Uselessly hot-blooded people irritate me...

Kei Tsukishima (Japanese: 月島 (つきしま) (けい) Tsukishima Kei) was previously a first year at Karasuno High School, playing as a middle blocker on the volleyball team. He is currently a college student as well as a middle blocker for the Sendai Frogs, a Division 2 team in the V League, and will start work at the Sendai City Museum after graduating college. He is the younger brother of Akiteru Tsukishima.

Appearance

Tsukishima is very tall and has an incredibly slim build for a volleyball player. Despite being a first-year, he is the tallest player in Karasuno High, standing at 190.1 cm. He has short blond hair, pale skin, thin eyebrows, and golden-brown eyes. He is often seen with a frown or a condescending smirk on his face.

After joining the Karasuno volleyball team, Tsukishima wears the standard Karasuno volleyball uniform (black, orange, and white uniform with the number 11 on the back) during matches. He also wears knee pads and white volleyball shoes with green details. He is also the only player on the Karasuno team who wears glasses. Since Chapter 109, Tsukishima began wearing prescription sports glasses (a gift from his older brother, Akiteru) in matches.

Outside of matches and practice, Tsukishima wears a black gakuran, the Karasuno male uniform. He is usually seen with white headphones around his neck. The brand of these headphones seems to be "Somy", which is a play on the real name brand "Sony." He has been seen wearing various shirts with crescent moons on them, which plays on his name "Tsukishima" with "tsuki" meaning "moon".

Personality

Tsukishima is very blunt and will sometimes rile his teammates up due to his antagonistic nature (most notably being Hinata, Kageyama, Nishinoya, and Tanaka) and sometimes other teams because of his casual smug attitude, taking pride in and relishing when his opponents see him as a nuisance as seen with Tendō and Shirabu.

Whenever someone does or says something stupid or silly he is usually seen snickering in the background. However, he does seem to be intimidated by his seniors, being nowhere in sight when Daichi reprimands Tanaka for antagonizing Aoba Josai even though he did so as well, or backing down whenever Ennoshita calls him out.

Despite coming across as arrogant, Tsukishima has low self-esteem and thinks of himself as inferior. This is first noted to be a surprise by Kuroo, who accidentally riles him up by suggesting he’ll lose to Hinata, to which he says that he’s already below him. After the Shiratorizawa match, despite being the MVP, he’s seen calling himself lame for only being able to block Ushijima’s spikes once, only adding to how little he believes in himself and his achievements.

Although Tsukishima maintains a persona of someone who shows little interest in anything and wouldn't do something he didn't like or enjoy, he does truly enjoy volleyball. He initially refrained from putting too much effort into volleyball and being too passionate about it out of fear of suffering from the same fate as his brother. However, after his confrontation with Yamaguchi and hearing Bokuto's inspirational words in the Tokyo training camp, he started to take the sport more seriously and finally found his passion and motivation for volleyball when he blocked Ushijima.

Tsukishima keeps his cool, for the most part, but he can be seen getting visibly annoyed when people underestimate him or tell him what he can or can not do, and uses it as motivation to prove them wrong. He also says things like "It's not a competition" with Hinata but then immediately proceeds to do something to make him jealous, such as the time difference attack during the Shiratorizawa match. 

According to Akiteru, "Kei is blunt and doesn't show his emotions often, but he is actually a very hardworking and kind boy."

Background

Tsukishima S2Ep8.png

Tsukishima was a lot more cheerful when he was younger and had a very close relationship with his older brother, Akiteru Tsukishima. As a young child, Tsukishima seemed to really like volleyball, arguably due to his older brother’s own love for the sport. However, Tsukishima’s attitude towards volleyball (and club activities, in general) changed when Akiteru entered high school and became a member of the Karasuno High Volleyball Club.

Despite practicing very hard, Akiteru failed to become a regular player for Karasuno due to the number of more talented players on the team, including Hinata’s idol, the “Small Giant.” Seeing his older brother’s disappointment, Tsukishima began to think that he shouldn’t put so much effort anymore, like his brother did, to avoid being disappointed if he fails.

TsukishimaYamaguchi S2E8.png

Sometime in elementary school, he sees Tadashi Yamaguchi being bullied. He doesn't do anything, except call them pathetic. This was aimed at both Yamaguchi and the bullies. After seeing how Tsukishima could stand up to the bullies so easily, Yamaguchi starts to look up to him.

Plot

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

3-on-3 First Years Match

Tsukishima and Yamaguchi join Karasuno Boys’ Volleyball Club a few days after it begins for the new school year[1]. That evening, they go to where Hinata and Kageyama are practicing. To mess with Hinata, Tsukishima goes behind him and grabs the ball before Hinata can catch it and asks if the two are the first years who caused problems. When Hinata tries to reach for his ball, Tsukishima adds that elementary school kids should be going home, annoying Hinata.

Kageyama cuts in and asks how tall Tsukishima is, though Yamaguchi answers for him. Tsukishima then points out Kageyama’s junior high and wonders what an “elite” is doing at Karasuno. Hinata calls for Tsukishima’s attention again and declares that they aren’t going to lose the 3-on-3 and Tsukishima simply shrugs it off, surprising Hinata. Lightheartedly, Tsukishima explains that the match isn’t important for him and Yamaguchi so they could just throw the game for them if they want.

Kageyama gets angry at Tsukishima's taunts.

