Second Year Ace
13 (The Prince of Tennis)
Rikkaidai (2nd Year)
Kanagawa Second (Dai-ni) Elementary School
|Japan U-17 Camp||
Court 5 (Former)
PRO STAFF 5.5 WILSON STRETCH
DT WILSON (DYNOSPHERE technology)
Akaya Kirihara (Japanese: 切原赤也, Kirihara Akaya is the youngest and only second year student in the Rikkai Dai line-up, thus earning him the title "Second Year Ace" (sometimes known as "Junior Ace"). He joined Rikkai because he heard the school had a very strong tennis team and wanted to be Japan's number one, but his hopes were quickly crushed by Rikkai's Three Monsters (Yukimura, Sanada, and Renji.)
Kirihara has messy short black hair that comes down to just over his forehead and has green eyes. Because of this he is often given the nickname "Seaweed Head". His height is in between that of Yukimura's and Marui's.
Kirihara first appears when he accidentally arrives at Seigaku and causes trouble after oversleeping on his ride to a tournament; he looks childish, friendly - and no where near as cruel as he acts when he is in Bloodshot Mode or Devil Mode. eueue
Overall he tends to act cocky and over-confident towards other players unless he specifically respects them- though that does not always stop him from joking about them either to their face or behind their backs.
When Kirihara is under hard pressure or his pride is being injured, he becomes extremely furious and 'devilish', as depicted with blood red eyes. He then unleashes a brutal assault on the opponent's body. He uses this technique on Tachibana and later on Fuji Shūsuke. However, this technique is completely ineffective against Kirihara's vice-captain, Sanada Genichirō, because of Sanada's incredible reflexes; Sanada himself says that if Kirihara trained for ten more years, perhaps he would have a chance against him.
Kirihara always expects the best from himself and hates losing. Three years ago, he heard that Rikkai Dai had won the last year's national championship and had an incredibly strong team, so he entered the school with the ambition to be the best. But as he says himself, My ambition was quickly crushed by the "Sannin Bakemono" (three monsters)! After that, Kirihara's new ambition became to defeat the "monsters" (Rikkai Dai's captain, Yukimura Seiichi, Sanada Genichirō and Yanagi Renji), and he became a regular on Rikkai Dai's tennis team following these events.
He is rude and harsh when he plays tennis, but he is actually nice when he is not playing tennis. This could indicate that he suffers from a mild form of a Dissociative Disorder.
Kirihara is one of the more light-hearted members on the Rikkai Dai team, and their only second year regular. This has led to his nickname of "Junior Ace" by the rest of the team; it can also be inferred that he is considered the 'baby' of the team by the other Regulars.
He is addressed/referred to only as 'Akaya' by them (in the manga: usage of the given name without a suffix in Japan could be said to infer either closeness, affection, or simply being comfortable with the person being addressed), although Yagyū - polite even when addressing his teammates- seems to call him 'Kirihara-kun'; Jackal is assigned to 'look after' him, as it were, and they generally treat him lightly and are concerned for his growth and well being.
They are stern when necessary, however: they all admonished him for his loss against Ryoma in the manga , and Yanagi and Sanada have both hit him (Yanagi perhaps lightly, Sanada for his going against their promise to Yukimura by losing and stepping out of line by having an unofficial match). He could be said to get along with all of his teammates, therefore, to varying degrees; out of the Three Demons, he could be said to get along best with Yanagi.
After a rather rough start, they develop a bittersweet companionship. After Yanagi loses his match with Inui Sadaharu in the Kantō Tournament, he protects him from Sanada's admonishing hit using his racquet. He seems to hold the same friendliness with Yukimura, the Captain, as the rest of the team all do; whilst he seems to find Sanada rather stern and harsh, he respects Sanada - and Sanada, in turn, seems to be supportive of him, albeit not often expressing it (yelling out for Kirihara to win for Rikkai with his own hands during his match with Fuji).
He is not shown to have relationships with many others outside of his own team: however, he could be said to hold an interest in strong players in general, especially Tezuka Kunimitsu of Seigaku (and, to an extent, Echizen Ryoma of the same school). He also seems to have a good relationship with Shiraishi after their doubles match at the U-17 camp, since Shiraishi promised Yanagi to watch over Kirihara and keep his devil mode in check.
