Kōtarō Bokuto (Japanese:
Bokuto has round, golden-colored eyes and spiky white-grey hair with black streaks; certain sections of it are done up as if to vaguely conform to that of an animal, strongly amplifying the uncanny resemblance he bears to a horned owl. He has a solid and muscular build. However, his physical appearance in the anime is quite thin, considerably less athletic and muscular compared to that in the manga. This is mostly corrected in later seasons.
Unlike most volleyball players, Bokuto wears knee pads that go up to his thighs, instead of simply ending above his knee.
He has a playful, friendly, bombastic and child-like personality and is described by his team as having "mood swings", where even the slightest thing can change his mood, which then impacts his performance. Because of this, he was referred to by Yukie, the team's third-year manager, as 'simple-minded'. Nevertheless, he is both admired by his own team and the opponents for his impressive skill and morale-boosting demeanor.
When he makes a comeback from a slump, he clearly shows his pride as the ace and believes he is the "strongest". Bokuto is energetic, often making jokes about everything and acting rather dramatically about his plays, wanting attention or afiirmation from his teammates. His personality is very compatible that he gets along with many people (similar to Hinata).
However, he is rather ignorant of other people's discomfort, seen with his interactions with Tsukishima. Bokuto also, seems to never waver when dealing with "difficult" people like Atsumu post time-skip. Who immediately threatened Bokuto, to never complain if he misses one of his sets, and instead of feeling afraid or down, just proceeded to confiently asure him that he is now "ordinary". Also, despite his general silly behavior, there are moments when Bokuto exhibits something akin to a wise form of intelligence, his words inspiring Tsukishima in Karasuno's game against Shiratorizawa.
He also displays kind, just traits, leaning towards defensive during the 3-on-3 match (Cats vs Owls, in Episode 9 of Haikyuu!! Season 2), where Bokuto told Kuroo, Tsukishima, and Lev off, for ganging up on Hinata when he was attempting to score.
Post time-skip he remains mostly the same. However, when it comes to volleyball, he has matured quite a bit, and is no longer moody, or reliant on others to keep his spirits up. He calls himself a "ordinary ace" that people can rely on, and seems to be proud of this change in himself.
Bokuto is close friends with Kuroo Tetsuro, Captain of Nekoma High School and Keiji Akaashi,Vice-Captain and Setter of Fukurōdani Academy, although Akaashi is a second year.He is one of the top five aces in the country, barely missing the top three. He is a third year student at Fukurōdani Academy.He said he only got hooked onto Volleyball recently, when he finally learned to make straight shots other than his strength,his diagonal shots.
Tokyo Expedition Arc
Bokuto has been training with his team when Hinata and Kageyama suddenly arrive. After practice ends, he takes note of the two first years, stating that this year is going to be interesting.
Sometime later, Bokuto's doing extra practice with Akaashi and Kuroo when the latter suddenly invites Tsukishima to join them. At first, Tsukishima declines the offer and tries to leave, but Bokuto quickly stops him, insisting that he needs the first year to block for him because no one else will. Kuroo adds on, pointing out Tsukishima's position as a middle blocker to goad the first year into training with them. Tsukishima quickly falls for it.
As soon as practice begins, Bokuto hits one spike after another, each one getting through Tsukishima easily. Bokuto celebrates excitedly, but Akaashi simply points out that Bokuto had won against only one blocker. Kuroo comes over, adding that a second blocker will be more of a challenge. As the practice resumes, Kuroo gives tips to Tsukishima while successfully blocking Bokuto's spikes. Bokuto then exclaims that Tsukishima's blocks are too weak, only for the latter to point out their height differences in response, irking the third year. Kuroo teases that if Tsukishima isn't focused, Hinata will soon out-skill him. This seems to affect Tsukishima as he excuses himself and leaves the gym. Right afterwards, Bokuto teases Kuroo for his blunder.
That event doesn't seem to deter Bokuto from approaching Tsukishima. The very next day, Bokuto seeks out the first year and asks him to train with him again, but he's rejected. However, that night, Tsukishima suddenly approaches Bokuto and Kuroo in the third gym, where they're practising. Tsukishima asks them why they're training so much when volleyball is only a club. Bokuto asks him back if he enjoys playing volleyball and Tsukishima replies negatively. Bokuto questions if it's because the first year sucks at the sport, annoying him. Bokuto explains that he's a lot better at volleyball than Tsukishima is, but he has only recently begun to find volleyball enjoyable. He used to get blocked all the time but after changing his spiking technique, he became nearly invincible. It was like his time had come. Bokuto remarks that if "that moment" exists for Tsukishima, he will really get hooked on volleyball.
