July Anime Challenge – Prince Of Tennis

This month we bring summer to the anime challenge with the sports anime, The Prince of Tennis. The anime is an adaptation of the manga written and illustrated by Takeshi Konomi. The manga was first published in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, in July 1999 and publication ended in March 2008. It spanned 42 volumes, a total of 379 chapters. The manga was followed by a sequel series named New Prince of Tennis. (March 2009). The manga Prince of Tennis was adapted into an anime series by Takayuki Hamana. It ran from October 2001 to March 2005, boasting a staggering amount of 178 episodes! Prince of Tennis also had a theatrical movie, a series of OVAs, fifteen stage musicals, a long-running radio show – it is a franchise that was and still is big in Japan.

The anime tells the tale of Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy and son of a ‘former tennis rock-star’, which made the world and his peers dub him The prince of Tennis. In the anime Ryoma attends the Seishun Gakuen (Seigaku for short), a school known for its strong tennis club and talented players. It shows how despite being a prodigy, Ryoma finds his own style of tennis, and also chronicles his fellow club members journeys to discover their own styles and paths. It is a coming of age anime well worth the watch, and even if tennis is not your thing, you may find that Prince of Tennis is.

Week 1 - 1st July to 7th July 2019

Episodes to watch: 1 – 4

Konnichiwa Minna. This is our first week of our Prince of Tennis anime challenge. Prince of Tennis is a Manga created by Takeshi Konomi. Takeshi was born June 26th, 1970 in Osaka, Japan. Prince of Tennis made him one of the most successful mangaka in Japan, so successful that The National Tax Agency has placed him seventh on the list of highest earner in 2002! Prince of Tennis is a long running manga which ran from July 1999 to March 2008, but that is not all, it is followed by the Manga The New Prince of Tennis Which started its run in March 2009 and is still running.

Takeshi Konomi owns a cat named Kahluamilk, which inspired him to draw the cat ‘Karupin’, which is a well-loved character in the Prince of Tennis manga. Takeshi states that bathing inspires him and he gets new ideas for his manga from the bathtub… (We wonder if he yells Eureka when an idea strikes lol.) His favourite foods include Sashimi, sushi, crab and oranges and his favourite drink is sake. Takeshi believes in taking care of his body and going to the gym is his favourite hobby after playing Mario Party 3. He loves appearing in adaptation of his work, he was a bystander in the live-action Prince of Tennis movie and voiced a waiter in the anime.

Our challenge this week is to watch episode 1 to 4. Enjoy the challenge and have a super sugoi week!

Week 2 - 8th July to 14th July 2019

Episodes to watch: 5 – 8

Konnichiwa Minna. We’re entering week 2 of our Prince of Tennis anime challenge. In episode 1 of the anime we see Ryoma take on a group of bullies on the train. They catch up with him at the tennis court and one of them challenge him to a match. Ryoma wins against the bully using his right hand. The bully gets angry over losing and challenge him to another match. Ryoma and switches his racket to his other hand. The bully realizes that Ryaoma has played against him using his handicap and that Ryoma is actually left-handed! In episode 2 we see Ryoma take on another group of tennis court bullies, but we will not give anymore spoilers in case some of you still need to catch up with us on the challenge this week.

Ryoma’s Japanese voice actor is Junko Minagawa, she does a splendid job, as he does not sound female in the anime. Minagawa was born on November 22 in Ibaraki Prefecture. Her best known role is Ryoma Echizen, from The Prince of Tennis and she also sang some of the show’s theme songs. Some of her other roles you may recognize her from are Ayaka Yukihiro in the Negima series, Akira in Aria, Cornelia Li Britannia in Code Geass, Khamsin in Shakugan no Shana, Yoshitaka Nakabayashi in He Is My Master, Haruka Tenoh/Sailor Uranus in Sailor Moon Crystal, and Yun in Akatsuki no Yona.

Before voice-acting she was actively participating in school plays and was also devoted to the volleyball club activities in school. After school she studied to become a stewardess, but neglected her studies so much that no airline would accept her. After a while she became interested in voice acting and she was recruited by the Tohokushinsha Film Company. It’s good she never became that stewardess since she made a big mark in the anime world with her talented voice.

Our Challenge this week is to watch episodes 5 – 8. Have fun with the challenge and have a super sugoi week!

Week 3 - 15th July to 21st July 2019

Episodes to watch: 9 – 12

Konnichiwa Minna. It is week 3 of our Prince of Tennis anime challenge, and the tennis court action is intense! In Episode 4 we see the elimination matches start that will determine the school team regulars. We meet Kaido, a dark brooding reptilian-looking tennis player who is aptly nicknamed The Viper by his peers. Kaido has a special technique when playing called ‘The Snake’ where, starting from the right leg, then shifting his weight to the left he can hit the ball with an abnormal spin. His appearance is like a viper and to boot he plays in a stance that mimics a snake, it is really something to watch in the anime.

In episode 5 Ryoma takes on Kaido’s The Snake. It is a tense and fierce battle and it is very clear that both Ryoma and Kaido are equals in talent in the tennis court. In this battle of will and stamina the best way to see who wins the match is by watching the anime’s episode so we will not spoil the outcome for those who must still watch the episode. It is a brilliant match that must be watched to appreciate.

Kaido’s Japanese voice actor is Kōhei Kiyasu. He was born on February 19, 1975 in Ehime Prefecture an is a graduate of Hiroshima University where he majored in art. He is a member of the Nylon 100℃ theater troupe.  Some of his voice acting roles include Nobu Andou in Capeta, Soushi Minashiro in Fafner of the Azure, various other voice roles in Prince of Tennis such as Kyosuke Uchimura and Haginosuke Taki. Kouhei Toki in Dragon Drive and Akira in Yu-Gi-Oh!

Our challenge for this week is to watch episodes 9 to 12, we hope you enjoy the challenge and have a super sugoi week!

Week 4 - 22nd July to 28th July 2019

Episodes to watch: 13 – 16

Konnichiwa Minna! It is our final week of the Prince of Tennis Anime challenge. Prince of Tennis is not just a sport anime but also a coming-of-age anime where we watch the main protagonist grow into a fine young man. There are quite a number of great coming-of-age anime and this week we share a few recommendations with you.

BECK: Mongolian Chop Squad

Beck is a coming of age tale about 14-year old Yukio “Koyuki” Tanaka who becomes part of a teen rock band, named BECK. While saving a very odd-looking dog of questionable parentage, he meets its owner, the guitar prodigy Ryusuke Minami. Ryusuke teaches Koyuki to play guitar and later Koyuki becomes a member of his band. From then on, the anime follows the band, as they deal with real-world hardships like finding venues,dealing with fellow artists eccentricities and even the positive and negative effects that come with fame and fortune. There is also a hint of romance thrown in, as Koyuki falls in love with Ryusuke’s beautiful half-sister,Maho. The anime has great music and tells a magnificent story. We’ll let the anime trailer tell you more about Beck.

Eureka Seven

Fourteen year old, Renton is the son of a scientist who died saving the world, he lives a boring life with his boring grandfather in a boring town, that is until a large mechanical robot and its cute driver, Eureka crashes into Renton’s bedroom. He becomes part of an epic adventure which will change his views on life forever. This is an anime with beautiful animation, scenic backgrounds and tells a story that will touch the heart. Here is the trailer to tell you more: