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Japan will always fall apart in the face of overwhelming height and power. That old cliché is completely outdated.

Fuki Hibarida (Japanese: 雲雀田 (ひばりだ) (ふき) Hibarida Fuki) is the coach for Japan's National Volleyball Team

Appearance

Hibarida appears to be a middle-aged man with some wrinkles near his eyes. He has thick black eyebrows and a thin mustache with an anchor beard that barely connects to his sideburns. His black hair (brown in the anime) is styled up and parted to his left side. 

He is first seen wearing the tracksuit for the All-Japan Representative Team but later shows up at the Spring Interhigh Tournament in a much formal suit and tie.

Personality

Hibarida has a positive attitude and is generally seen with a cheery smile on his face. As the Japan Men's National Volleyball Team coach, he is very observant about players' potential and gives due praise when he sees a good play. He appears to be quite open-minded since he doesn't discriminate against short players and aims to break those long-held stereotypes of volleyball[1].

Background

Not much is known of his background as of yet, but he is a qualified coach capable of leading the Japan Olympic Men's Volleyball Team.

Plot

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Preparation for Nationals

Fuki s4-e1-2.png

Hibarida first appears as the Japan Men's National Volleyball Team coach. He welcomes all the invited players to the National Youth Training Camp with a brief speech about his philosophy. Hibarida mentions that they are aiming to break the old stereotypes about height and power when it comes to volleyball. Rather than focusing on what players are blessed with, he prioritizes the potential the players are able to draw out.

Nationals

Karasuno vs Inarizaki

Hibarida shows up to watch the match between Karasuno and Inarizaki on the second day of the Spring Interhigh tournament. He is seen taking notice of Hinata with a colleague after the Miya Twins copied Kageyama and Hinata's signature quick. His colleague suggests that Hinata may be disheartened after seeing his unique attack used against him, but Hibarida thinks otherwise. He mentions that Hinata has yet to make a name for himself without factoring Kageyama, and from here on out, Hinata won't be always playing with the same setter. Hinata will need to polish his individual skills, but at the same time, having the right teammates will be just as important. Hibarida believes that concerning the minus-tempo quick attack, Atsumu is proof that there's at least one other setter that can toss to Hinata. Perhaps, rather than discouraged, Hinata might be delighted at the fact that their attack is no longer "the one and only"[2].

Fuki s4-e22.png

Hibarida continues to watch the match while carefully observing Karasuno's strategy to counter Inarizaki by constantly pulling out new attacks. He quickly understands that despite Karasuno holding out well, the real match will begin once Karasuno runs out of new projectiles in their arsenal. Later, he admires the high caliber plays from the Miya Twins when Osamu re-sets a ball that Atsumu tosses to him on the first touch. Hibarida is seen with a blank surprised expression as he watches Hinata performs a miraculous receive that returns the ball high into the air. He compares the play to a single foothold found when climbing a tall and treacherous mountain and recognizes its effect of restoring the team's confidence[3].

Karasuno vs Kamomedai

Into the third set, Hibarida watches Kamomedai's match against Karasuno and explains to the person next to him that what he is looking for are big and strong players[4]. However, for short players such as Hoshiumi, they just make him choose them. After seeing Karasuno and Itachiyama losing, Hibarida expresses that all of the great players at nationals have to have experienced losing at one point since there will always be a team better than them no matter how high they climb.

Final Arc

Coach Hibarida appears during the match between the Schweiden Adlers and the MSBY Black Jackals when Hinata and Atsumu have performed their version of the super quick attack. At seeing the attack, he recalls how he had seen the two play against each other in high school and remembers how he stated that there is now another setter that can perform this specific set[5].

He stays to watch the rest of the match until the Jackals were eventually able to claim victory. Hibarida later appears when he is coaching the national team at the 2021 Olympic match against Argentina where he encourages the players to prove to everyone how fun volleyball is.

Relationships

Quotes

  • "What truly matters is not 'what you are blessed with', but rather 'what you're able to draw out'." (Volume 24 Chapter 210)
  • "There are rare occasions, where... during a long training session or match, and usually, it's a situation where the player has suffered more often than not... There will be this single, miraculous play." (Volume 32 Chapter 281)

Trivia

References

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