Angered, Kageyama replies that no matter what Tsukishima does, he would still win. In return, Tsukishima laughs at his confidence and reminds him of his “King” nickname. As Kageyama tries to retort, Tsukishima continues bringing up his past and remarks that it’s true Kageyama dislikes his nickname. Kageyama has had enough when Tsukishima brings up his performance during the prefecture semifinals last year and lunges forward, grabbing Tsukishima by the collar.

After a few seconds, Kageyama lets go and simply walks away, causing Tsukishima to mock him even more. Suddenly, Hinata jumps up behind him and grabs the ball out of his hand, shocking him. As he lands, Hinata exclaims that he will defeat Tsukishima. Losing his composure for a second, Tsukishima glares at him, but quickly recovers and frivolously states that they should just have fun since volleyball is just a club anyway. He then walks away, leaving a confused Hinata staring after him.

On the way home, Yamaguchi runs to Tsukishima and asks him what’s wrong since he seems to be brooding. Coldly, Tsukishima replies that he hates uselessly hot-blooded people like Kageyama and Hinata.

On the day of the 3-on-3, as the players are warming up, Tsukishima loudly provokes Kageyama and Hinata to make them lose their composure, prompting Daichi to comment that Tsukishima has a bad personality.

At first, Tsukishima easily blocks Hinata’s spikes due to his height advantage and makes a point of emphasizing that and Kageyama’s past. While Kageyama does his best to ignore him, Hinata gets angry and confronts Tsukishima, who reveals that Kageyama is only called a King because of his horrible attitude towards his former teammates.

Tsukishima mocks Hinata's lack of height.

To his surprise, Kageyama responds that he is actually terrified of tossing the ball and not seeing anyone behind him like what had happened in junior high. Hinata quickly jumps in and adds that he doesn’t care about Kageyama’s past and will hit any ball Kageyama sends to him. Annoyed, Tsukishima replies that Hinata’s genuine straightforwardness irritates him and reminds Hinata that he can’t fill the gap in height with fighting spirit.

Tsukishima starts playing seriously.

Throughout the game, Tsukishima continues with his taunts, reminding Hinata that he can’t just accomplish anything he wants just by putting all his effort into it. Hinata acknowledges that, but responds that he still wants to win with his body. As Tsukishima adds that his height is still an obstacle, Kageyama cuts in and states that as a setter, he will clear the path for Hinata[2].

When Hinata and Kageyama pull off their first planned quick, Tsukishima’s shocked to discover that Hinata had his eyes closed and asks Daichi to explain it. After the two fail their next tries, Tsukishima wonders how long they’re going to keep trying until they give up. Daichi adds that it’s hard to see someone trusting someone else so completely, especially a rival.

The next try, Tsukishima states to Kageyama that he should stop tossing to Hinata since it’ll always fail. However, he’s unnerved to see Hinata run up to Kageyama and quickly calls Yamaguchi over, leaving Daichi in the back. Hinata spikes successfully and scores.

In the end, Tsukishima’s team loses. After the match, Hinata goes to Tsukishima and holds out his hand, seemingly asking to make up because the upperclassmen will kick out any members who don’t get along with others. Tsukishima ignores the hand and retorts that he only got kicked out because he ignored the upperclassmen and caused chaos.

After Hinata leaves Tsukishima, Daichi approaches him and asks him what he thought of the match. Tsukishima replies that he didn’t really care and knew he would lose since he was against Kageyama. Daichi grins and points out that Tsukishima still got pretty serious during the game.

At that moment, Kiyoko walks in with the team jackets. At first, Tsukishima doesn’t want to put it on, but Tanaka and Sugawara goad him into wearing it. Lining up, the first years stand in front of the upperclassmen with their jackets on and officially get welcomed into Karasuno Boys’ Volleyball Club.

Aoba Johsai Practice Match

Tsukishima and his teammates intimidate the Aoba Johsai players.

Upon their arrival at Aoba Johsai High, Tsukishima, Yamaguchi, Tanaka, and Kageyama overhear two members of Aobajōhsai, Yahaba and Kindaichi, badmouthing Karasuno. Tanaka and Tsukishima join forces to intimidate the two Aoba Johsai players before Daichi arrives to reprimand them[3].

Later during the match, Tsukishima is seen mocking Kageyama and Hinata after Hinata struck Kageyama on the back of his head with a serve. It's apparent that Tsukishima is still unable to get along with the his fellow first years, especially Kageyama. The two nearly get into an argument in the midst of a game after they started exchanging insults. Amazingly, they end up in-sync and put up a strong block after growing competitive toward each other. After their successful block, Tsukishima and Kageyama end up arguing over whose hand stopped the spike until Daichi angrily shouts at them to stop[4].

Towards the end of the match, the coach of Aoba Johsai, Irihata, describes Tsukishima as a clever blocker, despite being somewhat lacking in drive. When Oikawa, Aoba Johsai’s captain and setter, arrives to pinch serve for their team, Tsukishima is targeted specifically for his weakness in receives[5]. He grows frustrated after continuously failing to receive Oikawa's serve. He becomes even more annoyed when Hinata stands up for him and gives him a speech about being allies. Afterwards, Tsukishima finally makes a save off of Oikawa's serve but ends up sending a free ball back to Aoba Johsai. However, his efforts ultimately gives his team a fighting chance, and they are able to capitalize on it to win the match.

