They say there's no crying in baseball -- but is there bleeding in tennis? When a bruising match between Ryoma and Shinji leaves blood on the court, can Ryoma stay on his feet long enough to win? Find out in the latest episodes of The Prince of Tennis, now online in The Prince of Tennis section!
Episode 19: Battle-Scarred Ryoma
Ryoma injures his eye as he tries to bounce back from a series of shots from Shinji Ibu. Ibu’s shots were strategically chosen to momentarily paralyze Ryoma. Ryoma isn’t giving up despite his injury...
Episode 20: Time Limit
The Seigaku Team watches intently as Ryoma figures out a brilliant strategy—a combination of his split step and his father’s “two-sword style”—to shut down Ibu’s “spot.”
The "Wave Surge"? The "Snake Shot"? No, it's not the latest hot anime fighting show, it's the latest hot anime tennis epic, as we load up episodes 15-16 of The Prince of Tennis today. Doubles is the name of the game, and our heroes have an awesome artillery of shots to unveil! Check out the latest episodes (and all the previous ones) in our Prince of Tennis section.
Episode 15: To Each His Own Battle
Fudomine’s Ishida breaks out his secret weapon—the “Wave Surge” shot—to bring the momentum back to their team. As Shusuke prepares to return the invincible flat shot meant for him, Taka steps in and intercepts it.
Episode 16: The Boomerang Snake
Eiji Kikumaru and Shuichiro Oishi win their doubles match over Fudomine, and Kaoru Kaido begins his match against Fudomine’s Akira Kamio. Kaido is pushed by Akira’s speedy game and is forced to use his specialty “Snake Shot,” but he slips!
When I was in high school, playing on the tennis team ("playing" might not be the right word -- "struggling to survive" is probably a better fit), I was in a doubles match against a rival school. At a critical point in the match, tied at 30-30, my partner's first serve went wide, and the other team immediately crowed, "30-40!"
My partner, being the excitable type, charged the net, screaming that everyone gets two serves on each point, and what was up with this blatant act of cheating (the actual words he used were more, er, colorful, but this is a family website). It was all I could do to restrain him from leaping over the net and taking a good swing at our opponents with his expensive Prince racquet. Long story short, we ended up losing the argument and the match.
Watching episode 1 of The Prince of Tennis naturally brought back memories of that traumatic event, but it also makes me reflect on the nature of sports, and sportsmanship. Here in the US, we've been told that "winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," and the newspapers and sports shows treasure our showboating athletes, the players who act like they're bigger than the game. And when they cheat? We shrug our shoulders, soon their errors are forgotten, and the athlete continues on to greater glories.
And then we have a show like The Prince of Tennis, where the path to true achievement lies in respecting the game and your opponent. In episode 1, Sasabe, the obnoxious star of his school's tennis team, isn't really interested in the thrill of competition or the subtleties of tennis -- he's more focused on showing off his (faulty) knowledge about tennis grips and basically acting like the hottest thing since sliced bread. So when he comes up against the coolly confident Ryoma and his superior skills, he does what any braggart does -- he cheats. In the perfect fantasy world of The Prince of Tennis, however, integrity wins out as Ryoma counters Sasabe's strategy with a few shots that redefine the term "spin."
"You still have a ways to go," Ryoma admonishes his opponent, and those words cut both ways -- not only is Sasabe deficient in tennis skills, he also doesn't have the first clue about sportsmanship on the court. As The Prince of Tennis series continues, Ryoma's signature phrase will be trotted out again and again, and each time we hear it, we come closer to the heart of what it means -- how sports can not only be an exciting physical contest, but how it's more satisfying to pursue excellence honestly. What's better, playing at your best against a tough opponent, win or lose, or resorting to low tricks in order to win? I like to think that maybe, just maybe, that opposing doubles team from my high school days is watching episode 1 right now and they're blushing in shame, if only slightly.
-- Ho Lin
This week it's all about doubles and triples as we debut The Prince of Tennis episodes 13 and 14. Will the ever-independent Ryoma and Momo figure out how to work as a team and win their match? And will Shusuke's near-supernatural Triple counter shot be enough to defeat an upstart doubles team? Watch all the latest episodes in the Prince of Tennis section!
Episode 13: Real Men Play Doubles
In the midst of their uncoordinated game with Fukawa and Izumi, Ryoma and Momo bring their game back with an interesting yet unorthodox way to synchronize their attack.
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