Saturday, February 17, 2007

Review: Prince of Tennis - an Anime

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a show on Cartoon Network's Saturday night line-up called Prince of Tennis. I immediately changed the channel while saying, "Who the hell in their right mind would watch an anime about sports, let alone one about tennis?"

On an appropriate side note: I am a media content masochist. I routinely torture myself for the sure pleasure of it by watching just the worst entertainment you can imagine, including, in one weekend, the complete works of one Mr. Uwe Bowl. Now on with the review.

So of course, that means that I spent this afternoon watching the first 5 episodes, in order, with subtitles on youtube. Of course it does.

To be fair, I read up on the series first. Apparently, Cartoon Network, like most American networks, is only airing select episodes of an anime series (gasp!), much like the WB/CN did with Yu-Gi-Oh! (Did you know there was almost an entire season's worth of episodes before the ones you might have seen on TV?). Furthermore, I have yet to find a dubbed version of any foreign language media that comes close to the quality of a subbed version, and even that I will assume is a pale imitation of the real show, what with the approximations and changes necessary with idioms and colloquialisms to make it easy for a five year old to watch the show.

Prince of Tennis follows the story of a hotshot young freshman, Ryumi, who just moved back to Japan from America after winning a huge tennis championship. The only thing you really need to know about Ryumi is that he is a worthless human being. He treats everyone with total indifference and doesn't even actually care about tennis, much to the ire of anyone he knows who discovers his secret. Ryumi has to prove himself to his high school's tennis team (and much more, I'm sure, possibly involving ninjas, scatological humor, dancing competitions, and lots of boring exposition shown through flashbacks of scenes from prior episodes) and compete in the national championships.

Why do I hate Prince of Tennis? Why am I so hard on it? Shouldn't I have known what I was getting into before wasting an afternoon of my young life watching such a horrid show?

1)It's a worthless animated series with an awful leading character that has but one redeeming quality: his father, a former tennis star, and current pervert. Hilarity ensues.

2)Because the show could have been so much better. There are moments in the first five episodes that actually had me genuinely engaged, but they never lasted more than a really cool looking tennis shot or interesting conversation. I actually feel that there must be some genuinely good sports-themed anime out there that may never make it to America so that companies can capitalize on a "cool" young lead with an "image" that "sells" to tweens and fanboys, alike.

3)Yes, yes I should have.

To cleanse my eyes from this wreck of a show, I will watch the incomparable Tyra Banks tell me off for dubbing her FatTY and then watch the latest episode of a quality anime: Naruto, as aired on cartoon network. I still prefer the subs, but I'll take what I can get without having to leave my couch.

Varb For Me