Later when Karasuno is leaving, Oikawa stops them and point out Tsukishima and Hinata's need to work on their receives. He is shown to be uncooperative when Hinata proclaims that they will be doing special training[6].

Asahi and Nishinoya's Return

Nekoma Practice Match

Tsukishima takes part in the practice match between Karasuno and Nekoma. Halfway into the first set, he is able to score when he uses a feint shot. This immediately catches the attention of Kenma who notices that Tsukishima is the opposite of Hinata in which he first thinks things through before attacking. Kenma is also able to confirm that Tsukishima watches his opponents closely when he uses a glance to make the middle blocker think that he will set in one direction but sets in the opposite way. After the practice match, Tsukishima observes Hinata and Inuoka jumping about and babbling in gibberish. When he remarks on their choice of language, Kuroo agrees that they are talking like children before suggesting Tsukishima should let loose every so often instead acting stoic all the time, to which Tsukishima replies that acting childish is not his style.

Interhigh Arc

Karasuno vs Tokonami High

The match went by relatively quick with Karasuno winning the match.

Karasuno vs Date Tech

When Tsukishima is first rotated into the match, he makes the request of a set slightly further from the net from Kageyama with the intention of trying to stay clear of the blockers. Though Kageyama is annoyed by Tsukishima calling him the King, Kageyama agrees to the request. The two nearly start bickering until Tanaka forces them apart when he noticed Daichi was starting to get angry at their behavior. Tsukishima is able to score though Date Tech notices that the quick set he did was not the same as the one Hinata did.

In the second set, Ukai changes the rotation to keep Hinata from being paired against Aone so much. This results in Tsukishima now being faced against the Date Tech second year more though he does not feel bothered by it when he tells Asahi that Date Tech will most likely not expect him to be the one to make a flashy game changing point as that is Hinata's job while his role is to hold down the fort as best as he can. He adds that Date Tech will not be paying attention to him as the blockers have already focused their attention on the Karasuno ace.

Mid-way into the second set, Asahi tells Tsukishima that his role as a blocker is vital to the team as it will help keep them from losing the lead and being able to defend so well against the famed Iron Wall is an incredible feat. He and Asahi would later prove that Karasuno has their own wall when they block Aone's spike.

Karasuno vs Aoba Johsai High

For majority of the first set, Tsukishima is not seen much. It isn't until Sugawara is sent into the match as the setter that Tsukishima starts to stand out. He and Sugawara switch blocking positions and Tsukishima successfully blocks Iwaizumi.

When Tsukishima goes back into the game shortly after Kageyama is subbed back in, it becomes noticeable that Tsukishima is now having trouble hitting Kageyama's spikes. During the time-out, Kageyama questions Tsukishima if he sets were good enough for the middle blocker. Tsukishima is not afraid to tell Kageyama that his tosses basically tell the spikers how to hit and that he'd like for the setter to be consistent since he has his own way of doing things. Tsukishima is surprised when Kageyama agrees to give Tsukishima the sets he wants.

Back in the game, Kageyama immediately gives Tsukishima the uniform set he asked for and Tsukishima is able to get a feint shot over the block and score. Tsukishima does another feint shot over Seijoh's block but Watari is able to make the save. The same thing happens again when Tsukishima once more does a feint and Watari saves it. However, Tsukishima's next attack is a spike that Watari believed was going to be another feint and was therefore too far forward to properly receive. When Karasuno has reached set point, Tsukishima believes that Kindaichi will receive the set but follows when Kageyama sees that Iwaizumi will get the set. Together, the two first years are able to stop the third year and win the set for Karasuno.

For the first half of the third set, Tsukishima mostly blocks and communication attempts are made with Kageyama. He is able to once more use the feint shot to get past the blockers and score. After a chaotic rally, Tsukishima is surprised to see Yamaguchi be sent in as the pinch server.

After Karasuno loses the match and goes to the dinner courtesy of Ukai, Tsukishima, though he does not cry like the others, is shown to be upset.

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Shortly after Karasuno was defeated by Aoba Johsai, Takeda announces that, thanks to Nekoma's coach, Nekomata, Karasuno will have a practice match in Tokyo against Nekoma and other schools in the Fukurōdani Academy Group. However, members of the team need to pass their final exams (and avoid having to take supplementary classes) if they want to join the training camps.

Having learned that Tsukishima belongs to one of the college prep classes, Hinata and Kageyama, who are bad at studying, ask Tsukishima to teach them. Tsukishima initially refused to help, but eventually agreed after Kageyama begged him to teach them. However, Tsukishima only agreed to teach Kageyama and Hinata before and after practices and refused to help any other time they asked. He also eventually stops teaching the two because he claims they were both too stupid to understand the lessons.

In Tokyo, while the rest of his teammates are trying to individually improve, Tsukishima is shown to have no interest in improving his blocking. One night, through some coaxing by Tetsurō Kuroo, Tsukishima joined (albeit reluctantly) the blocking/spiking practices between Kuroo and Fukurōdani's Kōtarō Bokuto and Keiji Akaashi. He quickly leaves, however, when Kuroo teases him about Hinata possibly surpassing him because he doesn't put in any extra effort. Kuroo observes that Tsukishima, despite being taller and smarter than Hinata, actually feels inferior to the latter.

