Karasuno High Team Formation ArcEdit
Tanaka is first seen in the hallway with Daichi and Sugawara on the first day of school. As Kiyoko approaches them with the new members' registrations, Tanaka compliments her beauty, though she ignores him.
At the end of the day, the three upperclassmen head down to the gym to begin practice and see Hinata and Kageyama already at the gym. Tanaka at first tries to intimidate the first years, especially Kageyama, whom he remembers as the conceited setter from Kitagawa Daiichi. Engrossed with this powerful addition to the team, the upperclassmen fail to notice Hinata until he calls out for their attention. Tanaka immediately recognizes him as "that number one shortie" and enthusiastically compliments him for his confident playing style, despite his clumsiness and lack of height. However, his good mood is ruined when Kageyama and Hinata start fighting, interrupting Daichi and catching the vice-principal's attention.Tanaka hastily tries to calm the first years down, but they ignore him and start their own mini-match. The match goes astray and the vice principal wounds up getting his wig knocked off. Tanaka starts laughing, though he tries to suppress it.
After Daichi speaks with the vice principal, Tanaka stands with the others and face him quietly, getting intimidated when he realizes that Daichi’s angry. As Daichi starts to explain Karasuno’s goals, Tanaka adds a complaint about their nicknames. He quickly gets annoyed at Kageyama when the latter notes that there are plenty of other teams with the same goals as Karasuno, but stops when he sees Daichi’s face. He remains quiet until Daichi kicks the two first years out. Listening to the two argue outside, Tanaka begins laughing again.
3-on-3 First Years Match
At the end of practice, Tanaka remarks to Sugawara that the two first years may resort to challenging them to a match to win their admission and to his surprise, they actually do. Tanaka laughs at them right away, but refuses to team up with them. However, he’s easily convinced by Daichi and he runs to the first years enthusiastically, even hinting to them later on to meet up early in the morning the next day to practice.
The next morning, Tanaka arrives at five am and greets the two first years waiting outside the gym. He shows them the key and loudly tells them to call him senpai. As he unlocks the gym, he thinks back to Daichi’s words and seems to agree with the captain that the two first years can learn to work with each other. However, he’s quickly disappointed when he sees them arguing over who enters the gym first.
Tanaka starts practicing with the two, but they argue the entire time. Fed up, Tanaka pauses and pulls them aside. He starts by telling them that Daichi is usually kind, but when he’s angry, he’s terrifying so if the two don’t quiet down, the others will find out. Suddenly, Sugawara enters and greets Tanaka, scaring him.
Tanaka immediately asks how Sugawara found out and Sugawara simply replies that Tanaka’s never on time for practice so the fact that he’s asking for the keys is suspicious. Since Sugawara decides to help the two first years, the practice is split with Tanaka practicing with Kageyama and Hinata with Sugawara. As Tanaka trains with Kageyama, he admits that the first year’s good, but he dislikes his attitude.
Tanaka spends the days leading up to the 3-on-3 match practicing with the other three. Daichi almost catches him at one point, when he notices that Tanaka and Sugawara have been looking tired lately. Tanaka also meets the other first years, but he dislikes them right away. Sugawara points out that he doesn’t like anyone he meets.
The day of the 3-on-3, Tanaka gets ready with the others, but gets distracted as Kiyoko walks by him. Tsukishima then announces loudly that he’s going to crush the other team and brings up Kageyama’s past. Instantly, Tanaka jumps to the two first years’ defense and retorts that they’re going to pulverize Tsukishima.
The match starts and Tanaka easily blows past Tsukishima’s block. Hinata has more trouble and Tsukishima constantly insults him, causing Tanaka to attack back, though Daichi stops him. Tanaka reluctantly backs away, but to his surprise, Kageyama replies to Tsukishima that he’s scared of what happened in junior high. Hinata then jumps in and adds that he doesn’t care about Kageyama’s past and Tanaka smiles approvingly.
The next move, Hinata and Kageyama perform a quick and Tanaka rushes to the two, surprised at their coordination. When Hinata replies that they didn’t plan a quick, a confused Tanaka tries to reason with him. Kageyama initially refuses to try it with Hinata, but decides to do it after Tsukishima insults Hinata again. The setter vaguely explains a quick to Hinata, who says that he understands, but Tanaka doesn’t believe him.
The quick fails the first time and as Kageyama starts to argue with Hinata, Sugawara steps in. When the third year brings up his own faults, Tanaka yells that they’re not true, but Daichi stops him. After Sugawara’s talk, the two first years try again and succeed this time. A shocked Daichi reveals that Hinata had his eyes closed and Tanaka yells in disbelief before running to Hinata and praising him.
Tanaka scores the last point for the first set and gives the finger to Tsukishima while challenging him. The other second years then tease him and call him “baldy”, annoying him. In the end, Tanaka’s team wins and he goes straight to Daichi and Sugawara afterwards. Incredulous, Tanaka asks if the two had known that Hinata and Kageyama would be able to synchronize like they had during the match based on the third years’ initial statements, though they deny it.
Now that Hinata and Kageyama have won their way into the club and made up with each other, Daichi allows them admission and gives them their jackets. Tanaka grins happily as the first years line up and then proceeds to teach Hinata and Kageyama how to pose with their uniforms.