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Manabu Naoi (Japanese: 直井 (なおい) (まなぶ) Naoi Manabu) is one of the coaches on Nekoma High's Boys' Volleyball Team.

Appearance

He has a rectangular shaped head and a jutted jaw. His hair is a dark, shortcut and his eyes are the same dark color. He appears to have a slight widow's peak. Naoi also seems to be of a stout, muscular build.

Personality

He seems to be a confident individual and has a competitive streak, shown by his slight rivalry with Ukai. He also has a sense of humor as he can easily joke about how he was never a starting member during high school.

Background

Seven years ago, he was in the Nekoma Volleyball Club at the same time as Ukai was in Karasuno's and played as a setter with the number 8. However, like Ukai, he wasn't a starting member and because of that, the two called themselves the "Benchwarmers Club". He is currently a coach on his former team.

Plot

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

Nekoma plays a practice match against Karasuno for the first time in several years[1]. Naoi approaches Ukai and teases him for his new hair style while being mocked by Ukai for his appearance never having changed before the two of them introduce themselves as the Benchwarmers Club to Takeda. During the match, Naoi acts as the main referee.

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At the end of the match, Naoi stands with Nekomata as he tells the Karasuno players about his past with Ikkei Ukai and how he is certain that Karasuno will continue to grow stronger. Afterwards, Naoi watches Ukai and Nekomata shake hands with Nekomata teasing the young coach about his coaching skills and similar appearance to his grandfather. Naoi would attempt to get the older coach to cease his teasing but was unable to stop him. As the teams get ready to head home, Naoi and Ukai are seen shaking hands while challenging each other about who will be victorious the next time their teams play one another.

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Early on during the week long camp at Shinzen High, Naoi witnessed how Karasuno began working on their new attack methods; such as a synchronized attack and Nishinoya attempting a libero set. He originally believed that the team was simply having an off day but Nekomata would point out that Karasuno is actually trying to better improve themselves. Nearly every night after practices ended, Naoi is often dragged out to get drinks with the other team coaches and Coach Nekomata.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Nekomata and Naoi OVA 4-1.png

During Nekoma's first match against Fukurōdani, Naoi continually encouraged the team. He especially became hopeful when they began to form a plan to limit Bokuto. Like the rest of the team, Naoi became annoyed when Lev began making his same mistakes.

When Nekoma plays Nohebi Academy, Yaku became injured when he jumped over a barrier to save a ball and twisted his ankle in the process. Naoi helps carry him off the court with Inuoka. He then helps him by pressing an ice pack on his foot by the sides[2].

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Nekoma vs Sarukawa

When seeing Kenma being inactive, Naoi attempts to encourage Kenma to be more active. Naoi continually shows frustration of the way Sarukawa Tech is able to hold their defense and continue their attempt to wear Kenma down.

Nekoma vs Karasuno

After Kuroo was able to tie the score 2-2 in the first set, Naoi notices how Kenma sees more fired up than usual; his statement confusing a nearby camera man who thinks Kenma does not seem enthusiastic at all[3]. He agrees with Coach Nekomata in hoping that Kenma will not lose this determination throughout the match.

Naoi's surprise of Kenma's enthusiasm continues when everyone witnesses Kenma running to make a set after Yamamoto was able to save Kageyama's wipe attempt[4]. After Nekoma won the first set, Naoi watches in amusement as Kenma right away begins laying out a plan for the second set. As the second set continues, Naoi admits that Kenma has looked more interested in this match than any other but the downside to it is that the setter is getting worn out quicker because of the effort he's putting in. He questions Nekomata if they should bring Tamahiko Teshiro into the game to let Kenma rest but Nekoma decides to wait.

After Karasuno took the second set, Naoi admires how Kuroo was able to easily keep Lev and the rest of the team calm while giving compliments to players for certain plays they did during the set.

Statistics

Naoi used to play as a setter, but, for unknown reasons, was not be a starting member.

Relationships

Keishin Ukai

The two seem to have a good relationship; when they first saw each other again after so many years, they joked about each other's appearances. They met back when they were in high school, possibly in their teams' practice matches. They both got along due to their similar situations of not being a starting member, and thus dubbed themselves the "Benchwarmers Club".

Nekoma High

Naoi gets along well with his team.

Quotes

Trivia

  • Current Concern: He's been told that he's "worse with alcohol than he looks".
  • Nomenclature
    • Manabu (学) - Learn
    • Naoi (直井)
      • 直 - Straight
      • 井 - Well

References

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