Through a flashback, it is eventually revealed that the reason behind Tsukishima's dispassionate attitude towards club activities and inferiority complex towards Hinata is the experience of his older brother, Akiteru, as player for the Karasuno Volleyball Team. After a confrontation with Yamaguchi, however, Tsukishima begins to change his outlook and starts improving his blocking with the help of Kuroo and Bokuto.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Karasuno High vs. Ohgiminami High

During the game, Tsukishima is able to correctly analyze the opponents plays and movements, thus being successful in blocking them many times.

Karasuno High vs. Kakugawa High

In the match against Kakugawa, Tsukishima proves to be a valuable player when he is in the front to block and able to stop Hyakuzawa's teammates.

Karasuno High vs. Johzenji High

Karasuno High vs. Wakutani High

Karasuno High vs. Aoba Johsai High

Tsukishima would be of great help to the team in the second set of the match. When Yamaguchi was able to redeem himself with a service ace, Tsukishima is revealed not to be surprised by his friends successful float serve. He nearly gets scolded by Tanaka for appearing to not be supportive until Tsukishima confesses that he saw how much work Yamaguchi had put into his serve and this was the reason he is not surprised at how well it worked. Shortly afterwards, Tsukishima does a soft ricochet against Oikawa to score which causes the third year to look at him in annoyance. When Seijoh reached set point, Tsukishima is momentarily distracted by Kyōtani acting as a decoy and thus was not able to block Iwaizumi.

At the start of the third set, Tsukishima noticed how Kyōtani was easily irritated by Tanaka provoking him. Tsukishima was able to use this to his advantage when he is in the vanguard as he is able to block Kyōtani after switching blocking positions with Tanaka. When Kyōtani was up to serve, Tsukishima saw that the ball would land out and was right in his assumption. Near the end of the third set, Tsukishima's teammates would become thrilled at seeing Hinata block Kyōtani's spike but Tsukishima remained unfazed and simply stated that this is the job of a middle blocker. Although not overly excited like his teammates, Tsukishima still celebrated in the team's win over Aoba Johsai.

Karasuno High vs. Shiratorizawa Academy

Tokyo Nationals Arc

During team measurements, Tsukishima reveals, to the envy of many, that he has passed the 190 cm mark in height. When the team is measuring spiking height, Tsukishima is one of those shown to be studying Hinata closely when he is ready to measure his height but learns that he beat Hinata by one centimeter; putting Tsukishima at having the second highest spiking point. After Takeda announces that Kageyama was invited to the All-Japan Youth Camp, Tsukishima learns that he was also invited to a training camp for first years held at Shiratorizawa Academy. Though he initially tries to reject the offer, Daichi volunteers Tsukishima to go to the camp anyway. After one day of practice, Tsukishima is listening as Yamaguchi mentions how he would like to attend the All-Japan Youth Camp and Tsukishima jokingly suggests he crash the camp; both unaware that Hinata heard their conversation.

First Year Training Camp

When Tsukishima arrives for the First Year training camp, he and everyone else is surprised to see Hinata among them. Tsukishima tries to pretend that he does not know Hinata but his cover is blown when Koganegawa recognizes Hinata as someone who plays on the Karasuno team. In a rarely seen moment, Tsukishima loses his usually cool demeanor to angrily yell at Hinata for attending the camp uninvited. His loss of composure surprises Kindaichi and Kunimi[7]. After Hinata is allowed to stay on the condition of being a ball boy throughout the camp, Tsukishima joins in practices and gives simple responses to Koganegawa's request of how to make his sets better. When the first day of training ends, Hinata attempts to apologize to Tsukishima for the trouble he caused but Tsukishima quickly stops him before be can by stating that this behavior is something he expected of Hinata before mocking his teammate of possibly being upset at being a ball boy and not being allowed to take part in any of the official practices.

During the practices, Tsukishima takes notice of Hinata's steady growth and would eventually ask Hinata to join him during a free practice to practice blocks. Despite his best attempt to block Hinata, Tsukishima was unable to block his spike and the act earned Hinata the favor and caution of many of the other first years. Koganegawa and Kindaichi join in the block when Hinata wanted to try another but Goshiki took the next turn instead and was able to trick the blockers by doing a straight shot when he made it appear he would try a cross shot. Though he was annoyed at being the shortest block, Tsukishima instantly pins the open side that allowed Goshiki to get through on Koganegawa but silently admits that he too thought Goshiki would attempt a cross court shot based on his form. Tsukishima would also admit he was impressed with Koganegawa and believes the training from Date Tech is the reason the setter does not jump at random. When Hinata asks if Tsukishima requested him to join in the practice for possibly giving Hinata the chance to practice with them, Tsukishima instantly denies this but does not reveal to anyone that he is aware of Hinata being a spiker capable of seeing the block and plans to practice against that as much as possible in order to be ready against the more powerful teams they will face at the Spring Tournament[8].

On the final day of the training camp, Tsukishima is paired with Goshiki for a 2-on-2 match against Kunimi and Hyakuzawa. Goshiki does not hesitate to scold Tsukishima on a poor set attempt. Tsukishima is then able to get a soft block on Hyakuzawa's spike and then deliver a better set to Goshiki which would allow the wing spiker to score. Once the camp ends, Tsukishima expresses his weariness of having to return to normal practices after having completed the training camp.

