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Tennis, Prince of Tennis, and Tenimyu

lexxiescott put up an entry today where someone on forum wanted someone to explain Prince of Tennis + why do they all care so much about high school tennis. First off, it's more correct to say middle school tennis (unless we're talking Shin Prince of Tennis... that would be more like "why do middle school players care so much about high school tennis/survival at this crazy camp").

Not sure how I would answer the above question. For me, the appeal of Prince of Tennis comes from several things: 1) A love for tennis 2) Character interaction 3) Personal Development 4) A vast variety of personalities 5) Competition 6) Pride 7) Dedication 8) Friendship 9) The fact that they're pretty much all males. 10) Goals and Achievements and Falling Down and Getting Up

As for a plot summary... I've got nothing but "A team that has a young tennis prodigy defeats many other teams and wins two big tournaments."

Anyway, reading that got me thinking how I ended up getting into tennis and then Prince of Tennis and Tenimyu. I haven't really... rambled? much on LiveJournal. Seems like now is the proper time.

- In my second year, I was at the Relay for Life event held at my university where the marching band participated as one of the organizations contributing to the cause. During the luminary ceremony, my marching band director (my biggest inspiration) showed up. Mind you - it was 10pm and he has kids so I was very surprised. Anyway, we ended up walking the track together and had a very nice personal conversation (arguably the first long one we've ever had). He mentioned he played several sports, one of which was tennis, and at the time I was really getting into racquetball, so I asked if he wanted to play that. He agreed... more like, he said he was going to win.

The next Monday, he saw me in the hall and was like "Can't wait to beat you in tennis!" and walks away laughing. And of course, I was like "You'll be the loser!".

Silly me. I had never played tennis outside of N64 Mario Tennis and Wii Tennis. However, my brother played for his high school team so that summer we started playing. I needed to beat my band director sometime in August, so that left me roughly three months to get good. I pick things up fast anyway, but tennis was unbelievably fast. And I ENJOYED it - why didn't I pick it up sooner? Oh wait - because band was my LIFE. There was not room for anything else.
So, sometime during the summer, we were at the bookstore and I was looking through the manga section for something to read. I'm mentioning this again, but not only picky with music and voices, I'm also picky about what I read. Time is limited - very much so. For manga, it has to be very nice art, but more importantly, a complex (or at least, well-thought out) plot with character development/interaction.

And there it was, a whole line of Prince of Tennis and my first reaction was "What the heck? Who would write a manga about tennis?" I kind of flipped through a random volume and was like... "Eh. The art isn't quite my style. I wonder if there's an anime?" (This was back in the day where I had seen more anime than read manga... actually, I was only really exposed to Fullmetal Alchemist and the anime was well ahead of the manga. And La Corda d'Oro was great too).

So, I didn't realize I downloaded the first episode to the National OVAs (I didn't even know what OVAs were at the time anyway) and watched like 5 episodes before I was like "Hold on... how does everyone know each other like they do? And why was there no character introduction?" Wikipedia informed me that I was a moron.

But I fell in love with Fuji in Episode 4? (the one with the fourth counter). So I wanted to watch all of these episodes with Fuji in it (thanks Wikipedia). He was awesome with a great personality. And he was good-looking. Then I watched that Tezuka/Fuji match at the end of the regular series and I was like "Oh man - Tezuka is pretty serious. And I like him." Which led to me watching his matches. At the same time, I was keeping up with the OVAs (they were partway through Shintehouji). Thank goodness my brain can organize all of the out-of-order things I put it through.

And of course, the Tezuka/Atobe match happened and I was like "This sort of unattractive guy with this AMAZING voice? Yes!!" And then he had a move called "Rondo Towards Destruction", which was a music major, I was like "Does this get better?!". Then I discovered he was a captain of a very large team, is super wealthy, is amazingly talented and confidently arrogant (or arrogantly confident?), is musically inclined, but can back everything up with hard work and support for his team. This boy was a winner!

Yes, I watched all of the Atobe matches. Which got me into Oshitari. And then the Silver Pair. And the rest of Hyotei. Katsu no wa Hyotei!

Finished up the National arc... knew nothing about their history with Rikkaidai. Then watched the Kantou Tournament, where I figured out who Rikkaidai really was. But their anime portrayal wasn't the greatest so I didn't really get into them much. I did like Yagyuu though - something about him stuck out to me, but I really didn't know what. I actually thought Sanada looked a little strange... or at least, in the regular series. Something about the hat and his eyes in combination. He looks so much better in the manga. More manly xD

Now is a proper time to talk about the manga I suppose. During all of this, I did pick up 6 random volumes (I think 6... maybe 7 or 8?) that had Fuji as the primary player. But then, the bookstore's supply of Prince of Tennis vanished in the middle of the summer. And so I started checking out other bookstores when we went to other cities to get stuff and they would have some volumes, but the next time, it was all gone. It was like someone knew I had just gotten into the series and was preventing me from getting my hands on the entire series. I never did finish reading all of the manga, but I did read my favorite teams' parts. Same with the anime - 143/178 after almost four years. However, I am completely current with Shin Prince of Tennis.

And I might as well address Tenimyu... Two years ago, a friend was like "You like musicals. And you like tennis. Watch this!" and I was like "... Okay?" So I did Dream Live 3rd because Hyotei was in it. I love Hyotei. My reaction was definitely "!!!!!!". Yuu Shirota (Tezuka), Aiba Hiroki (Fuji), Kato Kazuki (Atobe), and Takumi Saitou (Oshitari).

In a nutshell, I watched them in this order...

Dream Live 3rd (Season... this song is beautiful)
Imperial Match Hyotei (The Tezuka/Atobe duet!!)
Dream Live 4th (this started my love for Baba Toru, Nakagauchi Masataka, and the Platinum Pair!)
Advancement Match Rokkaku
Dream Live 5th (Kanesaki Kentarou, Yagami Ren, and Rikkai the team)
Dream Live 2nd
Absolute King First (Finalist is one of my loves)
Absolute King Second (Omaera Gakeppuchi Giri Giri is still my song love!)
Dream Live 6th (Furukawa Yuuta's voice) (Daisuke Watanabe's voice)
Progressive Match Higa (seeing a video of Laser Beam vs Boomerang Snake got me into watching this one)
Treasure Match Shitenhouji
Imperial Presence Hyotei
Dream Live 1st (best version of the song Victory)
Final Match Rikkai First (waiting for it to come out) (also Masuda Toshiki)
Final Match Rikkai Second (Highlights... best opening EVER)
Dream Live 7th (Aitsu ga Tennis no Oujisama (my guess at the title.. don't remember it exactly))

Now I laugh out loud at the fact that I initially dismissed Prince of Tennis as something that lacked essential story elements and therefore probably not worth my time.

Oh, and I never really got to play my marching band director in singles. We played doubles that first year (there were four of us... known as the Fantastic Four) and I was never on the winning team. But he said I was really good for just learning.

We played once again the next year... again in a doubles rotation. It was extremely hot out and we didn't really get to play more than one and a half matches.

Had to skip a year because he was in another state working on his doctoral degree that summer.

But this summer, sometime that I'm in town again, we're playing a singles match. And I will win! ^^


( 1 Admirer — Katsu no wa Hyotei )
Jun. 4th, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
Katsu no wa Hymn! :-) I am full of faith that you will win :-)

Yay for cool stories! How wonderful :-)

*hugs you*
( 1 Admirer — Katsu no wa Hyotei )

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