It has been noted in the series that Kirihara plays the strongest players from each school. It has also been noted that by playing against the strongest, he will become the strongest - perhaps one day strong enough to defeat his Captain Yukimura, Vice-Captain Sanada, and Yanagi.
Much as Hiyoshi Wakashi has been cited to be the most likely Regular to become the next Captain of the Hyōtei team (and confirmed in the U-17 arc), it can be assumed that Kirihara will be the next Captain of the Rikkai Dai team once the other Regulars - all third-years - graduate. He is directed to sit on as the bench coach (Rikkai does not have a visible coach, and it can be assumed that Sanada takes that position on the team) by Sanada after his match with Fuji, and it is a logical assumption to make that he will be the only remaining Regular on the team next year.
One Year Prior To The Storyline
Shown in the Another Story OVA series, Kirihara begins Rikkai Dai, challenging the 3 Demons/Monsters (Yukimura, Sanada, and Yanagi) on his first day only to be faced with utter defeat, an event Kirihara remembers throughout the entire series.
Before arriving to the court though, he is tricked by Niō Masaharu, who directs Kirihara to the student council room where he meets Yagyū. Yagyuu tells Kirihara that he was tricked, and most likely by a very troublesome person. When he goes to the tennis courts he is defeated, but then pulled along by Marui and Jackal, who treat him to food.
Kirihara trains very hard everyday in hopes to defeat the 3 Kings of Rikkaidai and rechallenges Sanada through a letter for a match where all the regulars watched on. This is when Kirihara goes into Bloodshot Mode for the first time. Though he lost, Sanada realized his potential and that he had to keep trying. The episode ends with Sanada telling Kirihara to run 100 laps around the tennis courts, which Kirihara starts doing after protesting for a bit.
It is revealed that the person that told Kirihara to run those laps was actually Niou in disguise again. The real Sanada and the rest of the 3rd year regulars (who were 2nd years in this OVA), look on to the running Kirihara and Yukimura notes how things were going to get interesting. Sanada frowns and only says that Kirihara should be more cafeful.
Later on, Kirihara represents Rikkai Dai as their freshman at the newcomer Tournament he and Hyōtei Gakuen's Hiyoshi Wakashi have a match at. Yanagi brings it up before Echizen Ryoma and Hiyoshi's match: he mentions that Hiyoshi had done fairly well against him, although Kirihara pretends not to remember (which Sanada doesn't believe).
Kirihara was the first rival player to appear in the manga (Chapter 19), when he fell asleep on the bus and ended up in Seigaku. He was mentioned (and briefly shown) in Chapter 15, by reporters Inoue and Shiba.
Kirihara is blessed with a rather high concentration span (as pointed out by Sanada), but he has had a lot of bad luck, accompanied by his worse attitude. He begins with joking around in Seigaku's Tennis Club, but he ends up causing an accident that disrupts the club practice in such a way that he quickly flees the scene, not wanting the incident to be traced back to him. He bumps into Echizen Ryoma while leaving, noticing how he was able to field/craddle a ball Kirihara threw at him with his racquet.
Rikkai Dai's Kirihara, Yanagi, and Sanada appears watching the Kanto Regiona's Round 1 match between Seigaku and Hyoutei- Tezuka and Atobe's match to be exact. They stay and watch Ryoma's match with Hiyoshi as well. It is interesting to note that during this appearence, the Rikkai tennis uniform appears red.
When Rikkai Dai once again reaches the Kantō Tournament semi-finals, Kirihara faces Tachibana of Fudomine. Although Tachibana is a nationally ranked player, Kirihara easily wins, thanks to a combination of his violent play and Tachibana having locked away his true potential (due to being a player with violent tendencies himself).
Like Kirihara in his Bloodshot or Devil Modes, he used to be a player with more-or-less hidden violent tendencies, although Kirihara's violent play is due to his snapping into different states of mind due to pressure or physical injury; Tachibana's violent play appeared to be conscious.
Tachibana ultimately loses 6-1, after toying with Kirihara for one game and taunting him about the time limit Kirihara had set himself for the match. Kirihara entered Bloodshot and proceeded to win the next six games, aiming the ball at his head and stomach as he did so. It should be noted that this is apparently the first time Kirihara had entered Bloodshot in a while - possibly since his defeat at the hands of the "Three Demons" of Rikkai Dai, when he was in his first year and before he became a Regular.
