Say for instance... A tiny meteorite fell from the sky right now. Say that meteorite bonked somebody on the head. Just be nice to the guy and help as much as you can. Nothing else is necessary. If you're going to stand around talking loudly to each other about how you pity him... Then I feel even sorrier for him. Nothing sucks worse than someone telling you, "You poor thing."

Kiyoomi Sakusa (Japanese: 佐久早 (さくさ) 聖臣 (きよおみ) Sakusa Kiyoomi) was the ace spiker for Itachiyama Institute, a heavy favorite to win the nationals. He was one of the top three aces of the country, along with Kiryū and Ushijima, and the only second-year among them. Post high school, he was active in the collegiate volleyball league and earned the MVP title. He eventually became an outside hitter for the MSBY Black Jackals, a V-League Division 1 team. He became a member of Japan's National team during the 2021 Olympics.

Appearance

Sakusa has black, wavy hair and two moles on the right side of his forehead. When not in-game, he wears a white mask over his mouth because of his fastidious tendencies. He has a large, muscular build, standing at 189 cm.

Personality

Sakusa appears to be calm and collected but very competitive and proud at the same time. He doesn't react much even when he scores the final point for a match, but when he finds a player whom he deems as a threat to himself, he focuses intensely on the player. He was also quite irritated when Kageyama said he seemed average despite his reputation. Sakusa is described as a very cautious player, who may analyze a toss before spiking, and this trait manifests itself in his daily habits as well. He claims to be a realist, which explains why he asks so many questions so he can assess situations.

Komori has stated Sakusa dislikes leaving things unfinished, as such, when he starts practicing or playing he will never stop until it's over. He will work for hours and practice any shortcomings he has, such as when he worked on his receiving after first losing to Ushijima. Once he becomes absorbed into a task, he sets high standards for himself, as shown when repeatly spikes a ball off the ground into a wall corner or when he tried to do 1000 overhand sets in row reaching around at least 375.

Sakusa is a germaphobe, evident by the fact that he wanted to bathe first before anyone else contaminated the bath with their germs. Moreover, he wears a mask to protect himself when not playing volleyball. He strongly dislikes crowds and would go to the back corner of the room or an uncrowded place when there are too many people around him.

Background

According to Komori, Sakusa was a quiet child and wasn't the type to make many friends. His parents and older siblings were often busy and as such, Sakusa was alone most of the time. Komori, at his parents' request, began to spend time with Sakusa and introduced him to volleyball, though Komori believed Sakusa agreed to it merely for the sake of something to do and may not have been too interested in the sport at the time[1]. Sakusa became increasingly interested in volleyball and would often do extra practices by himself.

During a middle school tournament, Sakusa met Ushijima for the first time during a trip to the bathroom. Sakusa was impressed that Ushijima had his own personal handkerchief and folded in the damp side after use to keep it as clean as possible. During their game against one another, Sakusa struggled with Ushijima's southpaw spike and serve. Komori would claim that this was the first time that Sakusa came across someone who had a nastier spin than his own.

Sakusa attended Itachiyama Institute for high school and became known as one of the top three aces in the nation. He appeared to be popular among his school mates as many came to cheer him on in his games.

Plot

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Sakusa is first mentioned during the BBQ by Kuroo, who is describing the top three aces of the country to Hinata and Lev[2].

Spring High Preliminary Arc

During the Tokyo Prefecture Spring Interhigh Qualifers, Itachiyama defeats Nohebi Academy (25-18, 25-19) in the semifinals and advances to face Fukurōdani Academy in the next round. The match also ends in Itachiyama's victory, with Sakusa scoring the final point[3]. Itachiyama becomes the first representative of Tokyo.

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Preparation for Nationals

Sakusa is invited to the All-Japan Youth training camp. As he arrives at the Ajinomoto National Training Center, he meets Kageyama outside the gymnasium and recognizes the first year as being from Karasuno; the team that defeated Ushijima. Kageyama formally introduces himself, but Sakusa pays little attention to him[4].

