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Yūki Shibayama (Japanese: 芝山 (しばやま) 優生 (ゆうき) Shibayama Yūki) is a first year student from Nekoma High. He is one of the boys' volleyball team's liberos.

As of 2021, Shibayama plays as a libero for Tōkai Heavy Industries Esperanza, a Division 2 volleyball.

Appearance

Shibayama is the shortest player on the Nekoma team. He has slightly thick eyebrows, along with dark eyes. His hair is also jet black, and is parted in the middle.

In the anime, he has been shown wearing his red track suit and practice clothing. When in a match, he will wear the libero uniform of a white jersey top and red shorts.

Personality

Shibayama is shown to be shy, gentle, and somewhat easily rattled yet determined. While not being as talented as the other players on his team, he tries his best to help where he can. As the series progresses, however, he appears to be more willing to socialize with others and has more confidence in himself and his abilities.

Background

Plot

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

Shibayama makes his first appearance in the anime in the eleventh episode of season one after the Nekoma team has a practice match against Tsukinokizawa High. Yamamoto is attempting to make a bet with Shibayama and Inuoka on whether or not the Karasuno team does indeed have a female manager. Like his teammates, Shibayama becomes surprised when he hears that Kenma is looking forward to playing against Karasuno.

After a few short interactions with Inuoka, he and Shibayama cheer when seeing Kiyoko because they are excited to get the Häagen-Dazs Yamamoto had bet over Karasuno having a female manager or not. When Yamamoto storms away to supposedly “get revenge” Inuoka and Shibayama tell their senior to come back.

During the match, Shibayama does not play but converses with Nekomata about Inuoka. When seeing his rookie companion in action, Shibayama becomes awed at his speed despite his tall height. Seeing Kageyama’s excellent plays, Shibayama becomes awed but also defends Kenma about being a good setter as well despite not being as flashy.

After the game, he helps in putting away the equipment but becomes frightened when Asahi approaches to help. He begins apologizing to the third year, thinking he was being too slow in the clean up, and does not see Asahi was trying to help.

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Shibayama is mostly seen in the background or cheering for his team during matches. He is normally around Inuoka.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Nekoma vs Fukurōdani

Before their own match starts, Shibayama informs Kuroo that the girls’ game would be finishing soon so that they could start their own. When entering the court, Shibayama admires the court and becomes confident in the team’s abilities to get a slot to nationals. Shibayama cheers with the other first years as Yaku digs Bokuto’s difficult shot.

When Lev becomes worried at Kuroo’s blocking, Shibayama does not seem to share it and explains that he’s making the ground defense be able to dig more. Sometime later, Shibayama would notice Lev again when Kenma and Lev fail a quick set, and the libero remarks that Kenma set too high. However, Yaku thinks otherwise.

After the loss against Fukurōdani, Shibayama and Inuoka attempt to cheer Lev up. Despite not playing, Shibayama is wary of the match against Nohebi being Nekoma’s last chance to get to nationals.

Nekoma vs Nohebi

Group OVA 5-1.png

Near the end of the first set in the match against Nohebi Academy, Shibayama is substituted in when Yaku is unable to continue due to an ankle injury. He is visibly nervous upon entering the game and quickly becomes a target to the opposing players[1]. Due to the pressure and nerves, he is unable to move in time to receive a ball properly, resulting in a point for Nohebi. Shibayama begins to self doubt, calling himself the "weak link", until Kuroo has him recite the team mantra in order to calm him down. After Kenma suggests that Shibayama only rotates with Lev when he moves to the back row, Shibayama becomes more determined to prove himself, believing that he is not worthy of being on the court fully until he can prove his value.

Shibayama rotates in when Nohebi is at set point. He recalls Yaku once describing what an honor it is to be a libero for Nekoma and how it's possible to claim a regular spot by proving your worth[2]. Shibayama calms his nerves and receives Suguru's serve perfectly, allowing his teammates to score and tie the game.

Toward the end of the second set, Shibayama goes in when Kuroo's hand is injured. Upon entering the court, Shibayama informs Lev that he will be right behind him for support[3]. Moments later, he is unable to receive a ball which brings the set to a deuce. He apologizes to the team while blaming himself for not doing more. Lev quietly questions why Shibayama would be apologizing as he believes that a lost point is not any one person's fault. Suddenly, Lev has an epiphany about the meaning of teamwork after piecing together Shibayama and Yaku's previous words.

