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Wakatsu Kiryū (Japanese: 桐生 (きりゅう) (わかつ) Kiryū Wakatsu) is a third year student at Mujinazaka High. He is the captain of the boys volleyball team and plays as a wing spiker and the team ace. At the time of his introduction, he is stated to be one of the top three aces in the nation.

Post-timeskip, he is an outside hitter for the Azuma Pharmacy Green Rockets, a professional volleyball team in Division 1 of Japan's V. League.

As of 2021, he is part of Japan Men's National Volleyball Team.

Appearance

He has dark hair and a buzz-cut with bald stripes along the sides of his head and big, oval-shaped eyebrows. He is fairly tall and has a muscular build.

Post-timeskip, Kiryū appears mostly the same but no longer has the bald stripes.

Personality

Kiryū appears to have a tendency to over-analyze. He is shown stressing over the ulterior motive behind Bokuto eagerly greeting him prior to their match, even though Bokuto had no such motive. Despite being a top 3 spiker, Kiryū admits to not having confidence in his own abilities. In the past, he struggled with feelings of not being able to be the dependable ace his team needed. That part of his personality remained unchanged even in high school when playing against Bokuto brought out Kiryū's insecurities. However, he possesses a strong sense of responsibility to his teammates that drives him to improve and overcome heavy pressure.

Background

He attended Mujinazaka High, located in Ōita Prefecture, and was one of the nation's top three aces. Back in middle school, Kiryū was already a reliable ace, considered the top hitter in the nation, who led his team to a second-round victory in the National Middle School Athletics Tournament. Due to their similar playstyle, he was compared to Ushijima and said to be a better all-rounder. However, Ushijima broke through the heavy defense constantly marking him, whereas Kiryū succumbed to the pressure and backed away from the challenge. After their loss, Kiryū was devastated to hear his setter apologizing to him and promised he will hit every toss.

Plot

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Mujinazaka vs. Fukurōdani

When Bokuto is jumping around heading to the court and Mujinazaka is warming up before their match, Kiryū is thinking about how Bokuto was talking to them in a way that sounded like he was getting ready to destroy him and his team and was wondering whether it was all an act to scare Mujinazaka. Usuri interrupts his thoughts, asking him if something is bothering him, and he answers that of course not, panicked. When Usuri says that it's going to be alright either way because Kiryū is in their team, he stutters and nervously tells him that he doesn't need telling twice.

Usuri sets the ball to Kiryū, which is followed by Akaashi, Bokuto, and Washio attempt at blocking his upcoming spike, but Kiryū easily triumphs over their triple block, astounding everyone in the stadium[1]. After Kiryū easily gains his team another point, Kenma comments that he definitely looks and acts like a typical power hitter, but that he's also a high jumper.

Kenma also notices that he leans really hard on his left when he's hitting, and Yamamoto tells him that Kiryū concentrates on getting as much of his body weight into his spike as he can so that they can be as sharp as possible, this being mentioned in an article about him.

When Usuri is setting from a really low point, making it really difficult to hit, Kiryū is still able to gain a point out of it. The commentators even say that he seems like someone who smashes the ball with little regard for nuance, he's actually a very skilled deft hitter, hitting the ball each time with nearly his full strength. His playstyle is further analyzed by the commentators by saying that in a split second, he can figure out how to hit any set, whether they are good or not. And with only a one-step approach, he can jump high enough to spike a ball hard, having trained both his core and lower body greatly.

As the game progresses, Kiryū scores more and more points, whether it's a service ace or a simple block. And when Mami praises him, Kiryū scratches the back of his head as if he were embarrassed.

After Bokuto gets fired up to win the match, however, he gains multiple points in a row against Mujinazaka[2]. Despite this, Ezota is able to bump the ball to Hondo, who then passes it to Kiryū, his spike finally ending Fukurōdani's streak of points. And although Kiryū was easily able to get past through a triple block at the start of the game, during the start of the 3rd set, he was unable to do so.

