Takeshi Konomi: On Making Linear Storytelling Highly Engaging

(Takeshi Konomi - Source: http://www.setcelebs.com/)
(Source: http://www.setcelebs.com/)

There are several things that make up a good story. But in summary, it would be like:

  • Interesting characters (w/ good motivation on their actions)
  • Unique plot ( w/ that wow, kick-ass factor)
  • Heavy conflict or tension (w/ antagonists or villains who puts up a great fight and challenge for our main characters)

Add it up to competent graphics or animation, and you’ve got yourself a full anime treat worthy of your time.  Of course, it’s all thanks to the brilliant minds behind those really good series.

Takeshi Konomi, the mangaka of  the popular sports-anime Prince of Tennis (Tennis no Oujisama) is one of those whom I considered as someone who managed to keep his masterpiece in full shape even after years since it started publication – with its manga starting on 1999 and its anime on 2001.


To say that Prince of tennis is a simplistic, and a sort of elementary portrayal of tennis as a sport would be undermining what Mr. Konomi has presented so far. Generally, Prince of Tennis isn’t that kind of anime that will shock you with a bullet-strong revelations and twists.

In fact, the outcome of the games, if you’ve watched the entire series (and OVA) seems like predictable – with Seigaku winning a clean streak against all middle schoolers.

The conflict and tension brought about by their rival schools seemed to be repetitive as well.

So technically, if we talk about plot and conflict, Prince of Tennis is not something that would make a good impression.

Yet I find myself (and perhaps you as well) reading and waiting for the next manga chapter update to come out.


If it’s not the plot and conflict..

Then it has to be the CHARACTERS…right?

Good looks and brilliant voice-acting aside, we must admit that Prince of Tennis is among those anime series with a lot of fascinating characters you just can’t help but remember for their trademark attitude that seemed to demand attention every time they show up.

Great example would be:


(Source: 38.media.tumblr.com)
(Source: 38.media.tumblr.com)

…and his super, above-the-heavens ego and narcissistic tendencies

And of course, SYUSUKE FUJI

(Source: http://36.media.tumblr.com/)
(Source: http://36.media.tumblr.com/)

…the ever-smiling tennis genius who looked so feminine but who looked like his always plotting some sort of devious schemes behind the smile.

Speaking of devious, AKUTSU JIN is a perfect personification.

(Source: 41.media.tumblr.com)
(Source: 41.media.tumblr.com)

Looking for the ideal sempai and captain with the looks and pro league tennis skills? KUNIMITSU TEZUKA can speak for himself.

(Source: 33.media.tumblr.com)
(Source: 33.media.tumblr.com)

Or what about the Mr. Know-it-all with two years of tennis experience who ironically can’t seem to land a spot on their tennis regular line up, SATOSHI HORIO  ?

(Source: http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/)
(Source: http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/)

The list can go on.

Then again we go back to the basic question; Will good characterization be enough  for a great story?

I don’t think so. But it surely keeps it moving forward. Besides, good characters inspire viewers to actually think. What if this happens? It’s  true that there weren’t any great revelations that might have wowed us. But it was compensated by the brilliant touch of humor for the short filler episodes after every major game.

And when there’s good humor, you know there’s engagement.

Plus, Mr. Konomi doesn’t really leave out his characters unattended. While there are some who has minimal parts compared to the rest, I believe they are justly introduced and given the attention they deserve.

Yes, the direction of the story may seem predictable. Yes, there could be minimal twists and heart-breaking drama for the entire series,  and yes the new techniques by far are becoming more and more outrageous.

But undeniably, many viewers are still on board. And Takeshi Konomi clearly has some more stuff up his sleeve.  So what we can do is relax, enjoy a cup of tea, and wait.


Ever completed watching up until the Genius 10 Arc? How was it?


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