Yaku and Shibiyama OVA 5-1.png

With Nekoma now at match point, Shibayama positions himself to cover the opening left by Lev's block and successfully receives Kuguri's spike. His efforts earn Nekoma a perfect counter attack opportunity, allowing Kenma to set for Yamamoto to land the winning point. While the rest of the team celebrates over their victory, Shibayama and Lev excitedly recall how they were able to work together[4]. Later, he and the team receive praise from Yaku.

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Nekoma vs Sarukawa Tech

Not far into the match, Inuoka explains to Lev why an underhand pass would be slower. Hearing this, Shibayama concludes the conversation by saying the overhand passes are more controllable. After their own victory, Inuoka and Shibayama are impressed at Inarizaki's cheer squad and Shibayama notices how oppressive they are. Seeing Atsumu's jump floater and before that, his silencing of the crowd, Shibayama, and Inuoka are intimidated. Shibayama also attempts to explain how the ball could go different ways when attempting to receive normally instead of overhanded. Lev claims he understood, but Yaku isn't convinced.

Karasuno vs Nekoma

Shibayama would act as a source of encouragement for the team during the long awaited match between Nekoma and Karasuno. He tries to encourage Lev to play as himself instead of trying to copy how Kuroo and Yaku play but Lev didn't seem to understand Shibayama's phrasing of "You do you.". When Teshiro tells him that he should be straightforward with Lev, Shibayama admits that he tried to make it sound cool as a way to not upset or dishearten Lev. Just before the third set, Lev proclaims that he will score twenty points off the bat. Shibayama knows that Lev has a tendency to self-destruct when he becomes too fired-up but Kuroo is able to calm him down before the set starts. After Nekoma lost to Karasuno in the third round, Shibayama is seen shaking hands with Asahi.

Final Arc

Shibayama makes his final appearance when he gathers with the former Nekoma team at Kenma's home. After high school, Shibayama became a libero for a Division 2 team, Tōkai Heavy Industries Esperanza.

Statistics

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

Compared to Yaku, Shibayama is far less skilled as a libero. Though when he gets serious, he becomes quite proficient at receiving and digging.

During the match against Nohebi Academy, he was substituted in for Yaku after the latter injured himself from stepping on a spectator's foot. Kenma decides to only make Shibayama switch in with Lev when the middle blocker is in the back row, rather than switching with both Lev and Kuroo due to Shibayama's lack of experience playing with the team in official matches.[5]

Jumping Reach: 280 cm

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
4/10
Serve Reception
 
9/10
Dig
 
9/10
Setting
 
6/10
Spike
 
4/10
Block
 
3/10

Relationships

Sō Inuoka

He's shown to hang around Inuoka often and in most scenes that he's in, Inuoka is close by.

Lev Haiba

Lev and Shibayama OVA 5-4.png

Shibayama was shown comforting Lev during his period of insecurity after the match against Fukurodani. During the match against Nohebi, Shibayama is the player that makes Lev believe he has finally "clicked" with the team. After that point, the two are seen interacting more and Shibayama would help Lev understand why certain receives don't work as well with jump floats and try to continue playing as himself and not like others during the match against Karasuno; although Lev didn't seem to understand Shibayama's phrasing.

Morisuke Yaku

Shibayama respects Yaku, but is intimidated by the pressure that he has to play as well as Yaku whenever he's switched into matches. It was a previous talk with Yaku about the honor of being the libero for a team known for its defense that would help Shibayama overcome his nerves during the game against Nohebi[2].

Quotes

  • "Just now... I was clearly being targeted. Yaku-san is a presence that the opponent tries to avoid at any and all costs... But in my case, all they see is a "weak link" with a huge bullseye on my back...!" (To himself, Volume 22 Chapter 199)
  • "The way I am now, I'm not worthy of staying on the court the whole game. The only one who can prove that I am worthy... is me." (To himself, Volume 23 Chapter 200)
  • "Kuroo-san and Sawamura-san's smiles both faded the moment they turned their backs to each other. They were each reminded of just how difficult of a feat it is "to survive through Day 2." (To himself, Volume 28 Chapter 246 / Season 4 Episode 12)

Trivia

  • Favorite food: Omurice
  • Current concern: "Everyone is so good at receives and I don't feel like I am needed at all, but I'm gonna try my best to practice!"
  • His star sign is Sagittarius.
  • Nomenclature
    • Shibayama(芝山) - Mountain Turf
    • Yūki(優生) - gentle/skilled (優) + pure (生)

References