Prince of Tennis 5

May 2, 2005

More tennis. The end of District Prelims. Guess who gets to play singles in the deciding match? Guess who wins in an overly dramatic, drawn-out fashion? We also get a glimpse of Rikkai Dai, who I like a lot. And there’s also a chapter about Ryoma’s father, who is also one of the most awesome characters in the series. I LOVE him, and this is all I know about him.

I like how this volume ends a lot (in the main story, not with the PoT pilot), and admittedly, the Tezuka/Ryoma thing was one of my favorite things about the earlier parts of the series… but specifically the resolution, which doesn’t come until next volume, in a matter of speaking… unless I remember incorrectly.

Admittedly I liked this volume a lot more than the last. I’ve read a huge chunk of this series before… but I honestly can’t remember liking at least the earlier parts of the series very well. It gets silly and more serious in spades later on, with Bowling no Oujisama being one of its finer moments, but perhaps the earlier volumes just take awhile to establish the characters. I LIKE them, but I still think they’re somewhat flat outside a tennis context, and I still think there’s a lot of tennis compared to other sports series (Eyeshield 21 or Hikaru no Go being my other references). But he does throw in non-tennis chapters every now and again… there’s a couple in this chapter, one of the boys celebrating that’s pretty good and the one about Ryoma’s father (which they still manage to squeeze tennis into, but it’s pretty one-sided).

Prince of Tennis 4

April 25, 2005

I’m sorry, it’s almost 3 in the morning, I have class in the morning, and I’m not in a good mood. This one’s very negative and profane, and it’s probably not as bad as I say it is ^_^; I should’ve put the Eyeshield 21 one first so it would be on top instead of this one.

God dammit. I don’t really like this series, but like I said I like to keep up with the fandom in a voyeuristic way. So the micro reviews from here on out for this series will be as brief as possible.

They play some hardcore motherfuckin’ tennis. In the District Preliminaries. Against Fudomine. Taka and Fuji play, Eiji and Oishi play, Kaido plays, then we are promised Ryoma.

Hey, guess which team comes out on top?

Also, Kamio is pretty great, in case you had any doubt. The fangirls certainly do love him. I’m glad the mangaka realized this too.

Prince of Tennis 2

November 4, 2004

I’m still not really sure why I feel guilty for not keeping on top of Prince of Tennis.  Volume 2 came out in June or July, and I just recently picked it up after seeing volume 3 and worrying about volume 4 showing up in stores. But, uh, I don’t really like it. This won’t be much of a review. I promise to do a good, long one soon.

So, they played more tennis. The ranking matches finished up. There were some tennis scouts. That’s about it. I just gave you a summary of what happened in the volume in three sentences, and that’s actually a pretty thorough summary, expandable only by telling you what matches went on and who the regulars are now. They only play tennis.

It’s not even that I don’t like sports manga. God knows I love Hikaru no Go, and they don’t even really play sports there, just a board game. Hikaru no Go is good because its characters are really great, whereas Prince of Tennis doesn’t even have good, dimensional characters. Even hardcore fangirls will most likely admit that they only enjoy the series because they, er, imagine personalities for the characters. Ryoma’s a smarmy little kid, and I sorta like that, but that’s about all the dimension any character ever gets, ever. Well, so far at least. There’s some foreshadowing about FUTURE TENNIS EXCELLENCE and a little mention about why Ryoma plays tennis and a hint at some sort of mysterious home life… but all that is honestly not interesting at all.

Viz did a better job translating this time, there weren’t any errors that I really remember, so that’s always a good thing. Even the trim size was good, didn’t bleed into the binding or off the edge of the page, which is a major, major problem for many graphic novels (including one I read just after it). So, good job, Viz!

In short: tennis.

Prince of Tennis 1

August 25, 2004

I didn’t pick this up til recently, mostly because when I FINALLY saw volume 1 in bookstores it was June and I was in Ohio, which meant that I only went to the bookstore about once every three weeks, and even then it was only to get the three titles they had that I didn’t. I saw PoT 1 once, but I passed it up in favor of better things. Little did I know that I would never find it again, as two and three showed up in the bookstores and they showed no signs of restocking one. Dammit. But I finally found it yesterday! Hooray!

I really only read this series to keep up with the fandom, which for all intents and purposes, is far too amusing and wrong for its own good. I just like to watch, not participate, but it’s still very entertaining. Fangirls slashing the boys in wrong ways is surprisingly the entire popularity of the series, and for good reason, because it is otherwise very boring.

It is about tennis, from beginning to end, and nothing else. Sort of in the same way that Hikaru no Go is about Go, but that series at least had some character relations amongst all the Go. This has none of that, as most of the characters seem fairly inaccessible and not really all that eager to make friends. They just wanna play tennis. And play tennis they do.

This first volume starts off with a girl called Sakuno, and that makes you think that there might be some romantic relations later on down the line. That’s a lie, as I’ve read sixteen volumes of this series, and all they do is play tennis. The storyline revolves around “the next big tournament.” Dramatic plot lines arise when they lose a match or two in the tournaments, but bounce back. In the series favor though, it seems like the rivals they match up with keep getting more and more ridiculous, so it just gets funnier and funnier.

An issue I have with it is the drawing style, and the way its written (which in theory would be the entirety of the manga, but you’re forgetting the entertaining fangirls). Ryoma scared me the first time I read this, long before it was licensed, and I had to read the first volume about three times to get a good enough grasp of the series to continue. The characters are drawn rather sinister, and I can’t really describe it past that. The way the eyes are drawn makes their intense stares creepy, and they stare intently a lot, for that is how you know they are about to get serious. The thing about reading the volume three times comes from the fact that some of the smaller details are kind of… not done well. The way the dialogue flows is often confusing, and some smaller events are never really explained (the best example I can think of is one scene where they’re talking about Kaidoh, and Ryoma says that he just might be a match for him. the other boys are shocked that he’d admit it so easily, then one yells at him and tells him they’re not talking about that. That being the magazine Ryoma is holding, but other than the fact that Ryoma happens to be holding a magazine, you have no way of knowing this). It doesn’t necessarily make the story incomprehensible, but it does make it a bit confusing and slightly hard to follow. And it’s not Viz’s fault either, that’s just the way it is.

The translation’s iffier than stuff I’ve seen from Viz in awhile. There’s a couple spelling/grammar errors I think (can’t remember specifically, just remember that they were there), there was an empty word balloon at one point, and my heart about stopped when I saw “Huji.” My brain tried to rationalize this as a typo, since I tried to remember that the “h” key was right next to the “f” key. But as much as I wanted to believe that, it’s not true. Thankfully, he was “Fuji” a little bit later, so it was a typo. Not so much an error as just a different romanization, Karupin the cat became Kalpin. Not bad, just something that will definitely have the PoT fangirls in a rage.

So is it worth it, after all this ranting? Well, no. I don’t think it’s a good series, actually. But like I said, I follow it to keep up with the fangirls, who are hilarious to no end. If you’re not into the fandom though, don’t bother, as it will bore you to tears.