To strike past all obstacles...That's the Ace!

Asahi Azumane (Japanese: 東峰 (あずまね) (あさひ) Azumane Asahi) was previously a third-year student at Karasuno High; he was one of the boys' volleyball club's wing spikers and its ace. As of 2018, he is working as an apparel designer in Tokyo.

Appearance

He has long hair which is usually styled as a bun behind his head and dark brown eyes matching his hair as well as his eyebrows. He also appears to be growing a short scruff on his chin, his overall appearance makes him look way beyond his age yet slightly unapproachable.

In Season 2, he is shown no longer wearing his hair in a bun but swept backward with a sports hairband, which had been suggested to him by Kiyoko. In the Spring High Nationals arc, Asahi is shown wearing his hair back in a bun again.

Personality

In contrast to his appearance, he is rather quiet and gentle and has difficulties realizing that he is Karasuno's ace, as he initially doesn't feel that way. He shows to be weak-willed at the beginning when he leaves the team before the first years come, feeling that he let down his entire team when they lost against Date Tech High even though they counted on him.  After coming back to Karasuno, he realizes that his will to play volleyball is much stronger than he thought, and with the help of his teammates, he acknowledges his position as Karasuno's ace (even though he is still mocked sometimes by Daichi for not having any "ace-like presence") and gains self-confidence.  

Asahi is said to have a "Glass Heart", taking everything that is said about him to heart, and becoming depressed because of it at times. While he still feels insecure about a lot of things and seems to be quite a scaredy-cat, he clearly states that he has no intention of letting anyone take his ace position away from him in later chapters, showing his development from the beginning.

Background

Asahi attended Sekodai Junior High where he played as a wing spiker. Even before he entered Karasuno, he already had a reputation of spiking like a high schooler[1]. Asahi is known as Karasuno's ace, but there was a time when he pushed away his title. During the Karasuno vs Date Tech match back during his second year, all of his spikes were blocked, causing Asahi to feel disappointed in himself and blame himself for his team's loss. One night, as the team was closing up the gym, Asahi asked his teammates why they weren't blaming him, angering Nishinoya. 

Asahi storming off after breaking the broom

The libero said that he wouldn't blame Asahi if he couldn't score, but he would not forgive him if he would give up so easily. As they were arguing, Nishinoya pushed Asahi backwards and Asahi broke a broom by stepping on it; even now, the broom is still in the storage room.

The next day Asahi didn't come to practice and Nishinoya approached him by Asahi's classroom. They started arguing again and this time, Nishinoya broke a vase in front of the vice principal's office, causing him to get a 1-week suspension from school and 1-month break from club activities. Asahi decided to leave the team[2].

A month later, Kageyama and Hinata convinced him to rejoin the team after much persistence, mostly from Hinata. Since then, Asahi has accepted his position as the Karasuno Volleyball Team's Ace.

Plot

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

Asahi and Nishinoya’s Return

Asahi isn't mentioned until Nishinoya arrives and asks if Asahi had returned to the club. When Daichi says he hasn't come back, Nishinoya storms out, saying "a coward will remain a coward". Nishinoya agrees to come back to practice

Haikyuu8.jpeg

but says that he won't play until Asahi returns. When Kageyama and Hinata ask Nishinoya who Asahi is, he says that he was the Ace of Karasuno, or should be. Later, Sugawara approaches him and tells him that Nishinoya has returned - and he asks him to return as well. When leaving his classroom along with Sugawara, he comes across Kageyama and Hinata and tells them to do their best. When they ask him why doesn't he return despite being the Ace, he replies by saying "Sorry, I'm no Ace", and leaves. When Kageyama asks Sugawara if Asahi injured himself, he replies by saying that Asahi started to grow away from volleyball after he wasn't able to score against Date Tech High, and lost all his self-confidence.

The next day, when Kageyama and Hinata once again approach Asahi to implore him to come back to the club, he asks why they are so persistent on him returning. Hinata says that he wants to see the real Ace of Karasuno in action and says the upperclassmen aren't satisfied without Asahi. Asahi replies by saying he isn't able to get past high blocks anymore. When Hinata describes he's now able to get past high blocks with the help of Kageyama, Asahi is tempted to return and recalls how he used to feel while playing volleyball. When Hinata and Kageyama are about to leave, Kageyama tells Asahi that even he recently realized that volleyball doesn't depend on one player, but on the team of six players.

