History features a plethora of monumental battles, Nelson versus Napoleon, the Greeks against the Trojans, and apparently any high school tennis match featuring Ryoma Echizen. Prince of Tennis manages to take a simple concept – a high school tennis tournament – and transforms it into a wonderfully flamboyant and comedic romp into the world of sport.
Prince of Tennis follows the Seigaku Tennis Club and its bid to make it to the Junior National Tournament Finals. Central to the plot is Ryoma Echizen, a freshman tennis prodigy. Returning to Japan after spending four years in America, Ryoma manages to not only wow the seniors at Seigaku, but also easily secures a place as a “regular” – something unheard of for a freshman. With their new ace player in place, Seigaku begins its quest to conquer the regional championships and attain its dream of making it to the National Finals.
Whatever excitement Prince of Tennis lacks in its basic premise, it more than makes up for in pure entertainment and spectacle. In a shounen tradition shared with series such as Naruto or Bleach, Seigaku’s regulars demonstrate an array of impressive yet entirely outrageous new techniques. Incorporating such exorbitant moves, the matches themselves become dazzling extravaganzas that seem more like a clash between rival ninjas than a game of tennis between middle school boys. As expected, these astonishing attacks always emerge at the most crucial point of any given match. Naturally several aspects of the plot become predictable, though I still found myself anticipating the revelation of Ryoma’s most recent technique.
Prince of Tennis only manages to get away with such theatrical styles of play for one simple reason: it never once takes itself too seriously. Designed to entertain rather than educate, Prince of Tennis’s generous supply of comedy perfectly complements its showy matches. Humorous exchanges between Seigaku’s club members, ridiculous training camps, and various jokes surrounding Inui’s special vegetable juice, nicely balance a generous helping of boomerang shots, disappearing balls and shattered tennis racquets.
Outside of the tennis court Prince of Tennis’s visual quality remains fairly standard. However, with most of the series devoted to Seigaku’s games, this is not a major problem as Prince of Tennis boasts impressive animation during its match sequences. In particular some close ups – such as that of Ryoma’s shoes as he jumps – exhibit a more realistic movement, even down to the minute motions of his shoelaces.
By pouring more effort into the matches, Prince of Tennis’s visuals heighten the intensity of what become epic battles. Whether displaying Momo’s powerful ‘Dunk Smashes’ or Eiji’s flexible acrobatics, Prince of Tennis effectively portrays each playing style, and even the most ludicrous ideas seem more believable.
The musical score does well to enhance an already cheesy atmosphere. Including suitably melodramatic music for intense matches and light, bouncy harmonies for more comical moments, Prince of Tennis’s sound design performs its duty. Though fitting admirably with the series, it feels as Prince of Tennis’s score took few risks and instead chose a safer, more generic path. Consequently the music frequently feels familiar rather than in any way innovative. Completing its soundtrack, the series’ myriad of opening and ending themes, while moderately catchy, unfortunately leave little lasting impression.
Overall, the voice acting is decent, with nothing to complain about. Special kudos goes to Horio’s voice actor. His blaring, nasal voice, served only to make Horio all the more irritating – a perfect fit for the character.
Including characters from other competing schools, Prince of Tennis boasts a large cast. While Ryoma remains the central protagonist, he is not Prince of Tennis’s sole focus. The other Seigaku regulars demonstrate plenty of development throughout, from their various problems and injuries, to the creation of their new match-winning techniques. Although central focus always inevitably shifts back to Ryoma at some point, Prince of Tennis often feels more like an ensemble series, which helps maintain interest.
Even secondary characters such as the students from Hyotei and Fudomine enjoy more development and screen time than would be found in any average shounen series. By exploring their personal stories and improvements, Seigaku’s opponents develop into more than just faceless rivals; they become characters in their own right, which gives each match an added depth. This allows Prince of Tennis to become something worthier of viewing instead of falling into a realm of mediocrity entitled: ‘The story of Ryoma Echizen’.
Prince of Tennis demonstrates satirical qualities that become, without a doubt, its greatest strength. Mixing a large portion of comedic content with matches of epic proportions, Prince of Tennis provides pure entertainment and ideal viewing for those looking to kick back and relax. Hardcore tennis fans may find Prince of Tennis a little on the ridiculous side, but take it as it is and even those who, like me, aren’t necessarily fans of sports anime could find themselves enjoying this playful series.
This is seriously my HG anime!! I think I watched it more than five times already. I just hope they air the New Prince of Tennis OVA soon T.T I also read the manga but they take forever for one chapter argh!
