Season 2, Episode 11
He has short, honey-blond hair (dirty blond in the anime) and brown eyes. Akiteru stands at 185.2 cm, just a few centimetres shorter than his younger brother. He also has a medium build with broad shoulders and is a good 11.1kg heavier than his younger brother despite being shorter. He has a friendly demeanour (rather contrasting his brother's appearance).
He is usually seen wearing t-shirts, hoodies or jackets with jeans, and in the novel, he wears a suit for work.
During volleyball practice and matches, Akiteru tapes up all his fingers on both of his hands.
Akiteru is kind, cheerful and friendly. However, he seems to not want to worry those he cares about with his own burdens or problems, brushing it off with casual light-heartedness, only expressing his frustration or sadness when his back is turned. At one time, it had reached a boiling point.
Despite this, he's very determined and doesn't give up easily, having been described as a "dauntless spirit." He doesn't like letting people down, especially himself.
He is very motivational and supportive and cares about his loved ones greatly. Akiteru also can be rather perceptive, especially of his little brother.
Akiteru can also be a little bit teasing, but unlike his brother who's more antagonistic in nature, Akiteru's teasing comes across as playful and good-natured.
In middle school, Akiteru was the captain and the ace of the Amemaru Boys' Volleyball club. While there, he was described as "quite the ace." He makes the decision to go to Karasuno for high school and join the volleyball club there with the intention to defeat Shiratorizawa and make it to nationals. Akiteru spent his first year staying behind after practice every day as his goal was to become a first-year regular. He was so dedicated that he even had his mother make 3 bento for him every day - one for after morning practice, one for lunch, and one for before club activities in the afternoon.
However, no matter how much Akiteru practised and worked hard, he never made it as a starting member, or even on the bench. Akiteru never gave up, but because of how much his little brother looked up to him, Akiteru couldn't bring himself to tell his little brother the truth and told Kei he was playing in matches. One day, when they were practising in their backyard, Kei asked if he could come to watch a match but Akiteru told him he'd get too nervous with Kei watching. Kei then asks what position Akiteru still plays and if it's the same one from middle school. Akiteru tells him, yes, and Kei assumes he's the ace because of this. Unable to disappoint his little brother, and maybe fearing losing his little brother's unwavering belief in him, Akiteru goes along with it. However, it is implied that Akiteru believed it to be true that he really could become the ace if he worked hard enough.
He and Kei would talk about volleyball every day, and Akiteru would tell Kei what the coach had scolded or praised him for that day. Akiteru would also describe matches to Kei in detail.
But as his high school days go past, Akiteru never gets any closer to being a regular, unbeknownst to Kei. When he comes back from a practice match, he tells Kei he hit a lot of spikes, however the expression he hides from Kei tells that Akiteru's frustration and pain, as well as the guilt from having to lie to Kei are starting to take it's toll.
On Akiteru's last match of his high school career, Kei secretly showed up to the match with Yamaguchi and another classmate whose brother is also part of Karasuno to support Akiteru. However, Kei was quick to learn the truth and spotted his brother across the court in the bleachers, cheering on the team with the rest of the members that didn't make it as regulars either. Akiteru is horrified that his brother discovered how disgraceful he really was.
After, Akiteru had an emotional breakdown in his room, tearing his posters and knocking his volleyball trophies from middle school off his shelves, as well as several books and magazines and even the chair at his desk. Kei witnessed Akiteru hunched over on the floor of his room, gripping his Karasuno Volleyball Club jacket and sobbing.
Tokyo Expedition ArcEdit
Akiteru first appears in Tanaka's flashback of his sister talking to him about how Akiteru was on the same team as the Small Giant. Sometime later, as Kei's going through his change, he thinks of Akiteru and the agony he went through in high school. Kei remembers his brother tearing his room apart in anger and reveals that he'd learned from Akiteru's experience to never put in so much effort for a simple sport like volleyball.
A week after the summer camp ends , the day before the Spring High Preliminaries, Kei comes home from practice to find his brother there. Akiteru comments on how much Kei has grown and how he surpassed him a long time ago. The two go outside to talk and it's revealed that Kei hasn't spoken to Akiteru in a while because whenever Akiteru is home, Kei holes himself up in his room unless it's mealtime.