Date Tech Practice Match

Karasuno vs Tsubakihara 

Just before the team made it to the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Tanaka and Hinata had run off to the bathroom. Tsukishima took the chance to tease Hinata that he would be left behind if he didn't return on time. During the match against Tsubakihara, Tsukishima is one of the greater concerns to Sakae Echigo due to his reputation as the person who was able to block Ushijima. Tsukishima lives up to this reputation when he is able to quickly get several one-touches on many of the opposing spikers attacks. However, Teradomari is able to get past Tsukishima and the other blockers when he proves not to be underestimated and hits a straight shots past them. While Tsukishima is shocked that Teradomari was able to get past the block, he is even more surprised to see Hinata in the right place to receive the spike despite receiving with his body.

Tsukishima is later called on to make an emergency set when Kageyama was forced to make the first touch. He recalls how Goshiki ridiculed his poor sets during the first year training camp and gives Asahi a set that Sugawara describes as being full of care. Although Asahi compliments Tsukishima on the set, the middle blocker silently claims that half of it was due to luck before noticing that Kageyama is glaring at him that Tsukishima states resembles that of Hinata's. Late in the second set, Tsukishima and Kageyama were not able to match their timing for an attack which caused Daichi to make the save. Tsukishima right away believed that Kageyama would put the blame on him from possible weariness while Tsukishima put the blame on Kageyama having set higher than he had been thus far. When Karasuno reached match point, Tsukishima was subbed out so that Sugawara could go in. Thanks to the third years determination, Karasuno went on to win the match.

Karasuno vs Inarizaki 

For majority of the first set, Tsukishima is seen attempting to block Inarizaki's attackers. He would be surprised at seeing the Miya twins successfully copy Hinata and Kageyama's super quick attack. When Daichi's receive goes back to Inarizaki, Tsukishima is able to perfectly read the play and block Osamu's spike. After a time-out, Tsukishima is able to get a one-touch on Ginjima's spike; his playing state being noted by Kindaichi to be in peak condition. Just before Asahi's second serve, Inarizaki calls for a time-out where Tanaka would compliment Tsukishima for blocking the twins quick. Despite the compliment, Tsukishima would admit that the quick is troublesome. In the next rally, Tsukishima is able to make an approach that allows him to spike at a higher contact point when Kageyama intentionally sets the ball to a higher spot. Even though he was able to score, Tsukishima does not admit to Kageyama that he is relieved the attack worked.

After Hinata was unable to beat Osamu in a joust, a time-out is called where Ukai decides to have the team start using the blending method. When Hinata acts like he remembers the plan, Tsukishima instantly calls him out on not knowing what Ukai is talking about and he believes the lack of memory was a result from Hinata having seen the twins quick attack and thinking is own was faster.

When Karasuno is at match point, Tsukishima begins to notice how quick Suna is to get the block up. Despite getting extra assistance from Tanaka, Tsukishima is surprised to see Suna get his spike past them. When Kageyama makes the save of Ginjima's serve that clips the net, Tsukishima goes to make the set. Although Tanaka calls for the set, Tsukishima instead sends it to Asahi and is unaware of the blow this does to Tanaka's confidence. However, once the rally had ended, he overhears Hinata excitedly praise Tanaka for trying to help block Tsukishima by explaining that middle blockers tend to block by themselves most of the time and it is comforting to have that extra help. Tanaka is able to win the set for Karasuno when he finally is able to make the cross shot work and would questions Tsukishima if he had intentionally ignored his request for the set. Tsukishima explains that he had sent the set to Asahi as he had the better chance of scoring. Tsukishima would then admit that he finds Tanaka's mental strength terrifying and questions if he ever gets brought down. When Tanaka admits that he had been depressed during the last few rallies, Tsukishima is unable to believe him.

In the second set, Asahi is able to get Atsumu to make the receive on his spike. Even though Osamu is able to cover for his brother and set to Suna, Tsukishima saw this possibility and tried to block but Suna again managed to get past him. Tsukishima would then become annoyed when Suna complimented him for being a talented blocker[9]. He gets another chance to stop Suna in another play and is joined by Kageyama but they are unable to stop him. Some time after Aran was brought back into the game, a flashback shows that Ukai decided to have Tsukishima try to block also block Osamu in hopes of stopping the twins freak quick attack. Tsukishima immediately teased Hinata for being now being the one to have the important job to do and successfully annoys Hinata at this. In the rally after Kageyama is able to block Aran, Kuroo is able to figure out that Tsukishima has been using his blocks to help the back row receivers know what spike Suna would be attempting so they could try to position themselves to be in the right place to receive. Tsukishima had devised this plan during the team meeting and, although it took a while, proves to be effective as Daichi is able to receive Suna's spike. Suna himself is able to figure out that Tsukishima has deliberately been using his blocks to direct where he should spike and is able to get Tsukishima to admit as much when he thanks the first year for allowing him to spike the way he wants. Tsukishima in turn replies that he's thankful Suna has been spiking the exact way he expected[10].

Tsukishima is later tricked by Atsumu to go to the left side of the court when it appeared Osamu would spike only for Osamu to instead set to Aran on the opposite end. Because of this, Tsukishima was not able to help Daichi try to block Aran but he would soon be rendered speechless at witnessing Hinata make a perfect receive on Aran's spike[11]. A little past the half way point of the third set, Tsukishima's low stamina is noticed by Suna. This becomes apparent when he and Kageyama have off timing for an attack which resulted in the point going to Inarizaki. Tsukishima would try to claim that he was the one at fault as he realizes just how much effort Hinata puts into his attacks with the intention of always being ready to attack. Kageyama would silence his fellow first year by taking the blame and promising that he will adjust his sets to fit Tsukishima's needs.