Just before the finals in the manga, Kirihara meets up with Ryoma while he is training, and they have a match. Kirihara jumps up to a 4-0 lead, but then Ryoma suddenlyly taps into the State of Self Actualization stunning Kirihara, and he proceeds to win the next 6 games. When Sanada finds out, he punishes Kirihara by slapping him across the face in front of the team, since Rikkai's policies don't allow members to have unofficial matches without express approval.
At the current time, it seems Kirihara may have already skill-wise surpassed Yanagi, who technically is the weakest of the "three monsters". Ironically, the "demon" that Kirihara has the best off-court relationship with is the aforementioned Yanagi, as aforementioned; Kirihara stops Sanada slapping Yanagi with his racket, claiming that it isn't needed as he will win against all odds. However, Kirihara loses as well to Fuji.
Fuji starts off the game by going on the offensive, which everyone is surprised at as Fuji's real strengths are his counters. After Fuji wins the first point with a smash, Kirihara goes straight into Bloodshot and starts using his split step to force Fuji into the corner, which Fuji counters with his Hakugei. Using the split step, Kirihara runs up to the ball and smashes the ball back, only for Fuji to return it with a Higuma Otoshi, causing him to win the game 1-0 without return. After several brief flashbacks, during which it is shown that it was Tezuka Kunimitsu's match with Atobe Keigo that made Fuji decide to start playing seriously, Kirihara injures Fuji with a smash that knocked Fuji's racket off and Fuji was blinded by the injury sustained as a result of Kirihara hitting the ball at Fuji's head during the match. After that, Fuji continues playing, still blind and refusing to be removed from the match.
With the score 3-0 before that, Kirihara manages to win five straight games and mocks Fuji about the quality of his tennis. Fuji, however, wins the next 2 games, and is at match point when Kirihara unconsciously enters into Muga no Kyōchi. Producing the techniques of all the players he has played prior to this time, he begins to fight back against Fuji, challenging even his increased skill whilst blind. Ultimately, Kirihara loses because his grip is not yet strong enough to handle continuously hitting Sanada's Ka technique. The match ends with Fuji winning 7 games to 5.
Although Kirihara activates the State of Self Actualization, his body can't keep up and he faints. In the anime, Kirihara tasted the feeling of violence by himself. This was reflected in the match against Fuji when he thought Fuji trying to take his revenge on him by hitting his knee, which wouldn't have happened had Kirihara not stepped back. Though it was all perception, it went along in Kirihara's decision to change his violent style.
Regional Select Invitationals Camp
Kirihara recieves an invitation to the Kanto Region Junior Select camp to train with them as the select 8 players to take on the USA West Coast Region Junior team in a friendly match.
During the Junior Invitational camp arc in the anime, Kirihara decides to stop using Bloodshot and not injure anyone else, but no one outside of Rikkai Dai believes him - mainly because his cockiness hasn't changed. Tachibana An, Tachibana Kippei's little sister, who was working there as a manager, decides to face him and doesn't believe his words about being "reformed". When Kirihara loses his patience and insults the whole Fudomine team, An tries to slap him, but he takes a wrong step and falls down a flight of stairs.
The Fudomine vice-captain, Kamio Akira, is blamed for this until Echizen Ryoma unmasks An and later plays with Kirihara, forcing him to face his demons. Kirihara says that he will never injure anybody else, and after the incident he has since stayed true to his word. However, this only occurs in the anime. In the manga, Kirihara still plays as violently as before.
Regional Select Invitationals
As Kirihara is one of the 8 players chosen, he like Ryoma awaits whether or not he shall be chosen to play until the last minute. Surprisingly, he is in Singles 1 ahead of Ryoma, who surprisingly ends up as a reserve. Kirihara plays against Kevin Smith of the USA West Coast Juniors. With the scores between the two sides at 2 wins to the Kanto Region Japan Juniors, 1 draw and 1 loss. The game between Kevin and Kirihara is somewhat even; however, Kevin is revealed to have not brought anywhere near his strongest techniques, however Kirihara injures shoulder while playing early on and is forced against his will for the better good of his shoulder to retire from the match. Requiring Echizen Ryoma to replace him much to Kirihara's anger despite insisting he could play.
