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We're like the blood in our veins. We must flow without stopping. Keep the oxygen moving and your mind working.

Tetsurō Kuroo (Japanese: 黒尾 (くろお) 鉄朗 (てつろう) Kuroo Tetsurō) is a third-year student from Nekoma High. He is the Boys' Volleyball Club's captain and a middle blocker, known as the "Scheming Captain".

Appearance

Kuroo is noted to be tall and lean with broad shoulders, well-built arms, and a muscular frame. He has narrowed-eyes and hazel colored, grey in the manga, cat-like pupils that make him appear sly and intimidating. His black hair is naturally messy and spikes upwards due to his bed head. He also has a fringe on his right side that partially covers his right eye. As a result of his peculiar hairstyle, he is occasionally called "Rooster Head".

Kuroo is often seen wearing a black shirt, red sweatpants, and the Nekoma High jacket. During official matches, he wears the Nekoma uniform numbered with a '1.'

Personality

Kuroo has a laid-back yet scheming personality and is considered a "provocation expert." by many[1]. He would actively provoke others and is unrelenting when dishing out snide remarks. This talent is demonstrated in the way he angers Tsukishima when the first-year blocker maintained a nonchalant attitude toward volleyball during the summer training camp. However, Kuroo is far kinder and genuine than what his exterior image conveys. After realizing he has overstepped a line, Kuroo seeks out and apologizes to Daichi about the provocation, later on, proving that while he is a "provocation expert," sportsmanship is still important to him[1]. He also cares and respects his elder coach, Nekomata, immensely, enough to help Karasuno improve in order to fulfill Nekomata's dream of competing against each other at nationals a reality.

According to Kenma, Kuroo was a shy and withdrawn kid who first moved into his neighborhood when he was eight years old[2]. He was quiet in front of strangers and awkward around Kenma at first, despite the two being close in age. Both of them bonded over video games and eventually practiced volleyball together. Slowly, Kuroo began to come out of his shell as the two got increasingly involved in the sport. He became a much louder and energetic person, made new friends at school, and started going out to play soccer with the other kids.

Kuroo is also shown to be a highly observant and intuitive person, not unlike their team setter, when it comes to both volleyball and other people. Even as a kid, he was incredibly mindful of Kenma's quiet, withdrawn personality, and had the sense to not drag him out to do something the boy didn't have any fun in doing[2]. In matches, his attentive nature as a middle blocker proves to be extremely lethal for Nekoma's opponents. He quickly tracks down and analyzes every move of the spikers, allowing him to put up a successful block and destroy the momentum of the opposing team.

Around his teammates, Kuroo is a reliable, strong captain, often responsible for lifting the spirits of the team when they are feeling down using sly quips. He seems to derive enjoyment from facing strong opponents and hides his frustration with sharp smirks and boisterous remarks, all the while scheming strategies to break down the opposing team.

Despite seeming sly and cool on the outside, Kuroo possesses a silly side that is on display when he belts out in loud obnoxious laughter and engages in frivolous conversation with Bokuto [3]. Kuroo also seems to either see himself as more of an old man or people only a year or two younger than him as children, as shown when he proclaims "Ah, youth" after seeing Inuoka and Hinata and talking with Tsukishima [4].

Background

Around 8 years old, Kuroo moved next door to Kenma with his family, consisted of his father and grandparents. Whenever he was left alone, he would come to Kenma's house instead. He was noted to be more shy and withdrawn than Kenma, so the two introverts had a difficult time getting to know each other.[2]

Initially, Kenma and Kuroo just played video games. One day, Kenma asked him if there's anything he would like the play. Kuroo took this opportunity and introduced volleyball to Kenma. The two ended up playing volleyball outside and grew familiar with each other. While heading home, Kuroo, not wanting to go to a new place alone, invited Kenma to come to a volleyball training camp that weekend. Kuroo and Kenma went to the training camp. There, they encountered a young Nekomata, who told the two that it's important to experience the joy of playing. Kuroo was inspired by Nekomata's words and became more proactive. He joined a volleyball team and made new friends at school. Since there were no volleyball players in the neighborhood, Kuroo would still drop by Kenma's house to watch videos of professional volleyball matches together. He would mimick moves he saw, later showing them to Kenma.[5] When he saw Kenma's interest in volleyball tactics, he urged his friend to become a setter, citing it as a perfect position for a strategist and not having to move around much. He and Kenma went to the same middle and high school.

