The ace is the one who makes off with the most points. It's as simple as that.

Lev Haiba (Japanese: 灰羽 (はいば) リエーフ Haiba Riēfu) was previously a 1st-year student from Nekoma High. He was one of the team's middle blockers and was the self-declared ace of the team. As of 2021, he is a model.

He is the younger brother of Alisa Haiba.

Appearance

Lev is very tall, with exceptionally long arms and legs. He has neatly parted light grey hair and catlike slanted green eyes framed with thin eyebrows.

His half-Russian heritage gives him tall height, exceptional limb length and physical ability.

Personality

He is shown to be quite childish and cheerful, as displayed by making fun of and pointing out Hinata and Yaku's height, along with the contrast they hold to him and other players. Lev's appearance, as well as his piercing eyes, causes people to believe he is much more intimidating and serious than he actually is. Though he can be extremely blunt, often offending others without realizing, he never seems to mean any real harm and adopts a playful attitude towards most things.

He is also shown to be enthusiastic about spiking as he gets excited about it very easily and can be competitive with people he is interested in. He can be quite confident (nearing haughty) as well, as displayed in Chapter 199, looking down at Nohebi when he managed to smash down their receive.

Background

Lev is a half-Japanese, half-Russian first-year. He was born and raised in Japan and consequently cannot speak Russian. He is first introduced in chapter 78 of the Haikyū!! manga and the first OVA episode, shown at Jump Festa 2014. He attends Nekoma High and is a Middle Blocker and self-proclaimed ace on the Nekoma High Volleyball Team.

Plot

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Karasuno meets Lev Haiba during the first round of away-games. He was not present at the practice match between Nekoma and Karasuno, due to his lack of experience. Kōshi Sugawara and Asahi Azumane ponder if the first-year that was staring at them was present at the practice game. It is during a match that Lev demonstrates his whip-like spike, astounding the members of Karasuno.

Lev and Shōyō Hinata run into each other in the bathroom entrance. Hinata is intimidated by Lev's height and heritage, and he surprised to find that Lev cannot speak Russian. Lev teases Hinata on his height, and Hinata becomes offended. Lev then compliments on Hinata's jump but says that he can jump higher, prompting Hinata to jump up and hit his head on the top of the door frame. They part ways, swearing that they will defeat each other.

During the practice match between Nekoma and Karasuno, Lev misses blocking Hinata's quick attack on the first try but is successful in blocking the second one. Lev continues to demonstrate his blocking when he is able to get a one-touch on Asahi's spike after remembering to use read blocking when Hinata nearly lures him into blocking early. He lands a spike that puts Nekoma in the lead.

Lev is present to say good-bye to Hinata and Karasuno when they depart.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Nekoma vs. Fukurōdani

Before playing in the game, Lev watches the first few sets with the rest of the Nekoma team. During the first set, he misses several blocks. When he is rotated back in during the later half of the set, he misses a direct spike that gives Fukurōdani a point. During the first Nekoma time-out, Kenma is put in charge of directing Lev and does not hold back on scolding Lev of continuing to make mistakes of things he has been repeatedly told to correct. Lev becomes frightened by Kenma's anger and becomes shocked when Kenma states that he is not as good a player as Hinata.

When the game continues, Lev is given a set while reminding himself of Kenma's warning not to lower his elbows. He manages to hit the ball at an incredible height but Washio managed to get a one-touch on it that Konoha sends back to Nekoma's side and scores. Konoha takes the chance to mock Lev and Kenma on not being able to truly work together. Lev eventually lands a powerful spike when he remembers how Kenma said Hinata was a better player than him. When Fukurōdani reaches setpoint, Lev sends his serve directly into the net and Fukurōdani wins the first set.

During the second set, Lev is at the net when Akaashi and Fukurōdani carry out their plan to get Bokuto back into shape after he forgets how to hit cross shots and is baited into blocking early when Akaashi looks to attempt a setter dump.

Nekoma vs. Nohebi

Upset by his performance during the match against Fukurōdani, Lev is determined to redeem himself during the match against Nohebi. His first attempt at blocking Suguru fails when the Nohebi captain pulled off a feint right away. With Yamamoto, Lev becomes determined to get Nekoma to Nationals. As the game continues, Lev is taunted by the Nohebi players; being referred to as a sieve when it comes to blocking. Later, he manages to block Suguru but Nohebi gets the point when the ref points out Lev touched the net during the block. When a time-out is called, Lev expresses his frustration about Suguru and his behavior. This frustration continues when he is back on the court and tries to block Suguru again but blocks the wrong way. Yaku was able to tell what would happen and saved the ball. After Yamamoto scores, Yaku quickly yells at Lev for waving his arms in random directions when blocking as it makes it hard for him to receive. Lev quickly snaps back that it wouldn't matter how he blocks because Yaku is so good he would be able to save any ball; flattering Yaku in the process.