As Asahi leaves school that day, he stops by the gym and sees Kageyama and Hinata practicing. He stares at his hand and realizes how much he misses volleyball. He overhears Hinata and Kageyama speaking about their upcoming match with Nekoma High School, and when Asahi expresses his surprise, Daichi catches him loitering. When Daichi asks him to return, Asahi says what might Nishinoya and Sugawara think, to which Daichi replies by saying they'll keep quiet about it, and if he still loves volleyball, that's reason enough for Asahi to return. Later, when Asahi thinks about it while sitting in a grassy area, he gets up, hinting that he has made a decision.

On the day of the Neighborhood Association scrimmage, Hinata catches sight of Asahi peering through the gym window, and Keishin Ukai angrily asks him what position he plays. Surprised, Asahi answers, "Wing Spiker," and Ukai tells him to play for the Neighbourhood Association team as they're short a player. Sugawara feels more confident when Asahi returns and joins the Neighbourhood Association's side, just so that he can toss to Asahi again. After a few minutes of the match, Asahi realizes how dependable and mature Sugawara has become in his absence. In a flashback it is revealed how Nishinoya and Asahi fought when Asahi, frustrated, asks why none of them are blaming him for not scoring points during the Date Tech match. Nishinoya yells at him, just as frustrated, and got suspended the next day after pushing the Vice Principal over at the news that Asahi was leaving the team.

During the practice game against the Neighborhood Association (present day), Asahi tells Nishinoya that no matter how many times he gets blocked, he will still try to score points. He tries to score with sheer force... and is still blocked. He's visibly disappointed at being blocked, but Nishinoya saves the ball at the last second and says that as long as he (Nishinoya) is there, Asahi doesn't need to worry about the blocks. The ball goes up in the air and Sugawara is unable to decide who to toss to, despite the fact that Kageyama tells Sugawara to toss to Asahi until he can score. When somebody else calls for the ball, Asahi finds his resolve, calling loudly for Suga to toss him the ball while telling himself that he is not fighting alone - and that he is indeed the Ace of Karasuno. Sugawara tosses to him and he smashes it with all his power, causing everyone on the court to be shocked and amazed by his prowess. During the match, Asahi watches Hinata and Kageyama's quick and realizes that Hinata wasn't exaggerating about Kageyama's tosses. 

After a while, Asahi scores the final point, and wins the match for the Neighbourhood Association. After the match, Hinata approaches Asahi and says that he’ll create the pathway for the ace and become the strongest decoy. Asahi replies that no matter what anyone's position is, the player whom the enemies fear the most is the coolest, and Hinata happily agrees. Asahi nervously adds that he’ll do his best too, if he’s allowed back into the team. Sugawara laughs at him and Daichi remarks that they finally have their libero and ace back.

Nekoma Practice Match

Asahi joins Karasuno in the practice match against Nekoma. He quickly proves to be the strongest player when he is able to score a spike that even Yaku is not able to pick up though the libero had nearly done so on the first try. Asahi continues to attempt to land various spikes through the game. After the match, he attempts to help first year Shibayama take down the net equipment but the younger teen was instantly terrified by Asahi's presence that he didn't notice the third year was trying to help him and tried to do it all himself.

Interhigh

Karasuno vs Tokonami

Karasuno's match against Tokonami goes by relatively quick and Karasuno is able to win with little trouble. Early in the match, Asahi overhears people in the stands comment how he must be an adult playing against teenagers or must have been held back several years. Sugawara had attempted to help the ace ignore the comments.

Karasuno vs Date Tech

Prior to Karasuno's game against Tokonami, the team had encountered Date Tech and Asahi was right away targeted by Aone. Though he had put on a brave appearance at the time, Asahi shows to be nervous about facing the team again. He does not stand out much during most of the first set due to Hinata and Kageyama gaining Date Tech's caution with their super quick attack. However, when Karasuno is at set point and Aone had tried to block Hinata, Asahi is able to score the winning point for the first set.

