Noboru Taki (滝 昇 Taki Noboru) is a new general music teacher at Kitauji High School, substituting for Rikako-sensei, and also serves as the band director during afterschool hours. He is in charge of class 2-5 (second years, class 5).
Considered attractive because of his deep blue eyes, slim form, and unkempt dark hair, Taki is popular among the school's girls because of his good looks. He is quite tall, surpassing the height of Takuya Gotou, the tallest student in the band.
Taki always wears high-brow half-rimmed glasses. In the fall and winter, he likes to wear cardigans (usually gray, sometimes brown) over button-up shirts, sometimes with a long dark coat. In the summer, he wears short-sleeved button-ups under sleeveless sweaters and khaki pants. At band camp, Taki is seen wearing various striped polo shirts, untucked. During college flashbacks, Taki is seen wearing jeans and a hoodie.
In the manga, Taki's hair is not as messy as it is in the anime, and is brown in color instead of black. In the fall and winter, he dresses in shirts without ties, leaves the top button unfastened, and wears blazers (usually dark blue) and khaki pants. In the summer, he wears short-sleeved shirts with khaki pants.
In school, Taki is usually polite and soft-spoken. Overall he is very friendly, rarely seen being angry or upset unless under heavy stress. However, the students quickly find that under his gentle semblance is a highly demanding and often bluntly critical teacher with a methodical personality. Many upperclassmen who remained from the schism were accustomed to the passive mindset of the band from previous years, and initially disliked Taki's methods. Despite this, Taki slowly earns his students' respect as everyone realizes that he is serious about going to the nationals.
Outside of the classroom, Taki is a very different person, revealing a friendlier personality. His demeanor is much more gentle, quiet, and somewhat melancholy when he is not in front of the band. When he is occasionally in a positive mood, he exhibits quirky, bizarre social behavior, can be easily distracted, and becomes awkwardly hyperactive when he gets overly excited about something.
Both at work and at home, Taki is wholeheartedly dedicated to music and music education. He is one of the first teachers to arrive at school in the morning, and often stays late at night working in the faculty office. In his spare time, he listens to various middle and high school band performances on his phone or laptop, assessing and studying the recordings to improve his own teaching methods.
When it comes to music, Taki is as unrelenting on himself as he is to his students, if not harsher. He is prone to self-blame and tends to set unreasonably high standards for himself, likely due to the high expectations his father set for him as a child.
Although Taki is now a polite and professional adult, it was revealed in the light novels that he used to be rather rude, cheeky, and rebellious in his teens and twenties. After experiencing a personal tragedy, he underwent a period of severe grieving and reemerged having lost much of his former childish personality.
Taki played the horn in elementary school, but switched to trombone in middle school. At an early age, he dreamed of many wild careers, including pottery, manga drawing, and film directing.
In college, Taki majored in trombone performance at a music college, but stated that he realized he was not cut out to be a performer and might fare better as a teacher. After graduation, he taught general music at a public school for a few years without directing his school's band, although he did visit occasionally to help out and give advice. He temporarily stopped teaching at the age of 29, and did not return to the music profession until 5 years later, which is when the story of Hibike! Euphonium begins.
Taki is a widower. His wife, Chihiro Taki, was also a music teacher, and was an alumnus of Kitauji High School's band under Taki's father's direction. The two of them met in their college wind band, and fell in love through music. The couple lived happily for several years, but never had children. Taki's wife became terminally ill early in their marriage, passing away when her husband was 29, five years before the events of Hibike! Euphonium.
After her death, Taki suffered from crippling grief for years. During this time, he quit his job and cut off contact with nearly everyone in his life. It is unknown how Taki earned his livelihood during these years. He almost entirely abandoned music, being described in the novels as unable to look at musical instruments or sheet music without crying. Despite this, Taki eventually decided to dedicate his life to fulfilling his wife's unachieved dream of taking Kitauji (her alma mater) to gold at the All-Japan band competition.
In addition, because Taki is a temporary substitute for Rikako, who is on maternity leave, he has a time limit of one year to take his wife's alma mater to gold at nationals. This is the main reason he pushes his students extremely hard at first, but as the events of the Hibike! Euphonium light novels unfold, Taki grows to truly care about his students and begins to act more in their interest than for his own ends. This may have resulted in the band's low score at nationals, compared to their previous stunning performances.