When Tsukishima is faced with trying to block Suna again, he is aware that he cannot fully stop him and counts on Hinata to be in place to receive the spike. At this point, Tsukishima would notice that, despite having a clear mind, his body was starting to slow down. While he is able to get a one-touch on Ginjima's spike, he nearly collapses into Daichi but manages to stay on his feet. Tsukishima later attempts to save a receive that Kageyama tried to make but the ball instead went towards the back of the court. He is barely able to get the ball up long enough for Daichi to make the last receive and get the ball back over to Inarizaki. Hinata and Kageyama were able to block Atsumu and Osamu when they would attempt the quick attack which lead to Karasuno's victory. Weary, Tsukishima collapsed onto the court as his teammates rushed onto the court to celebrate. While Tsukishima is aware that everyone watching must be surprised by the outcome, he believes that no one on Karasuno is surprised; believing that Hinata and Kageyama were the only ones who did not falter in the timing of the twins quick attack and were the ones to stop it. He admits that their speed is incredible and a fierce weapon but was not invincible and that Hinata and Kageyama knew this fact better than anyone else.

In the sub-arena, Yamaguchi points out how tired Tsukishima is when it's pointed out that he was attempting to put a second jacket on over the one he was already wearing. At noticing Hinata was still fully awake and admiring the bruises on his arms form receiving Aran's spike, Tsukishima believes he bore witness to someone having their own special moment and that Hinata has become even more obsessed with volleyball.

Karasuno vs Nekoma

As Tsukishima rotates into the match for the first time, his presence makes Suguru Daishō feel unsettled although he is unsure why[12]. Tsukishima would notice that Kenma seemed to avoid making eye contact with him and took it as an off-handed compliment that Kenma may not like him much. While Tsukishima would be able to get a one-touch on Kai's spike, he would catch on that Kuroo could see that Kageyama would set to Daichi. Kuroo would state to Tsukishima that he could tell where the ball would go because he noticed the way Tsukishima had his hands positioned during the block. When Tsukishima claims that Kuroo was secure enough to continue to give him blocking tips during the game, Kuroo would admit that he was just trying to annoy the younger blocker[13]. It would also be at this point that Suguru would claim that Tsukishima is exactly like Kuroo and thus the reason that he did not like the Karasuno middle blocker. As Yamaguchi is being subbed into the match, Tsukishima gets encouragement from Sugawara not to lose to Kuroo. Tsukishima would admit that he is fully aware that he could not possibly beat Kuroo as the third year was far stronger than he is but does believe that he would stand a better chance with the right help. With Yamaguchi using his float serve to throw Nekoma off, Tsukishima was able to block Fukunaga in a classic serve and block technique. He then high fives Yamaguchi as the team celebrated. Kuroo would then question Tsukishima how he felt about volleyball to which Tsukishima would answer that, thanks to Kuroo, it was now starting to become fun[14].

When Tsukishima rotates out, he hears Kinoshita point out that it appears the ball is getting by Lev more than usual. Tsukishima would agree with him but notices that Lev appears more calm than he normally is during a match and believes that Lev may have learned how to use his blocks to direct where a spiker should hit. Later, Tsukishima and Asahi would attempt to block Kenma when it appeared he would try a setter dump only for the Nekoma setter to trick them by changing to a set and thus resulted in Karasuno getting called out for doing an over-net[15].

In the second set, Tsukishima mostly appears to try to block and attack earlier on but later begins to have a showdown against Kuroo and at times continues to feel overwhelmed by Kuroo and his greater abilities[16]. When Karasuno was edging closer to reaching set point, Tsukishima and the other players notice how Hinata was able to use his new jump successfully which would allow him to stay in the air long enough that the blockers would be the first to descend and he would have a chance to attack. Tsukishima in particular notices that Hinata now has more stability while in the air thanks to this new jumping ability. Tsukishima's rivalry with Kuroo continues into the third set while Tsukishima remembers times from the summer training camp when Kuroo laid out 'helpful' facts about foods and secrets about Bokuto to Tsukishima and even getting the first year to laugh when Kuroo and Bokuto switched hairstyles at one point[17].

Tsukishima attempts to beat Kuroo in a joust but is unsuccessful. Kuroo then pleads for Tsukishima to stop trying so hard as it would not only stretch the match out but also take a toll on his already low stamina. Tsukishima replies that Kuroo should also stop putting so much effort into the match and that it would have already ended by now if he did. Yaku and Tsukishima then state that part of Tsukishima's development was because of Kuroo mentoring him, with Kuroo replying that Tsukishima put as much work into his growth. A short while later, Tsukishima doesn't have a comeback when Kuroo points out how his blocks cause his opponents frustration and Daichi offers to punch the Nekoma captain if Tsukishima wants. Tsukishima continues to join in attacks and defense as the set continued. Karasuno goes on to win the match and Tsukishima is seen being approached by and shaking hands with Kuroo.

