The Prince of Tennis
|Cartoon Network (Toonami)|
|Dec. 23, 2006 - May 26, 2007|
The Prince of Tennis is a Japanese anime series based on the manga series of the same name, written and illustrated by Takeshi Konomi. The anime series was directed by Takayuki Hamana, animated by Trans Arts and co-produced by Nihon Ad Systems & TV Tokyo. The anime aired across Japan on the anime satellite television network Animax and the terrestrial TV Tokyo network from October 10, 2001 to March 30, 2005, spanning a total of 178 episodes, as well as a theatrical movie.
The Prince of Tennis was announced to be a part of Cartoon Network's new online broadband service called Toonami Jetstream, and began streaming on July 14, 2006. The series began airing on Toonami's Saturday night block on December 23, 2006, though some episodes were initially skipped.
The series is primarily set in Tokyo, and centers around Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy who attends Seishun Academy, or Seigaku for short, a private school famous for its strong tennis club and talented players. Ryoma quickly defeats numerous upperclassmen shortly after entrance to secure himself a spot as one of the team's regulars. In pursuit of their ultimate goal of winning the National Middle School Tennis Championship, members of the team make new friends while learning and mastering increasingly complex techniques. Ryoma also begins to develop his own style of tennis, and eventually realizes what the sport really means to him.
Ryoma Echizen — The protagonist of the series, Ryoma is a first year student at Seigaku Academy and the son of Nanjiro Echizen, who was formerly known as "Samurai Nanjiro" during his days as a professional tennis player. He makes his first appearance when he criticizes a high school student about his tennis knowledge in a subway.
Kunimitsu Tezuka — Tezuka is the captain of the tennis club and a third year student at Seigaku Academy. A National-caliber player and vice-captain the year before the series took place, Tezuka is serious about everything – one of his trademark phrases is "Don't let your guard down." Tezuka puts his captaincy of the team and it's performance before anything else, including his own pursuits.
Shusuke Fuji — Fuji is a third year student at Seigaku Academy who is given the title "genius" due to his tactical skill on the tennis court. Fuji is often seen with a calm and content expression on his face, with his eyes seemingly closed from lightly smiling. However, when he is excited, provoked, or when playing seriously, Fuji reveals his sharp brown eyes. Fuji's tennis is counter-style, in which he uses elements of opponents' shots to send usually nonreturnable counter return shots.
Shuichiro Oishi — Oishi is a third year student at Seigaku Academy and the vice-captain of the tennis club. Along with Eiji Kikumaru, he is part of Seigaku's "Golden Pair," a doubles team that made it to Nationals the year before the series takes place. The two are called the "Golden Pair" because of Kikumaru's athletic skills and flexibility, and Oishi's strategical mind. They know each other's actions really well and have a good relationships, their trick is that they can act in a unified way. Oishi is known to care for the team very much, and was even said to care for the team twice as much as anyone on the tennis team.
Eiji Kikumaru — Eiji Kikumaru is a third year student at Seigaku Academy and is part of the "Golden Pair," along with Shuichiro Oishi. Using his acrobatic play, he can return almost any ball, even those that seem out of human reach. Eiji is also known to have the sharpest vision on the team, with an exceptional talent for seeing fast moving objects. He is almost always seen with an energetic and cheerful disposition, even during his matches.
Takashi Kawamura — Takashi is a third year student at Seigaku Academy and, according to the manga series, this is his first year as a regular. He is a shy and a soft-spoken person off the court, though still outspoken and stubborn when he makes a decision. However, he becomes extremely aggressive and loud once he grabs a racket. This change in his personality is marked by him shouting "Burning!!!". He relies mostly on his power and aims to become the National's number one power player.
Sadaharu Inui — Inui is a third year student at Seigaku Academy. As a highly intelligent player, he plays what is called "Data Tennis," which involves collecting and analyzing data for a player in order to determine their weaknesses to the extent that he can determine the exact probability of certain shots being successful. Inui often manages the team's training regimens, which usually involves contests or races of some kind, with many being forced to drink one of Inui's many infamous and poisonous juice concoctions.
Takeshi Momoshiro — Momoshiro is a second year student at Seigaku Academy, known as Seigaku's number one rascal. He is an aggressive power player who uses the court and environmental conditions to his advantage. As the player who is the most open and friendly with everyone, Momoshiro is connected to everyone on the team on some level. He becomes the vice-captain after Shuichiro Oishi graduates from Seishun Academy.
Kaoru Kaido — Kaido is a second year student at Seigaku Academy whose nickname is "Viper", which fits him well as his signature move is the "Snake Shot", a curving forehand that drains an opponent's stamina by forcing them to chase the return. He wears a bandanna and often exhales, making a sound similar to a snake. He is often remarked as the hardest trainer of the team. He becomes the captain after Tezuka Kunimitsu graduates from Seishun Academy.
Sakuno Ryuzaki — Sakuno is a first year student at Seigaku Academy. She met Ryoma on the train, when he saved her from being hit by a couple of high school boys. Since then, it is hinted that she has a crush on Ryoma. She, along with her best friend Tomoka, cheer for Seigaku together during matches.