With a star before my eyes, all there is left for me to do is to "play as I have always done" and deliver. If playing as I have always done is what's required, then I can do it.

Keiji Akaashi (Japanese: 赤葦 (あかあし) 京治 (けいじ) Akaashi Keiji) was a second year at Fukurōdani Academy, and he was the volleyball team's vice-captain and setter.

As of November 2018, he is currently working as an editor in a shonen manga magazine from a major publisher, although he actually wanted to be in the literature department.

Appearance

Akaashi has short, messy black hair and blue eyes with thin pupils and slightly thick eyebrows; in some official art, his eyes appear to be green, but in others, they are more blue-colored. He tends to wear an emotionless or slightly exasperated expression a great majority of the time but is shown to smile occasionally given the circumstance.

He makes his debut at the beginning of the Tokyo summer training camp wearing a navy T-shirt with a light aqua sports bib on top, the number 5 printed in black, and a pair of white shorts. His shoes are white with yellow details, and he doesn't appear to be wearing kneepads during official and practice games.

When dressed in his school uniform, he wears a light grey blazer, white dress shirt, and black trousers. His shirt is neatly tucked into the waistband, and his blue and white stripped tie is knotted neatly.

Post-timeskip, Akaashi's appearance has changed very little but he now wears glasses[1].

Personality

Akaashi is calm and composed most of the time, usually choosing not to show a wide range of emotions. He has a habit of calling people out on the foolish things they do, especially Bokuto, who he seems to be relatively close with despite their opposing personalities.

Akaashi is blunt with the things he says and often invites himself into the conversation when necessary, throwing in witty comments or responses. He is also quite polite and humble but, this could be due to the fact that he is younger than most of his teammates, as he does have a cheeky side, dubbing Kuroo during one match: Pain-in-the-ass Kuroo-san.

Akaashi also has a strong analytical side which can be seen whenever he makes split-second decisions on how to save the game from Bokuto's mood swings. It took him roughly 0.5 seconds to decide whether or not setting the ball to Bokuto while he was upset would be worth it or not.

During the match against Mujinazaka High, Akaashi is shown that he can also suffer from overthinking, and feeling overwhelmed from the pressure he has placed on himself as the setter. It got so bad that he had to be benched in order to clear his head. When he sat down, he had a moment of calm, right before not being able to take the stress and yelling into his hands in an uncharacteristic display of emotions.

Background

Before coming to Fukurōdani Academy, Akaashi attended Mori Junior High School and played as a setter there. In his middle school, his volleyball teammates had adequate skills, but they did not have a strong passion for playing. He received a recommendation from Fukurōdani Academy and had Fukurōdani and Suzumeoka as his choices for high school. However, after witnessing a high school match featuring Kōtarō Bokuto, his passionate attitude to volleyball impacted Akaashi, hence leading him to enroll into Fukurōdani Academy[2].

Although he did not choose to enter Fukurodani with great ambition, he is glad to be part of the school.

Plot

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Episode 7- Tsukishima, Kuroo, Bokuto and Akaashi.png

Akaashi's official appearance comes during the weekend training camp at Nekoma High when he is playing a practice match with his team. During the second camp, he is with Bokuto and Kuroo during a free practice when the two third years attempt to get Tsukishima to join them[3]. When Tsukishima tries to turn down their offer and question why no one on their own team will practice with them, Akaashi explains that the rest of the Fukurōdani team will run off at the first chance they get because of Bokuto's seemingly endless spiking practice. After Kuroo was able to provoke Tsukishima into joining the practice, Akaashi provides multiple sets for Bokuto and at one point teases the ace for beating a single blocker.

After Kuroo unintentionally upset Tsukishima, Akaashi and Bokuto lightly teased the middle blocker for it but see that he had meant no harm and listen as he explained his theory of Tsukishima feeling inferior to Hinata. Shortly after Tsukishima's confrontation with Yamaguchi, Tsukishima returns to their free practice to question them on why they put in so much effort into volleyball. Although Bokuto and Kuroo were annoyed at the way Tsukishima described their schools powerhouse status, Akaashi kept the two from getting too upset and willing to hear Tsukishima's question. The following night, Akaashi is with the group again in the third gym when Hinata and Lev appear and ask to join in their practice[4]. At Kuroo's suggestion of a 3-on-3, Akaashi points out the imbalance since the taller players have formed one team while the shorter players are the second team. They were only able to play for a short while until Yukie and Suzumeda appear to inform them they will need to end their practice or risk missing dinner.

