|Aliases||White Haired Buddha
White Haired Devil
|Japanese Voice||Tomomichi Nishimura|
|English Voice||Jun Legaspi (TV5 Dub)|
Vincent Gutierrez (GMA Dub)
|[v · t · e]|
Mitsuyoshi Anzai (安西光義Anzai Mitsuyoshi) is the coach of the Shohoku High School basketball team, and one of the best coaches in Japan. Even the coaches of other teams call him "Anzai-sensei" with respect. His calm and collected attitude contrasts with the temper he had in the past as a demanding college coach, earning him the nickname, "White-Haired Devil".
During Coach Anzai's days of being a college basketball coach, a talented player named Ryuji Yazawa trained under him. Anzai held him in high regard, but Yazawa was frustrated with Anzai's tough training, and left for the United States against Anzai's wishes. His subsequent death in a car collision shook Anzai, and precipitated his transformation from the "White-Haired Devil" to the "White-Haired Buddha", as well as causing him to resign from college basketball coaching.
He has changed drastically from being the very strict "White-haired Devil" to the "White-haired Buddha with a lighter personality, probably because of Yazawa's demise. Sakuragi always calls him, "Oyaji" (old man) and has the habit of jiggling the fat in his chin and belly whenever he's hyped, which makes the others, Mitsui in particular mad at him, as that is considered disrespectful. However, Anzai appears to tolerate this and has not reprimanded Sakuragi for his behavior. Anzai did punish the 4 players (Mitsui, Miyagi, Sakuragi, and Rukawa) who are involved in the fight against Mitsui's gang by keeping them on the bench during the first Inter High game against Miuradai High School.
He is also a very charismatic person, as he gave Mitsui the confidence to never give up until the match is really over, which enabled Mitsui to win the match in his middle school days and join Shohoku because of Anzai's inspiring words. He even motivated Rukawa and inspired him to become the number 1 basketball player. He even motivated Sakuragi in practicing 20 000 jump shots, and was also responsible for Sakuragi's determination and resolve during the match against Sannoh, as Sakuragi thanked him and told him that he was finally able to change the game to be decisive needed thanks to his words.
When Akagi, Mitsui, Miyagi, Kogure and Rukawa are having a school camp in Shizuoka, Anzai trains Sakuragi in how to make a jump shot similar to a 3-point shot as he tells him to make a 20,000 shots which he successfully does with the assistance of Sakuragi's gang and as part of the camp. This training that Anzai makes is a favor after Sakuragi rescued him on time when he suffers a heart attack.
His appearance and the trademark Santa Claus-like laugh (Ho ho ho) seemed like Santa Claus was his main reference.
Behind such an unassuming demeanor is a brilliant strategist who always know how to turn the tides of the game for his team. Anzai, like Haruko Akagi, realized Sakuragi's potential early on and decided to make him a starter, even though some of his basketball skills were not yet at par. Recognizing that shooting was Sakuragi's weakness, he made him make 20,000 baskets in one week to get ready for the national tournament. Anzai is also very charismatic and able to inspire his players to greater heights as evidenced before the match against Sannoh, where he managed to bring down the insecurity within Miyagi, Mitsui, and, to a lesser extent, Sakuragi.
Although directly approached by Moichi Taoka of Ryonan, Mitsui turned him down, citing Anzai's presence at Shohoku as the primary factor. Mitsui respects Anzai the most, and even put a picture of him on the bench, prayed to it when Anzai was unable to come to the Shohoku vs Ryonan match due to a heart attack. Mitsui's actions earned the ire of both Takenori Akagi and Sakuragi, because Mitsui was acting as if Anzai had died.
- To Shohoku High: "You are strong."
- To Hisashi Mitsui: "Until the very end, never lose hope. It's when you give up that the match is over."
- To Kaede Rukawa: "Rather than going to America, i want you to become the number one high school player in Japan."
- To Hanamichi Sakuragi: "For an inadequate person... The path to reach a higher level... He must admit his poorness which is the first step."
- To Ayako: "I didn't want to put senseless pressure on everyone or affect the morale ! Because no matter who the opponent is, the most important part is still our own selves."
- To himself (about Sakuragi and Rukawa): "Did you see that Yazawa? There is a prodigy here that can surpass you. Actually, there are two of them."
- To Shohoku High: "Sakuragi-kun brings rebounds and determination to the team. Miyagi-kun brings speed and senses. Mitsui-kun although went onto the wrong path at a point, but still has wisdom and his precious weapon. Rukawa-kun has explosive strength, and the determination to win. And the foundations that were continually up held by Akagi-kun and Kogure-kun, adding all these up, forms Shohoku."
- To Hanamichi Sakuragi (words of encouragement despite his back injury): "I wanted to watch you keep having this perfect game you were having... It's like losing our team guide. It would have been just a little more, it's a life time regret to take you out now."
- Anzai is likely based on NBA legendary coach Phil Jackson, since the latter was called "Master Zen" and managed to handle turbulent and relatively selfish players like Sakuragi and Rukawa, and the fact that Jackson was a player in the 70's. However, it is also suggested to be Jerry Krause, the Bulls owner for his fatty chin, and Dick Helm, the assistant coach of Cleveland Cavaliers due to more comparable physique. Sakuragi calling him 'Pops' could be a reference to Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs head coach.
- In both English and Filipino Dub of the series, Sakuragi addresses him as an old man or tanda in Filipino.