When Kuzuri comments on how Mujinazaka's job is to make Fukurōdani lean on their ace even when they don't want to, Kiryū tells his teammates that he sees Bokuto having no fear when playing and that he was just having fun and being the best. His teammates get confused by this, but Kuzuri already knew that Bokuto would cause trouble for Kiryū since he wouldn't know how to react to him. Mami then tries to cheer him up twice but it just ends up in him and Unnan getting into a short argument both times[3].

Kiryū also thinks that playing against people like Bokuto makes it all the more obvious how small of a man he is because so many things don't seem to bother him, such as his teammates trying to motivate him because it was somehow making him even more nervous, like a star feeling more and more pressure to perform. At this though, Kiryū starts laughing because he realizes he isn't a star, so he shouldn't see himself as such.

And despite Kiryū having no confidence in his skills whatsoever, he is pretty confident that he's been blessed with great teammates, thinking back at the motivating words that Usuri, Mami, and his old middle school teammate gave him.

After Bokuto yells out that he couldn't believe that volleyball could be so tiring, Kiryū scoffs, and Usuri is immediately shocked at this, calling Bokuto scary for being able to make Kiryū laugh during a game. Near the end of the match, Kuzuri notices that Kiryū has been in top form all game and that facing a player like Bokuto, someone he just can't handle, forced him to get over his desperation. Kiryū shows even further development when he didn't care whether he was afraid to lose or not, because he was too busy having fun and playing volleyball, following Bokuto's ideology.

Right after Fukurōdani wins the game, Kiryū shakes Bokuto's hand and tells him that he was glad that he got to play against him for his last tournament in high school. After this, Usuri apologizes to Kiryū for always setting to him even when he's being overwhelmed by his opponents, and Kiryū answers that everyone's expectations always scare him, but today he learned that seeing the ball being put up to him motivates him to do his best.

Kiryū then praises Usuri for being an excellent setter to him and to carry the team and to take care of their coach in the following year[4].

Karasuno vs Kamomedai

Kiryū and Usuri watch Kamomedai's match against Karasuno. When Asahi breaks through Kamomedai's defenses three times in a row despite having being blocked all the time he tried to do so before, Kiryū expresses his intimidation of nationals.

Final Arc

Kiryū currently plays on the Azuma Pharmacy Green Rockets in Japan's Div. 1 V-League and is teammates with Goshiki[5]. As the match between the Schweiden Adlers and MSBY Black Jackals is about to begin, Goshiki welcomes Kiryū into the room excitedly and tries to motivate his senior to beat Ushijima. Kiryū agrees and adds that he also wants to even the score against Bokuto for Mujinazaka's loss against Fukurōdani Academy.

Statistics

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

Kiryū is a powerful, talented player, considered one of the Top 3 Aces in Japan. During his third year of Middle School, Atsumu Miya considered him to be a better all-round player than Wakatoshi Ushijima. He has a powerful spike rivaling Ushijima's, able to easily smash through three-person blocks, or go above a 3 person block, but he also has formidable leg strength due to the emphasis his school puts on physical training. This gives him a very high and controlled jump, this emphasis has led to Kiryū being able to quickly adapt his jump to different tosses, such as jumping lower for bad low tosses. This allows him to hit powerful spikes with only a one-step run-up, whereas most spikers require two to three steps. Even when hitting sub-par tosses, Kiryū is able to maximize the strength of his spikes without losing precision. He also has a very powerful jump serve and is very proficient at receiving. Kiryū despite having a lot of self doubt is a mentally strong player able to continue playing his best despite his worries.

