Ani-Buzz: The Prince of Tennis

11 Feb , 2012,
Crimson
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The (Classic) Prince of Tennis - Title card

We know our readers aren’t just big on comic-books, games and movies.

They’re anime and manga addicts too! That’s why in Ani-Buzz, we’re tracking down some of anime fandom’s cult classics by the greatest Japanese directors of all time.

We’ll also have a peek at hot titles each season, courtesy of the good folks at online anime portal Anibee.tv.

In our first installment, we’re gonna hit the hard courts with The Prince of Tennis, a classic sports story that’s making a comeback thanks to the hype surrounding it’s 2012 re-make.

Also called Tenipuri for short, The Prince of Tennis revolves around elementary schooler Ryoma Echizen’s journey to become a top tennis player, but before this young prodigy can make a mark in the Japanese tennis scene, he has to contend with resentful teammates and upperclassmen at Seishun Academy.

Giving new meaning to "you got served!"

Tenipuri’s about coming of age, friendship, rivalries and growth – staples in any sports story if you think about it, and the story’s pretty standard fare. It’s rife with the over-the-top action and exaggerated (sometimes absurd) moves that define the sports genre, but unlike it’s contemporaries at the time, it does boast a fair amount of research.

Tennis fans will appreciate the creator’s use of jargon like “western grip” and “spin”, and while the art style might seem a little dated, it’s hard to forget that Tenipuri’s characters, especially the namesake protagonist, had once set the hearts of fangirls pounding in its heyday.

It’s an enjoyable watch, thanks to the quality work of the Production I.G. team, and both the OP and ED sequences were pretty jazzy.

Personally, I didn’t fancy the snippets of recycled and redundant footage that dogged the episodes, and there were some minor discrepancies in the subtitling, but it’s nothing an average viewer might notice otherwise.

Princess Bride reference, or pure coincidence? You decide.

Ultimately, it’s an evergreen title, and you’d probably want to give this series a go if you’re a fan of the sport. It’s also something worth reminiscing if you grew up with anime in the early 2000s.

Verdict: 3.5/5

Check out The (Classic) Prince of Tennis, airing now on Anibee.tv. Check out the Prince of Tennis on Anibee.tv page and Anibee.tv on Facebook for more information.