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You've gotta attack at maximum power, or it won't feel satisfying at all!

Kentarō Kyōtani (Japanese: 京谷 (きょうたに) 賢太郎 (けんたろう) Kyōtani Kentarō) was a second-year wing spiker from Aoba Johsai High.

As of 2021, he is an opposite hitter for Sendai Frogs, a professional volleyball team in Division 2 of Japan's V.League.

Appearance

Kyōtani is an easily identifiable character, particularly due to his short-cropped blond hair with two black stripes running across the sides of his head, just above the ears. He is one of the shortest members of the team though this usually gets overlooked because of the rest of his appearance.

His honey brown eyes are sharp and appear fierce and hostile (he almost appears to be wearing eye-liner, or has dark bags beneath his eyes), and he has small eyebrows. He lives up to his nickname of "Kyōken" or "Mad Dog", given from the the start of his given and surname (though this nickname was not necessarily made up by Oikawa to exemplify his fierce and brash personality, and different kanji are used).

Post-timeskip, most of his appearance has stayed the same but his hair now has vertical stripes instead of horizontal.

Personality

He's said to have the best ability among the second years at Aoba Johsai High, but his brash attitude and lack of teamwork has led to troubled relationships with others, most notably his upperclassmen. He is seen to be hot-tempered and usually has a frown or scowl on his face. He doesn't seem to show any respect for the third years other than Iwaizumi; irritating them and shocking the first years upon Kyōtani's return to the team.

He is extremely strong, and he can only hit the ball with his full strength or he "doesn't feel satisfied." He is also shown to display some violence tendencies as he is seen shoving multiple characters and knocking them to the floor on some occasions; although it is unknown if this is on intentional or not. It seems Yahaba is one of the few people, besides Iwaizumi, that is able to effectively calm him down and get him to focus when he loses control of himself.

History

Kyotani s2-e23-1.png

When Kyōtani was a child, his father dragged him to a volleyball match during the World Cup where Kyōtani would become interested in the sport after watching one certain player during the game[1]. Before high school, Kyōtani played volleyball at Minami Daisan Junior High as the team ace. It is said that the team had their best years when Kyōtani played. It is revealed that he has not played with Aoba Johsai's team outside of a few practice matches due to his uncooperative attitude[2].

Plot

Spring High Preliminary Arc

AobaJohsaiS2E14.png

Before the tournament for the prefecture qualifiers for Nationals takes place, Kyōtani returns to the volleyball club[2]. As he does this, Kyōtani does not say anything while Yahaba scolds him about his manners until Oikawa steps in. Yahaba then recalls Kyōtani having ruined his chance during his first practice game of high school because of his bad attitude. Kyōtani’s disregard for other people’s feelings is shown when he voices why the third years are still part of the team despite Shiratorizawa having defeated them during the previous tournament.

However, his rude manners are kept in check when Oikawa does not seem to get offended by this and instead intimidates the hitter by giving subtle hints of future practices. When Kyōtani becomes defensive, Kunimi compares this to Kyōtani having animal instincts.

Karasuno vs Aoba Johsai

Near the end of the first set, Kyōtani is subbed in for Kunimi[3]. His presence right away puts Karasuno on edge as they have never seen him before and therefore do not know what to expect from him. As Oikawa attempts to set to Kindaichi, Kyōtani purposely rushes in and takes the set for himself while displaying great power and ferocity. Although Karasuno is completely caught off guard by this, because of the sheer power used, the ball goes out of bounds and wins the set for Karasuno.

Iwaizumi then punches Kyōtani on his head while yelling at how reckless he was. Kyōtani explains his behavior as simply being overly excited to be back in a game after not having been part of one for a while. Just before the second set starts, Oikawa tells Kyōtani that he is free to play as he wants but will not hesitate to have him removed if he causes problems. Kyōtani does not appear to take his warning seriously until Iwaizumi warns him of the same thing and he states that he understands; to Oikawa's annoyance. On the sideline, Yahaba would explain that Kyōtani is only listening to Iwaizumi because he had previously challenged the ace player to numerous sports competitions only to be beaten every single time[4].

Group s2 e21 1.png

Despite this, Oikawa sets to Kyōtani, and he is able to score by surpassing the enemy triple block by angling his approach and body for an extreme cross shot that lands in the vanguard. Shimada theorizes that Kyōtani did this since he wanted to avoid spiking directly toward the block. Not long after, Kyōtani and Kindaichi both begin an approach for a quick attack but Kyōtani was given the set since it became clear that Kindaichi backed down at the last minute. Kyōtani is able to score for the third time in a row when Kindaichi acted as a decoy and Kyōtani was able to get a shot in on the left side when Hinata was momentarily distracted.