Kageyama says Sakusa seems normal

Once the training begins, the players start a practice match with Sakusa and Kageyama on the same team[5]. After Kageyama messes up a set that he did out of habit from practicing with Hinata, Sakusa stares at him intently. Sakusa approaches him later at dinner, asking why Shiratorizawa lost to Karasuno. He asks if there was someone in Karasuno who slowed Ushijima down and demands their names and grades before getting interrupted by Komori. Kageyama suddenly questions Sakusa if he was holding back before because he seems more average than his reputation lets on, annoying the latter[6].

Sometime later, the players partake in another match with their position shuffled around[7]. Sakusa plays as a middle .blocker. As he is given a set by Hoshiumi, he watches it calmly first before spiking. Hoshiumi right away accuses him of second-guessing his toss, but Sakusa reasons that he was just analyzing the toss.

After the training camp ends, the players head home. Sakusa and Komori leave together, but on the way, Sakusa glares at Kageyama.

Nationals

On the first day of nationals, Itachiyama gathers in the stadium with teams from all over the country. Sakusa is shown standing in the back corner due to his strong dislike of crowds[8]. Since Itachiyama is the 1st seeded team, they were exempt from playing on the first day.

The following day, Sakusa and Komori are walking by when they witness Kageyama and Hinata execute a minus-tempo broad attack against Inarizaki. While Komori openly admires the technique, Sakusa is silently apprehensive[9].

Itachiyama wins through their rounds until the quarter-finals, when their setter and captain, Tsukasa Iizuna, injured his foot during their match against Inubushi East[10]. While exiting the court, Sakusa overhears a few onlookers pitying Hinata for getting a fever and Karasuno for losing him. He interrupts the chatter saying the pity is unnecessary and only makes him feel even sorrier for the one being pitied.

Final Arc

Sakusa is now an outside hitter for MSBY Black Jackals and teammates with Hinata, Atsumu, and Bokuto. Ahead of Jackals' match against the Schweiden Adlers, Sakusa joins in his teammates and the Adlers' conversation in the hallway. He asks if everybody had gotten their flu shots and approaches Ushijima to declare that he will win today, revealing that he played against the Adlers last year at a tournament with his college team and lost[11]. He is one of the starters in the match against the Adlers. During the player introduction, Sakusa is unveiled as the MVP at the recent Japan National Collegiate Volleyball Championship and is a promising rookie to the Jackals[12].

During the third rally, Sakusa gets shocked when seeing Romero's serve in real life. Right after, Romero serves as perfectly as the previous rally, but Sakusa bumps it. Atsumu sets for Sakusa. Kageyama thinks he’s got it, but the ball bounces from his arm, and the Jackals win the rally. Atsumu tells him that it was ‘gross’ as a compliment, and before he can say anything Meian tells him that it’s a compliment, which results in Sakusa saying he makes it sound like an insult. After this, Tenma comments about how Kageyama looked like he was exactly the right spot to receive Sakusa’s spike, but Akaashi explains that Sakusa has abnormally flexible wrists. After hearing this, Tenma remembers catching glimpse of his warm-ups, which Bokuto and Hinata were fascinated at, resulting in Sakusa having to tell them to stop staring. Despite this, Sakusa needs to continue having to tell Hinata and Bokuto to stop. Atsumu’s frustration further develops when Sakusa scores another service ace.

After Hinata fails his first serve, Sakusa mockingly expresses his relief out loud that he can still be the first to have scored a service ace that day, offending Atsumu and tells him to shut up, which works. Sometime later, despite his teammates’ block getting ignored by Romero’s spike, Sakusa is still excited at the aspect of facing a world-class ace. During the third set, Hinata and Hoshiumi clash, and Sakusa remarks that they didn’t get ‘lucky’ with their height but that they wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for their abilities. Following this, Sakusa receives an enemy spike and twists the ball so that Sokolov thinks he’s got the ball but it immediately bounces off his hand[13].

