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. 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 (though he's more timid in the presence of girls). He has cat-like eyes, similar to most of the other Nekoma members.

Personality

Similar to Tanaka, he's 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 in Nekoma High School and plays on the boys' volleyball team as a wing spiker. He is 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 calm them down. 

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 Häagen-Dazs 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. When Yamamoto sees Kenma talking with Hinata, he approaches them and intimidatingly asks what Hinata's doing with the setter. In response, Tanaka approaches him and defends Hinata. After the two are scolded by Sugawara and Yaku, Yamamoto suddenly spots Kiyoko and runs off in shockand frustration that Karasuno does a beautiful female manager.

Nekoma and Karasuno play evenly initially. When Yamamoto gets blocked the first time, he easily recovers his composure and shouts for another toss[3]. As he slams it past Tanaka, he yells that even if his power is mediocre, he's still the ace. Tanaka returns with another spike past Yamamoto. For the majority of the match, the two play against each other. In the end, Nekoma wins all the matches[4].

Yamamoto tentatively approaches Tanaka afterwards 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 it arrives, only to fall over in shock because the number of female managers has increased.

During the BBQ at the end[6], Yamamoto bands together with Tanaka and Nishinoya to protect Kiyoko from any guys that take an interest in her. 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 after making it to quarterfinals. In the lobby, Nohebi approaches the members and Yamamoto immediately jumps to him[7]. Kuroo joins in and picks on Daishō.

As the match begins, Yaku teases Yamamoto about his sister's enthusiastic cheering. The members start warming up and Yamamoto yells at Kenma to be more energetic. Kenma replies that Lev's sister was staring at him, distracting Yamamoto and causing him to get hit by a volleyball and scolded by Coach Naoi.

Nekoma plays defensively in the beginning, but Fukurōdani has the advantage. Yamamoto gets a few strong spikes in. In the end, Fukurōdani wins and Nekoma has to play Nohebi to win its last chance for nationals[8].

Nekoma vs Nohebi

The match begins and Yamamoto gets picked out by Nohebi, who scores 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.

Yamamoto positions himself for the next spike, only to get hit full-on in the head by Daishō's spike. However, he quickly realizes that Nohebi baited him to step into that position. As the game progresses, Taketora gets more flustered and makes more mistakes.

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[9]. As he thinks this, he goes for an attack from an awkward angle, slamming it past the blockers.

Nekoma wins the match 2-0 and the members celebrate with Yaku, who's 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

Yamamoto is first seen helping make several receives. At one point, Yamamoto is blocked by Sarukawa's block when Kenma sent him an underhanded set that threw off the timing. He is able to get several spikes through to score but is occasionally blocked.

During a time-out, Yamamoto follows the instructions Kenma laid out about purposely making bad serve receives when he tells them and to send him high sets when possible. After Nekoma wins the game, Yamamoto would praise Kenma on how much effort he put into the match. When Kenma admits he sees his teammates as his friends, Yamamoto is initially surprised before trying to happily embrace Kenma.

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. 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.

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. Though he still has a mohawk, he appears to have let his hair return to its natural dark color.

Statistics

Original 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. 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

Relationships

Ryūnosuke Tanaka

When they first met, they clashed badly and tried to intimidate each other. During the subsequent practice match,

Tanaka and Yamamoto s4-e12-1.png

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.

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. Yamamoto constantly tries to get Kenma to be more extroverted while Kenma is generally indifferent; Kenma also knows Yamamoto well and knows what type of things can specifically rile him up or distract him. He has a somewhat competitive relationship with Lev, who claims to be Nekoma's ace, something that doesn't sit well with Yamamoto. On the other hand, Lev finds Yamamoto to be scary sometimes. Yamamoto seems to have a one-sided rivalry with Fukunaga when he reveals during the match against Karasuno that he does not want to be out-done by his fellow teammate; though he does try to get Fukunaga to be more vocal.

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. 

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.

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.

Trivia

  • Favorite Food: Yakisoba bread
  • Current Concern: he wants to know the best way to talk to girls.
  • 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.[10] He did not rank in the second poll.[11]
  • Nomenclature
    • Taketora (猛虎) - Fierce Tiger
    • Yamamoto (山本) - Natural Mountain

Quotes

  • "Hey, hey, hey. What business do you have with our setter?" (To Hinata, Season 1 Episode 12)
  • "Even if my attack power could be called average, I am Nekoma's ace!" (Volume 4 Chapter 31)
  • "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 isnt standing behind me right now. I really don't have the luxury of getting riled up at their trash talking." (In the match against Nohebi, Volume 23 Chapter 202)
  • "Players who can't even defend properly doesn't deserve the title of ace." (To Lev, Volume 23 Chapter 203)
  • "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)

References

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