During the next free practice, Akaashi continues to play alongside Bokuto and Hinata. He watches as Hinata is eventually faced with Kuroo, Lev, and Tsukishima trying to block him and feels that Hinata is in a cornered situation as he appears to have no way to get past the blockers. He would soon be surprised to see Hinata accidentally perform a block-out followed by Bokuto's enthusiastic praise of the middle blocker's accomplishment and the offer to teach him a new special attack.

On the final day of the training camp, Fukurōdani plays their final match against Karasuno. Early in the match, Akaashi and everyone watching are completely caught off guard when Hinata executes a feint shot. Bokuto especially is surprised at seeing the feint until Akaashi reminds the ace that he was the one who taught Hinata this particular technique; simultaneously embarrassing Bokuto and earning him the annoyance of the rest of the Fukurōdani team[5]. Akaashi would soon display his own skills when he is able to set a quick from an off receive without any trouble. At seeing Hinata and Kageyama perform their improved super quick attack, Bokuto requests Akaashi for them to try the same but the setter believes this is a bad idea. He explains that an attack like this would be unlikely for them to be able to copy since Hinata is hitting the ball like it's the easiest thing in the world, and that it would be extremely difficult for him to copy Kageyama's floating set as it is possibly beyond his skill level.

As Karasuno begins to use their new attacks and start getting the better of Fukurōdani, Akaashi notices that Bokuto is starting to get frustrated and make mistakes. As Bokuto receives Tanaka's serve and demand the ball, Akaashi takes Bokuto's current mood and possibilities into consideration and debates on whether or not it would be beneficial to Fukurōdani to give Bokuto the set or not within the span of 0.5 seconds. He decides to set to the ace only for the spike to be blocked. Even with the second chance to attack, Akaashi sets to Bokuto again but this time the ace sends his spike into the net. With this, Bokuto completely shuts down and requests Akaashi to stop setting to him. Akaashi agrees to Bokuto's demand, to the ace's surprise, and in turn asks the wing spiker to take this chance to calm down. Even with Bokuto out for a while, Akaashi and the team are able to keep pushing forward and give Karasuno a hard time. Akaashi even sneaks in a setter dump that puts Fukurōdani back in the lead.

As Fukurōdani reaches match point, Akaashi wonders if Karasuno has figured out that Fukurōdani is not a team that solely relies on Bokuto to carry them. At the same time, he notices Bokuto starting to get restless in wanting to have the ball set to him. Knowing Karasuno is not focusing on Bokuto anymore, Akaashi sets to Bokuto who lands the winning shot. During the barbeque, Tsukishima approaches Akaashi and admits his surprise of a player of Bokuto's caliber getting into an emotional slump. Akaashi confesses that it is challenging to know what will cause the ace to self-destruct but that he never seems to get distressed when playing against a powerful opponent. Akaashi adds that Bokuto is able to help lift the team's spirits if they themselves ever become disheartened, and that he is really the one they can rely on most. As the teams indulge in the barbeque, Akaashi can be seen handing Kageyama a drink when the younger setter began choking.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Karasuno vs Wakutani South

In the match against Wakutani South, Hinata successfully did a rebound thanks to Bokuto's teaching. Tanaka praised Hinata so greatly about the play that Bokuto sensed it at Fukurōdani Academy but Akaashi says that he's simply imagining it[6].

Karasuno vs Shiratorizawa

Akaashi is referred back to when Tsukishima mentions having practiced and learned a new attack with him during the summer training camp. Hearing this, Kageyama becomes jealous.

Fukurōdani vs Nekoma

I'll open the path for you

During the match, the Nekoma blockers forced Bokuto into the habit of hitting straight shots which caused Bokuto to fall into one of his slumps and forget how to his cross shots. Though alarmed at first when he realized this, Akaashi was quick to formulate a plan to get Bokuto back on top of his game. He was able to use the current Nekoma rotation to his advantage by tricking Lev into blocking early by acting like he would do a setter dump. However, Akaashi changed his form and was able to set to Bokuto, thus allowing the ace to come out of his slump and score.