Sometime later, Bokuto's practising with Tsukishima and Kuroo again when he spots Hinata by the door of the gym. Hinata asks if he can join at the same time Lev does. With this many people, Kuroo suggests a 3-on-3. Although, the teams turn out to be extremely unbalanced because the shortest people (Bokuto, Akaashi, Hinata) end up on one team (Owls) while the other team (Cats) consists of the tallest. While Akaashi's skeptical about this, Bokuto and Hinata don't mind at all. The game soon starts and the Cats are doing better than the Owls. However, the match's interrupted shortly by a manager who announces that if the players don't wrap up their game soon, they will have to forgo dinner. Bokuto quickly halts the match.
The next day, the 3-on-3 is continued. During a move, Bokuto faces off against two blockers and bounces the ball off Lev's hand so he can redo his spike. Hinata asks him excitedly what he did and Bokuto explains "tipping into the block". As the game progresses, the Cats gains the upper hand. The three blockers gang up on Hinata and Bokuto calls them out on it. However, Hinata takes advantage of his situation and performs a blockout, though it's accidental. Happily, Bokuto congratulates the first year and announces that he will teach him a special finishing move.
On the last day of the training camp, Karasuno plays against Fukurōdani. Using Bokuto's technique, Hinata pulls a successful feint and scores a point for his team. After Akaashi reveals that it's Bokuto who taught that to the first year, the Fukurōdani players glare angrily at the captain. Bokuto remains optimistic though, stating that he won't let Karasuno get any more points.
Bokuto dominates the match from there on, easily spiking through Karasuno's defense. However, he soon begins to make mistakes and after giving Karasuno two points, he freezes. His mood swing kicks in and he sadly tells Akaashi to not toss to him anymore. Akaashi simply tells the ace to take the time to cool down.
Even with the captain out of the picture, Fukurōdani doesn't fall apart though. Karasuno does, however, lower its guard and stops paying so much attention to Bokuto who's beginning to get restless waiting for the ball. In the final move, Akaashi tosses to Bokuto who spikes past Tsukishima and wins the game for his team.
Afterwards, his teammates cheer him on, showering him with compliments. Having been reassured of his strength as the ace, Bokuto celebrates happily.
The teams celebrate the last day of training camp with a BBQ. Bokuto and Kuroo seem to have a meat-picking contest (Bokuto being the winner).
Spring High Preliminary Arc
Fukurōdani vs. Nekoma
Fukurōdani vs. Itachiyama
Fukurodani loses to Itachiyama during the Tokyo Qualifer Tournament. Bokuto is upset at losing to Itachiyama and seemingly Sakusa in particaular. He promises that he will never forget what took place and tries to vow revenge until Akaashi criticizes his missed serves.
Tokyo Nationals Arc
Fukurōdani vs. Eiwa
During the game against Eiwa, Bokuto is shown being in a dejected mode due to not playing in the main arena with a larger crowd watching. Akaashi deduces this is Bokuto's weakness #6, wanting to show off. Due to Bokuto being in a down mood, the rest of the team continue to play like normal until Akaashi starts to bring Bokuto out of his state by saying that all eyes are already on the ace because they are the only game taking place in the sub-arena and even points out Hinata in the crowd having come to watch his mentor. This seems to bring Bokuto out of his depression and he goes on to land powerful spikes that help bring the team to victory and advance to the next round.
- Keiji Akaashi: Akaashi seems to be Bokuto's closest friend and underclassman. The two make a powerful spiker/setter duo. Akaashi also knows Bokuto well enough to deal with his ups and downs during games (during the Nekoma-Fukurōdani match where Bokuto forgot how to use crosses), and the two have even been seen hanging out outside of practice. Bokuto tends to ask Akaashi for praise after performing an impressive move despite the setter being an underclassman. However, Akaashi tends to decline Bokuto's requests.
- Fukurōdani Academy: Although Bokuto appears to be the elder brother, or pillar, of his team, he is actually the "baby" that's supported by his family. During his mood swings, his teammates are usually responsible for caring for him, cheering him up, etc. However, they do trust him to bring himself back into the game just as how Bokuto trusts them to support him.