Later, Kuroo convinced Kenma to join their junior high's volleyball team and they have played volleyball together since then.[6] When Kenma was having trouble fitting into the team in his first year of high school, Kuroo encouraged him to stay by telling Kenma he is a big asset to the team. 

Plot

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

Kuroo first appears at Tokyo Station with Kenma, on their way to Karasuno High for the practice match[7]. Sometime later, he heads out to search for Kenma, who had gotten separated from the group.

Nekoma’s first practice match is against Tsukinokizawa High. Kuroo walks in as two opponents are criticizing Kenma and corrects that Kenma is actually Nekoma’s backbone. In the end, Nekoma wins 2-0[8]. At the inn that night, Kuroo yells at Yamamoto several times for being too loud.

The day of the match arrives and the current Nekoma and Karasuno meet. As Daichi and Kuroo shake hands, Daichi notes that Kuroo’s the cunning type. Nekoma then gathers around for Kuroo’s usual speech.

Kuroo doesn’t play much until late into the second set[5]. As he moves to the front of the net, Hinata watches warily. Kuroo then teases him, unnerving Hinata who yells back. Kuroo’s initially surprised by the first years’ quick, but doesn’t seem perturbed by it. In response, he attacks back with a personal time difference he’d perfected with Kenma since childhood.

In the end, Nekoma wins all the matches. Kuroo approaches Tsukishima after and comments that he’s not like a high school student at all. Before leaving, Kuroo shakes hands with Daichi again, though both are squeezing hard in challenge.

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Kuroo takes Karasuno around before the training camp begins[9]. He asks Daichi about Hinata and Kageyama before leading the group to the gym.

Later, he sits in the cafeteria with Daichi and talks about the Interhigh results. Kuroo reveals that Nekoma was up against last year’s champions on the second day and only made it to best eight. Though Daichi remarks that it’s still a good position, Kuroo replies that if they don’t move forward, then there’s no point.

Sometime later, Kuroo’s practicing with Bokuto and Akaashi in the third gymnasium when Tsukishima passes by[10]. He calls Tsukishima over and asks him to join, though he’s shocked when Tsukishima refuses. In response, Kuroo brings up Tsukishima’s position as a middle blocker. Tsukishima gets riled up and joins.

Episode 7- Tsukishima, Kuroo, Bokuto and Akaashi

Practicing in the third gymnasium.

As they practice, Kuroo gives Tsukishima tips and examples. However, when he compares Tsukishima to Hinata, Tsukishima gets silent and leaves when the rest of Nekoma walks in a second later. The next day, Kuroo approaches Daichi and apologizes for it.

Sometime later, he’s practicing with Bokuto and Akaashi again when Tsukishima approaches them. Tsukishima starts by mentioning their teams’ strength, annoying Kuroo. When Bokuto interrupts with an off-topic comment, Kuroo continues with him[3].

The practices continue, with Hinata and Lev eventually joining. Kuroo suggests a 3-on-3 with the tallest members against the shortest ones. Tsukishima asks him why he’s helping them so much even though they’re opponents. When Kuroo responds that he’s always this kind, Hinata and Tsukishima stare at him in disbelief. Kuroo then reveals that he wants to make the Battle of the Trash Heap a reality since he doesn’t know how long the Head Coach would stay on the team.

At some point, after the night practice, Kuroo talks to Tsukishima and Hinata about how one point is as good as a hundred points, though the more he tries to explain it, the more he loses his train of thought.

During the BBQ, Kuroo brings food to Kenma and discusses the country’s top three aces with Lev and Hinata[11]. He later teases Tsukishima with Bokuto.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Nekoma vs. Fukurōdani

Nekoma makes it to top four in the Spring High and faces off against Fukurōdani in the first round[12]. As it’s preparing, Daishō approaches Kuroo and insults his team. In response, Kuroo brings up his breakup with Mika.

The match begins and Kuroo preps his team, though he’s worried about Bokuto. Kuroo is able to block Bokuto many times, but Fukurōdani still pulls ahead. In the end, Nekoma loses after Bokuto scores with two cross spikes past Kuroo.

Nekoma vs. Nohebi

Nekoma faces off against Nohebi now[13]. Kenma calls Kuroo’s attention to help Lev, who’s depressed after the match. Kuroo explains that Lev may not fit in completely with the team yet, but that’s not the most important part. What’s more important is if Lev can feel himself fitting in.

The third years are tense as the game’s starting as this is their last chance at nationals. As Kuroo and Daishō shake hands, they tease each other, but Kuroo gets serious and remarks that they both lost so they can’t criticize too much.