Fukurōdani vs Itachiyama

Akaashi joins in a triple block in an attempt to stop Sakusa. Sakusa instead hits the ball against Akaashi's hand and scores the winning point for Itachiyama. When Bokuto begins promising revenge on Sakusa, Akaashi reels the Fukurōdani ace in by pointing out how his last three serves had all missed and should be worked on. This naturally embarrassed Bokuto as he demands for Akaashi to learn to read the situation but Akaashi simply walked away[7].

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Fukurōdani Academy vs. Eiwa High

In Fukurōdani's first match, Bokuto quickly fell into one of his depressed states when he is upset at not being able to play in the main arena. Akaashi quickly sees this is Bokuto's weakness #6, in which Bokuto is an absolute show-off. Akaashi attempts to bring Bokuto out of his state when he manages to convince Bokuto that the sub-arena is like playing on center court and all eyes are focused on the ace.

Group s4-e12-4.png

Akaashi becomes fully successful in his plan when he spots Hinata in the crowd and tells Bokuto that his disciple has come to watch him. Fukurōdani eventually wins the game. Afterwards, Sarukui praised Akaashi for getting Bokuto back in shape and spotting Hinata before Konoha tells Akaashi that he can ignore Bokuto at times. Akaashi simply states that he is only able to bring out a portion of the ace's true abilities and watching him play at his peak is fun.

Karasuno vs Inarizaki

Although Bokuto does not think much about Atsumu abruptly setting to Aran, Akaashi does. Looking into the situation, Akaashi speculates that Inarizaki acted as they did in order to increase the intimidation factor. When seeing Atsumu's first step, Akaashi notices and admires how polished it is. Akaashi would once more analyze Kageyama's decisions and praise the genius setter when he uses Hinata as a decoy. When talking about the Miya twins replicating Hinata and Kageyama's quick attack, Akaashi gives subtle signs that he wants to do it himself, but Bokuto doesn't seem to understand. Near the end of the first set, Akaashi is surprised at how Bokuto is aware of how his play is affected when he falls into one of his depressed states[8].

Akaashi and Bokuto s4-e16-3.png

Shortly after, Akaashi notices how pressured Tanaka must feel after not doing much in the match but can't blame him given the difficult situation he's in. When the pressure on Tanaka continues and Bokuto empathizes to the point where he nearly faints and Akaashi catches him before he falls. However, when Tanaka is eventually able to make his new cross shot work, Akaashi finds himself entangled in Bokuto's newfound enthusiasm.

Fukurōdani Academy vs Morikawa High

Fukurōdani wins against Morikawa High. Akaashi notices that Bokuto played exceptionally well but quickly stops himself from overthinking as he believes this tends to cause him to become greedy which will lead to bad results.

Bokuto and Akaashi s4-e25-1.png

Akaashi later finds Bokuto standing outside their hotel and questions why the ace isn't repeatedly watching the news coverage of their match only for Bokuto to answer that he watched it a mere twenty times since he wasn't shown much. The setter then listens as Bokuto reveals his plans of continuing to play volleyball after high school and how he wishes he could have played with his current team for a little longer. Akaashi is slightly puzzled by Bokuto's behavior and reminds him that they still have many games ahead of them. After Bokuto's declaration that they will win every match, Akaashi ushers the ace back into the hotel to prevent him from catching a cold.

Fukurōdani Academy vs. Matsuyama Nishi Shōgyō High

Fukurōdani advances to the next round after winning against Matsuyama. After the match, Akaashi joins in congratulating Karasuno in their victory against Nekoma. Most notably, he praises Tsukishima for all the effort he put in during the game.

Fukurōdani Academy vs. Mujinazaka High School

As the game between Fukurōdani and Mujinazaka is about to begin, Akaashi remembers plays by Kenma, Atsumu, and Kageyama as well as Nekoma's loss and Bokuto's desire to win the tournament. Having noticed that Bokuto is in the best condition he's been throughout the tournament, Akaashi wishes to set the ball to the ace first in hopes that it would give Fukurōdani the momentum from the start. However, Akaashi changes his mind at the last moment from thinking that the Mujinazaka team would be expecting Bokuto to get the set right away and sets to Onaga instead. This unfortunately backfired as Onaga was blocked.

When Mujinazaka puts in play a way to block and counter Bokuto, Akaashi begins to feel the pressure build. He attempts a setter dump but had unknowingly been too obvious in what he was attempting and was quickly blocked. Blaming himself for the lost point, Akaashi sees that he is starting to get ahead of himself and realizes that he needs to calm down; determined not to let this game be the last one for the third years. Akaashi is unable to keep himself together and unintentionally gives Mujinazaka another point when he makes longer contact with the ball than is allowed. It is at this point that Akaashi is subbed out in order to collect himself.

