Shōhei Fukunaga (Japanese: 福永 (ふくなが) 招平 (しょうへい) Fukunaga Shōhei) is a second-year student from Nekoma High. He is one of the boys' volleyball team's wing spikers. As of 2021, Fukunaga is a comedian and part-time restaurant chef[1]

Appearance

Fukunaga has wide, cat-like eyes with small pupils. He has small eyebrows and short black hair that has notable cowlick stands at the base of his neck. His skin is extremely pale. On multiple occasions, he's shown with his hands in the air, not unlike a manekineko. He is also shown to slouch usually with a relaxed posture. His knees are also bent often making him look a little shorter or hunched over. It is also noted that when doing gestures he often uses both of his hands as seen when he waves, gives a thumbs up, or even the ok symbol. 

Personality

Although he's a regular, he doesn't speak often. He has a few lines in the manga, and says "Yes" and "Okay" in anime. At Nationals he was even described by the announcer as the 'silent big point scorer.' During his first year, he stopped a fight between Yamamoto and Kenma by throwing a bucket of water over them to prevent the situation from escalating. This act caused Fukunaga to receive a lot of praise from his upperclassmen, and the respect of his fellow first years.

He's fond of comedy and often thinks up of funny things to say but never tells anyone else so instead just laughs covertly to himself. Fukunaga is also shown to be very easy going as he usually is not startled or changes his expression unless it is in excitement of the game. During the match with Karasuno he was even seen listening to the stadium music and seemed unfazed by how the game was going. In a flashback, Fukunaga was shown clapping and cheering in an exhausted Kenma showing that he seems to be supportive and encouraging. 

Background

Not much is known of Fukunaga’s background. Though it is assumed that he has grown up in Japan and not with any of the people in his grade given that they did not seem familiar with each other at all. In Kenma's flashback of when they were first years, Fukunaga is shown making a pun about an a-pass and catching Kenma and Yamamoto off guard by speaking and then laughing at his own joke. When Kenma and Yamamoto nearly got into an altercation, Fukunaga was able to stop them by throwing a bucket of water on them; earning the admiration and respect of his upperclassmen in the process. This method of stopping Kenma and Yamamoto from fighting would prove handy when Fukunaga is later seen with another bucket of water when his classmates nearly fought again[2].

Plot 

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

Fukunaga took part in the practice match between Karasuno and Nekoma. Though he didn't stand out, he happen to score a few points for the team and revealed to have good reflexes in recieving. During the first few chapters of their match, Fukunaga was mostly seen recieving the ball. However this changed when he did a back attack, that Hinata ended up sloppily recieving and led to Nekoma's point after a quick attack from Kenma and Kuroo. The other time his abilities were shown were when he was able to recieve Asahi's spike head on. When it was time for the team to leave, Fukunaga was shown waving his hands to the team though he did not seem to make a strong connection to anyone on Karasuno. 

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Fukunaga is mostly seen taking part in the practice matches and the barbecue.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Nekoma vs Fukurōdani

Fukunaga takes part in Nekoma's match against Fukurōdani to be one of Tokyo's representative teams. He is mostly seen spiking and receiving.

Nekoma vs Nohebi

In the match against Nohebi, Fukunaga proves to be a reliable player with his spikes and receives but two of Fukunaga's spikes are wrongly called to have landed out of bounds when Nohebi players blocked the sight of the ref's in order to gain the points for themselves. Nekoma would eventually win the match and Fukunaga celebrates along with his team.

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Nekoma vs Kiyokawa

With Kenma's help, Fukunaga is able to score the winning point to win the match against Kiyokawa High.

Nekoma vs Sarukawa

Throughout most of the match, Fukunaga is mostly seen taking part in receives and spiking. He would help save a feint shot that would allow Kai to score. During the time-out, Fukunaga agrees to Kenma's plan of requesting high sets and to flub serve receives when he signals to. When Nekoma is at match point, Kenma sends Fukunaga the last set and the wing spiker is able to make the point and win the match. He would compliment Kenma for the toss afterwards. When Kenma would admit that he sees his teammates as his friends, Fukunaga joins Yamamoto in trying to hug Kenma.

