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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 though he actually wanted to be in the literature department.

Appearance

Akaashi has messy black hair and gunmetal 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, altogether with a pair of white shorts. His shoes are white with yellow details, and he doesn't appear to be wearing kneepads during practice.

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

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 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 aganist Mujinazaka High, we see that Akaashi can also suffer from overthinking, and feeling overwhelmed from the pressue 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.

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

Plot

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Akaashi is a member of Fukurodani team attending the training camp[1].

BokutoKurooAkaashi

Akaashi stands alongside Kuroo and Bokuto

As Kuroo is practicing with Bokuto, they spot Tsukishima and invite him to block for them[2]. When Tsukishima tries to reject, Akaashi appears behind Bokuto, stating that no one else from Fukurōdani will practice with the ace because Bokuto's spiking practices are endless. Tsukishima joins the match after being provoked by Kuroo. Akaashi sets for Bokuto as Tsukishima and Kuroo practices blocking with the spiker. Some time after Yamaguchi yelled at Tsukishima for his behavior[3], Tsukishima approaches Bokuto, Akaashi, and Kuroo, who are practicing together again. Tsukishima asks them why they would train so much for a simple club and as Kuroo and Bokuto's replies start going off topic, Akaashi tells Tsukishima not to interrupt as it will only lengthen their antics.
Season 2 Episode 9-0

The Owls versing the Cats to a three-on-three match

Akaashi Keiji

Akaashi prepares to set the ball

Tsukishima practices with Bokuto, Kuroo, and Akaashi again but this time, Hinata and Lev join them[4]. A 3-on-3 match is created with Akaashi, Hinata, and Bokuto on one team (the Owls) and Lev, Kuroo, and Tsukishima on another (the Cats); Akaashi states that the teams are incredibly unbalanced because his team is composed of the shortest players while the Cats are the opposite. At the end of the game, Akaashi watches apprehensively as Bokuto announces that he will teach Hinata a special skill.

In Fukurōdani's practice match against the whole Karasuno team, Hinata pulls off a feint, the special move that Bokuto taught him. Akaashi points it out [5], embarrassing Bokuto with guilt. As the game progresses, Bokuto starts making mistakes. Akaashi goes over the choices he can make that will have the least trouble with Bokuto within 0.5 seconds. In the end, he decides that he would rather toss to Bokuto so he won't become uncooperative. However, Bokuto makes an attack error and becomes depressed, so Akaashi tells him to stay in the background and take the time to calm down. Akaashi continues playing normally while he plans for the timing of Bokuto's comeback as he calculates Karasuno being distracted by the other spikers[6]. In the end, Akaashi tosses for the ace to make a comeback and score the winning point.
Akaashi giving kageyama water

Akaashi at the barbecue

Before the barbecue begins, Tsukishima approaches Akaashi and states that even Bokuto has his bad days[7], to which Akaashi replies that although the ace self destructs randomly, he is still dependable as he does not waver in front of strong opponents.

At the barbecue, Akaashi hands a cup of water to a choking Kageyama[8]. Later, Akaashi watches from the back with the Fukurodani Group as Karasuno leaves.

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 .[9]

Fukurōdani vs Nekoma

During the match, the Nekoma blockers forced Bokuto into the habit of hitting straight 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 but Akaashi simply walked away.

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 #37, 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. 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.

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.

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.

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[10]. 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. 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

Original 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 Akaashi 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.

Relationships

Fukurōdani Academy

  • Kōtarō Bokuto:
    AkaashiBokuto
    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.[12]However, during the Mujinazaka match, Akaashi had to come to terms with the realiziation 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 Udai Tenma who did not understand their conversation.

Other Schools

  • 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[13].

Quotes

I don't think it's possible to prevent them from scoring even a single point, though.
“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.”
In other words, they are no longer paying attention to our ace.
We'll let you have the good part, so make your comeback already, ace!
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 Kōtarō Bokuto, Volume 22 Chapter 195
Bokuto is the kind of person that compels you to give it your all, because you know he's giving it his all.
No matter what other people may say, we are the protagonists of the world .
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.


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

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