These last three years, I've been the team's ace - thanks to all you guys. But in a few days, I'm gonna have to say goodbye to you all. So it's about dang time I became the team's ace - period.

Kōtarō Bokuto (Japanese: 木兎 (ぼくと) 光太郎 (こうたろう) Bokuto Kōtarō) was a third-year student at Fukurōdani Academy and the volleyball team's ace and captain. He was acknowledged as one of the top five aces in the country, barely missing the top three. After high school, he became an outside hitter for the MSBY Black Jackals, a Division 1 team in Japan's V-League. He is also a member of the Japan National Volleyball Team.

Appearance

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 considerably thinner, less athletic, and muscular compared to the manga version. 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.

Personality

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 affirmation 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 confidently assure 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 an "ordinary ace" that people can rely on and seems to be proud of this change in himself.

Background

Bokuto is close friends with Kuroo Tetsuro, Captain of Nekoma High School and Keiji Akaashi, Vice-Captain, and Setter of Fukurōdani Academy despite being 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.

Plot

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[1].

Bokuto with Kuroo, Tsukishima and Akaashi

Sometime later, Bokuto's doing extra practice with Akaashi and Kuroo when the latter suddenly invites Tsukishima to join them[2]. 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 afterward, Bokuto teases Kuroo for his blunder.

That event doesn't seem to deter Bokuto from approaching Tsukishima[3]. 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 practicing. 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 practicing 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[4], 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 gain 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.

Bokuto becomes dejected

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. 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[5].

Afterward, 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) and

Bokuto talking to Hinata

Bokuto receives admiration from Hinata for being one of the nations top five ace's. The admiration ceases when Kuroo points out that one of the top three ace's, Ushijima, is in Miyagi; Bokuto not liking Kuroo tell Hinata, Lev, and Tsukishima about the top three ace's. Despite this, Bokuto does encourage Tsukishima not to be fearful about possibly facing Ushijima as he now has lots of experience playing against Bokuto and coming to understand how to handle powerful spikes. Bokuto is present with many others when Karasuno leaves the camp to head home.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Fukurōdani vs. Nekoma

Bokuto is right away excited about facing Nekoma. The normal tactic that Akaashi and Yukie use to get Bokuto excited for a match was not used because they noticed how focused the ace seems to be. Because of the good mood Bokuto was in, Akaashi did not hesitate to send him the set and Bokuto was able to hit the spike against Nekoma's block with such force that it was sent into the stands and was caught by Akane. The play witnessed by surprised fans and other teams alike. At his next chance, Bokuto attempts a cross shot but Yaku was in place to receive and allowed Nekoma to counter. Bokuto admits that he became more fired up at seeing Yaku's receives.

For several plays, Bokuto is able to score numerous points. However, Kenma begins to lay out a plan to stop Bokuto. The plan begins when he and Kuroo switched blocking positions in order to stop Bokuto's line shot. After this, the Nekoma players positioned themselves so well to block and receive that Bokuto sent a spike out of bounds and this begins his change in mood. Eventually, Bokuto's demeanor changes enough that Akaashi tries to help him see that he is focusing too much on Nekoma's ground defense and Bokuto admits that he has suddenly forgotten how to hit a cross shot. This state doesn't last long as Akaashi is able to put in a plan of his own to get Bokuto back into shape by using Nekoma's rotation to his advantage. With Kuroo being out and Lev at the net, Akaashi is able to trick Lev into blocking early and sets to Bokuto. With Akaashi giving Bokuto this chance and being faced with a single blocker, the ace is able to spike the ball with such force that it ricochets off Yaku's arms and goes into the crowd before Fukunaga can save it.

With Bokuto back in shape, he and the Fukurōdani team continue to come at Nekoma with everything they have although Nekoma does the same with their receives. Bokuto gets Fukurōdani to match point when he does a cross shot so sharp that it lands in front of the ten foot line. Yamamoto attempts to receive Bokuto's next cross shot but is unable to and Fukurōdani wins the match against Nekoma.

Fukurōdani vs. Itachiyama

Fukurōdani loses to Itachiyama during the Tokyo Qualifier Tournament. Bokuto is upset at losing to Itachiyama and seemingly Sakusa in particular. 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.

Karasuno vs Inarizaki

Bokuto and Akaashi watch Karasuno's game against Inarizaki. After the arrival of Saeko and her taiko drum team, Bokuto praises Hinata's role on the court; stating that, while Hinata is small, he has a large presence. During the match, when Tanaka is blocked by Suna, Bokuto admits he is aware of his own weakness of sending balls out of bounds or directly into the net when he starts getting frustrated and doesn't notice Akaashi's surprised expression at the ace admitting he is aware he does this[6]. He begins showing empathy and relating to Tanaka's situation near the end of the first set when Tanaka struggles against the blocks and getting his line shot to work but shows great excitement when Tanaka is able to make a cross court shot work and win the set for Karasuno.