Before the second set, Ukai reveals that he will be moving the rotation two places ahead in order to keep Hinata from being paired against Aone. Asahi talks about how they shouldn't always rely on Hinata's role as the decoy in order to score and he will do more to play like the team ace. Back on the court, he apologizes to Tsukishima as the new rotation means that he will be faced against Aone more than anyone else though Tsukishima does not seem bothered by this as he claims that the blockers will not pay such close attention to him and instead have put all their attention on the ace.

Asahi is able to score Karasuno's first point of the second set even though Aone was nearly able to stop him after having jumped to block when he thought Hinata would get the set. Halfway into the second set, Asahi tells Tsukishima that his role as a blocker for Karasuno is as important as when Hinata and Kageyama can manage their quick attack, stating that being able to defend so well against Date Tech is an amazing thing to do and will help lead the team to victory.

The last half of the second set starts to put pressure on Asahi when the Date Tech blockers are able to start blocking him more. Asahi is still determined not to let the Iron Wall break him again. Near the end of the set, Aone beats Asahi in a joust at the net but because Nishinoya was able to save the ball with his foot and give Karasuno another chance to attack, Asahi is able to make his spike count and win the match for Karasuno.

Karasuno vs Aobajohsai

Early in the first set, Asahi mostly is seen receiving or looking ready to attack. He eventually is able to deflect a spike off Kunimi's arm. Later, Asahi is unable to receive several of Kindaichi's serves and realizes the Seijoh first year was aiming for the spot where the setter would move from the back row to the front. He is able to get the receive up and to Kageyama. He then is mostly seen trying to receive and block for a while until he is able to save a set that Tsukishima was unable to spike.

After Sugawara was subbed into the game to allow Kageyama to cool down, Asahi attempts a back attack but Hanamaki is able to receive the spike. Shortly before Sugawara is taken out of the game, Asahi asks for the next set with the promise that he will make his next spike count. He is able to keep his promise when he scores past Kindaichi.

Half-way into the third set, Asahi is able to bring the score to a tie after Kageyama nearly gave the set to Hinata. Like his team, Asahi is surprised when Aobajohsai suddenly stops marking Hinata when he attempts his wide broad attack and is stunned with Oikawa lands a setter dump during their hesitation. He and Kageyama would later hesitate to make a receive and barely get the ball back over to Seijoh's side. When Yamaguchi is subbed into the game when Hinata is up to serve, Asahi tries to assure the first year to take it easy though he himself is incredibly nervous for Tadashi since he's going into an official game for the first time and is sure to be on edge. After Yamaguchi's serve failed to go over the net, Asahi felt himself more at ease and began to play like usual.

When Karasuno eventually lost the match, Asahi is seen being upset and later, with Daichi and Sugawara, questions what they will do now that Karasuno is out of the tournament. At the dinner Ukai treats the team to, Asahi begins crying like the others.

Loss and Decisions

After Karasuno lost to Aobajohsai, Asahi reveals that he would be planning to stay on the team instead of retiring like most other third years. When Daichi believes he should retire from the team and let the second years take over, Asahi confesses that he does not intend to go to college after high school and will continue with the club but would leave if the second and first years asked him to. Takeda spoke with him and the other third years about whether they should stay with the team or not as they may want to use the time to plan for their futures. Asahi ultimately decides to stay on the team with the shared hope of making it to the Spring Tournament.

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Asahi joins the team to the weekend training camp at Nekoma High. During one of their match against Nekoma, Asahi and Hinata collide during a play when Hinata seemed to try to take the set meant for the ace. Asahi was instantly fearful that he had hurt Hinata but was relieved when the first year was fine and instead apologized to him. This moment would cause Asahi to see just how great Hinata's desire to grow stronger is and would use this to get stronger himself.

After returning to Karasuno, Asahi decides to start utilizing jump serves and help Nishinoya practice jump sets. At the next training camp at Shinzen High, Asahi continues to work on his new serve but still continues to struggle with the amount of strength he puts in it and his aiming. He would join the teams attempts at working on the synchronized attack. During a break after running a penalty lap, Asahi is questioned by Tsukishima on how he feels about Hinata continuing to want to be the team ace. Though he admits that he is a little nervous at the thought, Asahi is determined not to be outdone.

Asahi is able to start perfecting his serve near the end of the camp but during the match against Fukurōdani he uses a regular serve as he was fearful that he would ruin the teams chance to win if he used a jump serve. He would later apologize to the team for changing his serve, claiming that he his regular serve was just begging for the champion team to attack them.

