Gao Hakuba (Japanese: 白馬 (はくば) 芽生 (がお) Hakuba Gao) was a second-year wing spiker at Kamomedai High. As of November 2018, he is a middle blocker for the Tachibana Red Falcons, a professional volleyball team in Division 1 of Japan's V-League. He is also a member of the Japan Men's National Volleyball team.

Appearance

Hakuba is a towering figure standing at 203.3 cm (6' 8"), making him one of the tallest characters in the series so far. He has a large, muscular build. Hakuba has dark hair that is styled upwards on the top but has the lower half shaved.

Personality

He seems to be confident about his height and spiking skills. He enjoys teasing Hoshiumi, and shows reluctance when it comes to compliment him on his setting prowess. When he started to compliment Hinata out of shock when seeing his extremely high jump, Suwa described him as a really nice person internally.

Background

Plot

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Kamomedai vs Karasuno

During the warm-ups before the match against Karasuno, Hoshiumi voices how he is aware that he will no longer be underestimated since the team had made it to the quarter-finals. Hakuba offers to insult Hoshiumi and proceeds to tell him that those who are taller will always be superior to those who are shorter. However, Hoshiumi does not react in the angered manner Hakuba thought he would which in turn annoys Hakuba. Although Hakuba does not notice it, Hinata recognizes him as the person who bumped into the first year on the first day of the tournament but didn't even notice the middle blocker when he did[1].

At Hinata's first quick attack of the match, Hakuba is taken by surprise by the attack before Hinata introduces himself to Hakuba. Hakuba replies that he had seen a tape of Karasuno earlier. When Hakuba later receives Hinata's serve, he has to go down to one knee to do so and Ukai is shown to be pleased by this. Near the end of the first set, Hakuba is baited into jumping to block Hinata. Despite jumping to block the wrong person, Hakuba was still able to use his impressive height to stand high enough on his feet to block Asahi and win the first set for Kamomedai. Though team captain Aikichi Suwa compliments Hakuba on his block, Izuru Nozawa was able to see that Hakuba had fallen for Hinata's decoy effort with the proof that Hakuba made surprised sounds when he noticed he'd been tricked.

Half-way into the second set, Hakuba is noted by Mika and Suguru to be standing near the edge of the court with the strong possibility that he is being kept from taking part in serve receives from the theory that he only recently started playing volleyball. When Kageyama unleashes a serve that is not as powerful as his usual serves, the ball heads directly toward Hakuba. Believing that he will be able to receive it since the serve isn't as powerful as it normally is, Hakuba calls to receive it but notices Nozawa getting in place to receive. This causes the two to hesitate and no one receives the ball, resulting in Kageyama landing a no-touch service ace and Karasuno getting the lead. After Hinata is able to put Karasuno at set point when he does a block-out against Hakuba's hand, Hakuba promises that he will stop Hinata but is disturbed by Hinata's seemingly excited expression.

In the third set, Hakuba nearly succeeds in a direct spike attempt after Hirugami was able to block Hinata's attack but his spike is received and countered. When Hinata next uses his new jump combined with the minus tempo, Hakuba and Hirugami so caught off guard that they nearly miss trying to block him. Hakuba was so impressed by Hinata's attack that he outright complimented Hinata vocally though Hinata would in turn call Kageyama the amazing one as he knows that he cannot be as good as he is without the setter's talent. At hearing Hinata state this with such a straight face and remembering how Hoshiumi said this about himself earlier, Hakuba finds the two to be weird. Hakuba would later attempt to block Hinata when it looked like he would hit the set after doing a diagonal jump only to see the set go to Tanaka. After Hinata is removed from the game due to being sick, Hakuba is switched off the court and would remain there until Kamomedai eventually won the match.

Final Arc

Hakuba currently plays as a middle blocker on the Division 1 team, the Tachibana Red Falcons. He would later play alongside Hoshiumi and several others on the Japan Olympic team. 

Statistics

High School Statistics
Power
 
4/5
Jumping
 
3/5
Stamina
 
3/5
Game Sense
 
3/5
Technique
 
2/5
Speed
 
3/5

Due to his height, Hakuba has become one of Kamomedai's most well-known players, along with Hoshiumi and Hirugami. However, in terms of overall skills, he is one of the team's least talented members. He is the only starting member unable to perform a jump serve, and his receiving and game sense are below average. He also falls for decoys more easily than the other blockers.

However, despite having only started volleyball in high school, Hakuba's height makes him a formidable player on both offense and defense. His spikes are high and powerful, able to go above blocks and making receives difficult. His blocking is high as well, allowing him to participate in Kamomedai's bunch read blocking even with his inexperience. As of 2021, Hakuba is a professional player and one of only two Middle Blockers on the Japan National Volleyball Team, implying that he has become an incredible player. By 2018, he's capable of performing a jump serve with extreme power.

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
8/10
Serve Reception
 
7/10
Dig
 
7/10
Setting
 
6/10
Spike
 
9/10
Block
 
10/10

Bunch Read Blocking: Hakuba is a dangerous blocker thanks to his height, and forms Kamomedai's "iron wall" with Hirugami. He is easier to fool with decoys than his teammates, but his height gives him enough leeway to jump twice before a spike is launched, allowing him to remain a threat even after biting on a decoy. As of 2018, Hakuba has changed from an Opposite Hitter to a Middle Blocker, and he states that his specialty is blocking, implying that his blocks are now a grave threat.

Mental Fortitude: Like the rest of Kamomedai, Hakuba has been conditioned by Coach Aaron Murphy to possess incredible mental toughness. His attitude, and by extension his quality of play, are not affected by the flow of the game, allowing him to perform at his full potential at all times. 

Jumping Reach:

  • Post-Timeskip: 350 cm

Relationships

Kōrai Hoshiumi

Hakuba is often shown taunting Hoshiumi for his height. Even when he sets perfectly, Hakuba still reluctantly praises Hoshiumi for it, which is something his teammates remark. Additionally, he didn't understand how short people like Hoshiumi and Hinata could talk down about themselves because of their heights with such confident looks on their faces.

Quote

Trivia

  • Favorite Food: Teriyaki Pizza
  • Current Concern: He thinks it would be better if his body was more toned.
  • Hakuba is the heaviest and tallest player pre-timeskip.
  • Post-timeskip, he is the third tallest player after Oriver Barnes and Yūdai Hyakuzawa.
  • Nomenclature
    • Gao (芽生) - Bud Sprouts
    • Hakuba (白馬) - White Horse

References

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