Karasuno vs Kamomedai 

Final Arc

Statistics

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

Tsukishima is shown to be immensely proficient at blocking primarily because of his height. It has been said by Kenma that Tsukishima is a calm and collected blocker who thoroughly analyzes his actions, quite contrary to Hinata's behavior. His ability also allows him to perform split-second feints to surprise and put his opponents off-balance. After the final training camp before the spring tournament, he is able to match the power and speed of an adult, whereas before he couldn't even hold the block.

Height and reach, as of mid-November::

  • Fingertip Height: 248 cm
  • Jumping Reach: 334 cm (spike) / 325 cm (block)

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
8/10
Serve Reception
 
5/10
Dig
 
6/10
Setting
 
6/10
Spike
 
8/10
Block
 
10/10
  • Blocking: Tsukishima has established himself as the blocking cornerstone of the team and is often trusted to stop opponents' powerful spikes. He learns most of his blocking skills from Tetsurō Kuroo, who is known to be a veteran in blocking, during the Tokyo summer training camp. There, he learns about putting power into the tips of his fingers and extending his hands out in front of him instead of above him.[18] In addition, he has practiced with his brother's college team to match the timing of his opponents' spike.[19] In matches, he has become the team's blocking playmaker and directs other blockers in his line. With a height of 190cm, Tsukishima has proven to be a troublesome opponent to many spikers. He is said to be the “freak quick killer” by Coach Ukai simply because of how Tsukishima has had to constantly deal with the quick, and as such has gotten used to and sick of it altogether.[20]
  • Logical Mind: According to Akiteru, Tsukishima isn't the sort of player who moves on instinct. He doesn't trust in his own strength, nor in the senses, he's honed. The only thing he trusts is the "information" in front of him.[21] As such, he rarely falls for opponents' decoys, including the One Person Time Difference attack.  He is quick to process all the players' information and deduce where the toss will go to put up a strong block. This ability makes Tsukishima an exceptional read blocker. In addition, Tsukishima has shown an incredible ability to stay cool-headed. During the Inarizaki match, he persists in restricting Suna's spiking course for the benefits of his team despite many other admitting that they can't resist going for a direct block. Takeda has referred to him as "Karasuno's rational mind." [22]
  • Feint: Tsukishima has used a strategy in which he repeatedly feints to trick his opponents into moving forward. Once that happens, he would change to a normal spike aimed at the newly empty space on the court. [23]
  • One Person Time Difference Attack: It is revealed that Tsukishima acquires this skill practicing with Akaashi during the Tokyo summer training camp. He successfully pulls off this attack during the Shiratorizawa match, in which he tricks the blocker with a delayed jump before spiking.[24]
  • Tossing: During the 2-on-2 matches in the Miyagi First Years' Training Camp, Tsukishima is forced to toss. Initially, his toss is too low and sloppy, but he quickly made adjustments after complaints from Goshiki.[25] He can now send high tosses to Asahi, although he still credits it's success mostly to luck.  

Relationships

Family

  • Akiteru Tsukishima:
    Akiteru Tsukishima S2E8.png
    Tsukishima has an older brother named Akiteru, who was a member of Karasuno's volleyball club at the same time as the Small Giant. Akiteru is both the reason for Tsukishima's interest in volleyball and his current attitude towards it, namely the idea that one should not put too much effort into his club activities because he will only end up getting hurt in the end. Tsukishima used to adore his brother and would often ask him to teach him volleyball skills as soon as Akiteru got home. However, their relationship was destroyed when Akiteru lied to Tsukishima about him being an ace on his team only for Tsukishima to find him in the bleachers during a match. Since then, Tsukishima would avoid talking to Akiteru and whenever the latter came home from college, Tsukishima would lock himself in his room until dinnertime.
    After the summer camp in Tokyo, the brothers finally talked to each other about their past and reconciled based on it. They are now slowly putting their relationship back together.

Karasuno High

  • Tadashi Yamaguchi:
    TsukishimaYamaguchi.png
    Tsukishima is shown to be close friends with Yamaguchi, who calls him by his nickname Tsukki. When they were younger, Tsukishima helped save Yamaguchi from bullies by saying that they were pathetic. Because of this, Yamaguchi later began to stay close to Tsukishima, yearning to be as cool as him.
    Yamaguchi and Tsukishima are rarely seen apart. They are both often portrayed making fun of others together. However, as time went on, their relationship began to drift apart in terms of training. While Yamaguchi persevered in working on his jump float serve, Tsukishima did not exert more effort than needed. This worried Yamaguchi and some of the other members, but they didn't say anything at first. Later on, during the summer training camp arc, Tsukishima still refused to put any effort into his training because he did not see why he should. His behavior angered Yamaguchi who, for the first time, yelled at Tsukishima and asking him what more motivation he needed than pride. This changed Tsukishima's way of thinking and impressed him; he even called Yamaguchi "cool" for the first time. Tsukishima started working harder, and their relationship returned to normal after this event.
  • Shōyō Hinata:
    Hinata Kageyama vs Tsukishima Tadashi.png
    Tsukishima initially had a rather antagonistic treatment towards Hinata. He has voiced his dislike of the latter's hot-blooded and energetic nature towards volleyball despite his lack in height; even going through the lengths of trying to crush Hinata's spirits during their 3-on-3 match at the start of the series. This is later revealed to have been because of his brother's past with playing volleyball at Karasuno.
    Tsukishima also has originally considered himself somehow inferior to Hinata's skills, as noted by some of their teammates and Kuroo. After finding his own love for the sport, Tsukishima has started to have a bit more of a competitive rivalry with Hinata.
  • Tobio Kageyama:
    KageyamaAndTsukishima.png
    Tsukishima and Kageyama didn’t get along at all, mainly because they got off on the wrong foot in the beginning. Tsukishima uses Kageyama's past as a terrible teammate to insult the latter often, and Kageyama would often yell back; their fight almost led to violence at one point. Tsukishima was shocked by Kageyama's change at first, especially when Kageyama asked him about the type of toss he preferred. Since then, the two now view each other as teammates and work together during matches, capable of performing time-difference attacks, as well as working together as part of Karasuno’s “total defense.”
  • Karasuno High:
    Season final end card.PNG
    As far as his relationships with his teammates go, they vary though he holds a few members with disdain. This disdain applies to his second-year senpais Tanaka and Nishinoya, who are hot-blooded and loud most of the time (traits he found irritating). However, he did hold respect for his third-year senpais Daichi, Sugawara, and Asahi but probably on the account that they are more mature and level-headed; although he is shown to be wary of Daichi when the captain is angered. Unlike the majority of his teammates, Tsukishima is not attracted to Kiyoko nor does he interact much with her as often.

