Prince of Tennis Episode 1

Prince of Tennis

"A Prince Appears"

If you're looking for a realistic depiction of the sport of tennis in an anime series, this is not the place to look. (Wait... if you're looking for a realistic depiction of just about anything in anime, you're really barking up the wrong tree.) Prince of Tennis is the story of Ryoma Echizen, a young tennis prodigy who has come to Japan after spending much of his childhood in the US.

We don't find out much else about Ryoma's character in this episode, besides that he's a cocky boy who's pretty sure of his own abilities (after winning four championships in a row, who can blame him). He makes a quick enemy with some of the older kids at the tennis club he has traveled to, and this sets up a match. The match itself is pretty average, with the animation adopting a lot of quick cuts that more or less destroy the coninuity of the match (but this was a made for television show, so the shortcuts are expected).

Ryoma pulls out some moves that (like noted above) defy the laws of physics and tennis in general. For example, just because his opponent has a longer reach and moves up to the net, does not mean it would be impossible for Ryoma to hit a passing shot up the line (especially if he's supposed to be this great tennis prodigy). Also, it's apparently "just like Ryoma" to hit lobs over his opponent when he's playing at the net. Well, this happens to be a rather common tennis strategy. But like I said, realism isn't what we're going for here.

The show will probably follow a formulaic, fight opponents of increasing difficulty, with some bizarre tennis "special moves" thrown in. Probably a big huge tournament at the end. Still, it's not bad and it's fairly fluffy and entertaining.

Hey, we've all seen this story before, so it's more or less just about seeing the setting it's adapted to.

Rating: B

Posted by Kei at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

Prince of Tennis Episode 2

Prince of Tennis

"Samurai Junior"

Let me start by saying the tennis in this particular episode, was completely realistic! Okay, it wasn't. Anyways, more tennis against guys that are bigger than him, he wins of course, playing with his right-hand handicap. Yeah, we get it, he's pretty good.

That said, we find out that he's the son of a famous Japanese tennis player (oh wait, I think we knew that already, too), and we get some hints that he might not be the self-centered bastard that he came off as in the first episode.

Not very good, but entertaining, I suppose.

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

Prince of Tennis Episode 3

Prince of Tennis

"Seigaku Regulars Arrive!"

I cannot for the life of me figure out what the point behind the pre-match kaleidescope-esque effect they use on the court. It looks weird, doesn't really look cool... but oh well.

In this episode, Ryoma must face off against yet another (oh I'm sure this school has quite a few) overbearing upperclassman who isn't too happy with his super cool guy attitude. The challenge this time is that Arai (his opponent), steals his rackets before challenging him to a match, forcing Ryoma to play with an old wooden racket with a broken string. Playing with such a crummy racket, Ryoma is of course able to make the adjustments he needs to and wins the match.

We're also introduced to the regulars, basically the starting lineup for the school's tennis club. There's your usual varied characters that make up any sort of anime grouping (like the Gung Ho Guns in Trigun or Shishio's followers in Rurouni Kenshin). Anyways, matches are played to decide who will represent the club as regulars, but as a rule freshman are not allowed to tryout. After seeing Ryoma play, Tezuka, the captain, pencils him in.

This show seems pretty consistent!

Rating: B-

Posted by Kei at 10:28 PM | Comments (2)

Prince of Tennis Episode 4

Prince of Tennis

"The Man Called the Viper"

Horio is one of the most annoying anime characters ever. This isn't a show about violence, but I'm hoping they come up with some way to kill him off. A well placed tennis ball, perhaps.

One good thing about this show is that they drop you right in the action at the beginning of the episode, and doesn't waste much time in getting going. In this episode, the ranking tournament has come, and features the match between Ryoma and Kaidoh (the Viper). More silly tennis playing (taken very seriously) is the centerpiece of the episode. Just remember to suspend your disbelief if you happen to know anything about tennis.

It moves faster than Dragonball, at least.

Rating: C

Posted by Kei at 04:09 AM | Comments (1)

Prince of Tennis Episode 5

Prince of Tennis

"Snake Shot"

I really didn't like the tennis match in this episode. Kaidoh, the Viper, is defeated because he's forced to bend his knees more than usual, causing him to expend more energy, and thus tire more quickly. The reason he's bending his knees is because Ryoma is hitting the ball deep on him. I'm not Seigaku regular, but I'd think the solution for Kaidoh would be to play one or two steps deeper. It's not like tennis requires you to stand inside the lines. On top of that, we see Kaidoh and Ryoma, these exceptional tennis players, get tired after playing four games. Considering the scorecard clearly has space for three sets, how are they ever going to be able to do that?

Realism aside (hey, it's anime), this really is just more like Dragonball. You've got the two combatants facing off and firing off moves at each other, while some of the observers are in the dark and ask a lot of questions like, "How can this be?"

This is a pretty cookie-cutter show so far, so while it's entertaining, it's really nothing special.

Rating: C+

Posted by Kei at 12:09 AM | Comments (9)