Kuroo doesn’t play in the beginning and watches the match from the side, warily taking note of Nohebi’s tactics. He later goes into the game, but Nohebi has the advantage with the referee. After Yaku gets injured, Kuroo waves it off, but as soon as Yaku leaves the court, he becomes completely serious.

Kuroo helps Shibayama relax. Kuroo has a much bigger role and is able to receive a jump floater perfectly. He then hangs by the net, pressuring Nohebi’s players heavily and blocking some of their attacks. Kuroo wins the first set with a back attack[14].

The second set begins and Kuroo worries about Lev, wondering how to advise him without discouraging him. Kai notices his distress and remarks that it doesn’t matter what type of mistakes Lev makes because the team will always be behind him.

Kuroo and Kenma use their one-man time delay attack. He later busts his nail and has to be switched out to stop the bleeding. He watches as Lev pulls off a magnificent block and later wins the match for Nekoma. As Kuroo and Kai hold up Yaku, the former compliments Lev. He then hears some guys complaining about Nohebi and defends Nohebi, stating that it had actual skills. Because Nekoma won the match, it’s one of the three teams representing Tokyo at Nationals [15].

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Nekoma vs. Kiyokawa

Nekoma vs. Sarukawa

Nekoma vs. Karasuno

Statistics

Original Statistics
Power
 
3/5
Jumping
 
2/5
Stamina
 
3/5
Game Sense
 
4/5
Technique
 
4/5
Speed
 
4/5

Kuroo is considered by many to be a blocking expert and is excellent at pressuring opponents. He possesses fine-tuned techniques and is recognized to be Tsukishima's blocking teacher. In addition, Kuroo is an amazing all-rounder, essential to Nekoma in both offense and defense. Like the rest of his team, Kuroo is flexible and efficient with receiving. Even though a middle blocker is usually rotated out with the libero, Kuroo has shown the ability to play back-row capably after Yaku is taken out due to injury. He is also currently the only starting member to have a good jump serve.

Jumping Reach: 330 cm

Skills

  • Masterful Blocking: Kuroo is a skilled read blocker and is capable of stopping Bokuto's spikes, despite the latter being one of the top five spikers in the country. His expertise in blocking is mainly derived from his firm grasp of the nuances, such as the proper posture, timing, and jumps. When jumping to block, Kuroo would stop and jump straight up instead sideways. At the same time, he tries to match his blocking timing with the moment the ball is spiked downward[16]. This allows Kuroo to block spikers taller or stronger than him.
  • Personal Time Difference Attack: Kuroo picked up the personal time difference attack after watching volleyball matches in his childhood and perfected the move with Kenma over the years[5]. It's one of Nekoma's strongest attacks and can be used to throw off the opposing blockers.
  • Jump Serve: Kuroo is one of the two players on Nekoma shown to be able to use a jump serve. He first showed off his jump serve in the match against Fukurōdani Academy in which he is able to land a free ball for Nekoma[17]. Since then, he has used the jump serve reliably either for service aces or breaking the opponents' formations.

Relationships

Nekoma High

  • Kenma Kozume:
    Kuroo1
    Kuroo has known Kenma since they were young; Since Kuroo moved when he was young, the two of them are now neighbours and grew up together. Kuroo had been shy and withdrawn when he was a kid, only hesitantly bringing up volleyball when Kenma asked him what he wanted to do some day. Kenma was the one to encourage him to seek out a junior team for him to play volleyball at. This is also where they met Nekomata for the first time. Growing up, Kuroo became more outgoing, meeting up with other friends, always considerate of Kenma's feelings, going as far as to reassure Kenma's father that Kenma would do well if he set his mind to it.
    Kuroo is responsible for bringing Kenma out of his shell and into volleyball, practicing with him as kids. Kuroo also convinced Kenma to join the volleyball team in junior high and stay for high school, however, he would feel guilty about it since Kenma would easily get sick after training days or matches.
    Around Kenma's first year, he wanted to quit the volleyball team due to the harsh treatment from the seniors, but Kuroo convinced him to stay, telling him that he is an important part of the team. Kuroo also constantly looks after Kenma and knows him the best out of everyone on the team, to the point where he's able to tell apart Kenma's different facial expressions. In the cross team match game, Kenma has stated that he had never failed a test because Kuroo teaches him before tests. Kenma also thinks that Kuroo's pre-match saying is stupid, but he doesn't protest to it in serious matches.
  • Morisuke Yaku: At some point in junior high, Yaku's team crushed Kuroo's, leading to the latter's bitter resentment towards the libero. As a result, they clashed often as first years in Nekoma.[18] Opposing Yaku, Kuroo prefers fish, girls with long hair, sweet curry, Mikasa volleyballs, going to the sea during the summer, dogs, and Japanese-style; however, it's unclear if he said some of those things just so he would oppose Yaku. As third years now, they have a strong relationship and mutual respect for each other.

