Nov 10, 2021
This is my first review of a show, but it is very fitting that I write one about this manga. So I originally watched the anime first, but it was good so I kept reading the manga for about 200 chapters. I had no prior knowledge about tennis before watching/reading this manga and left it feeling so much more understanding about how the sport actually works and the intensity and skill it takes to be able to play.
This is easily one of my all time favorite mangas/stories. Now, for the actual review.
The story follows a pretty typical shounen trope in that young boy has
a dream that he wants become the best at. But what differs in this show from many other shounens is that he has no real advantage or plot. The author does a phenomenal job at accurately depicting progress in real time. He gradually gets better over time and loses a lot more than a typical male protagonist in a shounen would. He has no experience playing the sport, so the reader knows just about as much as he does. Over time you start to see how his specific style of play allows him to bring his rigid nature into one of more enjoying the moment and play by play: something we all could learn. His personal development through his losses and successes feel triumphant and heartbreaking all the same.
There's also a sweet touch of romance as a subtheme and a subtle driver into how he achieves his goals. It gives a warm feeling to see how him and his interest chase their goals at the same time and how their strong beliefs in each other fuel their motivation. It's mainly about tennis, which is how it should be, but it added an extra touch that you didn't realize was needed.
Now, some people would like more attention on the side characters development, which are usually used to forward Ei-Chan's progress, but then some people complain that certain shows focus too much on side characters. You can't satisfy everyone. I think he is interesting enough as a main to carry the show and he does for over 400+ chapters. I'd suggest reading over watching, the art in the show is not even close to as good in the manga. The backgrounds of some the courts and famous spots are unbelievable. The intensity is felt through the games and I found it highly intense and never knowing who is going to win. It does a great job showing the motivations of each characters in the game and these stakes create a sense of ambivalence. or mixed feelings on the outcome of the match. You want Ei-Chan to win for his reasons, but his opponent has just as good if not better reasons or higher stakes to bet on. The story is his own path to figuring out his goals and finding deep passion for something you didn't know you had. It is very realistic in his attempts to become a great tennis player. It's also great because it is not based in high school, but a pro tennis club so you get to see the more competitive side of tennis as well as good world building as it progresses.
I highly enjoy this show as a story. There's competition, skill/intensity, romance, failure, success. world building, good art, and decent characters. There could've been more development on other characters, especially, Natsu, who also plays tennis and is really good. I wish it showed the perspective of women's tennis a bit more, and some other characters tennis path. Ei-Chan is a great main character with strong motivations and morals with a hard working nature and quirky side as well. Totally recommend to anyone wanting to watch a action packed sport anime with realistic progress and feel good romance.
What did you think of this review?