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 the 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).

Personality

He's said to have the best ability among the second years at Aoba Johsai High, but his brash attitude is cause for poor relationships with other members of the volleyball team. He is seen to be hot-tempered and always has a frown on his face. He doesn't seem to show any respect for the third years (besides Iwaizumi), irritating them and shocking the first years upon Kentaro'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 (intentional or not is unknown), as he shoves multiple characters throughout the show knocking them to the floor on some occasions. It seems Yahaba is one of the only people, besides Iwaizumi, that is able to effectively calm him down and get him to focus when he loses control of himself.

History

When Kyōtani was a child, his father dragged him to a volleyball match where Kyōtani would become interested in the sport after watching one certain player during the game[1]. Before high school, Kyōtani played volleyball at Minamisan 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 the Aoba Johsai team outside of a few practice matches due to his uncooperative attitude[2].

Plot

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Before the tournament for the prefecture qualifiers for Nationals takes place, Kyōtani is sought out by Oikawa to return to the team after having been absent for a some time due to his conflicts with the previous third years. Near the end of the first set, Kyotani is subbed in for Kunimi. Not knowing what to expect, Karasuno is on edge. However, Kyotani not only surprises Karasuno but also his team when he suddenly dives in to smash the ball as Oikawa was setting to Kindaichi. After this, Takeda notices a complete change in atmosphere in Aoba Johsai’s ranks. Despite this, the ball still goes way out of bounds. Iwaizumi then punches Kyotani and yells at him that he could’ve hurt his teammates. On the sideline, Yahaba would explain that Kyotani is only listening to Iwaizumi because he is the only one who beat him in any kind of sports tournament.

Despite this, Oikawa then sets to Kyotani, and he is able to score by surpassing an enemy triple block while at an extreme angle. Not long after, Hinata, thinking Oikawa is going to set to Kyotani after having scored three times in a row, goes up to block him, but is fooled as he is used as a decoy for Kindaichi. His frustration deepens when Karasuno blocks him. Mizoguchi yells at him to have done something other than smashing it, but Kyotani replies harshly that he is only willing to smash it. Once Kyotani fails to score again, Ukai remarks that Kyotani is a double-edged sword as he is dangerous to both Aoba Johsai and their opponents. During the second rally, Oikawa request Watari to purposely botch his next pass to have a decoy lure Karasuno’s blockers in going to the left and letting Kyotani score. Watari and Kyotani successfully pull this off and Aoba Johsai wins the rally.

One Sugawara is subbed in, he keeps aiming his serves at Kyotani. Seeing this, Mizoguchi notices that this is intentional since even though Kyotani is an opposing hitter, he is also willing to block quicks, which are mostly a middle blocker’s purpose. But because Sugawara continuously aims at Kyotani, it limits the number of times he can stop attacks. However, his strategy would soon be countered when Kyotani gets off serve-receive duty. Sugawara also notices that Aoba Johsai more often than not relies on Kyotani for attacks, but speculates that this may be the case to throw them off with another player later. This is referenced back to when Oikawa sets to Kyotani once more, but Matsukawa seems to creep behind the spiker, though ultimately Kyotani ends up attacking.

Kyotani’s sheer strength is demonstrated once more when he manages to do a service ace. Ukai then realizes that Kyotani was just warming up this whole time. Despite this, he fails to receive Yamaguchi’s jump floater. Sometime later, Oikawa seems to be using Kindaichi as a decoy for Kytoani to score but Iwaizumi appears behind the both of them and wins Aoba Johsai the set. During the start of the third set, Kyotani forms a rivalry with Tanaka. This rivalry deepens when Tanaka notices that Kyotani has marked him to surpass his blocks and switches spots with Tsukishima in the last minute for him to block instead. Additionally, he gets angry when Oikawa sets to him and ends up being too harsh and his shot goes out of bounds.

Watari then tries to be friendly with Kyotani and attempts to make him feel better about the lost point, but Kyotani just pushes him away. Oikawa tries to be comedic and mockingly command Iwaizumi to “get ‘im” but Kyotani is quickly subbed out for Kunimi. In the warm-up zone, Yahaba snaps at Kyotani to hurry up and pull himself together. When Kyotani harshly snaps back, Yahaba lectures him by saying that his uncontrollable temper was only but a hindrance. This offends Kyotani, but Yahaba continues and tells him that the team’s non-regulars aren’t happy about having to see Kyotani come back to practice after having been gone for months and actually being put into a tournament. Continuing, he says that he acknowledges that Kyotani was put into the tournament for strategic decisions and that the team needs people who can give it effort rather than excuses. This confuses the other team members, but they don’t step in.

Despite his previous calm demeanor, Yahaba then grabs his teammate by the shoulders and threatens him if he were to foolishly ruin the third year’s last chance. Kyotani, shocked, tries to retaliate but it only results in Yahaba asking Kyotani to calm down and contribute to the game. Soon after, Kyotani is subbed back in. Oikawa sets to him and after getting past Karasuno’s defenses, he remembers back at how Kiyoshi told him about the importance of teams and that he is lucky to have such a supportive one. After this, Yahaba yells in surprise and the whole team congratulates him on such an impressive shot. Oikawa praises him for it, and Kyotani quietly thanks him.

When Yamaguchi is subbed in, Kyotani attempts to try to go overhand to attempt saving it, much like Hanamaki earlier in the match, but fails. Near the end of the third set, Kyotani appears right behind Kindaichi to hit Oikawa’s set. Despite this, Hinata is still able to block him. Additionally, Kyotani apologizes for failing to score.

During the game’s final rally, Watari saves the ball but it goes into the net, however, Kyotani is able to stick his hand out to keep it in the air. Kyotani is also part of the triple block that read Kageyama’s motion to set to Hinata, but they still fail to block him. After Aoba Johsai’s loss, Kyotani does not go to the ramen shop with his team. Despite this, Kyotani comes back to the gymnasium where he’d been practicing while he stopped going to his school practices to work on his serves.

Tokyo National Arc

With his team in Aoba Johsai's computer lab, Kyōtani watches Karasuno's matches at the Spring Tournament and seems to play close attention to Tanaka in particular.

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.

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.

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 Coach 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 Seijou 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

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

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'.

Yahaba confronts Kyōtani

Shigeru Yahaba

Although they're in the same grade, Yahaba is extremely hostile and critical towards Kyōtani, more so than the rest of the players. At Kyōtani's return, the first thing Yahaba does is scold him. Even though he recognizes his talent, Yahaba doesn't seem to be intimidated by Kyōtani. This can be seen when Yahaba slams him against a wall and lectures him about respecting their senpai and asks Kyōtani to lend them his strength [1][3]. His words seem to affect Kyōtani, who after that seems to cool down a little and get his head in the game as an actual part of the team.

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 player in the National team who played with the same number and was also known as a powerful wing spiker. He dyed his hair blonde, also because of him.[3]
  • 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.
  • Nomenclature
    • Kentarō (賢太郎) - Capable Excessive Son
    • Kyōtani (京谷) - Capital City Valley

References

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