Akiteru asks Kei about his trip to Tokyo and if the camp was rough, which Kei denies but Akiteru can tell by his expression. Silence then falls between them, and Akiteru starts tossing a volleyball against the backboard of the basketball hoop. Both brothers flashback to a moment in the past when Akiteru went along with Kei's assumption of him being the ace while doing exactly what they were doing presently, the memory weighing heavy on both of them. Eventually, Kei breaks the silence and asks Akiteru if he's still playing. Akiteru tells him yes and reveals that he has a volleyball team which goes to tournaments as well. Despite Kei not saying anymore, Akiteru knew the real question Kei wanted to ask: "Why are you still playing even though it was like that in high school?" Akiteru explains that despite still feeling frustration whenever he thinks about it and how he can't even see it as a good life lesson, what happened in high school didn't discourage him from volleyball; rather, it only motivated him to continue playing, because he already knew what made volleyball "fun." He tells Kei that he wants to be somewhere where he can give his all until he's satisfied, and Kei smiles at that, making Akiteru smile as well and the brothers share their first peaceful moment in years.
Akiteru eventually turns back to Kei and asks about his tournament the next day, and is impressed at Kei being a first-year regular, but Kei tells him he believes he's only a regular because of his height. Akiteru quickly scolds him and tells him that his height is something to be proud of, and can be an advantage since high school boys are still growing and their plays are imperfect because of this.
Kei makes a smart comment at this, and Akiteru scolds him again for being uncute.
Spring High Preliminary Arc Edit
Akiteru stays at home with his mother while Kei goes to his preliminary matches. When his mother asks him if Akiteru is okay with not watching Kei play, Akiteru tells her he told Kei he was thinking about going, but Kei gave him a sour look. Akiteru then suddenly remembers something and turns to ask his mother about Kei's glasses; However, the scene cut off before Akiteru could explain.
When Kei comes home from his match, Akiteru greets him and asks about how the match went and what the opponents were like. After hearing his brother's almost defeatist attitude towards the first year who was over 2m tall because he believed a loss was inevitable against someone like that, Akiteru invites Kei to practice with his team some time.
Kei eventually takes him up on his offer. At the training, Kei goes against Gō Akaizawa who teases him for his weak blocks. Akiteru quickly challenges him and assures that his brother will be able to block Gō. Kei does succeed, annoying Gō and amazing Akiteru.
Before the play-offs in October, Akiteru gives Kei sports glasses as a gift and encouraging words. Kei thinks of these before he puts his sports glasses on to play.
Despite Kei telling Akiteru to not attend his matches, the latter sneaks into the Shiratorizawa vs. Karasuno match with a disguise on. Saeko quickly spots him and exposes his disguise though, causing Kei to glare at his brother from the court. Akiteru quickly ducks behind the railings, avoiding Kei's line of view. It's unknown if Kei really did realise Akiteru was there at this time. He then sits with Shimada, Takinoue, Yachi, and Saeko as the teams start to line up and cheer on Karasuno.
During the announcements for the starting lineups for Shiratorizawa and Karasuno, Saeko calls out Kei's name when he's announced for Akiteru. Akiteru whispers at her to stop, out of fear that his brother might notice him there. As the game starts, Akiteru confirms with the others that Karasuno will have to play five sets and they start worrying about the team's stamina. Saeko quickly exclaims that they can't lose faith already.
Kei calls out to Tanaka to receive the ball but he says it too quietly for Tanaka to hear, resulting in a campfire with him and Asahi. Akiteru scolds Kei to be louder, although it seems as if Akiteru is saying it to himself as he's still trying to not let Kei know he's there.
Saeko notices Ushijima is a left-hander, and Takinoue explains Ushijima's position as "opposite hitter". Akiteru comments, rather solemnly, that in the past they used to give the title of "Super Ace" to those in Ushijima's position.
Kei misses a block, and a spectator makes an insulting comment, causing Akiteru to growl and shoot him a dirty look, leaving the spectator surprised that Akiteru even heard him despite being 4 rows ahead.
When Saeko expresses concern that a spike from Ushijima is impossible to receive if Nishinoya can't do it, Akiteru explains that it's hard to receive a ball hit by a lefty compared to a righty due to the difference in ball rotation and how the slightest bit of difference will produce a huge shift. When Saeko and Yachi express concern about facing a left-handed spiker with those who are used to "righties," Akiteru tells them that Kei isn't the sort of player who moves on instinct because he doesn't trust in his own strength or senses. Saeko scolds him for saying such a thing about his brother, but Akiteru replies that he means it is a good way, proudly boasting about his brother's dispassionate personality and how because of that, the only thing Kei trusts is the information he has in front of him.