In the anime, however, Taki is implied to be a permanent teacher instead of a substitute, and therefore has more chances in the future to take Kitauji to Nationals.
Rehearsal Method EditTaki states on his first day with the concert band that he bases his teaching methods on his value of student initiative. He also pushes strongly for the students to align their spoken principles with their actual behaviors, and to hold themselves to a higher standard of integrity and self-examination. To this end, Taki enforces a merit-based seating system decided by audition rather than the previous system based on seniority.
Although he is undoubtedly an intuitive, effective, and talented teacher, Taki can sometimes be too harsh in rehearsals with his blunt criticisms and biting word choice. However, when students do not perform up to standard in rehearsals, Taki gives them the control over what kind of deadlines and goals they will set for themselves to improve their playing, unlike many other band directors.
Oddly, Taki prefers to conduct with his hands instead of a baton, which is extremely unusual for any band or orchestra conductor. He reportedly chooses not to use one because his deceased wife preferred not to use them, and he adopted her conducting style as a tribute to her life. However, in the manga, Taki is very clearly seen conducting with a baton.
There is a common misconception that Taki's rehearsal tactics are "non-traditional" or "unorthodox." However, the strategies, philosophies, and exercises that Taki employs when teaching the band are considered quite standard in both American and Japanese bands. It is in fact the Kitauji Concert Band that is not orthodox in their lax procedures, which were encouraged by Rikako prior to Taki's arrival.
Taki majored in trombone in college, and has years of experience with horn and other brass instruments. This makes him an excellent brass instructor but he is unconsciously biased in favor of listening for brass parts when providing critique in rehearsal, since that is his natural tendency as a low brass player. Taki is aware of this fault, and in the second trimester, he seeks to balance the attention that his students receive by hiring Satomi Niiyama, a woodwind specialist, and Masahiro Hashimoto, a percussion specialist.
Taki first appears in episode 1, listening to band music on his phone at a local shrine.
In episode 6, Taki introduces placement auditions for the first time in the band, which shocks and offends many members because the results will override seniority with musical proficiency. Although it forces everyone to practice harder, many students accuse Taki of bias, particularly concerning his affiliation with Reina Kousaka prior to teaching at Kitauji. At Michie Matsumoto's suggestion, Taki then holds a public re-audition, allowing the students to hear Reina's stellar playing firsthand and judge the results for themselves.
In episode 8, Taki is enjoying himself at the Agata Festival together with Michie, who is terrorizing her students with school dress code rules. Taki mentions to Kumiko in episode 12 that he was yelled at by the vice principal for making the students practice too hard. He also gives her some vague personal reasons for why he chose to teach concert band.
In episode 13, Taki is seen in the staff room before the final concert, speaking to a photo of his late wife.
In the second season, Taki brings in Masahiro Hashimoto and Satomi Niiyama, two of his friends from college, to help him direct the band and prepare them for the next two rounds of competition.
Later, Asuka's mother brings Asuka Tanaka to Taki's office and tries to demand that he give Asuka permission to quit the band. However, Taki senses that Asuka is being forced against her will and tells her mother that he will not do anything that is against his students' deepest will, assuring Asuka that he forbids her to quit.
At the end of the third light novel, after the band fails to win gold at nationals, Taki nearly has a breakdown because he is aware that he will likely never have another chance to work with the Kitauji concert band once Rikako-sensei returns to her post.
At the end of the anime's second season, Taki is shown speaking to Michie about preparing to teach the band next year, implying he is not a substitute teacher, unlike his novel characterization.
- Taki has perfect pitch, like his father.
- He can get way too excited about kichi.
- His name means "Rising Waterfall."
- On the anniversary of his wife's death, Taki wears his wedding ring to class.
- For some reason, Taki always keeps the top button on his shirts fastened.
- Taki gets to school extremely early every morning, and leaves extremely late at night. He leaves his office only to sleep, buy pre-packaged food, or pray for his wife at a shrine.
- The white flower hairpin that Taki gave his wife before proposing to her is a recurring symbol that appears in the manga and anime.
- In the book he is noted to have really good handwriting.
- Taki prefers shoyu ramen over shio ramen.