Later on, Lev is able to pull off a direct spike that Nohebi had desperately tried to keep going. He relishes in the feeling of having smashed the ball down after their attempts but his celebration ends when he sees that Yaku has been injured after having jumped the barriers to save the ball. Shibayama is placed in the game in Yaku's place and Lev tries to assure him that there is nothing to worry about as long as he is there, but Kenma ridicules that statement. The game continues and Suguru eventually targets Lev for not being as fierce in the back row as he is at the net but Kuroo is able to stop Suguru with a block. After Kenma does a setter dump, Sakishima attempts the same in the next rally but he is stunned when Lev was able to stop him right away. Along with Yamamoto, Lev begins charging toward the net and appears to be getting the set but he reveals to have just been covering for Kuroo to approach and be the one to get the set. With Kuroo and Kenma successfully pulling off a back attack, Nekoma has won the first set. 

In the second set, Lev is able to get a one-touch on Hiroo's spike. He right away calls for the ball as he appears to attempt a wide broad jump. His broad jump is successful and gets Nekoma ahead while Lev is silently praised by Kuroo and members of the crowd who think Lev is the real ace and not Yamamoto. In the middle of the set, Lev begins trying to read Kuguri's form but misses blocking when he believed Kuguri would attempt a cross-shot and instead did a straight shot. Kenma tells Lev that trying to figure out what Kuguri will do may not be successful as Kuguri has near-perfect form. Lev is not deterred by this information and believes he can stop Kuguri again.

Near the end of the set, Kuroo injures his finger on a receive and has to switch out. Shibayama goes in and assures Lev that he is right behind him. When the game continues, Lev spikes the ball and gets Nekoma to set and match point. However, Nohebi gets the point back when Lev is unable to block Kuguri and Shibayama is unable to pick up the ball. Lev then becomes confused when Shibayama apologizes for not being able to receive the ball because he believes that, other than a serve, a lost point is not the fault of anyone player because all of their plays are connected. At this, Lev finally realizes the real meaning of teamwork. Because he knows that Shibayama is the one behind him and not Yaku, Lev becomes aware of how he must play and block. When Kuguri goes to spike, Lev is able to emit a great presence that scares Kuguri into sending his spike straight to Shibayama. With this, Nekoma is able to win the game and earn their spot for Nationals.

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Nekoma vs. Kiyokawa

With Inuoka and Shibayama, Lev cheers on his team as they wear down Kiyokawa's ace with receives.

Nekoma vs. Sarukawa

Lev mostly appears trying to block Sarukawa's spikers.

Nekoma vs. Karasuno

As the game is about to begin, Lev is admired by some of the female Nekoma students who think his ethnicity and serious expression are attractive; though they are unaware that Lev's expression when talking to Kuroo was due to thinking that he needed to run to the bathroom before the match started.

Lev is given the first set of the game but Nishinoya was able to receive it. He then right away assists in trying to block Tanaka. Though Tanaka was able to get past him with a cross shot, Lev's block did allow for Yamamoto to be in place to pick up the spike. The ball went directly over the net where Lev would beat Hinata in a joust but Daichi was able to make the save. Immediately after the joust, Lev spots Hinata making an approach for a broad jump and is unable to get into position in time. Because of this, Hinata was able to spike past Lev to score the first point of the match.

Lev would get the point back when he spikes above Hinata's and Tanaka's block. His first serve clips the top of the net, forcing Hinata to make the receive, before Lev receives Tanaka's spike and gets silent criticism from Yaku for making a shoddy receive. When Lev later rotates back in the game when Karasuno is in the lead 13-10, Shibayama tries to encourages Lev to play like himself though Lev would seem confused by the phrasing the libero chose to use.

When he starts blocking, Kinoshita comments how the ball seems to be getting past Lev more than usual but Tsukishima actually sees that Lev is using his blocks to direct where the spikes should go and is making it easier for Nekoma's receivers to dig the ball. This is further demonstrated when Lev is able to prevent Hinata from spiking in one direction and he instead spikes in the direction where Fukunaga was waiting to receive.

Lev continues to be a reliable blocker when he and Yamamoto cut off Tanaka's option for a line shot and force him to hit a cross shot directly to Yaku. Lev later attempts to beat Kageyama in a joust at the net but is shocked when Kageyama hits the ball against his arm but would be given the next set by Kenma to score. When Daichi's receive goes over the net, Lev tries to beat Kageyama to it but is shocked when Kageyama hit the ball against his arm and past him. Yamamoto would save the ball and Lev would get the set. He spikes past Kageyama and Tsukishima and scores.

