The story is set several months after the end of the first manga, and features Ryoma returning to Japan after his stay in America. The beginning of the second OVA series was released on June 22,roughly 3 months after the end of the first. However, the original music themes can be found in the DVD extras of disc 3. The four box sets contain the first 50 episodes of the series. The New Prince of Tennis, a sequel anime that picks up where the previous series ended, ran from January 4, to March 28,
To this day, it's hard to really say that Japan ever got past Prince of Tennis fever, one look at the various pieces of Prince of Tennis merchandise like the musicals or even the live-action film, makes it instantly clear just how big of a thing this is for them.
Naturally, such a popular manga was bound to be subject to an anime adaptation, and so in October , an anime version of the mega-hit was released by none other than C Staff?
Someone thought that that was a good idea? I mean, J. I'm looking at you Spiral This is a company that for the most part, seems to have very little in terms of "great" budget, and suddenly they're expected to animate episodes of such a huge hit?
All of a sudden, Prince of Tennis the anime sounds like it's going to be a disaster. You know what though? It's not; in fact, Prince of Tennis is actually pretty good. That's not to say however, that this is the best sports anime out there - indeed, there are definitely flaws with PoT, mostly to do with the animation, which I'll cover later on - and if you've had any animosity towards sports anime in the past then you can immediately forget about liking Prince of Tennis, as it most definitely won't change your mind about them, it's possible that it may make you dislike them even more actually; even sports anime fans that I've talked to have dismissed PoT out of hand calling it "ridiculous" "a joke" and "an insult to the actual sport itself", and whilst I can certainly understand why people dislike certain ridiculous elements of the show, I find comments about it being a joke and an insult to be quite puzzling, because personally, I found that once PoT hit its stride, it was a huge barrel of fun and enjoyment.
The story is typical sports anime fare: Team wants to become the best.
Team goes up against many strong opponents and becomes stronger after each match. Team wins some games, team loses some games. It's a tried and trusted formula which, while not really turning any heads in terms of how things play out, provides decent enough motivation for the characters to at least keep you emotionally invested in them for a while.
What's interesting about the story is that, whereas other sports shows would immediately opt for making the main protagonists team a group of underdogs, going up against impossible odds and coming out better for it, the tennis players of Seigaku are actually rather strong by comparison.
We're presented with players who are already known at the national level, a player that's regarded by practically everyone as a tennis prodigy, and Jesus himself, Captain Tezuka. These are character archetypes that, in nearly every other sports show, would be reserved for the opposing teams, their sole purpose to make the protagonists team stronger and stronger after every single match, and we're meant to watch them playing for the home team.
So how then does that make the matches interesting? As mentioned before, Seigaku is constantly going up against stronger and stronger teams, with players that are just as equally strong as them with the exception of Captain Jesus, who I'll talk about later on , this means that even though there are main characters who are ridiculously powerful, the players are almost never really in a position in which they can just sit back and take the match easily, meaning that it successfully maintains a feeling of excitement and tension, despite the several curb-stomp matches that do occur throughout the series.
One major stand-out of the original PoT's storyline, rather funnily, is the filler. Now obviously, in an anime this long filler is bound to be expected - this could range from anything to funny filler episodes to outright filler arcs - but what's interesting to note is that, well No seriously, I mean it, I wouldn't joke about this even if you paid me.
After about episodes, PoT goes off on its own route because the animators decided that they wanted to give the audience a different Prince of Tennis experience than that of the manga, and it actually pays off rather well, I'm sure the whole Junior Selection Camp thing served in some way as the basis for what would eventually form the plot of New Prince of Tennis; in reality I suppose these filler episodes are nothing more than a clever way for J.
C Staff to fully exploit the huge cast of bishonens that exist in PoT, and create new pairings for its ever growing fanbase of yaoi fans heck I'm a straight male and even I supported some of the pairings.
Nonetheless, these filler episodes are at times more entertaining than the actual matches from the proper storyline, they're a strong example of how to do filler, and more importantly, how to do filler well - the fact that I was able to marathon through the final 78 episodes in the space of about two weeks is a testament of how good I personally found the filler.
However, regardless of how good everything else is in Prince of Tennis, there is one factor that threatens to nearly derail the viewing experience almost completely. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Prince of Tennis's utterly woeful animation. Artistically speaking, the series fares well, Takeshi Konomi's numerous bishonens translate well to the screen, enough so that that was the deciding factor in why the score isn't less than 5, it's when it actually comes to animating that Prince of Tennis utterly falls down.