Coach Yamiji takes this chance to speak with Akaashi on what he thinks the true meaning behind the team banner means. As he continues to watch from the bench, Akaashi sees the error of having believed that he was the one to control Bokuto and the flow of the game. He is switched back into the game at the start of the second set. When faced with another block, Akaashi sets the ball into the block to do a rebound. He gives Bokuto a perfect set and the ace scores. Akaashi delivers another perfect set to Bokuto. Though Kiryu managed to receive it, the ball is returned and lands out. Fukurōdani eventually wins the match and advances to the next round. After the game, Bokuto approaches Akaashi when the setter is sitting by himself and thinking about his performance during the game. Although Bokuto points out that Akaashi's rebound failed and he played like a rookie at times, he still compliments Akaashi for his performance and that he is aware of how he'll fix things next time. Feeling better, Akaashi starts to point out how Bokuto should fix his problem of letting things affect his mood so much and the two begin discussing their plays and Bokuto displaying rarely seen wisdom.

Karasuno vs Kamomedai

While watching Karasuno's match against Kamomedai, Akaashi sees that Karasuno has a two-point lead over Kamomedai and wonders if they can still win the set. Into the third set, despite the spectators knowing that Kamomedai has to process a lot of information to be able to produce effective blocks, they are still able to do so. Akaashi watches this and is impressed since it took him a long effort to still be composed in a dire situation, and he barely managed to it, yet Kamomedai does it all the time.

Final Arc

Akaashi appears in the final arc when he attends the Jackals vs Alders game with Tenma Udai. Akaashi has become an editor for a shonen manga magazine for a major publisher but originally wanted to be in the literature department. Akaashi is buying onigiri from Osamu when Atsumu serves and notices the bond between the twins when Atsumu notices Osamu mocking his missed serve. At seeing Hinata's new jump serve, Akaashi happily expresses how much Hinata has grown[9]. During the game, Akaashi notices how well Bokuto has been playing and showing no signs of his previous habit of letting things change his mood.

At this time, Akaashi remembers how Fukurōdani had made it all the way to the final round of the 2013 Spring Tournament. They had lost when Bokuto had been blocked in the final set. As Konoha tried to take the blame for the loss by saying that his set was poor, Bokuto instead says that the fault is his own; stating that it was his responsibility as the ace to make each set count. Akaashi had found himself struggling on whether or not he should try to comfort Bokuto for taking the blame but Konoha was able to lighten the mood by admitting that, even though he found Bokuto a pain at times, they would continue to support the ace in the future[10]. After the game ends, Akaashi and Tenma interview Bokuto and he tries to compliment the ace for his great performance but he and Bokuto seem to have different definitions of the meaning of ordinary; their conversation confusing Tenma.

Statistics

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

Akaashi is overall a very balanced player and a good setter who can accurately set the toss for a wide range of attacks. He has been noted for his strategic skills as well, and his ability to perform a quick-set even when the receive is a bit sloppy.

He is also very analytical, as seen during the Nekoma-Fukurōdani match, in which Bokuto forgot how to do cross spikes and Akaashi was able to successfully revive Bokuto[11]. He was also complimented on this by Nekoma's coach after the match.

Jumping Reach: 327 cm

Skills

  • One Person Time Difference Attack: Although he hasn't done this attack on screen yet, it is known that Akaashi has been practicing this skill with Tsukishima during the Summer Training Camp, which enables Tsukishima to use this technique against Shiratorizawa with Kageyama setting.
  • Toss Rebound: During the match against Mujinazaka High, a receive by Konoha was made too long. Unlike other talented setters such as Kageyama, who would normally toss it perfectly despite the off receive, Akaashi rebound the ball against the blockers by tossing it, giving his team another chance to attack.
  • Jump Serve: He is shown to do a jump serve in the manga, when Fukurodani played against Nekoma[12].