When Nishinoya is finally able to receive the ball, Akiteru expresses awe, describing him as amazing. He is also impressed by Daichi's strategy of rebounding off the blocker's hands. When Hinata is rotated onto the court, Akiteru comments that he really is a "small giant", to which Saeko corrects as "more like a small giant in the making." Akiteru also expresses disbelief when he witnesses Tendou's blocking ability. Combining that with Ushijima's ability, Akiteru claims Shiratorizawa really does feel like "an opponent beyond all reason." Kei is finally put on the court and when he blocks Tendou's spike, Akiteru cheers proudly with the others, and again when Kei puts in the final piece of the "total defence" towards the end of the second set. However, he seems to become concerned again when Shiratorizawa catches up and equals the score again. Akiteru begins to start noticing a change in Kei's attitude and behaviour, although he can't quite put his finger on what it is exactly. Yachi notices his concern and tells Akiteru that Kei seems he's more fired up than usual when he usually acts so cool. Akiteru is inwardly surprised that Kei seems to have other friends at school besides Tadashi. Later on, Akiteru becomes impressed when Tanaka performs a block-out and concerned but just as impressed when Reon made a strong serve at this point in the game like it was nothing. Karasuno gets ahead, and after a time-out, Kageyama messes up the serve and Akiteru expresses inward concern that if Karasuno loses this set, they'll be in a really tight spot. After seeing Kageyama and Hinata in action in a really improbable situation, he comments that when it comes to things beyond all reason, their own side is no different (referencing his previous statement about Shiratorizawa.)
When Kei manages to block Ushijima for the first time, winning the second set for Karasuno, Akiteru is proud beyond belief. After Karasuno cheer for and praise Kei, Akiteru bursts into tears. Saeko assumes it's because he's happy his little brother made a block like that, but Akiteru reveals he's happy that Kei is finally fitting in with his team. After he recovers, he notes that Kei was able to block Ushijima because Shirabu's toss was probably off, and Kei was the one who may have caused that disruption, meaning it wasn't a split-second super play like Saeko claimed she thought it was, but something Kei had been planning and anticipating. Yachi then comments on how Kei is smart so he always seems like he's thinking about things, in both volleyball and life in general. Akiteru apologizes for his younger brother's eccentricities, which others may find weird but inwardly blames himself for it. However, Yachi adds that just now, Kei must have only been thinking about stopping that one spike single-mindedly, as if he was solving a difficult question on a test. Akiteru thoughtfully agrees, reassured by Yachi's words.
Shiratorizawa starts well in the 3rd set, and Saeko wonders if they're "revving up again". Akiteru explains that it's more like they've levelled out, returning to their own pace from the fast rhythm Karasuno had pulled them in. Towards the end of the 3rd set, Akiteru overhears a spectator comment that it really is impossible for Karasuno, but he rebuts it, saying Karasuno's offensive power it just as good, the only thing left is pulling off a break somehow.
As Takinoue, Shimada and Akiteru are explaining Kawanishi's blocking tactic to Saeko during a time-out in the 4th set, the former Coach Ukai shows up, commenting that they should've put that level of thought into their plays in the past. Akiteru, Shimada, and Takinoue quickly greet their former coach with fear. Later, Akiteru seems to notice something strange when Ushijima spikes through Kei's and Asahi's block, but it's not said out loud what it is exactly (although in context with Yachi's comment, it could be about Kei's frustration levels.) When Tanaka is forced to attack with a high set from the back, Akiteru comments that it'll be tough, proven when Tendou easily blocks Tanaka. Akiteru becomes impressed when Hinata uses a running approach for a block, commenting that he honestly thought he was going to spike it instead and later becomes annoyed when Kawanishi snatches back a point like it was nothing. Towards the end of the set, Kei pulls off a one-man time differential, and Akiteru explains it's a technique not seen much nowadays and that it's no good against read-blocking so it's not something you can pull of multiple times, leading Saeko to conclude that Kei was waiting for a time when they absolutely needed to score to use it. Takinoue later points out Ushijima still seems to be spiking with ease, but Akiteru comments that his legs must be getting tired from hitting a lot, to which Shimada agrees. When Yunohama is swapped in with Kawanishi, Yachi wonders if Shiratorizawa has 2 pinch servers, which Akiteru tells her it is Shiratorizawa and that they probably have plenty of top-class players on the bench. Ushijima scores a net-in when the score reaches deuce and Akiteru expresses both disbelief and frustration. When Kageyama tosses to Hinata, causing Tendou to block it out and win a point for Karasuno, Akiteru seems extremely impressed by Kageyama's skills as a setter, even though Akiteru himself felt Kageyama should have let the left-hand hitter handle it instead, but coach Ukai senior tells him it was because Kageyama was making a "silent boast." Akiteru becomes impressed by Kageyama again when Kageyama uses a soft shot in his serve when the opposition defence moved back. When Karasuno finally takes the 4th set, Akiteru is almost trembling with excitement and relief along with the others.