Nekoma vs Karasuno

Fukunaga does not stand out much at the start of the match. He would assist Kuroo in stopping Daichi's spike when Karasuno attempts the synchronized attack. After Kuroo would use his block to direct where Asahi's will go, Fukunaga is able to make the counter and score. Thanks to Kuroo helping direct Hinata's next spike, Fukunaga is able to make the receive.

After Tsukishima has rotated into the front row, Fukunaga would attempt to score but finds himself blocked when Tsukishima and Yamaguchi performed the serve and block technique. Despite being blocked, Fukunaga did not appear upset and instead made a pun about Tsukishima's block by saying "Did he just jump or fly? My, my, so fly.". His pun is overheard and confuses one of the ref's[3]. For several plays, Fukunaga is seen saving receives and is the one who would save Asahi's feint shot.

In the second set, Fukunaga is able to receive Kageyama's serve but the power behind it was enough to knock him off his feet. Fukunaga later makes a spike that lands near the back corner on Karasuno's side that none of the Karasuno player are able to save. He then is able to receive Yamaguchi's jump float serve with no problem.

In the third set, Fukunaga once more mostly is seen spiking and receiving. He would later be seen with a look of great surprise when Nishinoya was able to save the ball with the back of his foot and it went back to Nekoma's side to score[4].

When Teshiro is sent in as a pinch server, Fukunaga would jump over a table to save Asahi's spike after it deflected off the block. During a time-out, Kenma's weariness would cause him to start rambling about video game revivals and Fukunaga would be able to get Kenma to laugh a bit when he states that no one dies when playing volleyball. When Nekoma eventually loses the match, Fukunaga is seen walking off the court with a tearful expression.

Final Arc

Fukunaga's final appearance of the series is when he is gathered with his former Nekoma teammates at Kenma's home. He has become a comedian and a part-time chef.

Statistics

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

Despite not having many of his abilities shown, he is seen to have efficient receiving skills like the rest of his team. According to Nobuyuki Kai, he can manipulate the trajectory of the ball for each spike he makes, even controlling its trajectory precisely enough to force it to land right directly on the backline of the court. Kozume Kenma  also stated that even if there are blockers, he is capable of scoring points. According to the announcers of the game when introducing the line up for the Nationals match against Karasuno, people should be aware of his "phantasmal ball tragectories". He also seems to be able to spike from both the front and the back. 

Jumping Reach: 315 cm

Relationships

Nekoma High

Fukunaga seems to be on good terms with his team but appears to be closest to Kenma and Yamamoto, most likely due to knowing each other since they joined the volleyball club together as first years. Fukunaga can at times be seen complimenting Kenma for his sets and at one time teasing Yamamoto about possibly being related to Tanaka due to their similar personalities[5].

Trivia

  • Favourite Food: dried squid.
  • Current Concern: Yamamoto tells him to "Talk more, c'mon."
  • His birthday is on Japan’s Manekineko Day, which is what his design was based off.
  • His star sign is Libra.
  • In Haikyuu's first popularity poll, Fukunaga placed 20th with 1,048 votes.[6] In the second, he dropped to 37th with 629 votes.[7]
  • Nomenclature:
    • Shōhei (招平) - Consistently Invited/Attracted
    • Fukunaga (福永) - Eternal Blessing/Fortune
  • According to Kenma, he makes delicious paella.

Quotes

"A-pass.... A nice pass...Fufuu..." (To himself) Chapter 266 "Cats vs Monkeys" 

"Take it easy, Dostoyevsky." (To Yamamoto and Kenma)  Chapter 266 "Cats vs Monkeys"

"Nice set, ice-fete." (To Kenma) Chapter 269 "The Beasts"

* "Did he just jump or fly? My my so fly." (To Himself) Chaper 298 "Guide"

  • (The other translation for this line is ) "Height that exceeds beyond expectations. Expect the unexpected..." 

"It'll be alright. Volleyball isn't a sport that kills many people per year" (To Kenma) Chapter 323 "Last Battle"

References

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