During the barbecue, Asahi mingles with several players and tried to help Yachi when she accidentally ate a piece of charred meat but his efforts and the help of others did not work because she was too terrified to answer them. Afterwards, he and the team return to Karasuno to prepare for the qualifier tournament.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Karasuno vs Ohgiminami

Asahi is the first to serve in the game against Ohgiminami High. He is able to land a service ace right away and cause nervousness in the opposing team.

Karasuno vs Kakugawa

Just before the match against Kakugawa High, Asahi and some of the other Karasuno players watch Kakugawa's first match and almost all of them are right away frightened by the height of Yūdai Hyakuzawa. Asahi is mostly seen trying to receive spikes and taking part in the synchronized attack. After Karasuno wins the match, Asahi lifts Hinata in celebration.

Karasuno vs Johzenji

Karasuno vs Wakutani South

Karasuno vs Aobajohsai

Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa

Tokyo National Arc

Karasuno vs Tsubakihara

Karasuno vs Inarizaki

Karasuno vs Nekoma

Karasuno vs Kamomedai

Final Arc

After high school, Asahi is revealed to have attended a fashion college in Tokyo and has become a fashion designer. He reunites with Daichi and Sugawara at the MSBY Black Jackals and Schweiden Adlers game. Near the end of the first set, Asahi informs Daichi and Sugawara of Nishinoya's current whereabouts and activities. During the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, Asahi has joined Nishinoya in his travels and they send a photo of themselves to their friends showing they are currently in Egypt.

Statistics

Original Statistics
Power
 
5/5
Jumping
 
3/5
Stamina
 
3/5
Game Sense
 
3/5
Technique
 
3/5
Speed
 
2/5

Asahi is the most powerful attacker in Karasuno. He is known for a strong spike that can blast past most defenders. As such, he is often trusted with the responsibility to score when faced with multiple blockers. His best spike is when he's given a high toss that is slightly away from the net. As his captain, Daichi, has said, "If you want to stop our ace, you'll have to bring an iron wall!".

Height and reach, as of mid-November:

  • Fingertip Height: 242 cm
  • Jumping Reach: 333 cm (spike) / 310 cm (block)

Skills

  • Back Row Attack: After their battle against Nekoma, Asahi learned how to do a back row attack. He is usually seen using this attack in conjunction with Hinata acting as a decoy[3]. With Hinata luring in the blockers, Asahi would take advantage of the opening to score. Eventually, he learned to perform this attack while syncing with Nishinoya's libero toss.
  • Jump Serve: Asahi learned to perform a jump serve during the Summer Training Camp Arc. His jump serve has been noted by some to have a good course. Over time, his power and control have improved to which he can serve to difficult spots near the boundary lines[4].
  • Delayed Spike: The delayed spike is one in which Asahi extends the time he stays in midair to throw off the blockers' timing. He would only spike when the blockers have started falling downward. The end result is a powerful wipe that sends the ball ricocheting off the blockers. He has successfully used this attack in pinch moments against teams like Date Tech, Tsubakihara, and Inarizaki. Sugawara eventually dubbed this attack as "Block Crusher"[5].

