|The Prince of Tennis
|In America, Echizen Ryouma has won
several tennis championships despite large age
differences between him and his opponents (ie twelve year
old versus sixteen year olds). Obviously, he has been
called a "genius" at tennis, much like his
father before him. Ryouma now enters Seishun Academy's
junior high (aka Seigaku) school in Japan, which has the unwritten rule
that first years cannot compete in tournaments. However,
the tennis club never had such a talented first year join
Ryouma is extremely cocky about his skill, and luckily he plays as well as he promotes himself. He doesn't talk much, unlike most of the opponents he faces, but he has the air of superiority. While there is rivalry in the club with this young member, the captain of the team is smart enough to judge by talent and not age, thus Ryouma is the first freshman to play in the tournament.
At first this series seems to be the typical sports genre manga where the main character overcomes the odds with his amazing abilities. While that is mainly the case, it also becomes a hilarious interaction between the different members of the team and other schools. It takes a a few manga, but once all the regulars of Seigaku are introduced, this series really gains something many sports related manga miss - the camaraderie and trust between players. It also shows there can be more than one way of being skillful at a game (ie every player has his specialty), thus there is the chance to watch more than the main character showing off every chapter, especially since it takes more than one good player to win a game.
Just as a warning, live in fear of Inui's special vegetable juice drink...
Rating -- 8