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
8/10
Serve Reception
 
8/10
Dig
 
8/10
Setting
 
7/10
Spike
 
9/10
Block
 
7/10
  • Serve: Kiryū has an incredibly powerful jump serve, he is seen often getting service aces, knocking teams off balance with his serves leading to easier blocks, and aiming his serves at difficult spots such as a Bokuto to prevent his attacking. The serve is so powerful its seen scoring several points in a row of Bokuto himself and others on Fukurōdani's team.
  • Spiking: Kiryū has an incredibly strong and skilled spike. Kiryū's school puts large emphasis on physical training as such Kiryū is incredibly powerful not just in his arms but in his core and legs. Kiryū hits with his entire body, he leans hard to the left as he swings putting as much weight as possible into the hits. This leads to blocks being easily broken through and makes conventional receives near impossible often resulting in the ball going out of bounds. It's noted that his technique is good enough to hit with full power, even when the ball is set badly, and in an awkward position.

Relationships

Michiru Usuri

Usuri holds great admiration for Kiryū as the ace of Mujinazaka. Prior to their match against Fukurōdani, Usuri notices something is weighing on Kiryū's mind and reassures their ace that he is the best. During games, Usuri often sets to Kiryū, counting on their ace to power through for the team even when under overwhelming pressure from the opposing team. After their loss, Usuri tearfully admits that he is aware of the responsibilities Kiryū shoulders for the team, especially during dire moments, but insists that he still wants to toss and rely on him[4]. Kiryū understands that this is a sign of trust from his teammates and does not blame Usuri. Instead, Kiryū reveals that the tosses to him are what motivate him to do his best and appreciates Usuri for being a great teammate.

Kōtarō Bokuto

Bokuto is the type of person Kiryū finds most difficult to deal with. While Kiryū has many insecurities regarding his own skills and feels burdened by others' high expectations of him, Bokuto is fearless and thrives when he's the center of attention. After playing against Bokuto, Kiryū admits to being scared and more conscious of his own deficiencies in Bokuto's presence[3]. He only manages to let go of his worries after Mami tells him that fun is a product of hard work, which is something that Kiryū does not lack. Afterwards, Kiryū maintains a much lighthearted demeanor instead of worrying about losing and comparing himself to Bokuto. He even surprised his teammates when he uncharacteristically chuckled at Bokuto's silly antics[3]. After Mujinazaka's loss to Fukurōdani, Kiryū shakes Bokuto's hand and says he is glad to have played Bokuto for his last tournament in High school, an act that displays his immense respect for Bokuto as a player. In return, Bokuto insists Kiryū to be more assertive in asking his teammates to set better for him[4].

Years later, both Kiryū and Bokuto are professional players in Division 1 of the V.League. There appears to be somewhat of a rivalry as Kiryū is eager to play and defeat Bokuto[5].

Quotes

  • "They don't care what folks say about them. They don't compare themselves to other players. Heck, it's almost like they don't realize those kinda thoughts exist in the first place. All they want... all they think about... is playin' volleyball. Ushijima. Bokuto. I ain't gonna let you one-up me forever!" (Volume 37 Chapter 330)
  • "I see it, y'know. No fear. No jitters. Just goin' out there and doin' what you do. The greatest have fun. Then... when you're having fun, you're the greatest."(Volume 38 Chapter 334)
  • "I've got no confidence in my skills whatsoever but I am pretty confident that I've been blessed with great teammates." (Volume 38 Chapter 334)
  • "It hurts. It's hard. I'm scared. The fear of losing. Other people's expectations. Forget all that. Ain't got time to think about that now. I'm too busy tryin' to keep up with him [Bokuto]. Too busy tryin' to play volleyball." (Volume 38 Chapter 335)

Trivia

  • Favorite food: Raw Oyster
  • Pre-timeskip Concern: Receiving serves, how he should guide his juniors, his little sister's brown hair, the swallows that come to his house every year haven't been coming lately, etc.
  • Post-timeskip Concern: He is worried that his little sister might get tricked by a bad man.
  • He currently has the highest BMI in the manga with 24, being tied with Hakuba and Reon.
  • Kiryū is the oldest member on the team and is the second oldest third-year in the series.
  • Nomenclature
    • Wakatsu (八) - Eight
    • Kiryū (桐生) - 桐 - Tung, 生 - Living

References

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