A decade has passed since the birth of this young legendary boy, the tennis prince, or rather the “king” as I’d love to call it, became the hottest trend in the world of sports anime. Surely, the name Ryoma Echizen rings a bell after all, although you’ve been in the earlier generation from nowadays because he still exists from time to time, there you have that arrogant-looking middle schooler. For those who have grown up watching this boy from the time he stepped his feet onto a school-level tennis court to the most anticipated event he became much skilled and eventually joined a national tournament, you have truly appreciated his hardship and perseverance to become a prodigy. You definitely want this young king and his company to entertain you once again with their superb moves, don’t you? No, you don’t need to reminisce those wonderful times with the seigaku boys or whoever is your favorite from other school tennis club, but here comes an all-new Prince of Tennis series.
The new series is set after the National tournament and Ryoma comes back from the United States after he was invited to join the U-17 camp, a selection camp for top potentials in the Japanese tennis world. Ryoma and other 50 selected middle schoolers begin their new journey to compete with Japan’s top prodigies. Will they succeed with high glory?
Honestly, when I first heard the word “New” in the title, I thought there would be new characters with new personality, a new journey far from the original series and everything would be back to zero. Well, I was wrong because it remains the same as the sequel of the previous series, and their journey continues along with various tennis courts competing with strong opponents. The sound of bouncing balls, the smash of rackets, the unrealistic yet awesome techniques, the deadly footsteps on the court, it feels all nostalgic to me, and I felt a powerful drive to watch the old long-run series all over again. You’re not actually required to watch the first series if you’re a novice with the anime because you can still enjoy the new series without prior background as to the storyline and the characters. However, if you can’t tolerate watching exaggerated animation of this sports anime, then I suggest, you don’t need to force yourself to watch it.
Every aspect in the series remains the same as the previous franchise. However, since it has only 13 episodes excluding the OVA part, events are fast-paced and rather focuses on harmonious relationship among the middle schoolers to surpass their strong opponents. It’s pretty challenging for the characters to undergo different high intensity training and these events are what I actually wanted to watch out for. Rather than always on the court, let’s see how they get those unbelievable strength and their burning spirit during an actual tournament.
Highly labeled as sports anime, you would think at first from the very beginning of the previous anime that serious ambiance will be shown throughout but you’ll eventually laugh at any part of the episode with the involvement of comedy that the series tries to maintain along with the sports genre, and fan service is observed most of the time. The New Prince of Tennis has maintained its strong spice of humors as to the first anime. You’ll rather enjoy the happy moments with the characters who were once antagonists in the first series, especially when it comes to the character of Atobe Keigo to be particular. Behind their serious face and their obsessive act towards the tennis world, their soft side which was hidden before is much appreciated in the series.
I am particularly impressed with the character design which is evidently rich in outline and has a balanced contrast. Ryoma Echizen being the main protagonist has turned into a more matured middle schooler and I noticed his legs become slender and his facial expression is more fierce. He is still the most arrogant, but shows a lot of potential than before. I’m not actually surprised when it comes to animation, specifically during a match, because slow-paced action is still the mainstream of the anime. You would only want to focus on the ball rather than the player’s disposition.
Norimasa Fujisawa who performs the opening theme, Mirai no bokura e, sounds professionally captivating, particularly the chorus part. It feels like I’m listening to an open theatre with his high notes and classical husky voice. He can perform different voices and you might think you are listening to more than one person in the opening song. It’s just amazing. The ending theme titled ENJOY, sung by the seiyuu of Ryoma, Kin-chan, Tezuka, Kenya, Marui, and Akaya, is just fine and it shows a plain yet vibrant in appearance music video with Ryoma who dances with the rhythm.
The New Prince of Tennis has a lot to offer more than just a plain sports anime. You will simply enjoy watching the series if you’re a big fan of it that you’ve been waiting for another season to come out. As a loyal fan of the series, it’s a great opportunity to watch my boys on court once again. Everything goes back from the day I set my eyes to this awesome anime. Definitely a must watch.