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Manga Review

Book Cover

The Prince of Tennis
Volume 1


Author: Takeshi Konomi
Artist: Takeshi Konomi
Viz Media
RRP: £5.99, US $7.95
ISBN-13: 978 1 59116 435 7
ISBN-10: 1 59116 435 4
Ages: A (For all ages)
Available 07 April 2008

Ryoma Echizen, whose father could have been one of Japans greatest tennis player except for his unfortunate injury returns to Japan and enrols in the Seishun Academy, a school well known for its focus on athletic prowess, the return is not without its problems as the prodigy Ryoma must prove his tennis qualities against all comers…

The Prince of Tennis, story and art by Takeshi Konomi, is a sports based manga and at this point I have run out of words. You can’t question just how successful this series has been, it spawned numerous console games, live action films, an anime and, lord help us, the inevitable musical, and yet for all that success I can’t for the life of me figure out who would want to read it.

When looked at dispassionately, the story is no worse than a lot of the mangas I’ve read, except instead of the endlessly dull evolving fighting moves what we have here is endlessly dull evolving tennis moves.

Volume One is very short on plot. As soon as Ryoma gets to his new school he is involved in an endless round of matches to prove his worth. For a manga aimed at young boys you can’t really complain as this is the basic plot of most manga for young males - a hero with a big future which involves endless trials.

Even though I don’t get the whole tennis thing you have to admire Konomi’s art. He is able to imbue his pictures with power and excitement, which turns the matches into a form of personal combat.

You can’t really say that this is for a niche market. Given its success, I can only presume that in the following volumes something in the way of a meaningful plot emerges, but from Volume One I for one am exceptionally under whelmed.


Charles Packer

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