tek's rating:

The Prince of Tennis, TV Tokyo/Animax
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There's this 12-year-old boy named Ryoma Echizen, who is the son of a former tennis champion named Nanjiro Echizen (who is now apparently a monk, though he doesn't seem to act much like one), and Ryoma himself is an incredible player. He's just started 7th grade at Seigaku Middle School, and quickly acquired several fans in his grade. They include Satoshi Horio (who's always bragging that he already has two years of tennis experience), Kachiro Kato, Katsuo Mizuno, and a couple of girls: Sakuno Ryuzaki (whose grandmother, Sumire Ryuzaki is the coach of the Seigaku tennis club, and who also taught Nanjiro, years ago), and Tomoka Osakada, the much more vocal best friend of the rather shy Sakuno. There are also a couple of magazine reporters who follow the tennis matches at Seigaku, and take an interest in Ryoma: Mamoru Inoue, and Saori Shiba. We also occasionally see Nanjiro at home, mostly reading girly magazines while lounging around with the family cat. And sometimes Ryoma's older cousin, Nanako Meino, who is staying with the Echizens, chastizes Nanjiro for his idleness and interest in such magazines.

The series spends some time establishing Ryoma as a great player. When he first comes to Seigaku, he plays matches against the older kids on the team, and most of them seem to be really annoyed by him, and are sure they'll beat him, and they end up losing. So far I don't really find all of the regulars memorable. The team captain is Kunimitsu Tezuka. Then there's this guy named Sadaharu Inui, who plays a very analytical game, and often comments on Ryoma's matches, with the 7th graders who watch. A fairly friendly player is Takeshi Momoshiro (or just "Momo"), who at one point plays doubles with Ryoma. Then there's Kaoru Kaidoh, aka "the Viper," who seems to dislike Ryoma more than anyone else ever does. There are four other regulars, I guess, who I don't remember that well, though Shusuke Fuji eventually started growing on me, with his general good humor and laid-back attitude.... As for Ryoma himself, I don't find him all that likable. He's not a bad guy, he just isn't very friendly. He doesn't seem particularly interested in anyone or anything except tennis. He may have good reason to be cocky, even if it is in an understated way... I mean, he doesn't get worked up over anything, he's just... blasť. It's cool that he doesn't get bothered by how jerky his rivals act, but he also seems completely disinterested in the people who like him, y'know? Of course, I'm also getting really sick of him always saying to everyone "You still have a ways to go" (something his own father always says to him).

Anyway, Ryoma eventually becomes a regular on the Seigaku team, which I think is the first time a 7th grader ever did that; otherwise the regulars are all 8th and 9th graders. (Btw, I feel I should mention that the 8th graders all look rather more than just a year older than the 7th graders, to me.) Well, eventually there's a tournament between schools, and so far in my viewing of the show, the main competition seems to be from Fudomine Middle School. Their captain is Kippei Tachibana, and there's this story about how he was disqualified at the previous year's tournament, or something, for hitting his team's coach. Well, his team's whole backstory is sort of interesting, and I feel for them. Also, Tachibana has a little sister named An, who pops up quite a bit during the tournament, talking to various people like Seigaku regulars and the reporters and fans and whoever.

Not sure what else to say. I've never really been a fan of tennis (or any sports), but so far I find the show mildly entertaining, I guess. I watched this while it was on Toonami Jetstream, but that site disappeared, so I didn't get to finish the series. Maybe I'll catch some more of it elsewhere someday, though.

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