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Taketora Yamamoto (Japanese: 山本 (やまもと) 猛虎 (たけとら) Yamamoto Taketora) was previously a second year student from Nekoma High, serving as a wing spiker and the ace on the boys' volleyball team. He is the older brother of Akane Yamamoto.

As of 2021, he is an outside hitter for VC Kanagawa, a professional volleyball team in Division 1 of Japan's V-League.

Appearance

Yamamoto has short, thick eyebrows and a mohawk that appears to be dyed blond, giving him an intimidating appearance. He has cat-like eyes, similar to most of the other Nekoma members.

Post-timeskip, Yamamoto still appears mostly the same although he appears to have let his hair return to its natural dark color.

Personality

Similar to Tanaka, Yamamoto is loud, hot-headed, and easy to anger. He's very proud of his position as the ace, though he acknowledges his shortcomings when it comes to power and qualities other aces have. He has a strong mentality, albeit he's easily riled up, and knows when to gather his bearings, exemplified in the match against Nohebi.

Despite his intimidating appearance, he's timid around girls and can't gather the strength to speak to them. Yamamoto also may be indifferent towards his studies as he's remarked that he knows some big vocabulary, but can't spell them[1].

Background

He is currently a second year attending Nekoma High School and plays on the boys' volleyball team as a wing spiker and as the current ace.

When he first joined the team, he and Kenma had clashing ideologies and was annoyed at the latter's skills despite being lazy and unenthusiastic, and even got into an argument where he caused Kenma to raise his voice and got physical with each other. The fight was broken up when Fukunaga splashed water on them to prevent their fight from escalating further. 

Despite this, Yamamoto began noticing Kenma's desire to not lose, along with his strong game sense and was thankful that he was on the same team as him. Eventually, he told Kenma to call him "Tora" as a sign of friendship and the two have been getting along since.

Plot

Karasuno High Team Formation Arc

Nekoma plays a practice match against Tsukinokizawa High before meeting Karasuno[2]. It wins 2-0. Later that night, Yamamoto bets Inuoka and Shibayama a Yakisoba Bun that Karasuno doesn't have a female manager. He loudly exclaims that it'll be frustrating if they have one and Nekoma doesn't before yelling out the window, causing Kuroo to angrily scold him. He then asks Kenma what he thinks and is surprised when the usually indifferent Kenma answers that he's looking forward to the match.

Nekoma and Karasuno meet the next day. At first sight, Yamamoto immediately gets on guard when meeting Tanaka and are about to get into a fight before Yaku stops Yamamoto and mocks him for his stupidity. After this, the two get embarrassed but Yamamoto’s attitude soon changes when seeing Kiyoko and admires her beauty. At this, Inuoka and Shibayama both cheer and refer to the bet Yamamoto made about Karasuno having a female manager.

Before the match begins, Kenma complains over how Kuroo considers him Nekoma’s “brain” but Yamamoto supports their captain and tells him that it’s a nice way to get the team “pumped up”. During the match, some spectators use one of Yamamoto’s excellent passes as an example of Nekoma’s defense and how it also advantages their setter, Kenma. Sometime later, Yamamoto would get blocked by narrowly saved by Kai. When Yamamoto gets blocked the first time, he easily recovers his composure and shouts for another toss[3]. After this, Yamamoto calls for Kenma to set to him in order to demonstrate his power as Nekoma’s ace. For the majority of the match, the two play against each other. In the end, Nekoma wins all the matches[4].

After the three practice games are held, Yamamoto tentatively approaches Tanaka afterward and asks for Kiyoko's name. As Tanaka threatens him, Yamamoto reveals that he doesn't have the courage to talk to her anyway. Tanaka has a change of heart and answers his question and the two bond over their attraction to Kiyoko. As they realize that they're quite similar, they introduce themselves and become fast friends, later tearfully shaking hands goodbye.

Tokyo Expedition Arc

Nekoma takes part in the training camp as per tradition[5]. Yamamoto greets Karasuno when they arrive, only to fall over in shock because the number of female managers has increased.

During the barbeque at the end of the camp, Yamamoto bands together with Tanaka and Nishinoya to protect Kiyoko from any guys that take an interest in her[6]. When Karasuno leaves, Yamamoto waves with a heavy blush on his face, watching Kiyoko and Yachi walk away.

