Prince of Tennis 2 – 01 Review
Episode 01 – The Return of the Prince
Prince of Tennis once again returns to our screens filled with all the good old fun seen in the previous series.
Cocky brats, ridiculous tennis moves, over-the-top personalities, lovable characters… Prince of Tennis is all that and more. Although I would never claim for this to be a quality series, it definitely is filled with a lot of fun moments. If you are one of those people who are unable to tolerate ridiculous Sports series, then this would really be a hard one to swallow.
If this is your first time watching the series, you might want to watch the first series before watching this. Although one would be able to get by without prior knowledge, many of the moments and scenes would not make any sense as the second half of the episode was more like fan-service party for the fans of the series. The small one-liner introductions to the main cast really does little in helping one understand their personalities. But being the series that it is, one honestly wouldn’t really need to know too much and can simply sit back and try to enjoy what you are shown.
Watching this episode had really brought back all the memories from when I had first seen the series. It was not merely the reappearance of all the lovable Middle School players that did it for me, but also in the way the first episode of this season had mirrored that of the very first episode of The Prince of Tennis. The whole train scene, tennis ball cans test and Ryoma being looked down upon is definitely a familiar situation. However, unlike the pacing of the series back when it had first aired, this season’s first episode had tried to compact as much as possible into an episode in hopes of keeping the excitement levels up. Where we had plenty of slow moments in the first series, this one seems to have upped the pacing and I expect this quick and snappy style to continue through the rest of the season. Honestly, I am happy with the current pacing as watching an episode week in and week out would be tiring if the pacing were as slow as the first series.
In case you haven’t already picked up on it, this series takes place right after the Nationals and everyone is still a middle school student.
50 Middle Schoolers have been invited to participate in the U-17 (under 17) training camp and included in this 50 is Seishu as well as many of the other big players from previous matches.
The main character of the series is of course Ryoma, who is the Prince of Tennis. Ryoma is as short as ever but his “cool factor” and attitude has definitely increased alongside this new found “glow” that surrounds his character. I am not sure if it is the way his hair glistens or his black outfit that is doing the trick, but whatever it is, he is definitely looking slicker than before. All I can say is that I can’t wait to see what tricks the guy has up his sleeves after having played in the States for… a few months? (Lol, the characters in this series sure seem to have accomplished a lot in a short time.)
The episode essentially ends solidifying the whole point of the series with the appearance of 3 big players in the camp. It seems that the show would cover the trials the middle schoolers will be going through in the U-17 camp as they try to fight for the top spots against the other High Schoolers.
One of the charming aspects about this series is it’s comedy. However, I find that the comedy in this series highly depends on one’s ability to understand the characters and their personalities. As such, being new to the series/franchise would mean that you would find it difficult to relate to the characters and because of that, the humor might end up being lost on you. For instance, although I had found myself laughing out loud at the four eyes joke, I am not sure if the newcomers to the series would find it funny or merely lame.
An obvious thing to note about the animation in this series is how different it feels to the first season and how similar it feels to the OVAs covering the Nationals. The main reason for that is that the animation production for the first series was done by Trans Arts Co. whilst the Nationals OVA and this series is produced by M.S.C. I am glad that the series was done by M.S.C as the first series’ animation was simply terrible and dull, whereas M.S.C’s version is filled with vibrant colours and crisper animation. Sadly, old habits die hard (and the animation business isn’t really thriving) and the show can’t seem to rid itself of the dreadful panning shots and multiple still frames.
Normally, most one would hope that a sports series would place a bigger focus on animating their “matches”. But Prince of Tennis does the opposite and really comes across as an animated version of a manga instead of a animation. Still frames are a plenty and most of the real action is left to your imagination. Hopefully things will change when we finally get a chance to see a proper match being played in the next few episodes, but I have my doubts about that.
As for the OP and ED song of the series, I am honestly not a fan of it. The OP song sounds weird and the ED song is nothing special. The only interesting thing about the ED is the silhouette dancing with his tennis racket to the beat of the music.
The background music on the other hand will sound familiar to many. Listening to the use of the BGMs from the first series and watching this episode makes me want to dig up my PoT DVDs to rewatch them. I had gone crazy over the series many years ago when I had first seen it despite knowing that the show isn’t all that great. I had bought the manga, DVDs, seen the musicals and saw the Live-Action Movie. Yes, I had gone mental. Go figure.
Overall, this is *not* a remake of the original Prince of Tennis but a continuation. The name “The New Prince of Tennis” is misleading and honestly really tacky, but I ain’t the one who made the series. This show is definitely one targeted at the fans of the series as many of the scenes would be lost on anyone new to the franchise. With that being said though, this episode does give people a good gist of what the show is going to be like. Most people would be put off by the ridiculous moves and personalities, but sometimes we need some rubbish fun in our lives and this just does it for me. Perhaps it is more of nostalgia that is driving me to feel so pumped about the next episode of this second series, but I had honestly enjoyed this first episode and the typical absurd flare of the show.
Episode Rating: 7/10
So far so good for this new season of Anime.