Prince of Tennis Vol. #03 - 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: 183
  • ISBN: 1-59116-437-0
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Prince of Tennis Vol. #03

By Jarred Pine     April 02, 2005
Release Date: August 01, 2004


Prince of Tennis Vol.#03
© Viz Media


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

What They Say
Prince of Tennis Ryoma Echizen engages in yet another battle of skills and wits, but this time he's not fighting alone. Caught in a quest for victory in a pick-up game of street tennis, tennis prodigy Ryoma and his teammate Momo put their doubles tactics to the test. As the district preliminaries get underway, top-seeded Seishun Academy's finest contend with the best from each school using unorthodox strategies to win their games.

Is Ryoma's doubles skill level as brilliant as his singles maneuvers? And will he win enough matches to own his place as a 7th grade starter in the team? Find out as the Prince of Tennis discovers and applies the doubles techniques he learns from the books and off the street!

The Review
Packaging:
The cover artwork uses the art from the Japanese release, featuring Ryoma Echizen sitting down holding his racket. Personally, I think we have had enough Ryoma covers and it is time for some other characters to show up. 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 features an illustration with 7 of the 8 starters of Seigaku.

The print job is of good quality with nice dark tones and no noticeable 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.

Art:
Konomi’s character designs continue to be really crisp and refined. I thought Konomi even started to give some of the characters, including Ryoma, and bit more warmth with a few super-deformed designs that added a nice humorous effect. In fact, there is also one panel where Ryoma even smiles! YAY! I also noticed a bit more background detail and not as much white space as in previous volumes. The tennis action also continues to be Konomi’s strongpoint, as it is really clean and well laid out.

Text/SFX:
SFX are translated and retouched. 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.

There was a bit more slang here in this volume than the last one with words like “dissin’”. There was one instance where a part of the district bracket was not translated even though students were making reference to it. One error I noticed was that the bracket spelled one team as “Hudomine” but in the dialogue was referred to as “Fudomine”.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
One of the things I believe that Prince of Tennis has been sorely lacking is some humor. The characters have come off a bit cold and a little humor could help add some warmth and allow me to connect with them. This would mostly help with Ryoma, who is so far not a very likeable character for being the main protagonist.

The first chapter is a nice side-story featuring Ryoma and his fellow 1st year teammates as they visit Kachiro’s dad, Coach Kato, who is a tennis coach at a club. Coach Kato gets bullied by some of this clientele and Ryoma steps and defends the coach by pummeling the rude clients in a tennis match. It’s a really simple and forgettable little story, but it adds some positive aspects to Ryoma’s personality. I remember thinking, “Oh, he IS a nice kid!” after reading this chapter.

As the Seigaku tennis team starts to prepare for districts, Sadaharu uses his analysis skills to come up with some hard drills for the starters. It’s a standard training arc but the one thing I noticed was that there was a chemistry building between the players that made it a joy to read. I especially got a kick out of Sadaharu’s advice to Ryoma to drink more milk, to which the rest of the team agreed with in unison. The humor is simple, but it really helps add some dimensions to the characters and more importantly builds up that team chemistry that is much needed in a sports title.

Most of this volume deals with Ryoma and Momo becoming doubles partners during an impromptu street match and, in an unexpected move, ask Coach Ryuzaki to team them up for the first round of the district tournament. What I enjoyed most about this was that Ryoma lost during the street match! Since Ryoma and Momo only played singles, they were unable to coordinate with each other as a doubles team, which is a different game than singles matches. Having Ryoma lose this street match made the upcoming tournament match that much more enjoyable to read, as it instilled a small bit of doubt at what the outcome would be. There also was a lot more humor added during these matches that again made things that much more enjoyable.

I also liked all the explanations about the difference in strategies and playing style between doubles and singles. I’m not a tennis expert and I found this to be a real help. The explanations also allowed me to get more into the matches. The tennis also seems to be portrayed as realistic as I can tell. I am a tennis beginner and I really didn’t see anything really big liberties taken with the sport.

Comments
I desperately wanted some more humor or warmth added to go along with the tennis action and I got it with this volume. I found myself chuckling along many times with the characters. There also seems to be a great team chemistry building amongst the Seigaku players. The characters of Prince of Tennis came of less smug in this volume than previous volumes, and that increased my enjoyment level.

The tennis action continues to be a lot of fun, despite that lack of surprises in most of the outcomes of the matches. The only matches that are illustrated in detail are Ryoma and Momo’s doubles matches, while the rest are breezed over as Seigaku easily sweeps it’s way through each tournament match. So there isn’t a lot of suspense with the matches, but they are fun to read. With the introduction of a rough, upstart opponent in the finals, I hope that maybe there will be some surprises in the next volume.

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