This appears to have had a lasting effect on him that carries on into the National Finals; the same reaction was provoked from him upon his being hit once in the face by Kaidō Kaoru's rendition of the Laser Beam, and he instantly snapped into Devil Mode from Bloodshot Mode, with his victim this time being Inui Sadaharu, Kaidō's doubles partner at the time.
Prior To U-17 Camp
Also sometime during this time, Kirihara, Marui, and Jackal are seen shopping for materials for the Rikkaidai Ocean Festival, where Kirihara stars as Cinderella in the tennis team's play however they bump into Kawamura on their as he was on his way to visit a younger relative in hospital and knocks his gift into a tree. The four of them then spend time trying to get the gift out of the tree and they begin to talk.
On his way home, Kirihara ends up being approached by some young thugs but luckily Dan Taichi and Akutsu Jin arrive from their training and the thugs are instantly scared after realizing that Akutsu had approached them as they remembered the rumours they had heard about the cruel things he does.
Marui Bunta and Yagyū Hiroshi stars as his step-sisters, Jackal stars as the horse pulling the carriage, Niō as the "Fairy Godmother", Sanada as the Prince, and Yanagi as the Prince's advisor. The stage director, Yukimura Seiichi also took the role of story-telling.
Kirihara and the rest of the Rikkai Dai tennis club are training waiting for their captain Yukimura and are then excited by Yanagi arriving with Inui Juice with Kirihara being the most pleased, not realizing the horrible taste the drink would have, the whole club indulge in the juice and pass out except for Vice-Captain Sanada who is left in tears after tasting the horrifying drink, leaving only him standing to greet Yukimura who was completely shocked to see the tennis club on the floor and Sanada stood still with tears streaming down his face.
Upon all the Middle Schoolers arriving, a helicopter suddenly drops tennis balls on the floor. The head coach then announces that all players unable to obtain a ball must leave the camp. All middle schoolers are able to obtain a ball.
The High Schoolers one by one challenge several Middle Schoolers for the balls they obtained after Ryoma crushes one, and all the middle schoolers effortlessly defeat the High Schoolers that are the lower ranked ones of the camp. Afterwards as a result of this, Courts 13-16 cease existance in the camp.
In the U-17 camp, Kirihara partners with Yanagi, thinking they would have to be a doubles team. However, they are forced to play a tie-breaker and are led to believe that the loser must leave the camp. Yanagi, despite it being his game point, forfeits the tie-break on purpose, telling Kirihara to crawl higher.
Kirihara angrily accepts, knowing he would have to go home if it wasn't for his senpai's kindness. He begins training at the camp with all of the other Middle School winners and the rest of the High Schoolers at the camp. He then defeats all of his High School opponents after this and reaches the 5th Court.
In the anime, Kirihara appears during Ryoma, Kenya, and Tanishi's special mission for Coach Nyudo, though he never knows about it. Kirihara is walking in the dorm hallways when he hears some high schoolers talking about how during this time every year, the ghosts of a past deserter in a war fought a long time ago on these training grounds reappears asking for the location of his body parts and that the only way to keep the ghost away is to do a little dance related to figure skating that went: "step, step, one, two, one, two, turn, ina bauer."
Kirihara at first believes it's a ghost... but then sees a shadow he mistook as the ghost. The shadow is asking "where is my hand?" thus causing Kirihara to freak out. However, it was just Kenya asking Ryoma where he should place his hand when they were trying to get past the lasers that blocked the last hallway to the bar they had to go to for the special mission.
Kirihara, now totally scared, starts reciting and doing the dance- something Ryoma overhears and realizes is the way they get through the lasers. When Tanishi gets angry at Ryoma and Kenya for eating food in the bar, he runs through the lasers, ticking off the alarm system that awakens many people and causing his shadow to reflect to Kirihara's sight, scaring the latter even more.
In the 5th Court, the court captain Oni Jūjirō puts the court (team) forward for a Team Shuffle against the 3rd Court. Unlike a Player shuffle, the Team Shuffle means the winning team regardless of those who lost a set replace the losing team. He is partnered with Shiraishi Kuranosuke in Doubles 2 against High School 3rd Years Miyako Shinobu and Matsudaira Chikahiko of the 3rd Court. Yanagi also tells Shiraishi that the Rikkaidai team had made a huge mistake to allow Kirihara to go into Devil Mode, which they thought was necesary for making Rikkai stronger for their 3rd win.
