, I did a profile on SUPER BEAVER. I collected info about their discography, I read about their biography, I listened to their music, I watched their music videos, I listened to them perform live. SPBV is a band that was formed back in 2005. It’s their 15th anniversary this year. They were lucky enough to celebrate their anniversary with their second big break. They signed with SONY and they hit the jackpot as they took on the project of composing and performing the ‘next Haikyuu OP’. They are a four piece rock band whose sound is characterized by noisy/cluttery instruments and a rough and inelegant vibrato in the lead vocals.

SUPER BEAVER, 4 members, grayscale
Rock band SUPER BEAVER (source)

Now, for Haikyuu, I didn’t have big expectations but in all fairness, they outdid themselves. They did manage to produce a finished product that was better than what they had been previously producing. Still though, “Toppakou” falls short, as the way I see it, SPYAIR created Haikyuu’s sound, Sukima Switch shaped it and the BURNOUT SYNDROMES evolved it. And although SUPER BEAVER managed to make a more refined track than their usual, I feel that it’s the least good OP up until this point. I know that many of you will come to like it. I know that in a few months’ time, you will search for it on YouTube and recollect how exciting this season was and maybe I’ll do the same but I can’t hide my disappointment. Sorry.

Find SUPER BEAVER here:
Official Webpage on Sony Music // Official Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube

OST first impressions. by Hayashi Yuuki, Tachibana Asami

Hayashi Yuuki and Tachibana Asami are a power duo. We’ve already seen the results of their work together. The end product is nice, modern, with a vibe of freshness yet refined at the same time. The use of different genres, the continuous build-ups and the sudden changes in the mood have the impact they do due to the quality of the soundtrack and its use by the director. Job really well done.

Hayashi Yuuki sitting, dark clothes, white background, relaxed posture
Composer, arranger Hayashi Yuuki (source)

I want to elaborate a bit on two points: the fact that it’s hard to constantly raise the amount of suspense and excitement and the fact that music was used as a crucial part of Karasuno’s first match.

First things first. The proper use of ‘stress’. What undoubtedly works because of the soundtrack is that the agonizing emotions felt by the players, their coaches and their fans are passed on to us, the viewers. To describe that musically, you need music phrases that have a generally ascending melodic line, you need more complex rhythms that feature a lot of off-beats, you need to play intelligently with the instrumentation as well as with the choice of genres and the list goes on. The thing is that all that can become tiring much sooner than expected. It can even become annoying. The skill, technique and talent of the composers and the director show because all three successfully created an increasingly stressful atmosphere that reaches a climax without turning the scenes into something naggy and annoying. We have a few small breathers thrown here and there, we have a few crucial scenes where music is in the background and is purposefully overshadowed by the dialogues. That’s why Haikyuu is so fulfilling to watch.

red-blue shirt, long dark hair, red-white-blue background
Composer, arranger Tachibana Asami (source)

The second thing I want to talk about is the use of diegetic music during the match and the ‘hack’ that threw Karasuno High off their very own rhythm. This time we have a similar principle to the one I described in the previous paragraph (about the music phrases with the ascending melodic line and all). However this time, instead of increasing the frequency, we increase the speed. The result? The percussion and the spectators alike throw off track the player who is about to serve. Why? Simple: accelerando. When you’re about to get used to the rhythm, it becomes faster and when you’re about to get used to the new, faster rhythm, it becomes even faster, until you’ve reached uncertainty and you should just get on with it and serve. So it’s something like spinning around; the faster the rhythm gets, the dizzier you become, so when you’re forced to walk straight, you just can’t. But enough of that for now. I am planning to write an entirely different article on how music has been used in the first episode of Haikyuu ‘cause let’s face it: I don’t want this post to be massive.

Find Hayashi Yuuki here:
Official Page on Legendoor // Twitter // Instagram

Find Tachibana Asami here:
Official Page on Legendoor // Twitter // Instagram

The Ending Theme. Yeah, that makes sense. “One Day” by SPYAIR

Discover more on SPYAIR’s YouTube channel.

So, if you care about my opinion at all, don’t skip this ED. It is playful yet it nicely captures the vibe of this season. The clichés used are interesting enough to keep us hooked, not to mention that having the OP artist of the first season perform the ED of the newest season is exciting on its own.

SPYAIR, 4 members, white background, black-white clothing
Rock band SPYAIR (source)

Well, after two already successful tie-ups with Haikyuu, the band and the series have become closely related. The quality didn’t drop, they didn’t give us their same-ol’ sound and the ED is easily identifiable. As expected.

Find SPYAIR here:
Official Website // Twitter // Facebook // Instagram // YouTube

TL;DR

  • OP that’s not as good as the rest but still, it’s a Haikyuu tie-up
  • OST appears to be spot on, just like the previous seasons
  • ED that captures the character of the anime nicely, as it’s the same band who did OP1 of the first season

Score

8/10★


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