Relationships

Fukurōdani Academy

  • Kōtarō Bokuto:
    AkaashiBokuto.png
    Akaashi seems to be Bokuto's closest on screen friend, often getting dragged into his antics whether he likes it or not. The setter is often tasked with dealing with Bokuto's mood swings, and Akaashi can predict which of Bokuto's moods will surface with each move. He can also tell when Bokuto's playing is off, even if it's something small.
    They hang out together in school, despite Akaashi being in the year below Bokuto and their clear contrasting personalities. They also seem to be closely involved with each other, as Akaashi knows and reminds Bokuto that he failed his math exam and Bokuto exclaims that Akaashi promised not to tell, or when Bokuto suddenly threw off his jacket and Akaashi immediately caught it, suggesting he's either predicted his action, or that Bokuto has done this before.
    Akaashi has been reigning in Bokuto for so long that he has a list of Bokuto's weaknesses and ways to help him memorized.[13]However, during the Mujinazaka match, Akaashi had to come to terms with the realization that despite everything, he was not in control of Bokuto and his actions, and that not everything rests on his shoulders.
    Post time-skip the two remain friendly and during an interview with Bokuto, Akaashi had the realization that even though he's always suspected it, he and Bokuto do not have the same definition of "normal", which in turn confused Tenma Udai who did not understand their conversation.

Karasuno High

  • Shōyō Hinata and Kei Tsukishima: Akaashi first meets the Karasuno first years at the summer training camps but becomes more familiar with them during the 3-on-3 practices in the third gym. He would form a closer bond with Tsukishima during the camp when the two would discuss plays and Bokuto's reliability as a player and being one of the top ace's in the nation. The two had practiced a time lag attack that Tsukishima would later use during the Shiratorizawa match. Akaashi is not shown around Hinata much but it is clear that the two have formed a good friendship. When Hinata runs into Bokuto and Akaashi at the opening ceremony for the Spring Tournament, Akaashi advised Hinata to tell Bokuto when to be quiet and the setter also knew that Hinata's presence during the Eiwa game would help bring Bokuto out of his slump. In the Final Arc, Akaashi attends the Adlers and Jackals game and was touched at seeing how strong Hinata has become[9].

Quotes

  • "That’s something we should never try. Hinata hit it like it was nothing, but I believe it would take a lot of practice to hit a toss like that. Not to mention… Making a toss float at the point of impact is an incredible move. At my skill level, that’s impossible." (To Bokuto, Volume 11 Chapter 94 / Season 2 Episode 10)
  • "Well then. Don't think or worry about anything... Just spike some crosses. As long as it feels good. We'll be sure to clear a path for you." (To Bokuto, Volume 22 Chapter 195 / Land VS Air (OVA))
  • "Bokuto is the kind of person that compels you to give it your all, because you know he's giving it his all." (To himself, Volume 37 Chapter 331)
  • "No matter what other people may say, we are the protagonists of the world." (To himself, Volume 37 Chapter 331)
  • "With a star before my eyes, all there is left for me to do is to 'play as I have always done' and deliver. If playing as I have always done is what's required, then I can do it." (To himself, Volume 38 Chapter 333)

Trivia

  • Favorite Food: boiled rapeseed plants with karashi mustard dressing. (Nanohana no Karashiae)
  • Current Concern: "I want my physical power level a bit higher."
  • His star sign is Sagittarius.
  • He has a habit of fiddling with his fingers, much like Tsukishima; this can be seen in the manga in several panels and official arts as well.
    • This is highly exaggerated in the Summer of the Evolution stage play by his actor Kōsei Yūki (ex. he does it during his introduction as well as usually before and after he sets)
  • Akaashi is known to have larger hands than Bokuto (according to the Haikyuu store)
  • He seems to enjoy Onigiri a lot. 
  • He doesn't wear the t-shirts Bokuto recommends even though he himself has worn some weird t-shirts in the past, according to Bokuto.
  • After the timeskip, he works with Tenma Udai (Little Giant) in a shonen manga magazine company. 
  • Nomenclature
    • Keiji (京治) - Keiji is a popular boys' name in Japan, out of which 京治 is a rare writing of the name in kanji - more common versions include 慶次, 啓治, etc. 京 means "city", while "治" means "to govern/to cure". It is likely that this is simply an attempt by the author to transcribe the sound "keiji" to kanji, and is unlikely that the literal meaning of the kanji carries any significance or meaning.
    • Akaashi (赤葦) - This is probably a reference to the アカアシモリフクロウ (akaashi-mori-fukurou), known as the rufous-legged owl in English. Note: the species of owl is not written as "赤葦" ("赤" meaning red, and "葦" meaning reed) - again, this is likely to be a transcription of the katakana into kanji, and the literal meaning of the kanji is likely to be insignificant.

References

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.