Despite that, his teammates tend to desert the ace whenever he has his spiking practices due to them being endless.
Bokuto is also close to the manager, who he borrows money from sometimes (though he usually forgets to pay her back).
- Tetsurō Kuroo: Kuroo and Bokuto seem to be close friends, seeing as they are often seen pestering other people together and Kuroo seems to know the status of Bokuto's school grades. They have also been observed to have similar reactions to certain events, such as when Tsukishima asked them a question. Bokuto usually does extra practices with Akaashi and Kuroo, despite the latter being from another team. While the two are generally on friendly terms, they tend to have small contests against each other, though most of them are trivial; during the BBQ, they fought to see who could grab the most amounts of meat. When it comes to matches, they become full-on rivals. However, during matches, they also compliment each other. For example when Kuroo said "As usual he fires up the entire gymnasium", or Bokuto says "Damn the demon cats and their godlike receives".
- Kei Tsukishima: During the training camp, Tsukishima had developed a somewhat friendly relationship with Bokuto which consisted of Tsukishima and Kuroo blocking for the ace. However, as Tsukishima's development continued, Bokuto became a wise figure for the first year's curiosity on what volleyball meant to him. Bokuto often calls the middle blocker by his nickname Tsukki, of which Tsukishima is annoyed by.
- Shōyō Hinata: During the summer training camp, Bokuto became acquainted with Hinata after the latter joined their free practice. Bokuto taught Hinata how to feint and also praised Hinata when he did a block-out. Hinata greatly admires Bokuto as an ace of a powerhouse school.
Akaashi and Bokuto both claim Hinata is a disciple of Bokuto, and Akaashi even used Hinata when he suddenly appeared to watch their Spring High National Day 1 match, to cheer up Bokuto who was already in a dejected mode. As of the Final Arc, the two are teammates on the MSBY Black Jackals.
To Tsukishima, Volume 10 Chapter 89
To Fukurōdani, Volume 37 Chapter 331
Bokuto used to specialize in the cross spike, but it kept getting blocked. Out of frustration, he decided to practice his straight spike (which was looked down upon when he first began playing) instead and eventually improved it to a level where it couldn't even be touched by his opponents. He also has an amazing ability to do feints, which he taught Hinata during the Tokyo training camp. He is also talented at performing wipes and a good ball sense to hit an insane cut shot when facing tall blockers. Bokuto's fragility as an ace draws out his other teammates' strengths, becoming a strong foundation which isn't easily broken. It has also been stated by Kuroo that when Bokuto becomes serious, he becomes as strong as a Top 3-tier ace.
Jumping Reach: 339 cm
- Favorite Food: Yakiniku (Barbecued meat, usually beef)
- Current Concern: "...How do you spell 'concern'?"
- According to the Haikyuu store in Japan, Bokuto has smaller hands than Akaashi because the latter has long fingers.
- His worst subject is Mathematics.
- His birthday is three days before the Autumnal equinox within the Japanese calendar.
- His star sign is Virgo.
- According to Akaashi, Bokuto has at least 37 weaknesses.
- In his third year, at the Spring High Tournament, he bought an unpopular t-shirt that reads: "The Wisdom of the Ace: Firstly, the figure of the ace is one that inspires his allies. Secondly, he should shatter any wall. Thirdly, he should hit any ball to his utmost ability." Unsurprisingly, he and Hinata find it cool.
- Akaashi states in the manga and English subbing that Bokuto just missed being one of the top three ace's, while in the English dub he says that Bokuto was once one of the top three but fell out for unknown reasons.
- In a flashback Tsukishima has of the training camp, Kuroo and Bokuto were shown to have switched hairstyles.
- Whenever he's in his 'emo mode', his hair deflates.
- He starred as himself in one of Ennoshita's roadshows called "The Day Armageddon Arrives on Earth".
- Despite being the captain, Bokuto wears #4 rather than the expected #1. This is most likely because Fukurōdani is the type of school where #4 is traditionally worn by the team's ace. His jersey in the manga and in the anime does have the mark that also signifies him as the team captain.
- Kōtarō (光太郎) - 光 (kō) refers to Light while 太郎 (tarō) is a very common masculine name. The character "太" in common usage means thick or big. The last character 郎 simply means Son.
- Bokuto (木兎) - Horned Owl
- The two can roughly translate to "Thick Owl."