This is a fairly good anime. It has a good plot to it but sometimes I donot like that it goes off on to too many side stories and sometimes you can loose track of the main plot. But the story line is still really good. This anime has very good animation to it. The animation at the begining of the anime is a little wired but as the anime goes on the animation gets better in the details of the characters and the moves that they make during the games. I like the voices of most of the characters, if they are subbed and some of them dubbed, and some of the voices ofnthe characters leave something to be desired. I like the sound of most of the music in the anime. Most of the characters are fantastic and just pure awesome. So over all this is a really good anime.
Story - 5/10 - The story for The Prince of Tennis is based upon a young boy named Ryoma, who is the son of a former tennis super star, and is taking on the task of joining the school's tennis team and attempting to lead his team to victory when he is only a freshman (This would generally be un-heard of).
Ryoma is considered one of the elite prodigy's of tennis and while he isn't accepted at first by his team, the chemistry eventually comes along through several charming and funny scenes. Unfortunately the series tends to follow a pattern of the team winning, than having off-the-court battles in which the team members are re-inspired or lose, but learn from their mistakes. While this makes the anime interesting at first, it gets old pretty quickly.
My problem with the story of The Prince of Tennis is that it is predictable, repetitive and generally it fails to make the tennis matches entertaining once it reaches the middle of the series, almost as if the writers started the series wanting to show all the tennis matches that the team would have to go through, but then once they reached the more competitive matches it almost seemed as though the creativity fizzled out.
I felt that Prince of Tennis never found its identity. It seemed as though the producers didn't know if they wanted to make a comedy, realistic sports series, drama, or an unrealistic sports series. As a result the series never really presents any characterstics that many other series would provide.
Animation - 7.5 - Not much to talk about here. Its your classic late 90's early 00's style that isnt too flashy but gets the job done. The animation or art style of this anime isnt really all that special and I wouldn't watch this series if you're looking to be impressed by a beautiful or interesting artistic perspective.
Sound - 9.5 - The sound was nice, definitely suitable for the anime and the swooshing of rackets and bouncing of tennis balls is quite enjoyable to listen to when backed with dramatic music.
Characters - 10 - In my eyes the characters are the gem of this series. There is plenty of character development, both in talent, and some short but effective backgrounds. The characters are charismatic and funny, simply put, its hard to not enjoy watching the team win and feel awful for them when they lose.
Overall - 6.5 - Overall the series really lacked for me. I enjoyed the first 30 or so episodes before the plot felt linear and unsatisfactory. I stuck with the anime through the entirety of it, as I was hoping it would climax towards the end and become more interesting again, unfortunately I was wrong. I recommend people interested in tennis, or people who want to see an anime with an older style to watch this, but if you're looking for something with artistic feeling, emotion, complicated and well though out plots, then you're looking at the wrong anime.
The Prince of Tennis anime is primarily about one Echizen Ryoma, the twelve year old son of retired tennis pro Echizen Nanjiro. Ryoma's main goal in life is to one day defeat his father in a tennis match, a seemingly impossible task.
After having won four consecutive junior tennis tournaments in America, Ryoma and his family move back to Japan where they enroll him in Seigaku Junior High, a school with a reknown tennis team. It quickly becomes apparent to the tennis team that Ryoma is by no means a normal freshman and he becomes the first freshman in the history of the school to make the regulars.
In the beginning Ryoma sets about his dream of defeating his father by using Seigaku as a stepping stone, but somewhere along the way he finds himself getting drawn into Seigaku's dream of making it to the National Championships. He finds himself becoming friends with his teammates, something he really didn't intend to happen. He comes to respect and admire his teammates, especially the captain Tezuka who is a well known tennis prodigy that even the pro's have their eyes on.
The storyline for this anime was well thought out and creative. I loved the fact that there was drama, action, and tons of laughter.
The animation wasn't really anything spectacular but it suited the anime to a T.
The music, for the most part, was quite good. The voice acting fit the characters to perfection and was superbly done.
The characters ruled this anime. They were the shining gems who made you immediately want to watch the next episode right after you finish one. I loved the way that they all played off of one another and how it frequently brought a smile to my face or laughter bubbling forth.
One of my all time favorite anime. I would recommend Prince of Tennis to any anime fan! I sincerly hope they make another season of the New Prince of Tennis anime (a continuation of this series) ... I need more lol! Also for those of you who dont know ... there are three OVAs that cover the National Championships a must watch if you're a fan of this series!