The Prince of Tennis (テニスの王子様, Tenisu no Ōjisama?) is a popular Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Takeshi Konomi. The title is often shortened to TeniPuri (テニプリ?), a portmanteau of the two parts in the Japanese pronunciation of the words "Tennis Prince". The manga was first published in Japan in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump in July 1999, and ended publication on March 3, 2008. A total of 379 chapters were serialized, spanning 42 volumes. As of volume 40, the manga has sold over 40 million copies in Japan. News that a sequel to the manga series was going to be developed was announced in the December issue of the Japanese manga magazine Jump Square. The new manga series, entitled New Prince of Tennis, began serialization in the Jump Square magazine on March 4, 2009, with the story taking place several months after the end of the original manga. Viz Media acquired the license to distribute the series in English in North America.
The manga was adapted into an anime series directed by Takayuki Hamana, animated by Trans Arts and co-produced by Nihon Ad Systems & TV Tokyo. The anime aired across Japan on the anime satellite television network Animax and the terrestrial TV Tokyo network from October 10, 2001 to March 30, 2005, spanning a total of 178 episodes, as well as a theatrical movie. In April 2006, an original video animation (OVA) continuation of the anime began to be released on DVD. The beginning of the second OVA series was released on June 22, 2007, roughly 3 months after the end of the first. The second OVA ended on January 25, 2008, and the third and final OVA started on April 25, 2008.
The series developed into a media franchise and has had numerous other adaptations outside of the animated incarnation. Since April 2003, more than fifteen stage musicals have been produced for the series. An animated movie was released in 2005, as well as a live action movie in 2006.The franchise has also had a long running radio show, numerous video games, soundtracks, and other merchandise or collectibles.
The series is primarily set in Tokyo, and centers around Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy who attends Seishun Academy (青春学園, Seishun Gakuen?), or Seigaku (青学?) for short, a private school famous for its strong tennis club and talented players. Ryoma quickly defeats numerous upperclassmen shortly after entrance to secure himself a spot as one of the team's regulars. In pursuit of their ultimate goal of winning the National Middle School Tennis Championship, members of the team make new friends while learning and mastering increasingly complex techniques. Ryoma also begins to develop his own style of tennis, and eventually realizes what the sport really means to him.
Note - Names are in Western order, with the given name before the family name.
Main article: List of The Prince of Tennis characters
Ryoma Echizen (越前 リョーマ, Echizen Ryōma?)
The protagonist of the series, Ryoma is a first year student at Seishun Academy and the son of Nanjiro Echizen, who was formerly known as "Samurai Nanjiro" during his days as a professional tennis player. He makes his first appearance when he criticizes a high school student about his tennis knowledge in a subway. He often says "mada mada dane" to his opponents, which is directly translated as "You've still got a ways to go." in the Japanese manga. He is mainly seen drinking Ponta (Fanta in the manga), or sleeping if not playing tennis.
Kunimitsu Tezuka (手塚 国光, Tezuka Kunimitsu?)
Tezuka is the captain of the tennis club and a third year student at Seishun Academy. A National-caliber player and vice-captain the year before the series took place, Tezuka is serious about everything — one of his trademark phrases is "Don't let your guard down." Tezuka puts his captaincy of the team and its performance before anything else, including his own pursuits.
Shuichiro Oishi (大石 秀一郎, Ōishi Shūichirō?)
Oishi is a third year student at Seishun Academy and the vice-captain of the tennis club. Along with Eiji Kikumaru, he is part of Seigaku's "Golden Pair," a doubles team that made it to Nationals the year before the series takes place. He is very observant and patient baseline player, cited boring by Eiji. Oishi is a very responsible character and cares deeply about the team.
Syuusuke Fuji (不二 周助, Fuji Syūsuke?)
Fuji is a third year student at Seishun Academy who is given the title "genius" due to his tactical skill on the tennis court. Fuji is often seen with a calm and content expression on his face, with his eyes seemingly closed from lightly smiling. However, when he is excited, provoked, or when playing seriously, Fuji reveals his sharp blue eyes. Fuji's tennis is counter-style, in which he uses elements of opponents' shots to send usually nonreturnable counter return shots.
Eiji Kikumaru (菊丸 英二, Kikumaru Eiji?)
Eiji Kikumaru is a third year student at Seishun Academy and is part of the "Golden Pair," along with Shuichiro Oishi. Using his acrobatic play, he can return almost any ball, even those that seem out of human reach. Eiji is also known to have the sharpest vision on the team, with an exceptional talent for seeing fast moving objects. His favorite saying is "hoi hoi". when playing in games he always has a large smile on his face.
Takashi Kawamura (河村 隆, Kawamura Takashi?)
Takashi is a third year student at Seishun Academy and, according to the manga series, this is his first year as a regular. He is a shy and a soft-spoken person off the court, though still outspoken and stubborn when he makes a decision. However, he becomes extremely aggressive and loud once he grabs a racket. This change in his personality is marked by him shouting "Burning!!!". As the least skilled regular, he relies mostly on his power and aims to become the National middle school number one power player.
Sadaharu Inui (乾 貞治, Inui Sadaharu?)
Inui is a third year student at Seishun Academy. As a highly intelligent player, he plays what is called "Data Tennis," which involves collecting and analyzing data for a player in order to determine their weaknesses to the extent that he can determine the exact probability of certain shots being successful. Inui often manages the team training regimens, which usually involves contests or races of some kind, with many being forced to drink one of Inui's many infamous juice concoctions.
Takeshi Momoshiro (桃城 武, Momoshiro Takeshi?)
Momoshiro is a second year student at Seishun Academy, known as Seigaku's number one rascal. He is an aggressive power player who uses the court and environmental conditions to his advantage. As the player who is the most open and friendly with everyone, Momoshiro is connected to everyone on the team on some level.
Kaoru Kaido (海堂 薫, Kaidō Kaoru?)
Kaido is a second year student at Seishun Academy whose nickname is "Viper," which fits him well as his signature move is the "Snake Shot," a curving forehand that drains an opponent's stamina by forcing them to chase the return. He wears a bandanna and often exhales, making a sound similar to a snake. He is often remarked as the hardest trainer of the team.