Relationships

Karasuno High

  • Yū Nishinoya:
    Nishinoya x asahi.png
    Nishinoya admires and relies on Asahi and is generally the one to stick up for or comfort him. Nishinoya also refused to return to the volleyball team unless Asahi also returned, although Coach Ukai pushed him into playing a practice match. Despite this, Asahi has been shown to be slightly scared of Nishinoya. Nishinoya is also extremely blunt and would point out Asahi's mistakes and remind him of his past, but the latter doesn't seem to mind.
  • Kōshi Sugawara:
    AsahiSuga.png
    Sugawara had been Asahi's setter for a long time until Asahi left the team after their defeat. Sugawara was the first person that tried to convince Asahi to come back, though his efforts were futile. Sugawara knows which toss Asahi prefers and always puts the ace's feelings into account; he wouldn't toss to Asahi during the practice match against the Neighborhood Association at first because he didn't want to force Asahi to spike when he didn't want to. However, Asahi soon changed his way of thinking during the match and called out for a toss, and Sugawara happily gave it to him. Since then, their relationship has recovered tremendously. Sugawara and Daichi usually team up to pick on or encourage Asahi, and the latter has once stated that the two act like his parents.
  • Daichi Sawamura:
    DaichiAsahi.png
    Daichi and Asahi have been playing together since their first years and are extremely close friends. Daichi was disheartened when Asahi left the team, but he trusted Asahi to return and never ran after him. So when Asahi did return, Daichi wasn't surprised at all and instead, acted like nothing ever happened. Their relationship never really changed much and even when he was off the team, Asahi was still afraid of Daichi, stating that he's scary when he's angry.
  • Shōyō Hinata: Hinata is mainly responsible for Asahi's return to the team. At first, Hinata was jealous of Asahi due to his position of being Karasuno's ace,
    Hinata and Asahi s1-e10-1.png
    but Asahi encouraged Hinata to accept his position as a decoy. Since then, Hinata works hard to open a path up for the ace during matches.
    During the summer camp arc, the two ran into some trouble when Hinata almost took a ball meant for Asahi during a practice game. Though it wasn't intentional, the feeling Hinata gave off was almost like he was trying to steal the ball from the ace. Asahi was a bit unnerved and decided to use the rivalry as motivation to improve.

Quotes

To strike past all obstacles...That's the Ace!
To himself
I may be an ace, but you guys are heroes.
To Karasuno, Volume 6 Chapter 47
Like a comet, I set forth. I failed, Kamchatka. I fled, Okhotsk. I set forth, like a shooting star, scattering silver as it descends. I will never give in, Kamchatka!
Haikyuu!! Christmas Drama CD
Maybe. But without your deflection... the rally probably would have ended right there with their point.
My teammates are skilled. They're trustworthy. I want to play volleyball together with them for as long as I possibly can. But... out of everyone on this team... there's one guy I never learned to trust. So. We're facing a really good team. I don't have the luxury of fighting against both them and myself. It's only natural to feel scared. Anyone would feel guilty. So man up and shoulder the burden. Today, for once... I'm going to learn to trust in myself.
'The heavy, smothering weight of expectations sitting on an Ace's shoulders,' huh? Since when have my teammates ever been a burden?


Trivia

  • Favorite Food: Tonkotsu ramen
  • Current Concern: When he tells people he's a student, nobody believes him; 1st years are afraid of him; girls in his class say things like "Even though he looks the way he does, he's kinda weak" and then get themselves disappointed; also his future plans; the captain being scary... (cut for length)
  • Asahi wears white gym shoes with black accents.
  • There are many rumors going around about Asahi mainly due to his physical appearance, including he is the leader of a gang, he deals illegal substances such as drugs, and he's been in high school for five years.
  • His jersey number (3) is symbolic, considering how his specialty is spiking (and how spiking is usually the third contact) He, along with Daichi and Sugawara, form a set.
  • People fighting (or the idea of it) seems to frighten him.
  • Asahi and Yū Nishinoya are foils. Their birthdays are inverse (01/01 and 10/10), as are their heights and personalities (and even their name kanji contrast each other - respectively 'east' and 'west', 'peak' and 'valley', 'morning sun' and 'evening'). They are also the two best known, talented, and accomplished members of the team, other than Kageyama.
  • In manga chapters 234-277, Asahi's appearance on the rotation charts show his hair to be styled in the manner of the Spring Interhigh games in which he wore his headband. This is later changed to show his hair in a bun in chapter 278.
  • His star sign is Capricorn.
  • He went to Seukoudai Middle school.
  • In the English dubbing of the anime, he is one of the few characters referred to by his first name instead of his last name.
  • When asked about Asahi's name origin, Furudate said, “Because I finished the story and scene first - which doesn’t happen often - I made his name contrast to Nishinoya’s name: the morning sun which rises from the eastern peak!”[6]
  • In the Christmas Haikyuu!! Drama CD, Asahi mentions that 'Don't Give up, Kamchatka' is his Bible. It's a collection of photos and poems of people living in the harsh wilderness.
  • In Haikyuu's first popularity poll, Asahi placed 7th with 3,418 votes.[7] In the second, he dropped to 13th with 4,003 votes.[8]
  • Nomenclature:
    • Asahi (旭) - Morning Sun
    • Azumane (東峰) - East Peak

References

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