Nothing defines a sports anime better than a protagonist with a big heart and utmost love towards a sport and his journey to establish himself a player. Haikyuu introduces us to a very unique and interesting set of players that comprise the strongest in the field. These characters serve as an inspiration and challenge for our protagonist, Hinata Shoyo, to improve.
With Season 4 of the anime right around the corner, we thought about making something for the fans. As Karasuno High steps up its game, they are met with several daunting opponents. Through these interactions, we were able to develop a list of the strongest players in Haikyuu. Have a look!
12 Hinata Shoyou
Hinata is the protagonist of the series and is a first-year student at Karasuno High. He is inspired by “the Little Giant” and wishes to become an ace just like him. Hinata is a middle blocker of the team yet his short height remains a hurdle for that position. Therefore, Hinata works on his jumping skills to compensate for it. Hinata makes up for his shortcomings with his excellent jumping skills, stamina and speed. He is a fast learner who constantly works at improving his skills through experimenting. He shows ardent passion for volleyball and is confident in his ability to make the team of Karasuno fly. Hinata usually acts as a decoy for the team and is part of Karasuno’s insane signature move: the Quick Attack. This move makes use of Hinata’s jumping skills and Kageyama’s ability to accurately pinpoint the ball at his hand.
Through the series, Hinata is able to develop even as a blocker by learning block out and a feint. He is even able to perform back attacks and has improved his receiving. Finally, Hinata even developed his skills of Open Spike to break any iron defence.
11 Kei Tsukishima
Kei Tsukishima is the first-year middle blocker of Karasuno High. Initially displaying a nonchalant attitude towards volleyball, he ends up taking it seriously through Yamaguchi and Bokuto’s influence. He begins to learn techniques for blocking under Kuroo during training camp. Even though Tsukishima is not exceptional in his power, he is able to block quite efficiently due to his height. But as he faces against stronger opponents, Tsukishima starts improvising his jumping skills and stamina to counter their techniques. He possesses a good eye for the game and is able to analyse his opponents well. Tsukishima exceeds expectations by performing split-second feints that manage to floor the opponents. During training camp, Tsukishima works towards increasing his power and speed for better reflexes.
10 Takeru Nakashima
Takeru Nakashima is the final year captain of Wakutani South from Miyagi Prefecture. Nakashima has excellent physical strength, technique and stamina. He manages to characterise his role as spiker through his techniques. He is able to change the angle of his spikes according to the opponents. He even manages to spike balls that touch the defence’s hands – making it ricochet in an unpredictable course. He maintains a calm and steady figure as captain to reassure his teammates. Nakashima is known to be a good receiver too. His power, speed and jumping skills complement his technique, making him formidable.
9 Keiji Akaashi
Keiji Akaashi is the vice-captain and setter of Fukurodani from the Kanto Prefecture. Akaashi is quite a decent player who is able to balance most of his skills. He is able to shoot accurate tosses and accommodate the tosses according to the range of attack. Akaashi possesses high analytical and strategic skills that help improve the performance of his team.
8 Daichi Sawamura
Daichi Sawamura is the steady and collected captain and wing spiker of Karasuno High. Daichi’s solid receives makes him a solid defence player of the team. Throughout the series, Daichi has managed to solidify his receives and improve his techniques by incorporating a soft block and flying fall received. He is often given the task of receiving difficult spikes due to his skills and sturdiness. As captain and with his vast knowledge of the sport, Daichi decides the tactics and formation of the team.
7 Kageyama Tobio
Kageyama has turned the focus of the infamous title of ‘King of the Court’, to his skills as the regular setter of Karasuno High – only in his first year. As a deuteragonist, he plays the role of challenging Hinata and defining the skills or problems of a prodigy. Kageyama has outstanding stats that indicate his potential to become the best all-round player. He honed his skills through accuracy and technique with extreme precision. Kageyama is capable of playing all positions but chooses to become the setter due to personal reasons. His ability to improvise strategy and accommodate his tosses according to his teammates makes him a high calibre player.
6 Yu Nishinoya
Known as Karasuno’s ‘Guardian Deity’ Nishinoya is the reliable pillar that protects the team. Only in his second year of High School, Nishinoya has earned monumental praise as a Libero. Nishinoya’s speed is unrivalled. He has extremely fast reflexes, swift feet and flexible arms that give him the boost to save the ball even in the direst circumstances. Nishinoya breaks the normal boundaries of a Libero as he attempts to tackle even the most difficult of volleys. He is able to adapt and mould his reactions according to the flow of the game.
Nishinoya uses the “Rolling Thunder” technique where he performs a dive and roll. He has also perfected a Libero Toss and Overhand Receives – thereby, eliminating any weak openings for the team. Although irrelevant to his position, Nishinoya is also capable of spiking.