On his first serve of the second set, Lev notices that the Karasuno players are positioned more forward and decides to send his serve toward the back end of the court. After his serve is received and stopped, Lev rotates off the court where Coach Nekomata tells him that the worst thing for someone to do is something 'just because'.

After Hinata mistakenly touches the net during during a block, Lev would compliment his friend for his jump but still point out that he was able to give Yamamoto a scare at the same time. His comments were noted by Tanaka to take a shot at both his enemies and allies. At one point, Lev is excited when he successfully blocks Tanaka's spike but quickly is annoyed when the ball had landed out of bounds. Later, Lev chases after Hinata and would taunt the Karasuno middle blocker when he mistakenly sent his spike out of bounds, claiming that Hinata got scared of Lev possibly blocking him. Lev would soon be part of a triple block that would block Hinata's spike. He would then remember how Kenma instructed Lev to be part of a triple block when it appeared Hinata would be making a running approach. The memory of it makes Lev comment how Kenma can be scary at times. On his next serve, Lev follows Kenma's instruction of where to aim his serve in the attempt to once more force Hinata to make the receive. Lev would then score with a back attack.

A while later, Sugawara is subbed into the game and he and Kageyama throw Nekoma off when they switch positions. Sugawara is tempted to use Hinata for the attack but hesitates when he feels Lev's presence. After witnessing Hinata use his new jump to stay airborne longer, Inuoka is brought into the game to help Lev try to contain Hinata and Lev takes lead in the timing of the block. Though in place to block, Hinata does a block-out against Lev's hand and scores. When Lev is next to serve, he is upset to see that he is being subbed out so Teshiro can go in as a pinch server.

Before the third set begins, Lev vows to score twenty points. Shibayama realizes that Lev tends to self-destruct when he becomes too enthusiastic but Kuroo is able to calm Lev down a bit though Lev would soon be spotted doing push-ups with Yaku sitting on his back[1]. Not long into the set, Lev is able to use his block to direct Asahi's spike so Kuroo would be able to receive it easily. After acting as a decoy so Kuroo would be able to do a back attack, Lev positions himself at the net when Karasuno has the ball. His presence was enough for Kageyama to silently admit he felt scared of knowing Lev was waiting.

When Karasuno has reached match point, Lev would help Kenma in trying to block Tanaka and accidentally knocks Kenma over. He asks if Kenma is alright only for the setter to angrily shout at him to concentrate on keeping the ball alive. When Yaku receives a ball but Hinata attempts to do a direct spike, Lev is able to block it right away; earning surprise and praise from Yaku and his team. Nekomata would eventually lose the match and Lev would be seen walking off the court with a tearful expression with Yaku and Shibayama.

Final Arc

In the Final Arc, Lev has become a model alongside his sister, Alisa, and his only appearance is on a billboard advertising perfume in Shibuya.

Statistics

High School Statistics
Power
 
3/5
Jumping
 
3/5
Stamina
 
4/5
Game Sense
 
2/5
Technique
 
1/5
Speed
 
4/5

Lev is a relatively inexperienced volleyball player. As a result, his basic abilities are weaker (much like Hinata's, as Kenma had mentioned), but his strike, height, and physical ability more than make up for it. Upon joining the team, Lev quickly overtook Inuoka as the starting middle blocker and is seen as someone with huge potential[2]. Lev initially has trouble syncing with Kenma's toss but gradually improves to be a capable spiker. Overall, Lev takes a straightforward approach to spiking, looking to win and garner the most hits but shows a willingness to learn technical terms.

Lev often self-proclaims himself as Nekoma's ace, although his teammates don't seem to acknowledge this. He had trouble grasping the concept of teamwork until he and Shibayama worked together to stop a spike. Since then, he has become more calm and aware of his teammates during matches.

Jumping Reach: 345 cm

Skills

Lev's whip-like spike.

  • Whip Spike: Lev's most notable ability yet is his whip-like spike due to his long limbs[3]. Hinata, in particular, is amazed by this spike, telling Lev, "It's incredible, how your spikes made it seem like the blockers being there didn't even matter."
  • Broad Attack: Lev is proficient at doing a broad attack. Due to his huge strides, he would outpace his opponents and spike before a block could be put up[4]. He is capable of pulling off a broad attack spontaneously with Kenma.
  • Read Blocking: During the summer training camp, Lev starts improving his read blocking under Kuroo's supervision. He corrects his "banzai block" in which he places his arms too wide apart, thereby leaving a huge gap for a spike to go through. By the time Nekoma reaches the Tokyo qualifiers, Lev has already made much improvement but still has the habit of swing his arm around when attempting to block[5]. After he finally understood the importance of teamwork, Lev becomes more adept at limiting the path of the spike for the receivers[6]. Combined with his advantageous height, Lev is a blocker that can exert immense pressure on the opposing setter; as seen when his presence is enough to cause both Kageyama and Sugawara to try to keep spikers clear of him during the match between Karasuno and Nekoma.