Spring High Preliminary Arc

Nekoma vs Fukurōdani

Nekoma prepares to face off against Fukurōdani Academy after making it to the semifinals. In the lobby, the Nohebi team approaches the Nekoma members with Suguru Daishō mocking Nekoma's defensive tactics and reputation. Yamamoto immediately jumps to defend his team and Kuroo joins in and picks on Suguru[7].

Despite his confident attitude earlier, Taketora becomes embarrassed once Akane, his little sister, shows her support towards Nekoma. The members start warming up and Yamamoto yells at Kenma to be more energetic and tries to explain to him a reasoning that he saw on television as to why. Kenma replies that Alisa was staring at him, distracting Yamamoto and causing him to get hit by a volleyball and scolded by Coach Naoi.

During the beginning of the second set, Yamamoto is able to spike past Konoha, which is something he is praised for afterward. Shortly after, Kenma tells the team to target Akaashi. To confirm that heś understood Kenma’s strategy, Yamamoto uses height-leveled words, which surprises some other teammates. Sometime later, Yamamoto freezes as he sees Bokuto’s sharp cross-shot.

Nekoma vs Nohebi

Yamamoto is one of the first of Nekoma's members to get targeted by Nohebi when positions himself for the next spike, only to get hit full-on in the head by Suguru's own shot. However, he quickly realizes that Nohebi had baited him to step into that position. As the game progresses, Taketora gets more flustered and makes more mistakes.

Because of his performance in the match's beginning portion, Yamamoto gets picked out by Nohebi, who attempts to make him fall to pressure as Nekoma's ace. Despite their taunts and them scoring past him multiple times, Yamamoto those not crack and is able to score with a feint and a spike right afterwards. However, Yamamoto calms himself down and reminds himself that his team is definitely going to go to nationals. Despite that, he gets riled up from their insults, especially when the referee starts showing clear bias for Nohebi.

However, he calms down after Yaku gets subbed out, noting to himself that he doesn't have the luxury to be reckless at this point[8]. As he thinks this, he goes for an attack from an awkward angle, slamming it past the blockers. Later on, Nekoma wins the match with a score of 2-0 and the members celebrate with Yaku, who has returned.

Tokyo Nationals Arc

Nekoma vs Kiyokawa

Yamamoto plays with his team during their first match at the Spring Tournament and is seen celebrating with them when they win.

Nekoma vs Sarukawa

As Kenma and Yamamoto's first year is referred back to, Kenma calls Yamamoto to dig an enemy spike and he succeeds. Despite this, Yamamoto is blocked by Sarukawa shortly after and he apologizes loudly. Later on, in the first set, the announcers praise Yamamoto as one of Nekoma's most notable players. After Kenma tells the team to send the ball to him, they all proudly assure him that they would do so. When Kenma attempts to preserve the game, he remembers what Yamamoto continuously tells him about guts. Although he hates the word, he admits that it is not a 'move' people can often achieve. After that, Yamamoto reflects back on what Kenma had said about the team needing to have guts to go on and is proud of his teammate for being able to get past his dislike of sports. When Yamamoto tells Kenma that he showed great willpower after the match's conclusion, he tries to convince his teammate otherwise but fails and gets angry.

Karasuno vs Inarizaki

After their match is over and Nekoma watches Karasuno's match against Inarizaki, Yamamoto is surprised when seeing Osamu set. Later on, Fukunaga sits next to Yamamoto and agrees with him being impressed at Atsumu's serve.

That night, Yamamoto watches television coverage of the upcoming match against Karasuno. When the two teams are being described, Yamamoto gets angry about how the announcers are making it seem like Nekoma is going to lose. Hearing Kenma comment that Karasuno has more coverage since they defeated more impressive teams, Yamamoto remarks that they have as well. Despite this, both he and Kuroo grow quiet when the setter asks them if they could’ve beaten Ushijima or the Miya twins.

Nekoma vs Karasuno

With the match between Nekoma and Karasuno at hand, Yamamoto goes into the game as eager as ever. He is confident that Nekoma will be able to stop Karasuno's freak quick attack but is confused when Kenma admits that he's not sure if they can do that. Yamamoto is cheered for by some of the Nekoma students, earning the annoyance of Tanaka in the process.

Yamamoto is able to receive Tanaka's cross shot when he attempted to spike past Lev. He later compliments Kenma for seeming to be more into the game than normal after Kuroo is able to score and tie the game. Yamamoto later attempts to receive Yamaguchi's jump float serve but is unable to properly receive.