After this, Sakusa remembers back at Itachiyama’s loss against Inubushi, specifically during the time he was talking to Iizuna about how he was going to finish his last game with a smile. Sakusa acknowledges that he was lucky enough to survive this long, lucky to meet people, and lucky to still be playing volleyball. Additionally, Sakusa tells himself that all he wants is to practice and train, paying attention and succeed until the day he plays his last game and if he’s lucky, he could go out thinking he could be done at any time and still be satisfied. While thinking this, Sakusa receives Ushijima’s extremely aggressive spike. Sakusa bumps Kageyama’s serve, and he thinks to himself that there’s no room for anything that disgusts him since he just feels good at the moment, which is followed by Sakusa scoring.

In 2021, Sakusa plays in the Japan Men's National Volleyball Team.

Statistics

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

Post-Timeskip Statistics
Power
 
4/5
Jumping
 
4/5
Stamina
 
4/5
Game Sense
 
4/5
Technique
 
5/5
Speed
 
4/5

Sakusa is an incredibly talented player considered as one of the Top 3 Aces in Japan even as a second-year and later the MVP of the collegiate league. He is an all-rounder with remarkable skills in both offense and defense. He has beaten top 5 ace Bokuto several times before, and was often seen dueling with Ushijima having a rivalry with him. While playing against Fukurodani, he was seen hitting through a triple block and sending the ball flying out of bounds with a wipe. While he lacks the immense power of Ushijima and Kiryū, Sakusa makes use of unconventional spikes and serves to overwhelm opponents. His technique, consistency, accuracy and unique shots make him a formidable player.

As an acknowledgement of his skills, Sakusa was invited to the All Youth Japan camp. At the camp Kageyama was impressed just upon meeting him and was excited to watch him up close, though he later stated that the spiker seemed more average than his reputation would suggest. During the camp he is seen hitting accurate shots near the end line and side line. His teammate Motoya Komori, another youth camp member, states that Sakusa has practically no weak points.

In addition to being a top-notch spiker, Sakusa is also a reliable defender. He started focusing on his receives after struggling with Ushijima's south paw hits back in junior high. Since then, he has made huge improvements and is often trusted to guard the court against power servers. By 2021, he is a member of Japan's National Team and skilled enough to keep Oikawa's monster serve in play.

  • Jumping Reach:
  • Post-Timeskip: 345 cm [14]

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
9/10
Serve Reception
 
10/10
Dig
 
8/10
Setting
 
8/10
Spike
 
10/10
Block
 
8/10
  • Flexible Wrists: Sakusa's unique and most outstanding quirk is his abnormally flexible wrists, which can bend until his palms are touching his forearms. Hinata compared it to an animal tucking it's paws. This allows him to add a particularly nasty spin to his spikes and serves, making them difficult to block and receive as even if one is positioned correctly the ball will still ricochet wildly leading to wipes. The spin that Sakusa can add to his hits is considered even harder to deal with than Ushijima's southpaw spin.[13] The spin is such that when he first started using this skill he could ricochet a ball between 2 walls in a corner because of the immense spin.
  • Receiving: Sakusa is a highly skilled receiver, being considered one of the Jackals' three best defenders along with Hinata and Inunaki.[15] His specialty is serve defense, and he has proven to be able to receive serves from players as powerful as Ushijima and Romero. He is also able to smoothly transition from a receive to a run-up for a spike. He is even able to dig Ushijima's incredibly strong south paw hits.
  • Jump Serve: Sakusa has a powerful jump serve enhanced by his wrist flexibility, giving it a unique spin and making it difficult to receive. It is powerful enough to easily score a service ace on Hoshiumi, who is an incredible serve receiver himself.[16] He is able to accurately target places such as the seam between players. He is very confident in his serve and is often seen competing with his teammates trying to beat them on serves.

