Anime: Prince of tennis: The National Tournament

I was inspired recently to finish up a particular Prince of Tennis fanfiction that has been sitting in my computer and rewritten 3 times. It’s currently my goal to finish the fic as I finish my last semester of studies here at the ANU.

Anyway, what better way to do research and get in touch with the characters than through rewatching the Prince of Tennis anime? The main series is way too long for me to get through, although I have a feeling I probably will rewatch it soonish, but the national tournament arc was shorter, looked better and thus I chose to rewatched it.

What can I say? Prince of tennis is a fandom close to my heart. I watched it many years ago and because it keeps coming out with more and more extras, it’s a fandom that never ends! Especially with the new manga and anime! I’ve been so into it lately that my laptop wall paper is currently the captains of the various tennis teams – obsessed! :)

So yes about the anime, the national tournament was divided into 3 series of OVAs. The first covered the preliminaries which was 13 episodes, the second was about the semifinals against Shitenhouji which was 6 episodes and the third was about the finals against Rikkaidai which was 7 episodes long.

I think it’s a good end to the series, although I guess it’s pretty obvious where Seigaku was heading (as in most sports manga and anime). A lot of the old favourites were back and we got to see some new people in action. The characters and animation was much better than the original series and matches were usually just one episode long, which wasn’t too draggy. There were new moves and new characters, the humour was spot on.  There were “filler” episodes about beach volley ball and eating yakiniku which were funny! Overall I enjoyed watching the boys being pushed further and their bonds as a team.

Good sports anime makes your heart pump a little faster and causes you to cheer for your favourite teams. If you’ve ever been in a sports team, the feeling that are displayed in Prince of tennis will be familiar. However, Prince of tennis is really a congregation of bishounen (pretty boys) and the fandom has begun to pander to fangirls. There really is a character for everyone and of course there are moments of ambiguity, which lets fangirl’s imagination run wild. I didn’t mind it, but if you’re looking for some serious sports stuff, you’re looking in the wrong place.

Prince of tennis capitalizes on exaggeration. The moves are insane and obviously not possible and the characters don’t look or act like middle schoolers. The things the boys are willing to go through to win are not always sane, but it makes for entertainment. I admit that some of the characters fall into stereotypes and because of the wealth of characters we do see some repeats of moves and characters. Also, very little attention is put on the background, you can tell when background are being reused and they are rarely detailed.

Still the national arc was good, a few curve balls were thrown in for good measure and the story didn’t turn out too predictable or linear.

Because I’m a fan, I’m probably biased when I say that Prince of tennis (long as it might be) is actually worth watching. From the amount of miscellaneous media it has spawned – radio shows, drama Cds, characters Cds, games, concerts, musicals, one can tell how popular the prince of tennis series is. It’s a good depiction of what shounen anime is like, Ryoma being your typical hero.

With that, I look forward to more Prince of tennis! The recent manga chapters from the New Prince of Tennis has been AWESOME, best pairing in the WORLD appeared and also the anime looks better than ever! Here’s to more Prince of Tennis! :)


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