Fukurōdani Academy vs Morikawa High

Bokuto makes the winning shot for Fukurōdani to advance to the next round. After the game, he notices that Karasuno was able to defeat Inarizaki. He is noted by Akaashi to now be playing better than he ever has before. 

Fukurōdani Academy vs. Matsuyama Nishi Shōgyō High

Bokuto is able to win the game for Fukurōdani when he lands a straight shot past the blockers. Afterwards, he embraces the Nekoma third years and would be highly complimented by Hinata for his straight shots. After spotting Kiryū, Bokuto goes over to greet him but leaves many confused by the interaction when Kiryū admits that he does not know Bokuto personally.

Karasuno vs Nekoma

Bokuto is present to watch part of the long awaited match between Karasuno and Nekoma with Akaashi. Bokuto shows great excitement when Tsukishima was able to block Fukunaga when using the serve and block technique with Yamaguchi. He was so impressed with the play that he shouts "That's our Tsukki!", though Akaashi would remind him that Tsukishima is not theirs[7]. When Karasuno lost the first set because of a communication error, Bokuto is seen laughing hysterically.

After the first play of the second set, Bokuto and Akaashi spot Yachi standing near the scoreboard. They listen to her concern about this being the first time that Karasuno has lost the first set in all of their matches since the start of the Interhigh Prelims with the exception of their game against Shiratorizawa Academy. When Yachi voices her fear of Karasuno possibly losing the game, Bokuto displays rare wisdom by telling her that it won't do her any good to worry about what comes later and should instead watch what is currently happening and see how strong the members of Karasuno have become; although he did have to confirm with Akaashi that he used the word 'exacerbated' correctly[8].

Near the end of the set when Asahi puts too much power into his spike and it lands out from Yaku having manipulated things to his advantage, Bokuto warns Yachi that Yaku is a player who is capable of stopping a spiker without even touching the ball[9].

Fukurōdani vs Mujinazaka High

As the match against Mujinazaka is about to begin, Bokuto recalls when Kuroo revealed to Tsukishima that Bokuto is one of the top five ace's in the nation. At this memory, Bokuto loudly proclaims that he will become the top ace.

Early in the game, Bokuto attempts to receive one of Kiryū's spikes but had gone too far in his approach. Realizing that he would not be able to make a receive over or underhanded, Bokuto makes the receive with his chest and would compliment himself for it. When Akaashi was subbed out of the game, Bokuto assures the team that the setter will be fine and return better than ever. For majority of the rest of the match, Bokuto is able to get in several powerful spikes but occasional use feint shots and soft serves to throw off the Mujinazaka players. When Fukurōdani eventually wins the match, Bokuto is thanked by Kiryū for being the one he got to play his last match against in high school.

Bokuto would later comfort Akaashi when the setter was still feeling upset about his performance during the earlier part of the game. With the rest of the team listening, Bokuto is able to inspire Akaashi and the others when he is says that the team will be able to play even better during their next game. When Akaashi tries to argue that they may not be able to save and score every time, Bokuto replies "It's not impossible, it's just hard.".

Final Arc

Statistics

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

Post-Timeskip Statistics
Power
 
5/5
Jumping
 
4/5
Stamina
 
5/5
Game Sense
 
3/5
Technique
 
5/5
Speed
 
4/5

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:

  • Pre-Timeskip: 339 cm
  • Post-Timeskip: 348 cm

Relationships

Fukurōdani Academy

  • Keiji Akaashi:

    Bokuto and 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:
    TheBabyAndHisParents.jpg
    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/notes from sometimes (though he usually forgets to pay her back).

Other Schools

  • Tetsurō Kuroo:

    Kuroo, Bokuto and Akaashi

    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:

    Tsukishima and Bokuto

    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:
    Bokuto1.png
    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.

Quotes

What will happen in the future and whether or not you can win the next match... for once, none of that matters. Crushing the guys in front of you, and the amazing feeling of having shown 120% of your strength, are everything.
It's a matter of whether 'that moment' exists for you or not...If you experience that moment, it'll really get you hooked on volleyball.
To Tsukishima, Volume 10 Chapter 89
Spiking isn't just about slamming the ball to the floor. If you keep your cool, you'll be able to see what action to take.
Up till now, I've been "an ace that is coddled by the rest of the team", but in a few days we're all going to say goodbye to each other and go our separate ways, so it's about time I became just, "an ace".
To Fukurōdani, Volume 37 Chapter 331
You're probably thinking all this stuff like "this is a match we definitely can't afford to lose", or something, yeah? .... Well then here is the thing, up till now, have you ever thought that it'd be okay if we lost a match?.
Think about what's fun, not what's easy.
Hey, hey, hey!
-Various
It's not "impossible", it's just "hard"!!


Trivia

  • 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.
    • 6: He loves to show off.[10]
    • 37: If he becomes too fixated on one thing, he'll completely forget how to do anything else.[11]
  • 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.
  • Nomenclature:
    • 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."

References

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