Other Schools

  • Tetsurō Kuroo and Kōtarō Bokuto:
    BokutoKuroo1.png
    During the summer training camp arc, Tsukishima trained with Kuroo and Bokuto at their request. In their training matches, Tsukishima received advice from both of them while also paying deep attention to their moves. The two are mainly responsible for Tsukishima's improvement; Kuroo taught Tsukishima the proper way to block successfully and Bokuto taught Tsukishima "that moment", which Tsukishima used as motivation in the Shiratorizawa vs Karasuno match. During the summer training camp, Bokuto and Kuroo started calling Tsukishima by his nickname 'Tsukki', much to his annoyance. Despite this, Tsukishima still thinks highly of both of them and sees them as wise figures.

Quotes

We're not hung up on winning or losing, so if it'll be troublesome for you guys to lose... how about we throw the game for you?
...Uselessly hot-blooded people irritate me...
You aren’t the only one who’s thinking out there. What the opponent’s defense looks like and how it’s reacting. Which shots are working and which aren’t. All of us think about that.
It’s not like I’m competing with him in the first place.
God, what's gotten into me? This is stupid. I'm not Hinata. Why do I feel like I want to keep fighting to the end?
Roofing someone certainly feels good, yes, but personally, I despise the idea of blockers getting around me even more. Settling down and following the ball means slower reaction times, yes, but that way setters will never shake you completely.
It really is irritating to have Hinata buzzing around in front of you all the time like a bug.
The idea that the only good blocking is kill blocking is way outdated.
If I could stuff him right here, I bet the whole team would go crazy. But... I can't. So you had better be there.
I'll watch, I'll watch. There's just something about seeing them out on that court... that makes me feel like I have to get moving too.
His last lines of the series, to Kentarō Kyōtani, Volume 45 Chapter 402


Trivia

  • Favorite Food: Strawberry shortcake.
  • Pre-timeskip Concern: Upon entering high school, he once again has to put up with various people asking how to read the character for his first name.
  • The character for his name (蛍) means firefly and can be read as either Hotaru or Kei.
  • Post-timeskip Concern: He wants to improve his serve accuracy a little more.
  • Tsukishima wears white gym shoes with green accents.
  • His star sign is Libra.
  • He has the third-smallest appetite in the series, often making his teammates and upperclassmen worry for his health.
  • His BMI is the lowest of the male characters in the series.
  • He has a habit of fiddling with his fingers when he feels nervous, which is demonstrated most notably when he asks Coach Ukai for advice on blocking.
  • He is usually seen with his white Sony (Somy in anime, to avoid trademark concerns) headphones around his neck whenever he's not practicing or playing.
  • Tsukishima appears to be good at studying, as he belongs to Class 1-4, known to be a college preparatory class.
  • His birthday falls on the day of the Harvest Moon–which is when the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, on the Chinese calendar is celebrated in September 2015.[26] Coincidentally, the first character in his name means "moon". In addition, Tsukishima was often seen with a crescent moon symbol on the back of his hoodies and jackets as a child.
  • He keeps toy dinosaurs on a shelf above his desk. Whether he actually likes dinosaurs or not is unknown, but it can be assumed that he does, as is demonstrated in a Let's! Haikyuu!? chapter.[27]
  • Tsukishima is often referred to as the moon while Hinata is the sun due to their surnames and opposing personalities.
  • In a poll conducted by Charapedia, a Japanese anime and manga character database, that asked which anime characters would they choose as the basis for their children's name, Tsukishima came in 9th with 98 votes among female respondents.[28]
  • In One-Shot (Weekly Shōnen Jump), Tsukishima was a second-year while Hinata and Kageyama were first years. He was also only 184 cm.
  • Furudate picked Tsukishima's name because “His last name has ‘moon’ (月) to contrast Hinata’s ‘sun’ (日). But I named him ‘firefly’ (蛍) because he can emit light on his own.”[29]
  • In Haikyuu's first popularity poll, Tsukishima placed 8th with 3,407 votes.[30] In the second, he rose to 4th with 8,305 votes.[31]
  • Nomenclature:
    • Kei (蛍) - Firefly
    • Tsukishima (月島) - Moon Island

References

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