Other Schools

  • Kōtarō Bokuto:
    BokutoKurooAkaashi
    Kuroo and Bokuto are good friends, knowing each other quite well and often teaming up in their antics. Although Kuroo is more sensible than Bokuto, and will sometimes fool around with Bokuto, they often share similar reactions to events unfolding before them. He and Bokuto have a rather competitive relationship, though mostly trivial, and enjoy each other's company. Kuroo practices with Bokuto and Akaashi at the training camp despite being on different teams, suggesting that they must have known each other for a while.
  • Kei Tsukishima:
    KurooTsukishima
    Kuroo constantly teases Tsukishima while the latter is neutrally respectful towards him, occasionally looking towards Kuroo for inspiration. Kuroo taught Tsukishima many proper blocking techniques during the training camp and gave him advice on how to improve.
  • Suguru Daishō: They are longtime rivals and enjoy mocking each other. They also seem to have a mutual respect for each other as they acknowledge their respective teams' abilities and have challenged each other to meet at the Spring High finals. Somehow, Kuroo knows a lot about Daishō's personal life, including his breakup with Mika. Kuroo calls Mika "Mika-chan", but it's unknown if he does it to tease Daishō or if he knows her personally.
  • Daichi Sawamura: Though he sometimes teases Daichi for his team being the one to do the most penalties during the training camps,
    Daichi and Kuroo s2-e14-1
    Kuroo and Daichi respect each other and share a desire to have their teams play against one another at Nationals. They are both seen having to keep an eye on their underclassmen on occasion. After their final matches at Nationals, they are shown sharing embraces and Kuroo is shown praising Daichi and the Karasuno team for their well played game after they lost to Kamomedai High.

Quotes

That unsteady shrimp you guys are talking about is the backbone of Nekoma. He's our brain and our heart.
To players from an opponent team during a practice match, Season 1 Episode 11
We're like the blood in our veins. We must flow without stopping. Keep the oxygen moving and your mind working.
To the Nekoma Team before their practice match against Karasuno, Season 1 Episode 12
A “personal time difference attack”! It’s an offensive technique we can’t use yet, but if we practice it a lot from here on out, around the time we’re in high school, I’m sure that it’ll become one of our most magnificent special moves!
You [Kenma] and Lev are like oil and water; you guys don't mix very well.
..Isn't it more fun having enemies you can't seem to beat?
Then, isn't it best to attack before being attacked? They do say offense is the best defense, right?
Oho ho ho?
(Although in the Japanese raws, the quote is "Oya oya oya?"), Volume 10 Chapter 89
I've always been a nice person.
To Tsukishima and Hinata, Season 2 Episode 9
Read blocking is a block that consists of restraint and persistence, but it's also.. the block where you laugh last.
To Lev and Tsukishima, Season 3 Episode 9

Trivia

  • Favorite Food: Grilled salted mackerel pike.
  • Current Concern: Can't get rid of his bedhead hair.
  • His hair sticks up like that because it's his natural bedhead, according to Kenma.
    • Kenma had also stated that this happens because Kuroo sleeps on his stomach while pressing two pillows onto both his ears and his hair.
  • In Haikyuu's first popularity poll, Kuroo placed in 6th with 4035 votes.[19] In the second, he placed 8th with 6511 votes.[20]
    Kurootheory1
  • It has been theorized that Kuroo could possibly be ambidextrous as he has been shown spiking with both hands in the manga. However, Furudate has stated right-handed players spiking were occasionally drawn spiking with their left hand due to drawing while half-asleep.[21]
Kurootheory2
  • In the official English sub of the anime, his name is written as 'Kuro'.
  • In a flashback Tsukishima has of the training camp, Kuroo and Bokuto were shown to have switched hairstyles.
  • Kuroo is the youngest of the third years.
  • His star sign is Scorpio.
  • He is in Class 5, a college preparatory class.
  • He knows the full term for DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).
  • Nomenclature:
    • Tetsurō (鉄朗) - Iron Cheerfulness
    • Kuroo (黒尾) - Black Tail

References

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