The Prince of Tennis Anime Review
Tenisu no Ouji-sama
Prince of Tennis
US Release By
178 25-minute episodes
2001-10-10 - 2005-03-30
Prince of Tennis is about the Seigaku Junior high school tennis team going for the national championship. The main character is Echizan Ryoma, an arrogant first year who is a genius in tennis. He made the regulars even though normally only second or third year gets to be in. There are a total of 9 regular members. They defeat their opponents one by one without once losing so far.
During the Kantou area finals the captain Tezuka had to leave for Germany to receive treatment for his arm injury. The team promises to reach the nationals for him. But now they face their most difficult opponent as of yet: Rikkaidai Junior High...
Prince of Tennis is a very enjoyable anime if you don't think too much about it.
The biggest appeal in the anime has to be the sheer number of players. Each player has their special moves and sayings. However, this can also be a drawback. Since the opponent players mostly only appear during their match, there is no time to develop the characters. That's why they have to have a special move for each of them. Many of these moves are totally exaggerated to leave the viewers an impression. This is especially true of the part of plot that did not come from the manga. The anime especially changed some plot from the original manga to appeal to an younger audience (especially younger fan girls). For example, the one of the Seigaku regular Kaidou can hit a curve ball, so every time he does that move people will say "it's the boomerang snake!" This makes the anime much more 'shallow' than the manga. It gets a little repetitive because all the players always repeat their own famous sayings.
This anime is not true to the sport of tennis, and obviously you can't learn much about tennis except for the basic rules. However, I still think it is very enjoyable because there is a long term goal: the nationals. Also watching how Seigaku players' skills evolve as they face tougher and tougher opponents is very exciting. It's especially fun to see how they overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. In fact I am waiting for someone defeat Echizen, who hasn't lost to anyone except his own captain.
One thing I don't understand is, why do all the players look like they're in high school, or even college? I thought they are all junior high students...
If you are looking for a fun show with good laughs and not concerned about the little details, then Prince of Tennis is for you.
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Notes and Trivia
The Prince of Tennis franchis was, and remains, extremely popular in Japan; this show often grabbed the #1 spot among anime. It is based on an equally popular (and very long) comic series by Takeshi Konomi, available in English from VIZ. There's also a sequel manga series that started running in 2009, which VIZ is also slated to translate.
In addition to a partial DVD release in North America, the show aired for a while on both Cartoon Network and the network's streaming video site, Toonami Jetstream. It it has been aired in several Latin American countries.
US DVD Review
VIZ has released the first four seasons on four separate box sets; each has three discs, both Japanese and English audio, and nothing specified in the way of special features. Apparently VIZ stuck with the redone opening and ending themes, but the original Japanese songs are included as a bonus. Having been a couple years since the last box set, it's not looking like they intend to finish releasing it.
It's a sports anime...
Violence: 1 - A few times players tried to injure each other in play.
Nudity: 0 - Unless you count the girls in cheerleading outfits.
Sex/Mature Themes: 0 - At best a hint of could-be romance.
Language: 1 - A bit of rough language in Japanese
Staff & Cast
Original Japanese Cast
Echizen Ryoma: Minagawa Junko
Tezuka Kunimitsu: Okiayu Ryoutarou
Ooishi Shuuichirou: Kondou Takayuki
Inui Sadaharu: Tsuda Kenjirou
Kawamura Takashi: Kawamoto Naru
Kikumaru Eiji: Takahashi Hiroki
Fuji Shuusuke: Kaida Yuki
Momoshiro Takeshi: Onosaka Masaya
Kaidou Kaoru: Kiyasu Kouhei
Partly available in North America from VIZ; as of 2010 they've only released the first four seasons (50 episodes), on four bilingual box sets. Was also shown dubbed on Cartoon Network, and streamed on Toonami Jetstream.