After the 5th set starts, Akiteru explains to Saeko it's a 15-point set, meaning it'll take no time at all and hopes Karasuno are able to keep going without falling behind a point gap. A few points into the 5th set, Akiteru frustratingly observes to himself that they've been tossing to Ushijima a lot more since he got into gear. A little later, Akiteru is impressed by Kei's level of concentration despite being tired due to the long rally. He points out that it's not unusual for one's body to move faster than the mind, yet Kei only seems to be singling out the information he needs. However, Kei suddenly gets injured right after and is taken off the court to go to the infirmary. Akiteru goes to his brother out of concern, who asks what Akiteru is doing there (although he reveals he knew all along) to which Akiteru boastfully replies that of course, he'd come to see his little brother in all his glory. To ease the tense atmosphere, Akiteru makes a joke about the injury not seeming to be life-threatening, which Kei brushes off, turning his back to his brother and acting pretty casual and care-free about the situation. However, Akiteru can still tell it's bothering him and that he's afraid Karasuno will lose without him there. He reassures Kei to believe that his team can win, even without him. Akiteru ends up waiting with Kei and Kiyoko in the infirmary. Once Kei returns to the court, Akiteru follows him and watches the rest of the match by the doors.
In the end, Karasuno wins and advances to the Spring Cup. A proud Akiteru is shown excitedly pointing out his younger brother to a stranger next to him.
Tokyo Nationals ArcEdit
Akiteru was the ace of his team in junior high school. He seems like an overall player that can hold himself in a match.
Jumping Reach: 328 cm
Kei is his younger brother who is currently in Karasuno's Volleyball Club. The brothers used to be very close and adored each other. Kei used to look up to Akiteru as his hero and because of this, Akiteru is the reason for both Kei's initial interest in volleyball and current attitude towards it, namely the idea that one should not put too much effort into his club activities because he will only end up getting hurt in the end.
Akiteru is very caring towards Kei and often taught his brother volleyball skills in his free time. Akiteru also seems to be rather protective, as he lied to Kei to keep him from being disappointed and let down, and possibly losing interest in volleyball. However, their relationship was damaged when Kei discovered the truth. Since then, Kei would avoid talking to Akiteru and whenever the latter came home from college, Kei would lock himself in his room until dinnertime. However, despite his cold attitude, Kei cares for his older brother deeply, as he took Akiteru's pain as his own to serve as a reminder every day of what effort and hard work can do to someone. His care also shows by him acting less sardonic and antagonistic towards his older brother than he is with most other people, and when Akiteru's encouraging words as he gave his little brother the sports glasses were enough to motivate Kei.
Akiteru is very proud of Kei and is incredibly supportive towards him, always believing in him and ready to stand up for Kei and his capabilities whenever someone doubts him, even to the point of protectiveness if insulted. Akiteru can also seem to read Kei and tell what he's thinking or if he's lying, or at the very least, when he has a change of behaviour or attitude just by his expression or body language alone, no matter how subtle. Akiteru also seems to be a little teasing towards Kei sometimes, but it's very light-hearted and good-natured.
However, Akiteru is secretly always wondering what Kei thinks about him and seems very hesitant to do anything he thinks might upset him i.e. going to the games when told not to or when Akiteru tried to finish work quickly so he could pick Kei up on time, afraid that Kei would not want to come to training again if Akiteru was late. He largely blames himself for Kei's cautious attitude which can cause him to overthink and is determined to make up for it.
It's implied that they seem to share the same interest in dinosaurs, at least when Akiteru was younger, as dinosaur figurines similar to Kei's can be seen in Akiteru's room. It's also implied Akiteru thinks of Kei as "cute" or seems to expect it, despite Kei now being a 190cm tall high school boy, and gets annoyed when Kei acts "uncute."
After the summer camp in Tokyo, the brothers finally talked to each other about their past and reconciled based on it. They are now slowly putting their relationship back together.
Akiteru was on the same team as the Small Giant during high school. The Small Giant was a year younger and became the ace by his second year while Akiteru was still in the bleachers in his third. Since they were both wing spikers, the Small Giant was the one who took Akiteru's position on the court and indirectly caused the fallout between the Tsukishima brothers.
The exact nature of their relationship as teammates remains unknown. However, when the Small Giant, later revealed to be Tenma Udai, arrived to watch the Spring Interhigh, he is able to recognize Akiteru from the crowds despite not having seen the latter for years. During Karasuno's match against Kamomedai, the two converses in a friendly manner, showing that there isn't any hostility between them.