After Kageyama serves, Kyōtani begins making his approach and draws Hinata's attention once more. However, Oikawa decided to set to Kindaichi. This annoys Kyōtani as he was both denied the set and was used as a decoy. Hanamaki soon gives Kyōtani a set. However, Watari notices that Kyōtani will surely get blocked and calls for him to return the ball. Unfortunately, Kyōtani does not listen and spikes the ball with full force. As Watari predicted, he is blocked. When Mizoguchi yells at Kyōtani for not trying something else, Kyōtani answers that he only feels satisfied when he uses full power to land a spike. Eventually, Kyōtani attempts to do another extreme angle cross shot but mistakenly spikes the ball directly into the net. He is able to redeem himself when he spikes past Daichi and Nishinoya is unable to dig the ball. As the set continues, Watari purposely makes an off receive that Oikawa uses to fool Karasuno's blockers. Because of this, Kyōtani is able to get past Tanaka and Hinata who was unable to get his block up in time.

When the set reaches 17-14, Sugawara is subbed in as a pinch server. Kyōtani and Seijoh soon find themselves in a difficult situation when Sugawara begins targeting Kyōtani with his serves. Because he is forced to save the serves, Kyōtani is late to attack which makes it easier for Karasuno to counter as Oikawa has to set to attackers. After a brief time-out, Kyōtani is again targeted by Sugawara but Seijoh was able to quickly adapt to his plan. Kyōtani pulls back as Hanamaki takes the receive and allows the second year spiker to attack and cut off Sugawara's serves. For the next several plays, Kyōtani is seen participating in spikes and blocks and even landing a service ace that puts Seijoh further ahead in the score at 22-18.

After Kyōtani's next two serves, Yamaguchi is subbed in to serve. The first year delivers a jump float that Watari calls as heading out but Kyōtani and everyone else is soon surprised when the ball actually drops at the last moment to land in. Yamaguchi's next serve goes directly to Kyōtani. He is prepared to make the receive only to have the ball again change at the last moment and dodge before getting hit in the face. However, the ball ricocheted off his arm and landed out.

Group s2 e23 1.png

At the start of the third set, Kyōtani shows to be just as fired up now. It quickly becomes apparent that Kyōtani and Tanaka are forming a rivalry after Tanaka deflects a spike off Kyōtani's arm. He is able to get his revenge when he does the same thing to Tanaka in the next play. When Karasuno attempts to counter Oikawa's serve, Kyōtani again tries to get a spike past Tanaka only to find that he had switches places with Tsukishima which leads him to be blocked and the score tied 8-8. Ennoshita points out to his teammates that it's become clear that Tanaka had started targeting Kyōtani by first having landed a narrow straight shot past him and them deflecting the ball off his arm. Because of this, Kyōtani naturally started reacting and targeting Tanaka back.

Because of how frustrated he's become, Kyōtani unintentionally sends a spike out of bounds. When he roughly dejects Watari's attempts to comfort him, Kyōtani is soon annoyed to see that is being called to come off the court. He is warned by Coach Irihata to get his temper under control if he wishes to be back in the game. In the warm-up zone, Yahaba decides to confront Kyōtani about how his actions are compromising the game when he should be grateful to be back and right away given a spot as a regular. Yahaba points out how the team needs Kyōtani's abilities and warns him not to mess things up for their upperclassmen since this could potentially be their final match.

S2E23.png

When Karasuno gains the lead at 12-10, Kyōtani is sent back into the game now that he has calmed down. Just before the rally starts, Kyōtani remembers how he received advice from Kyoshi about how he needs to learn to work with his teammates since a dependable team like Seijoh is not easy to come across. Oikawa sends him a set. Kyōtani scores when he performs a cross spike and Daichi fails to receive. Kyōtani is then surprised to see his team gather around him to praise his accomplishment.

Now able to work together with the others, Kyōtani delivers the next serve. Although it's received by Tanaka and Karasuno attempts to counter, Seijoh ultimately gained the point and tied the score at 12-12. His next serve is received and countered. When the score again reaches a tie at 18-18, Yahaba is subbed into the game. When Karasuno attempted to counter his serve, Yahaba soon sets to Kyōtani but is worried that he sent it too short. Kyōtani surprises everyone by adjusting his body and using his left hand to spike the ball[5]. Kyōtani continues to assist as more rallies pass until Yamaguchi is sent out again.

With the float serve once more heading in his direction, Kyōtani recalls how his first serve changed at the last moment. He decides not to chance it and attempts to make an overhand receive only for the ball to suddenly stretch out and graze his fingertips. Although it appears like it is heading out, Iwaizumi was able to make the receive that would eventually lead to Yamaguchi's serve being stopped. Near the matches end, Sugawara returns to the game but this time targets Iwaizumi with his serves. Because this leaves Kyōtani open to attack, he tries to spike past Kageyama but Hinata joins in and manages to block him and bring the game to a deuce. Karasuno soon reaches match point and during their final counter, Kyōtani assists in a triple block in the attempt to stop Hinata. However, the young middle blocker would deflect the ball off Kindaichi's hand to end the game. As Coach Irihata tells the team how well they played, Kyōtani does not show much emotions.

Tokyo National Arc

Karasuno vs Inarizaki

With his team in Aoba Johsai's computer lab, Kyōtani watches Karasuno's matches at the Spring Tournament. As they watch Karasuno play against Inarizaki, he lightly mocks Yahaba when the setter tried to cover that he was supporting Karasuno[6].

When Tanaka was finally able to make his new cross shot work and win the first set for Karasuno, Kyōtani watches in annoyance[7].