Relationships

Wakatoshi Ushijima

Sakusa is well-acquainted with Ushijima and addresses him as "Wakatoshi-kun". They first met Ushijima during an All-Japan Middle School Athletics Tournament when Sakusa went to the restroom and found Ushijima drying his hands with a personal handkerchief. As someone particular about cleanliness, Sakusa was impressed when Ushijima folded the damp side of the handkerchief in before neatly tucking it away in his pockets[1].

Sakusa has immense respect for Ushijima. At first, Sakusa assumes that Karasuno was able to beat Shiratorizawa only because Ushijima had an off game that day. The latter also appears to be the one of the few Sakusa willingly approaches due to his tendency to keep a distance from others in fear of catching germs.

Kōtarō Bokuto

Bokuto feels a sense of rivalry toward Sakusa due to the latter's status as one of the top three aces in the country, but it's unknown what Sakusa thinks of him in return. It's hinted that Itachiyama may have defeated Fukurōdani many times in the past with Sakusa on the team, so Bokuto intends on getting revenge. Sakusa either ignores Bokuto's shouts or doesn't hear him swear vengeance. Sakusa and Bokuto eventually become teammates on MSBY Black Jackals.

Motoya Komori

Sakusa and Motoya s4-e5-1.png

Sakusa's cousin and teammate at Itachiyama. The two met when they were young when Komori's parent's insisted Komori spend time with Sakusa. Thus, Komori introduced Sakusa to volleyball when he invited him to his practice. Since then, the two were often seen together either during classes or volleyball practice. As a result, the two know each other well although Sakusa does not reveal much on what he thinks of Komori while Komori does not hide that he tends to be concerned about Sakusa getting along with others.

Quotes

  • "Say for instance... A tiny meteorite fell from the sky right now. Say that meteorite bonked somebody on the head. Just be nice to the guy and help as much as you can. Nothing else is necessary. If you're going to stand around talking loudly to each other about how you pity him... Then I feel even sorrier for him. Nothing sucks worse than someone telling you, "You poor thing." (To onlookers, Volume 42 Chapter 368)
  • "I was lucky enough to survive this long. Lucky to meet people. Lucky to still be playing volleyball." (To himself, Volume 45 Chapter 394)
  • "Going out with a smile. Ending on a victory. Both would be nice, but I don't find either particularly necessary. All I want, is to practice and train, paying proper care and attention to everything, today, tomorrow, and all the way up to the day before my last game. And, if I'm lucky... to go out thinking I could be done at any time, and still be satisfied." (To himself, Volume 45 Chapter 394)

Trivia

  • Favorite food: Umeboshi (pickled plums)
  • His star sign is Pisces
  • Current concern: He wants to decline gifts from fans.
  • He is the only second-year among the top three spikers in the country.[4]
  • He is the youngest second-year student in the series.
  • He is said to be very blunt by both Komori and Washio. Washio refers to him as a too-blunt-jerk.
  • Sakusa is the only player confirmed to have played volleyball in college and is referred to as the MVP of the Collegiate Volleyball Championship.
  • He is noted to have incredibly flexible wrists.
  • In the simul-release translation of Volume 45 Chapter 394, it's noted within the chapter that Sakusa's middle school is called "Dosho". However, it was revealed later that day that the actual reading for it is "Okojo" which sounds like the Japanese word for Stoat.[17]
  • According to Chapter 394, in middle school, Sakusa's number was 12 when he was a 1st year and 9 when he was a 2nd year, as it showed Ushijma as #1, inferring it took place when Ushijma was a 3rd year.
  • Nomenclature
    • Sakusa (佐久早) can be read as 'Forever Early'.
      • 久 - Forever / For a long time.
        早 - Early.
    • Kiyoomi (聖臣) - 'Holy Minister'.
      • 聖 - Holy.
        臣 - Royal subject / Minister.

References

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