You will see stock footage, a lot of it, I lost count of the amount of times I saw the same footage for Ryoma's Twist Serve or Fuji's Higuma Otoshi repeated again, and again, and again. Static images are abound in the anime. It's not often that animation in an anime is so bad that it's actually detrimental to the viewing experience, but in this case, it most definitely is.
For whatever reason - perhaps due to J.
C Staff's lack of funds - simple shots are repeated in little boxes that suddenly appear on the screen, so you're subjected to the same footage you saw not two seconds ago; randomly, a character will take a shot and the anime decides that for whatever reason, it's going to show the same shot again in a spiral that suddenly bombards your screen.
I could quite literally turn this review into a complete list of faults with the animation of the show. The animation is meant to be a medium that conveys the manga format effectively, and it seems as if somewhere along the line, J.
C Staff forgot about that little detail, as such, we're presented with matches that, in the manga, would only take about 3 to 5 chapters I bothered to use the Seigaku VS Yamabuki match as a reference for this and in the anime, take roughly the equivalent of about 4 episodes by comparison.
In short, it's pretty much total butchery, and something that wouldn't be fixed until the National Tournament OVA's in which it was then animated by the far more capable hands of Production I. Musically speaking, PoT fares significantly better, one of the many things that defines a sports anime - or long running anime in general - is the soundtrack; without a good soundtrack, quite a bit of the effect is lost whenever something dramatic happens, and what PoT lacks in the animation department is something that the sound department makes up for.
Cher Watanabe composed an absolutely awesome soundtrack, the opening themes are, personally, among some of the best and really get you in the mood for Prince of Tennis, seriously, just try and listen to "Driving Myself" by far the best of the opening themes and not get pumped.
The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good, I remember plenty of moments when the music was the best thing about the show, particularly when tracks like "Mission", "Hangeki" and "Koutekishu" were playing, it's hard to not at times feel a big goofy grin appear on your face when the soundtrack is at its best.
Voice acting is equally strong, there are plenty of arrogant characters in Prince of Tennis, not least Ryoma, Atobe and Kirihara, and the voice acting is able to pretty much hit all the right notes when it comes to performances, whether it be one of the arrogant characters or one of the softer characters, or perhaps one of the stoic characters - it's hard to fault the voice acting, with the exception of the really annoying little kids that pretty much form Ryoma's fan-club, their voices grate significantly and any attempt at humour with these characters falls flat down on its face.
Also, a word of advice, avoid the dub at all costs, they never did dub the entire show but what they did dub was pretty poor; it seems as if practically no one was taking the anime seriously enough to bother contributing something that can actually be considered a performance.
As you will no doubt know, sports anime and manga are usually not reliant on their story even if, in this case, it's actually pretty good , the sport is usually the lifeblood of its respective anime or manga, but it's the characters that really make it stand out.
If you were, for instance, to try and watch Eyeshield 21 without Hiruma, you would be stuck with an anime that, while having its moments, doesn't have a strong enough cast for you to keep yourself interested in it. Thankfully, PoT's characters are strong enough to keep your interest, you will definitely find at least one character among this cast that you can actually bring yourself to like.
Like yourself a cocky, confident main protagonist who knows what he's doing?
Then you'll probably quickly find yourself fawning all over Ryoma. Do you like relaxed, composed characters with strong poker faces? Fuji's the one for you. Do you fancy unbelievably arrogant, king-like characters?
Look no further than King Atobe himself. Of course, those are just the base character traits, over time, the characters especially Ryoma develop into more than that, becoming much more likeable, more sympathetic and much more worthy of you rooting for them.
Gags that originally weren't funny, such as Inui's special juices or Kawamura's Engrish, gradually become chuckle-worthy, heck even downright funny, and that's because of the way the characters develop. Unfortunately, the characters aren't quite perfect, and that's due to the fault of one character: Captain Jesus - I mean, Captain Tezuka.
Tezuka is, hands down, the worst character in the show, so naturally, he's one of the most overpowered too. He's bland, dull, has practically no emotions whatsoever, and is just completely uninteresting as a character and as the team captain; Kabaji had more character development than Tezuka, and the only thing he said was "Yes"!
Of course, this also makes him practically unbeatable, with only really the best of the best standing a decent chance against him. The only thing that Tezuka is good for is providing Ryoma with at least some motivation to start getting better, and even that's only a small catalyst.