[Note: This post is a birthday tribute to the author’s favorite anime character: Kunimitsu Tezuka of Prince of Tennis – personal account included!]
October 7 means one very important thing for me as a solid anime fan; KUNIMITSU TEZUKA’S BIRTHDAY!!
And so……Tanjobi omedeto, Tezuka-buchou!
I still remember how I felt when I first saw him on the Prince of Tennis series 8 years ago. I was in high school back then. It’s a strange feeling of curiosity and excitement; of danger and expectations.
The first time he swung his racket on a match against his vice-captain Oishi Souichiro on the ranking selections, I knew he got me.
He had my attention. That was it. And the more his character developed; the more his background and skills (though extraordinary) were revealed; the more his vulnerabilities despite the formidable façade were shown….the more I admired Tezuka-buchou.
And the feeling never changed. Over eight years have passed and I still love his character.
And so, this October 7, 2014, I’d like to share 3 important life lessons – real and practical – that my dear Kunimitsu Tezuka proved right.
Lesson no. 1: That passion fuels hard work
For those of you who have watched the entire series, you know that when it comes to tennis, Tezuka’s among the most notable characters whose passion to the sport is obvious.
He loves tennis and dreams to bring Seigaku to the National championships. His passion and dream to bring the whole team to the finals were so intense to the point that he had to risk injuring his left arm even more against Hyotei Academy’s captain, Atobe Keigo.
I feel like Tezuka’s being stubborn back there. But the motivation behind that stubbornness cannot be taken for granted. He worked hard to improve himself not because he wants to become number one but because he believed that his tennis is vital to Seigaku’s success.
You can call him sentimental or whatsoever, but I’ll go for passionate. His passion fueled hard work.
Tezuka’s a natural talent but it was his passion that brought him to continually test his limits and eventually achieve more.
Even when he had to go to Germany to go on a rehab program to cure his arm injury, he never got out of touch. He continued to learn (wrote an article in fact in the hospital’s publication).
He was passionate and he worked hard…..and Seigaku did bring home the gold in the end.
Lesson no. 2: That no man is an island
Attitude, tennis skills, intelligence, leadership…..
Tezuka has what it takes to make tennis his lifelong career; to play to his hearts content.
Yet rather than explore greater opportunities abroad, he decided to stay with Seigaku – his team.
He could train hard abroad, enroll in a school with better training facilities, and work under a coach who’ll give him advance tennis training regimen to prepare for global professional competitions.
Yet he set these things aside to finish his studies in Japan and play along with his team.
Tezuka’s smart enough to know that more is waiting for him outside Japan – that opportunities that pass may not come again.
But he’s smarter enough to realize that without a team, his pursuit to success may not at all be that fulfilling. It’s by playing beside his team and friends that he saw his inner flaws. It’s by being in a team where his passion for tennis radiated and felt by other tennis players across different schools. It’s by being in a team where he gets to inspire others.
Tezuka believed that success in never an individual pursuit. It’s something you work hard for along with people who share the same beliefs and passion as you do.
And indeed, the whole team made it to Japan’s no. 1 spot.
Lesson no. 3: That action can speak louder than words
Tezuka’s a man of few words.
He does a lot of looking, observing…and well…frowning. And he’s still gorgeous at that (I know, I know..I’m a fan, all right?)!
The point is, he doesn’t really talk a lot. But when he does, he makes sense. He speaks when it’s necessary and holds back his words when they’re not. He ignores rants and provocations but is firm in giving suggestions and reminders.
Tezuka need not to throw books on your face to tell you that he’s angry. The slight marring of a frown on his face is enough to tell you that he is. But of course, it needs a lot of observation on your part to know what he says behind those actions.
Here are some I’ve come to learn about Tezuka’s actions:
- Frown = “You’re good.”
- Blank face = “Show me what you got.”
- Adjusts his glasses = “Just as I thought.”
- Places his hands on his pockets = “You know what to do.”
- Crosses arms across his chest = “Be careful.”
- Stands beside coach Ryuzaki = “The game’s getting interesting.”
- Stands beside Fuji = “Who do you think will win?” (or to appease my fangirl side: “Is something bothering you?” ^_^)
- Stands beside Inui = “Are there any changes on your initial data?” (or maybe..just maybe, “Can I take a look at your notebook, Inui?”)
- Closes eyes = “I understand.” OR “Not now.”
- Stares at your direction = “You’re doing good.” OR “You’re not yet there.”
And of course……
- GENTLE SMILE = “I’m glad.”
And there’s a notable one…
- Arm drapes around Fuji’s shoulder during their match plus the gentle smile = “That was a great game Fuji, thank you.” (TO FANGIRLS: You’re free to give whatever meaning you please on this… ^_^)
Tezuka Kunimitsu is a great character, and I thank Takeshi Konomi-sensei for creating him.
Happy birthday captain Tezuka!
-My October 7, 2014 Official Greeting-