Shiraishi promised Yanagi that he would keep Kirihara in check, but when Kirihara goes into Devil Mode, he hits Shiraishi's arm with his racket. Kirihara returns to normal and feels really bad for hitting his partner-only to have Shiraishi reveal a gold forearm weight underneath his bandages. They defeat the them thanks to Shiraishi removing the gold weight. In this match he first reveals Angel Mode. Since the 5th Court eventually win the shuffle, switch places with the 3rd Court, meaning Kirihara is now in the 3rd Court.
Genius 10 Challenge
Kirihara is seen with the rest of the middle schoolers watching the surprising doubles match between Niō Masaharu (as Tezuka Kunimitsu) and Atobe Keigo against No.10 Mōri Juzaburō and No.9 Ochi Tsukimitsu.
U-17 Camp Results
|Type of Match||Partner||Opponent||Score|
|Tiebreaker-Style Elimination Match||None||Yanagi Renji||Won (0-6) Forfeit|
|Team Shuffle||Shiraishi Kuranosuke||Miyako Shinobu/Matsudaira Chikahiko||Won (6-4)|
Playing Style and Techniques
- See: Notable Matches
When Kirihara just joined Rikkai as a first year, he did not have respect for Yukimura, Sanada or Yanagi due to his ideology that he was number one. But after suffering a heavy loss to the three, he shows respect towards them. During Yukimura's stay in the hospital Kirihara deeply worries for his captain like the rest of the team. He appears to look up to Yukimura like a mentor.
When Kirihara just joined Rikkai as a first year, he did not have respect for Yukimura, Sanada or Yanagi due to his idealogy that he was number one. But after suffering a heavy loss to the three, he shows respect towards them. Sanada seems to be harshest with Kirihara and is grooming him to be the next captain. He punishes Kirihara severely at times to make him learn. Kirihara gets annoyed at times, though he still respects the vice captain.
Out of the three demons, Kirihara has a close relationship with Yanagi. Yanagi seems deeply concerned about the lowerclassman's development in tennis and personality. To help him improve his tennis and groom himself to be the next captain, Yanagi forfeits their match in the U-17 camp even though he was beating Kirihara effortlessly.
Marui treats Kirihara like one of his younger brothers. He and Jackal often go with Kirihara to the arcade to play games. He treats Kirihara like a kid and often mocks his lowerclassman.
Rest of Rikkai
Kirihara often falls for Niō's tricks. Jackal is one of Kirihara's closest friends as he, Kirihara and Marui often go to the arcade. Not much is known about his relationship with Yagyū
Shiraishi becomes Kirihara's mentor in the U-17 camp and he teaches Kirihara how to be patient.
- Foot Size: 26.5cm
- Hobby: Playing video games (fighting games)
- Father's Occupation: Company Employee (Foreign company)
- Spends Allowance On: Game center
- Favorite Motto: Time is money
- Elementary School: Kanagawa Dai-ni (Second) Elementary School
- Best Subject: Japanese and Physical Education
- Worst Subject: English
- Favorite Color: Primary colors
- Favourite Food: Yakiniku, sushi
- Frequently Visited Spot at School: Tennis court
- Favorite Movie: Terminator 2
- Favorite Book: Jump manga
- Favorite Music: Hip hop
- Preferred Type: Someone cheerful
- Favorite Date Spot: Game center
- Currently Most Wanted Item: Wii Wii U 
- Daily Routine: Drinks a bottle of milk everyday.
- Something He's Bad With: Sanada-fukubuchou
- Special Skills Outside of Tennis:
- Can eat a bowl of really hot ramen within 3 minutes
- Can fall asleep as soon as he decides he wants to
- According to his profile in PairPuri 6, Kirihara still believes in Santa Claus.
- He tends to bleed easily and gets injured a lot.
- Kirihara will be the next captain of Rikkai Dai mentioned in the databooks.
- It is possible that he is being trained to defeat Tezuka: one can infer this through his interest in him and in that he is especially proficient at defeating left-handed players.