Prince of Tennis Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 3 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 189
  • ISBN: 1-59116-436-2
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Prince of Tennis Vol. #02

By Jarred Pine     March 29, 2005
Release Date: July 01, 2004


Prince of Tennis Vol.#02
© Viz Media


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Takeshi Konomi
Translated by:Joe Yamazaki
Adapted by:

What They Say
Ryoma Echizen, the Prince of Tennis has just enrolled at Seishun Academy after spending several years in America winning 4 consecutive US Junior Tournaments. His cool confidence raises the hackles of a few older students on the tennis team, and they challenge him to a game, but none of them even comes close to his skill and knowledge. Now intramural matches to determine the starting members of the team for the upcoming city tournament are about to begin, and although the rules don't allow 7th graders to play in tournaments, the captain has arranged for Ryoma to enter the ranking matches. Does he have what it takes to truly deserve the title Prince of Tennis? Find out in this amazing tennis manga!

The Review
Packaging:
The cover artwork is similar to the original Japanese cover, featuring Ryoma Echizen posing with a racket over his shoulder. I am not a fan of the design for Ryoma so this isn’t a favorite cover of mine at all. The logo is very similar to the Japanese logo, a circle with the title in the middle, except the text is translated into red blocky letters. The Japanese title text is along the top of the circle. The back cover an illustration with Kaido and Ryoma.

The print job is of good quality with nice dark tones with only a little bit of fading. The beginning of the book has a few words from Konomi along with character profiles which really came in handy. There are chapter headers feature character artwork, as well as chapter closing pages which are quite humorous. Actually it’s these little illustrations that make up 90% of the humor in the entire volume.


Art:
Konomi’s character designs continue to be really crisp and refined. His characters are pretty striking in appearance and their personalities are reflected in their designs, even if they are scowling most of the time. I also still think Ryoma looks like a freak of nature with his out of proportion eyes, ears, hands, neck, and head.

The tennis action illustration is extremely clean and well constructed within the panels. I never had a problem following the action thanks to the great layouts. I found myself really getting into the action and a big part of that was because of the strong action artwork during these scenes.


Text/SFX:
SFX are translated and retouched. There really aren’t too many SFX so the artwork that was covered up is minimal. The school grades are translated as 7th, 8th, and 9th instead of using the traditional Japanese grades which was a little disappointing as it removes the cultural aspect.

The rest of the translation and adaptation seems pretty good. There are references to real pro tennis players and they are translated accurately. The dialogue with the characters fits their cold personalities.


Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
The intramural ranking matches have begun and now it is time for Ryoma to make his mark, being the first first-year member of the team to be able to participate. I think this mini-tournament came a bit too soon as there hasn’t been any time devoted to learning about any of the other Seigaku teammates. However, by the end of each match I did feel like I had a better feel for each character so the introductions do somewhat succeed even though it is a bit shallow.

Ryoma’s first opponent is Kaoru Kaido, another smug character whose personality is about as enjoyable as Ryoma. The second opponent is Sadaharu Inui, who plays the game based on analysis and statistics, a very familiar type of character in sports manga. Like Ryoma and Kaoru, Sadaharu also comes off smug and emotionless. Somebody please just smile or something!

The matches are pretty intense and each one is illustrated over multiple chapters which draws out the drama but never really starts to drag. The action is pretty much non-stop and I did find myself getting really into each match. The problem I have is that I really had no interest in the outcome of each match and neither was that much of a surprise. I knew who was going to win, and I never really got into rooting for one or the other.

During the middle of the volume there is some information given that could explain Ryoma’s detached personality. Two magazine reporters show up to scout the talent and it is through one of them that we learn of Ryoma’s father, the short-lived tennis legend Nanjiro Echizen. It becomes apparent that while at home Ryoma plays his father everyday, and everyday he loses. His motivation is to one day beat his father, and that is why he plays tennis. There isn’t too much information given and most of the this has to be derived, but at least it appears that some sort of picture is coming into focus surrounding Ryoma.

Comments
The tennis action is fast and intense in this volume as Ryoma makes his stand in the ranking matches. The sport is portrayed about as accurately as last volume, there are a few small liberties but it’s nothing more than other sports titles out there. While the action is fun to read, there is still a lack of warmth to the characters that keeps me a bit more detached than I want to be. We get a little bit more info about Ryoma’s home life and background, but it still is hard to root for his character. An entertaining read but I still find myself thirsting for a bit more to chew on.

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