They went to Karasuno High at the same time, though Akiteru was one year higher. Despite not being on the volleyball team and not knowing him personally, Saeko knew that Akiteru was a member. However, when they met at the Shiratorizawa vs Karasuno match, it's unsure if Saeko seemed to recognize him or not.
During the Shiratorizawa vs. Karasuno match, Saeko spotted a suspiciously dressed Akiteru and dragged him to Shimada and Takinoue, calling him a spy from Shiratorizawa. After the misunderstanding was cleared up, Akiteru stayed with Saeko and explained volleyball tactics to her throughout the match.
Akaizawa is the oldest member of Akiteru's current team, the Kaji Wild Dogs. Akiteru likes to tease him by challenging Akaizawa with his little brother, telling him that Kei will be knocking down his spikes before he knows it and in the 5th light novel, that his little brother hates to lose. In the 5th light novel he describes Akaizawa as an annoying old man, but someone who likes to be relied upon and is a good senpai at heart. He asks Akaizawa advice on where to find sports glasses for Kei.
While they haven't ever interacted, it is implied that they do know each other personally. Yamaguchi refers to him as "Akiteru-kun" while Akiteru calls him "Tadashi" and knows he's his little brother's only friend. Akiteru was also the indirect reason his little brother and Yamaguchi became friends. Yamaguchi was also there when Kei found out the truth about Akiteru because he came with Kei to see Akiteru play for the first time. Yamaguchi is also aware that Kei stating "pathetic" at that time was not directed towards Akiteru.
- Current Concern: He's not used to drinking sake.
- Favourite Food: Wasabi leaves in soy sauce.
- His birthday is the day Hachiko the dog died. Interestingly enough, Yamaguchi's birthday is Hachiko's birthday.
- In Akiteru's character profile, he is listed as 22 in 2012, indicating he was born in 1990. However, Chapter 381 lists him as 27 in November 2018, putting his birth year in 1991. Since he is said to be a year above Saeko and the Small Giant in high school, he has to be born in March 1991 due to Japanese schools cutting off their entry date in April.
- Akiteru is the youngest member of his volleyball team, the Kaji Wild Dogs.
- He works in an office, but it's unknown as of what.
- His star sign is Pisces.
- Akiteru's jersey number, while he was in Amemaru, was 4. Traditionally, aces of the team would wear the number 4 jersey.
- When leaving his house to go to the Karasuno vs. Shiratorizawa match, he's startled by a suspicious man who he assumes is a burglar, until realizing it's just his own reflection in the mirror, wearing a disguise.
- His T-shirt in chapter 98/episode 11 &14 features a small silhouette and the name of Tama, the family pet from Sazae-san as he appears in the opening. His T-shirt in chapter 105 (replaced by a blue version of the Tama shirt in the anime) says "Norisuke" across the chest, which may also be a Sazae-san reference as well.
- Akiteru gets his own story in the 5th volume of the light novel, with most of it from his perspective.
- In the 5th volume of the light novel, Akiteru buys the sports glasses as a slightly belated birthday gift for Kei.
- In a favourite character poll, Akiteru ranked 17th place with 3258 votes, 237 votes less than Kunimi at 16th place and 174 votes more than Bokuto at 18th place.
- Akiteru (明光) - Clear/Bright Light
- Tsukishima (月島) - Moon Island
- Akiteru's name means "bright light" while Kei's name means "firefly." It's unconfirmed if their names are supposed to be matching, as fireflies create a light, or stand on their own but it's interesting to think about.
- "But I already knew what makes volleyball 'fun', about that great feeling when your spike goes through, and the pride that comes from others' cheers." (To Kei Tsukishima, Volume 11 Chapter 98)
- "My little brother will be knocking down your spikes before you know it, you'll see!" (To Gō Akaizawa, Volume 12 Chapter 106)
- "Whether it's Ushiwaka or a warrior like Benkei, get out there and shut them down!" (To Kei Tsukishima, Volume 13 Chapter 109)
- "My little bro is so dispassionate that it borders on morosity! The only thing he trusts is the 'information' in front of him." (To Hitoka Yachi and Saeko Tanaka, Volume 17 Chapter 153)
- "Of course I'd come to see my little brother in all his glory!" (To Kei Tsukishima, Volume 20 Chapter 178)
- "My little brother hates to lose, you see, so he'll keep coming back to knock you down." (To Gō Akaizawa, "Brother" chapter, Light Novel Volume 5)