In the second set, Yamamoto is seen more in trying to receive and spike. During a time-out, Kenma points out that Karasuno will not be able to keep up their stamina for long but the same also goes for Nekoma. Hearing this, Yamamoto tries to bring Kenma's spirit up though the setter would try to ignore him.

When Tanaka lands a service ace, Yamamoto would admit that his friend and rival is truly amazing. Though he believes that his appearance, namely his hair style, is better than Tanaka's, Yamamoto would admit that Tanaka is far manlier than him[9]. Because of this, Yamamoto does not want to lose to Tanaka. Yamamoto would also silently reveal that he does not want to lose to Fukunaga after his teammate was able to land a back corner shot with seemingly little effort. This desire to not want to be beaten grows when Fukunaga is able to receive Yamaguchi's jump float serve without complications. When Karasuno eventually reaches set point, Yamamoto attempts to score with a straight shot but is shocked to see Hinata receive his spike that would head back to Nekoma's side to win the set for Karasuno. Yamamoto is able to receive Yamaguchi's serve and then right away land a straight shot.

Nekoma would eventually lose the match and Yamamoto would shake hands with Tanaka afterwards before leaving the court tearfully.

Fukurōdani vs Mujinazaka

A few rallies into the match, Yamamoto explains that he’s read Kiryū concentrates on getting as much bodyweight as he can into his hit so that he can generate more power. Sometime later, he gets impressed at Usuri being able to foresee Akaashi’s setter dump. When talking about Akaashi and Kiryū, Kenma notices that Yamamoto had taken a liking to Mujinazaka’s ace.

After this short quarrel with Kenma, Yamamoto confesses to having viewed Nekoma’s match against Karasuno as a practice match that couldn’t be lost and that this was his way to have gotten past stress to win.

Karasuno vs Kamomedai

During Karasuno’s match against Kamomedai Tanaka tries to surpass a triple block from Kamomedai by attempting to do a cross-shot but the ball goes into the net and Yamamoto and Saeko see reacting worryingly to this. When Hirugami notices that Asahi is feeling pressured as he thinks he’s been useless during the duration of the game and aims his serve right at him, Yamamoto gets angry as it reminds him of Nekoma’s game against Nohebi. Into the third set, Yamamoto looks in worry when seeing Hoshiumi demonstrate excellent skills countless times during the match. Near the end of the third set, Tanaka does a cross-shot, which Kanbayashi is barely able to dig until it shoots out of his hands, which is something Yamamoto leaps in admiration at, scaring Fukunaga.

Final Arc

Yamamoto makes his final appearance at Kenma's home with the rest of his former team. Yamamoto is revealed to be an outside hitter for a Div. 1 team in the V-League; VC Kanagawa[10]. Though he still has a mohawk, he appears to have let his hair return to its natural dark color.

Statistics

High School Statistics
Power
 
5/5
Jumping
 
3/5
Stamina
 
4/5
Game Sense
 
1/5
Technique
 
3/5
Speed
 
2/5

Like the rest of his team, he is flexible and adept at receiving and digging. Taketora can have incredible mental fortitude, as he was able to immensely concentrate during the Nohebi match and ignore the taunts he usually gets riled up to. That allowed him to concentrate enough to hit straight spikes properly. He also has good instincts as he was able to receive the ball at a sharp angle when it was about to drop on his side of the court. As a wing spiker, he is good at spiking and specializes in cross spikes. These qualities, and not intense power, are what made him the ace. Since the Spring High-Tokyo Representative Playoffs, he has learned to do a jump serve.

