I’m slowly working my way through these reviews, but hopefully they are useful for you Prince of Tennis fans out there (and I know you’re out there).
In this episode, we watch the tennis club as they await the next round of matches in the ranking tournament. We get glimpses of the data-tennis player Inui Sadaharu, who is Ryoma’s next opponent. We also get glimpses of the unending whole of charismatic ignorance that is Tezuka Kunimitsu. Lastly, we watch Inoue-san get his arse whooped by the clever yet annoyingly perverted tennis master Echizen Nanjirou.
Today is the big day, Ryoma vs. Inui. With both of them sweeping the competition in their group, it seems that this deciding match will show off whether Inui’s data-tennis is truly superior or if Ryoma’s skill stands on top. Unlike Kaidoh, Inui has no dazzling skill shot or stand out power or extraordinary stamina. However, his reading of the games next move eliminates all wasted movement and allows him to control the flow. The momentum very quickly turns in his favor. Using his ability to simulate a players movements, it looks like Inui has the game all tied up. However, Ryoma looks like he hasn’t given up either.
After claiming that he had renewed passion to win the game, Ryoma brings out a new move: the split-step. A type of footwork used in many sports to help his reaction time and movement, the split-step begins the even the scales, and eventually tips them in Ryoma’s favor. The split-step puts him a few seconds further in the match, nullifying Inui’s game-reading advantage. It turns out that Ryoma learned this technique on his way to trying to beat his dad at tennis, although it only proved to amuse Nanjirou more.
Inui struggles to fight back against Echizen’s second-wind and the skills he had kept secret and he eventually loses. In the end, Ryoma sweeps all of his matches leaving him with a 6-0 record for the ranking tournament, guaranteeing him a spot on the regular team. The last match to decide who gets a spot on the regular team is between Inui and Kaidoh, both of whom Echizen beat. Kaidoh wins and claims the last spot, leaving Inui as the cruel trainer for the team (probably as some form of deranged payback. Pretty sure he’s an S). The episode ends with Sakuno finally congratulating Ryoma on becoming a regular team member and Ryoma showing off his bishounen-ness by wearing the Seigaku regular jersey for the first time.
We’ve seen some more glimpses of Tezuka, but nothing major yet. He will play a bigger part as time goes on, but not any time soon. He will pretty much maintain the aloof presence he has now. As for Nanjirou, if you thought he was a perverted old dude with an ungodly skill at tennis, then you are correct. Nothing about that is going to change any time soon. We’ll see more of him, but eventually you will get more hints about his character (but that’s a long way off!). Lastly, Inoue will always play the role of “explainer” and he will continue to do so. He does a pretty good job at that (he is a reported after all).
Thanks for reading, I hope you liked it. Thanks again, and have a great day!