5 Tetsuro Kuroo
Kuroo is popularly known as the Scheming Captain of Nekoma High from the Miyagi Prefecture. Kuroo holds the position of middle blocker and is remarkable at pressuring his opponents. His perfected techniques make him a blocking expert. Despite his demeanour on the court of provoking his opponents, Kuroo is actually a kind person who values sportsmanship. Eventually, he takes up Tsukishima under his wing and is able to reach out to him. Kuroo’s techniques and speed have built his offence and defence skills exceptionally. Kuroo contributes to one of Nekoma’s strongest attacks known as “Personal Time Difference Attack”. While his jump serves is also a decent addition. One of the most outstanding factors of his blocking skills is that he can even block Bokuto’s spikes.
4 Toru Oikawa
Toru Oikawa is the distinct ace setter of the Aoba Johsai team from Miyagi Prefecture. Oikawa’s responsibilities also include the captaincy of the team. Oikawa is absolutely one of the best all-round players in his prefecture. His jump serves are often feared for its overwhelming success rate and its ability to change the game flow. Although Oikawa comes off as quite laid-back, his dedication towards the sport is evident from the vigorous practise he does.
Oikawa’s analysis and strategic skills ought to reward him the title of a genius. He manages to break his opponent’s techniques and their spirit. As a captain, Oikawa utilizes his teammates efficiently by developing the unique abilities they bring to court. His natural athletic ability meshed with years of practice and hard work is why he is this far up this list.
3 Aran Ojiro
Much like Bokuto, Aran Ojiro is a final year wing spiker and ace of his team Inarizaki from the Hyogo Prefecture. Moreover, he is the closest to becoming one of the top three in the country. Aran is said to be quite intelligent and demonstrates an exceedingly high jump. His physical condition excels in power and stamina but falls short at his speed. His powerful spikes are notably superior and his reflexes allow him to maintain his spikes even with a faulty receive.
2 Kotaro Bokuto
Bokuto is a final year student at Fukurodani and fills in the Triarch positions of wing spiker, ace and captain of the team. Bokuto is a highly charismatic player with his friendly and enthusiastic conduct. His power, speed, stamina and jumping capabilities rival that of the top tier aces. Bokuto once specialized in cross spikes but due to its failure – he trained persistently to master a straight spike. At present, Bokuto’s straight spikes cannot be subdued. He cleverly tweaks his techniques on the court with feints that only the quickest of reflexes can fight. He even has a keen eye over the ball which he manipulates for a “cut-shot” even through a tall defence. In the manga, it was revealed that Bokuto had “just missed” the chance of becoming one of the top three aces.
1 Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
The first position is a tie between the top aces of the country – Wakatomi Ushijima, Kiyoomi Sakusa, and Wakatsu Kiryu.
Wakatomi Ushijima is the established ace of the Miyagi Prefecture under which Karasuno plays. Ushijima’s skills not only dominates his prefecture but he stands at the apex of Volleyball players in the country with two others. Ushijima captains the distinguished Shiratorizawa team as the spiker. His body is at its peak physical ability with great endurance, stamina and extremely high jumps. Due to his endurance, he is able to manage his hang time well. The most characteristic aspect of his style is that his attacks and moves are left-hand oriented which gives him an edge over players who have practised countering right-hand oriented moves. Ushijima’s Achilles Heel is definitely his hackneyed set of attacks.
Kiyoomi Sakusa is a mere second year of Itachiyama who has broken the equipoise of top aces with his presence. For a second year to gain the title of one of the top three aces in the country truly emphasizes his capabilities. Sakusa is the top ace that represents the Tokyo Prefecture. He possesses a realistic approach to life and Volleyball thus, making him a cautious player. His spikes are quite powerful and swift that is able to tear through even team Fukurodani’s defence.
Wakatsu Kiryu attends Mujinazaka High and represents the Oita Prefecture. Kiryu is said to be a better all-round player amongst the three. He possesses immense stamina and power and has a better command over his technique. He has developed his leg strength exceptionally – which gives his jumps an advantage. Kiryu’s spikes are said to rival even Ushijima’s powerful spikes. His insecurities propel him to work hard towards becoming a dependable ace.
The above-mentioned players display great love for volleyball and train arduously to improve their skills at this sport. Although the stats of the strongest players in Haikyuu are as above for the moment, they are likely to change any moment due to the dynamic nature of these characters.
Hinata Shoyo is a highly passionate boy who wishes to follow the steps of his idol, ‘The Little Giant’ in the field of volleyball. Hinata’s resolve is unbreakable as he faces gruesome defeat at the hands of the ‘King of the Court’ a genius prodigy setter Kageyama Tobio in middle school. Hinata’s dreams take fruit as he enters high school. Hinata joins the declining volleyball team of Karasuno High and is appalled to find the very same Kageyama as his teammate. As Kageyama and Hinata realize the potential of their abilities as a duo, Karasuno High starts taking flight with the opportunities at hand. The story follows the revival of Karasuno High and the unity they maintain to pave their way for nationals.
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