Jumping Reach: 322 cm

Skills

Post-Timeskip Skills Parameter
Serve
 
8/10
Serve Reception
 
8/10
Dig
 
8/10
Setting
 
5/10
Spike
 
8/10
Block
 
6/10

Relationships

Nekoma High

  • Kenma Kozume: Yamamoto and Kenma first met during their first-year in Nekoma at the volleyball club. At that time, Kenma was the weakest in the team and didn't like getting tired, while Yamamoto possessed greater physical strength. They are like opposite sides of the pole, with Yamamoto being passionate about improving more by thinking about abstract things like "willpower", and Kenma being more precise about perceptible things which aids him in improving, rather than just going all out. Even though they don't agree with things and would sometimes have arguments or fights, they acknowledge and respect each other's skill, and can coordinate well as a team. Because of this, Yamamoto tells Kenma to start calling him "Tora", which the latter refuses at first, but eventually does later on. Yamamoto can be protective of Kenma, as seen when he terrorizes Hinata for talking to Kenma when Karasuno and Nekoma first met.
  • Shōhei Fukunaga: Upon first meeting in their first year, Fukunaga seemed to unsettle Yamamoto as well as Kenma, not being talkative and making a pun off of Yamamoto's comment. Though their relationship is not strongly acknowledged in the series it can be said that they are somewhat close with Fukunaga's current concern being that Yamamoto tells him to talk more. Yamamoto seems to share a strong bond with the other second years as before their match with Karasuno at Nationals, he was teased by Fukunaga how he and Tanaka were related, to which Yamamoto stormed off saying that his hair was cooler than Tanaka's. He also claimed in the game at Nationals against Karasuno that he sees Fukunaga as his rival since Fukunaga is able to pull off amazing stunts effortlessly. 
  • Lev Haiba: Yamamoto has a bit of a friendly rivalry with Lev. As the first year continues to proclaim himself as Nekoma's ace, Yamamoto is always quick to anger at hearing this and remind the first year that he cannot be the ace since he is not able to defend properly. Despite this, Yamamoto does celebrate amazing blocks that Lev is able to manage, such as the times he blocked Hinata and Kuguri.
  • Nekoma High: Yamamoto gets along very well with all of his teammates, especially with Inuoka and Shibayama, with whom he's made bets on Karasuno's manager. Though Yamamoto annoys Kuroo sometimes with his rambunctious behavior, Kuroo still treats him well.

Karasuno High

  • Ryūnosuke Tanaka:
    Tanaka and Yamamoto s4-e12-1.png
    When they first met, they clashed badly and tried to intimidate each other. During the subsequent practice match, Yamamoto was more worked up than usual and competed mainly with Tanaka, and vice versa. However, they later bonded over their attraction for Kiyoko and recognized that they would get along well as friends. A side story shows that they are now texting buddies and Yamamoto has asked Tanaka for tips to approach girls, though other members of Karasuno don't believe Tanaka's a reliable source. They were constantly with each other during the Tokyo training camp and banded together with Nishinoya to protect Kiyoko at the BBQ. Despite their friendship, they consider each other important opponents.
  • Yū Nishinoya: They don't interact much during the practice match, but later becomes friends in the training camp. Yamamoto calls Nishinoya "Master" because the latter took a slap from Kiyoko. Along with Tanaka, they are Kiyoko's protection squad.
  • Kiyoko Shimizu: Like many others, he's attracted to her, but is too shy to actually talk with her. With Tanaka and Nishinoya, he "protects" her during the training camp.

Family

  • Akane Yamamoto: They are very close and Akane often comes to his matches to lead the cheering squad. She's modest about his abilities, but is still proud of them. He is shy of his sister's obsession with volleyball and appears to be embarrassed about her support during matches, but is still grateful.

Quotes

  • "If we stifle their setter, even Bokuto-kun in peak form will be incapacitated since he won't have anything of quality to hit, eh?" (To Kenma, Volume 22 Chapter 194)
  • "I'm honestly terrified that Yaku-san isn't standing behind me right now. I really don't have the luxury of getting riled up at their trash talking." (In the match against NohebiVolume 23 Chapter 202)
  • "An unmotivated person like you has no right to talk about what willpower is!" (To Kenma, Volume 30 Chapter 266)
  • "Practice like you play, and you will play like you practice is what people say, right? I don't know how many people out there can actually achieve that... you can't have good games all the time." (Volume 38 Chapter 332)

Trivia

  • Favorite Food: Yakisoba bread
  • Pre-timeskip Concern: He wants to know the best way to talk to girls.
  • Post-timeskip Concern: He wants to improve his blocking level.
  • His birthday is on Japan's Cat Day.
  • His star sign is Pisces.
  • Yamamoto appears to have dyed his mohawk sometime in his first year after an altercation with Kenma.
  • In Haikyuu's first popularity poll, Yamamoto tied with Kindaichi at 29th with 466 votes.[11] He did not rank in the second poll.[12]
  • Nomenclature
    • Taketora (猛虎) - Fierce Tiger
    • Yamamoto (山本) - Natural Mountain

References