What is Prince of Tennis? In short, it is an anime about tennis and the only one of its kind. Some people may find it boring while others will find it interesting; this is an anime that either you will like or don't, there really isn't a middle ground. I personally love this anime and have re-watched it a few times. The story is good, the characters are well developed, the music and art is good.
- Story and Plot - 9/10 -
The main plot of the anime is how the main characters, players of Seishun Gakuen, deal with the various situations dealt to them in the world of junior Tennis. Their youngest teammate is Echizen, Ryoma, who is the one referred to as The Prince of Tennis due to his skills.The story follows through their trials as a team, in their ultimate goal of playing in the Japanese Nationals. Each player of Seigaku, though may not be treated specially, helps the team with their unique talents in order to further their goal.
The team plays other school teams such as Fudoumine, St. Rudolph, Yamabuki, Hyoutei Gakuen, Josei Shonan, Rokkaku and Rikkaidai in order to reach the Nationals. These teams also feature players with unique abilities and talents, showcasing them during the several matches they play against Seigaku or each other.
Overall story follows the same patterns as anime such as Naruto, Bleach, Dragon Ball, etc. where there are intermittent episodes in-between the different story arcs. Each new arc has Seigaku playing against a new opponent and the players must increase their skills in order to move onward. The story is good because you learn more and more about the players and their backgrounds as the anime progresses and this helps you understand their personalities also.
- Art and Character Design - 9/10 -
The art is great in the anime, even though there are a lot of repeated scenes. The one thing that amazes me is the detail art for each character, whether main or support, of the series making them all stand out from each other. Exceptionally well done art for being old (which I honestly do not care about) and keeping the same style till the end.
- Soundtrack - 9/10 -
Like the art, the music is amazing for the anime. This is one those anime that has Seiyuu music, which is awesome. Some of the opening, insert music and endings are done by the Seiyuu and that adds spark to this anime.
- Character Development - 10/10 -
This anime has a lot of different characters who are introduced, each with their own unique stories. Each team brings in a new story about their drive and motives for success, much like the main team Seigaku. This is the best part of this anime; unlike other anime with several characters, Prince of Tennis is the only one that I have seen so far, that actually develops all the characters introduced.
The main characters of the anime are the team members of Seigaku. A lot of them are great but some of the characters from other teams are also note worthy. So I will just point out the ones I like:
Ryuzaki, Sumire (Seigaku): Ryuzaki is Seigaku's coach, who is constantly yelling at the members of the team. Even so, she cares a lot for her team and has one of the best coach-member relationships in the anime. She understands each of the players and takes a lot of pride in her position as Coach.
Tezuka, Kunimitsu (Seigaku): The leader of Seigaku, Tezuka is portrayed as a serious and distant person whose aim is to take Seigaku to the Nationals.One of my favourite characters because he shows exactly what it means to be a leader. Not only is he fair with all his members, but he keeps order within Seigaku without resorting to cheap tricks. He also has the utmost respect from everyone in the series, not only due to his skill in tennis but also because of his character.
Kawamura, Takashi (Seigaku): Kawamura I would say is given the least attention amongst the members of Seigaku. His talent is power mainly and his personality is pretty shy when he isn't playing tennis. I particularly like his character because he progresses through the anime without any special skill, just strength and motivation. The team is foremost on his mind and he is known to take "the hit" for the team, much like his captain. Kawamura's character shows that through inner strength and motivation, many things can be achieved also.
Inui, Sadaharu (Seigaku): Known for his Data Tennis, Inui is feared among people in general not because of his nature but rather for his weird concoctions which he calls "Inui Juice". He uses this to motivate the team to work harder during training as none of them want to drink it. This is the best part of the anime, every time Inui brings out his juice, everyone runs away from him; simply hilarious.
Atobe, Keigo (Hyotei): Captain of the Hyotei team, he is your regular wealthy student with a lot of influence. He keeps a flashy personality to hide who he is really is. Atobe is more understanding than he looks and takes a lot of pride in his team and his own play. Atobe sees Tezuka as his biggest rival but he also understands Tezuka the most. In my opinion, his outward character is just a cover for his true personality and that is why he is one of my favourites. There is always a meaning behind his actions.
Other characters that I really liked would be Rokkaku's Vice Captain Saeki, Rikkaidai's Vice Captain Sanada, Fudoumine's Kamio, and so many more. There is just too many characters in this anime to list them all :).
- Viewer Enjoyment - 10/10 -
I thoroughly enjoyed the anime because it was pretty laid back and was not demanding at all. The anime is hilarious but serious at the same time and scenes do not take forever to happen. Yes the arcs can be a bit repetitive but name an anime today that has more than 75 eps which is not. Every new arc brings in more players and these players always make appearances later on in the series. Every time the teams meet up, there is always some sort of overall friendship between all the players showing that sports, even though competitive, can have room for friendship. Just because someone is your opponent and beats you, does not mean that they are your enemy. Good sportsmanship I would say is the overall theme that is portrayed here. That you should love the game first and foremost; what matters most is Tennis and not whether the player wins or losses.
- Overall Rating - 9/10 -