Prince of Tennis Vol. #07 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59116-787-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Prince of Tennis Vol. #07

By Jarred Pine     May 28, 2005
Release Date: May 15, 2005

Prince of Tennis Vol.#07
© Viz Media

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

What They Say
Fresh from winning four consecutive U.S. Junior tournaments, The Prince of Tennis Ryoma Echizen has enrolled at Seishun Academy. With undeniable skill and talent-not to mention a shameless cockiness that irks even the most seasoned adults-Ryoma steps up to the challenge of leading his team to the Nationals!

As the road to the Nationals narrows, Seishun Academy squares off with Saint Rudolph. Through the maneuverings of Hajime, Saint Rudolph's cunning manager, Ryoma gets matched up with Yuta-known to many as "Lefty Killer". With an unorthodox game laced with reverse spins and angles, Yuta's game ignites against the seemingly inexperienced-against-lefties Ryoma. Meanwhile, the Seishun doubles tandem of Eiji and Shuichiro assume the Australian formation to break a tie. Is this a desperate attempt to win, or a well-calculated strategy?

The Review
The cover artwork uses the art from the Japanese release, featuring a giant head shot of Ryoma, who doesn’t have much of a part in this volume. The English logo is place in the bottom right, and volume count, with cover text, are also along the bottom. The back cover features an illustration of Ryoma, again. It is great that Viz is using the JP artwork, but I think another character would have been better for this volume.

Inside there are volume and chapter headers, character profiles, and an introduction by Konomi. There is one page with a long letter from Konomi to his fans. The back of the book features a 2 page mini-manga. The print job is good with no noticeable fading.

While the artwork is very clean and refined, I am starting to notice that a lot of the newer characters look very familiar and that the expressions are always bland and placid, with the exception of Kaoru. The tennis action artwork looks good, with some fun layouts, but it doesn’t really hop off the page. Backgrounds are simple and are most of the time not part of the panel.

SFX are translated and retouched. The retouch has a lot of boxed text and it feels a bit ugly and intrusive. The school grades are translated as 7th, 8th, and 9th instead of using the traditional Japanese grades. The dialogue is free of errors and reads very clearly. One interesting adaptation choice was how one of the characters always mispronounces Fudomine, saying “Foodfight”. I am not sure what was said in the original language, but it is a nice touch to keep this bit in tact. The sport terminology and discussions are also done quite well.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Seishun enters their next round as one of the final eight teams in the Tokyo city tournament. Their opponent this time is St. Rudolph’s, who is lead by the master scout and strategist, Hajime. Hajime has been watching Seishun closely and has scripted out the 5 matches so that Seishun’s weaknesses will be exposed. The first two matches are the doubles teams of Eiji/Shuichiro and Momo/Kaoru. Eiji and Shuichiro are master doubles players, but Eiji’s strength of intense concentration becomes his weakness and he nears exhaustion. Momo and Kaoru try to put aside their rivalry they have always had for each other and learn how to play well together. Both matches are neck and neck, with the winners left to be determined until the next volume.

If my summary of the volume above seems a bit quick and shallow, that is because that is exactly how I feel after reading this volume. The pace is much to brisk, entering into the final eight matches with nothing developed and no sense of who any of the opponents are. The first chapter glazes over a couple new characters, but they are extremely forgettable. The match with St. Rudolph’s should have felt a bit more important than it is portrayed. The doubles matches start right up and nothing is really known about the opponents, which results in a complete lack of good sports drama. We also still know little to nothing about the players of Seishun, and I still find myself having a hard time wanting to root for them, with the exception of the Kaoru and Momo match. Their constant bickering and fighting with each other is the only bit of amusement in this volume. Kaoru is not as psychotic here as he was previously, which I thought was his character’s strong point. It was interesting to see Eiji struggle, and it honestly looks like their match might be in jeopardy, adding a hint of surprise and drama.

In the end, while it is fun seeing some of the tennis strategies complement the tennis action, the lack of character development and good sports drama makes this a very average feeling title. It is also starting to feel as though the tennis is more about boys posing then it is about the actual game play of the sport. The games just breeze on by, making it hard to get a grasp on the feel and flow of the game. I feel as though I am just being rushed into seeing some special move that will save the match.

Prince of Tennis is becoming quite the frustrating experience, as I believe it has a lot of potential that is being thrown away on boys posing with tennis gear. The pace is much too brisk and uneven, making it hard to get into both the characters and the tennis matches themselves. As Seishun enters a big match with St. Rudolph’s, there is no setup at all, resulting in a complete lack of good sports drama and interesting rivalries.

The games just fly on by, making it hard to get the feel of the game and understand the strategies and rules involved. The sport of tennis is nothing more than a vehicle to show off a bunch of boys in nice looking outfits, instead of exploring character personalities and rivalry drama. There also is a lack of Ryoma, and I am actually missing his smart-ass, wise-cracking, cocky attitude.


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