Final Arc

At the end of the series, Kyōtani is revealed to now be playing on the Sendai Frogs; a Division 2 team in Japan's V.League. He is teammates with Tsukishima.

Statistics

High School Statistics
Power
 
4/5
Jumping
 
4/5
Stamina
 
3/5
Game Sense
 
1/5
Technique
 
3/5
Speed
 
4/5

According to the coach, Kyōtani is a slow-starter who requires a lot of support to get going. He seems to do recklessly dangerous plays with no regard for game situation, such as knocking teammates over to spike the ball out of bounds with Karasuno at set point even though it wasn't tossed to him just to vent his frustration of not starting. By doing an approach run that's close to the net, he can do an insane inner spike that can cut across the blockers from a spot right beside them. He can also do a sideways jump from behind the setter to spike and surprise the opponent. He dislikes doing feints because he prefers to spike at full power. According to Ukai, Kyōtani's plays are risky, so he's most likely a double-edged sword. His plays generally surprise his own teammates as well, and they are often enough to shake the unified dynamic of the team (this likely created some openings during Karasuno's second official game with Seijoh while he was on the court), but he can also make a very valuable decoy, even without him recognizing that talent. As a server, he often overpowers his jump serves as he considers himself a power player, but has dialed it back after Yahaba's lecture.

According to Oikawa, Kyōtani has real jumping power, and his back & abdominal muscles are exceptional. He amasses power with the full bend of his body and then snaps forward, using his whole body in the way he plays. His cut shot involves him running parallel to the net and spike cross court to bypass direct blockers. Coach Ukai also noted his great body control that allowed him to spike with his left hand when necessary.


Jumping Reach: 327 cm

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
8/10
Serve Reception
 
7/10
Dig
 
7/10
Setting
 
4/10
Spike
 
8/10
Block
 
6/10

Relationships

Aoba Johsai High

  • Tōru Oikawa: While Oikawa calls him "Mad Dog-chan," Kyōtani was instinctively wary of him, jumping back when Oikawa got close. Oikawa seems to appreciate Kyōtani's skill, and wants to make him a better player, saying to himself that he wishes to "sharpen [his] fangs." Despite this, Kyōtani does not listen or respond the same way to Oikawa that he does to Iwaizumi, much to the former's irritation and seems to be either highly irritated or highly nervous around him.
  • Hajime Iwaizumi:
    Iwaizumi and Kyotani s2-e21-1.png
    He's known to only listen to Iwaizumi's words and respond to his upperclassman, as he had challenged Iwaizumi to multiple athletic competitions and lost to him every time. When Kyōtani makes a dangerous move and Oikawa doesn't know what to do about it, Iwaizumi is the one who scolds him and actually hits him. Kunimi refers to this relationship as Kyōtani seeing Iwaizumi as the 'alpha-dog'.
  • Shigeru Yahaba:
    Yahaba and Kyotani s2-e23-1.png
    Although they're in the same grade, Kyōtani originally does not acknowledge Yahaba as someone he should be intimidated by and even ignores prior scolding's by the setter. However, after a confrontation during the match against Karasuno, Kyōtani began listening to the setter and appears to be the only other person he will listen to besides Iwaizumi. When playing together, the two show to have good chemistry and Yahaba even vocally puts his faith in the wing spiker to help the team as best he can.

Others

  • Kiyoshi-san:
    Kyotani and Kyoshi s2-e23-1.png
    Prior to Kyōtani's return to the Aoba Johsai team, he met Kyoshi while practicing with another team. Kyōtani was surprised at how well Kyoshi was able to understand him and the problems he was facing. Thanks to Kyoshi, Kyōtani came to realize that he needed to connect with his teammates instead of trying to do things his own way.

Trivia

  • Favorite food: Hamima Chicken
  • Pre-timeskip concern: Lawson's new "Kara-age Kun" is hard to throw away.
  • Post-timeskip concern: He went to buy salad chicken but got tempted by Hamichiki (breaded deep-fried chicken) instead.
  • The reason for his nickname given by Oikawa is because "kyōken" means mad dog, taken from Kyōtani Kentaro. However, the kanji is entirely different.
  • His star sign is Sagittarius.
  • According to the anime, he picked no.4 in middle school because he admired a national team player with the same number and was also known as a powerful wing spiker. He also appears to have dyed his hair blond because of him[8].
  • It has been shown twice that he seems to have a dog of some kind with it first appearing as a puppy then shown later as an adult.
  • He has a habit of licking his lips before hitting a volleyball.
  • Whenever it shows him as a child sitting in the stands watching a volleyball game beside him is a male that looks like him, with short black hair and the same marks around his eyes that he possesses. This implies Kyōtani was there with his father, or possibly an older brother.
  • His dub voice actor also voiced Yoshiki Towada.
  • In the Monster Generation Interview, it's said that the Sendai Frogs are rising in the ranks, and may be promoted to Division 1 if the trend continues.
  • Nomenclature
    • Kentarō (賢太郎) - Capable Excessive Son
    • Kyōtani (京谷) - Capital City Valley

References