|Japanese Voice||Tomomichi Nishimura|
|[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.
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.
- 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.