Sports anime is nothing new. We have a bunch of really great ones, starting from the popular basketball anime, Slamdunk which originally aired at TV Asahi on year 1993 – 1996. Over the years, the Japanese animation industry explored various sports and made some awesome shows out of them.
Prince of Tennis (Tenisu no Ouji-sama) is perhaps one of the most successful sport anime installments ever created judging from its long-running series which started airing on October 10, 2001 up to the most recent anime release last June 26, 2015 featuring the last of the 10-episode OVA series 1st Stringer arc (just after the 7-episode Specials).
From those hot, gorgeous, characters up to the badass, physics-defying tennis techniques, Tenisu no Oujisama has undeniably managed to capture the hearts of a significant number of female population (read: female fans). Why not? It’s not all the time that you get to see a nice combination of good looks and powerful tennis play (even if they’re unrealistic).
And let’s face it (yes, let us, because as you may now know, I’m a fangirl as well), we watch the series not just because we love the sport. Of course tennis is interesting. I love watching real matches. But let’s not deny what we, girls, know. We like the series because the players look awesome in their tennis uniforms that are strategically designed to highlight the well-toned abdominal muscles every time they serve. (Viva animators! Job well done!).
So many are the bishies out there, as well as the unique techniques they presented that we sometimes find it difficult to choose just who among them is the best. Well I did some thinking. And the following characters were the ones who made it to my dream team list.
(Disclaimer: This dream team is purely subjective. It’s never and official team presented by the creator of the series, Takeshi Konomi-sensei.)
Yukimura Seiichi (The child of god) – Singles 1 [Rikkaidai Fuzoku]
Shoulder-length, gorgeous blue locks, effeminate face, graceful tennis play and an undefeated record in his entire stay at Rikkaidai Fuzoku, are few of the things that makes Yukimura an unforgettable and must-have character on my list. His frail appearance when outside the courts is a direct contrast belying his skills and knowledge of the sport. Leadership, tact, intelligence, and well, beauty, Yukimura has them all.
Jin Akutsu (Monster) – Singles 2 [Yamabuki]
You can’t just easily forget that one character who looked like the whole world is against him. Attitude and decency wise, Akutsu might not be the one you’d like to have on your team’s line-up. But he’d shown some significant improvements during the latest series , and it’s an important first step. More importantly, his tennis skill is excellent. In a game of endurance and power, he’ll be someone who’s capable of bringing the game in an entirely different level.
Shiraishi Kuranosuke (Tennis Bible) – Singles 3 [Shitenhouji]
Boring is a thing one might say when watching Shiraishi play. He plays by the book, no unnecessary moves and just the right shot to win the point. It’s clean, but not necessarily simple. Why him? Because he gets the job done. He’s focused, knows what he’s doing, and can easily adapt to an opponent’s game play. Who doesn’t want to have him on board?
Kunimitsu Tezuka (Captain) – Doubles 1 [Seishun Gakuen]
I love Kunimitsu Tezuka. But that’s not the point. He’s on this list not because he’s my no.1 bias (though I suspect it’s a factor), but entirely because he’s got what it takes to bring this team, and basically any team he’s in, on top. He’s a leader and a mentor and an exceptionally great player with the right blend off attitude and skills to land himself a spot on the professional league. And he wears glasses. For me that’s a plus.
Fuji Syusuke (Tensai) – Doubles 1 [Seishun Gakuen]
This may sound odd, but I really believe Tezuka and Fuji are meant to play together. Tefu fangirls, stop. I’m not doing any fan service, so hold the squeals. Fuji’s always been portrayed as the genius- someone who can turn the tables in a game to have it on his favor. His techniques are elegant, fitting for his beautiful face and interesting character. A flexible player whom you can rely on. In my dream team, he’s playing doubles. With whom? Who else? (have it your way fangirls)
Niou Masaharu (Trickster) – Doubles 2 [Rikkaidai Fuzoku]
Niou can copy anyone – and I mean any player he knew about. You just have to let him watch that person play, or give him a video copy of a game and he’ll do wonders in copying how that player performs. What makes him interesting though, apart from his impossible tricky but efficient technique is his carefree and laidback attitude. He’s that type of guy who doesn’t give you the time to mourn after a landslide defeat just because life is short, and therefore, it has to be enjoyed. Wouldn’t he be a refreshing air on this team?
Marui Bunta (Volley Specialist) – Doubles 2 [Rikkaidai Fuzoku]
So far, with the current badass guys we’ve listed above, Marui’s skill may fade against the others’ more flashy moves. Still, I want to have him on board. One because of his wide experience in playing doubles, which makes him flexible to play with just about anyone on this team, and two because he’s cute. Yes, cute matters. But other than these, he’s got that cunning ability to fit in any particular scenario you place him. I like that.
Keigo Atobe (Ore-sama) – Reserve [Hyotei Gakuen]
Can you believe how Atobe just has this strange way of getting on your nerves regardless of what he does? He’s a diva all right. Rich, gallant, flashy, arrogant, judgmental…..and the list can go on. But let’s face it. He’s very good in tennis. We may not like the sound of the names he’s given to his techniques (i.e. Atobe Kingdom), but it’s undeniable how they work well. He’s Hyotei’s king because he deserves it. Be awed by his prowess.
Kirahara Akaya (Devil Ace) – Reserve [Rikkaidai Fuzoku]
Deadly in court but ignorant in ordinary setting. Okay, maybe ignorant is too much, but Kirihara just seemed to have this dual personality that shifts in and out when he’s at play and not. His technique that allows him to enter this Devil mode (that literally changes his hair, skin and eye color) is in contrast to his real demeanor when casually talking with other people. You can call him unstable. But he listens and shows the highest interest to learn. And for a tennis player, it’s an irreplaceable attribute.
The first question some may ask may sound like: So where’s Ryoma Echizen? Well, Ryoma’s the prince and the whole story basically revolves around his development while playing with the strongest players Takeshi Konomi-sensei has thrown in front of him. But no, he’s not part of this dream team.
You can have your own dream team as well! So why don’t you start playing coach and start gathering the best guys whom you want represent your team? Let’s get to know your list! Drop them on the comments!