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PRINCE OF TENNIS #1 - - Special Review

More like the god of tennis...! Yikes!

Ooooooooh… tennis bullies are just the meanest!

I don’t know how I haven't got around to watching this. I like sports anime. I play tennis. I even appreciate how the title’s a sly to allusion to the fact that tennis actually is the sport of kings (beginning as a sport played in royal courts). Once again, I have to fall back on the excuse of there being so much anime and only so little time for a mere mortal such as myself.

Thinking back to what I found in the “action surgery!” of BLACK JACK, I’d say that anime’s special way of lionizing an otherwise passive profession requires some really precise balance. While I suppose having speed lines rush around a doctor filling a syringe isn’t any more unrealistic than, say, a lone combatant taking down a half-dozen guys while that effect swirls in the background, it can still make your eyes roll pretty easily for getting so overwrought about something that’s so quiet in real life.

Here, the more overwrought PRINCE OF TENNIS got, the more I enjoyed it...

Not only is this kid some absurd tennis prodigy…

Not only can he easily volley back bullet-fast serves like they’re whiffle balls…

Not only can he put enough spin on a lob that it sits in place on and eliminates all possible cheating…

…but he’s also been playing this spectacular match this whole time with his weak hand!!!

This is an effective pilot - - one that gets to the point in the fashion that all long-running, successful series do - - but it’s still an unusual first outing. Most times, the thinking is that you need to set your hero back some so as to hook viewers to keep watching.

You know... “Will he be able to surmount this seemingly-insurmountable challenge?! TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO FIND OUT!!!

Here, Episode #1 is basically just a showpiece for what a badass the Prince is on the court. All setbacks are temporary. This is a squash match (no, not that kind of squash) that immediately gives the sort of “Attaboy!” catharsis you usually have to sit through long stretches of conflict to get to.

Maybe there’s something to learn from that?

Watch this episode, "The Prince Appears” here and decide for yourself.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Kuro_Sanon Oct. 9, 2012 at 6:52 p.m.

This series gets weirder and weirder, the later sagas it transforms into Dragon Ball if they played Tenis

Dig Deeper into Prince of Tennis

A tennis prodigy named Ryoma tries to help his junior high school team win the championships and learns what Tennis really means to him in the process.

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