Relationships

Shōyō Hinata

Hinata and Lev s2-e5-1.png

Lev first meets Hinata at the Fukurōdani Academy Group away-games, and the relationship between the two is both competitive and playful, as the two have similar personalities. Hinata first learns of Lev whilst watching him play, in awe of his striking prowess and tall gait, and through Kenma as well. When Hinata meets Lev, though he is shocked at first, he quickly warms to him. Upon his mention of Hinata's height and his jumping ability not being enough to combat Lev's, Hinata jumps high enough to hit his head on the doorframe and claims he will jump higher than Lev can. This surprises Lev, and the competition between the two ignites. In general, however, the two seem to be pretty good friends, and the competition between them is rather a friendly rivalry.

Morisuke Yaku

Lev and Yaku OVA 4-1.png

Lev and Yaku are opposites in physical traits. While Lev is a towering figure, Yaku is short, even if he doesn't like to admit it. Lev's bluntness leads him to directly point this fact out, much to Yaku's annoyance. He makes sure to reprimand Lev for it, often physically hitting him in his anger whenever he points out his height. Yaku is also seen to have been training Lev with his receives, although Lev ditched him one time and lied to his teammates to play with Kuroo, Bokuto, Akaashi and Tsukishima, leaving Yaku enraged. Like the rest of Nekoma, Lev sees Yaku as a skilled libero and firmly believes that Yaku is capable of saving any ball. Yaku often calls Lev's hits weak as he often misses.

Kenma Kozume

Lev and Kenma s2-e5-1.png

In the Nekoma OVA, Kenma and Lev are seen to be working together to perfect the timing of Lev's whip spike attack. It is mentioned by Kenma that Lev's technique is almost nonexistent and that his attacks are sloppier than Hinata's, which caused Kenma to try different methods to try to sync up with the middle blocker. At first, it seems as though Kenma dislikes Lev, but this feeling eventually disappears as the two are able to attack properly later in the series.

Yūki Shibayama

Lev and Shibiyama OVA 5-1.png

The two are not seen interacting much prior to the Spring Tournament qualifier tournament. During the tournament, Shibayama would try to comfort Lev when the middle blocker was upset about his performance after the match against Fukurōdani. During the game against Nohebi, Shibayama is the one to help Lev truly understand what teamwork really means. From that point, the two are seen interacting with one another more and Shibayama is seen taking the role of trying to help Lev continue to play as himself and not try to play like others but Lev was seen to not completely understand what he meant.

Trivia

  • Favorite food: Oinarisan
  • Current concern: His senpais try to give him weird nicknames.
  • Lev cannot speak Russian; despite being of Russian-Japanese descent, he was born and raised in Japan.
  • Just like Kenma, he doesn't like Kuroo's prematch speeches and famous quote: "We're like the blood in our veins...", and according to Kenma, that's the only thing he agrees with Lev on.
  • Lev shares a birthday with Reon Ōhira.
    • Interestingly enough, both of their names have to do with lions.
  • His star sign is Scorpio.
  • He had stated that he grew 2mm in two weeks, which averages out to 1mm per week. Thus far, he is the third tallest high school volleyball player in the series.
  • According to Shibayama, Lev has a tendency to self-destruct if he becomes too fired up.
  • Nomenclature:
    • Lev (Лев) - Lion
    • Haiba (灰羽) - Ashen Feathers

Quotes

  • "You're even shorter up close." (to Hinata, within the first few minutes of meeting him in Chapter 79)
  • "The ace is the one who makes off with the most points. It's as simple as that." (to Hinata, in Chapter 79)
  • "I'm trying to be humble by not letting everyone know that I'm the best." (to Kenma, in Chapter 82)
  • "I am the wind. I am as swift as the wind...I am the forest. I am as quiet as the forest...And...I'm flexible...as a cat!" (to himself, OVA 1)
  • "I grew two millimeters!" (to Hinata)
  • "Well, I'm not going to become just a regular - but the Ace!" (Haikyū!! OVA)
  • "The Ace has...Awoken!" (After spiking one of Kenma's tosses for the first time, Haikyū!! OVA)
  • "The usual for Nekoma... is not the same as before." (about Nekoma, in Chapter 198)
  • "A ball that the other team so desperately manages to get back up in the air... it just makes my day smashing those back down!" (Chapter 199)

References

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