When I first started covering Prince of Tennis II, my first impression of the show was that it was okay for what it was: an unassuming sports series targeted towards viewers ages 10 to 15. It seemed to me like it would be a nice show to watch after school, while doing homework and eating mac & cheese. With the introduction of teenage cast members, I figured that the show would also end up appealing to girls. I was right, there were hunky sweaty guys in every episode and not a single lady in sight. Just balls everywhere.
Prince of Tennis II is most definitely not the kind of show that I would watch willingly, just for fun. First off, I don't like tennis; secondly, I don't really have any interest in pseudo harems either. So why did I accept this assignment, you ask? that's an interesting question! Well, there are two answers to that: 1) everything else was taken, 2) I am a huge fan of cheese -- both literally and figuratively speaking. I figured that Prince of Tennis II could just end up being one of those shows that are so bad, they're good. What's my final impression? find out after the jump.
After screening twelve long, painful episodes of the series I must say, I have the patience of a saint. But bragging aside, I feel like my original impression of the show wasn’t that far off: Prince of Tennis II is not a terrible series, but it lacks consistency. While a handful of episodes in the show echoed the energy and playfulness of the original series, far too many were dull and packed with filler content. At times it felt like the staff was making up the script as they went, and doing their bests to put together an interlude every time that their writers didn’t show up to work.
You know how every single after-school animated series has a filler slumber party or beach resort episode? you can't do that when you entire cast is composed of guys. So what do you get? only pain. Well, no; they do have stuff like a bathhouse episode, but Prince of Tennis II is the type of show that tries to be very discrete about its homoeroticism -- it's fan service for 13 year-old girls. Most of the time, comic relief episodes are about something simpler, like stealing booze or playing a prank on a teacher. Unfortunately, most of them are painfully unfunny.
The absolute best episode of Prince of Tennis II, from the point of view of a cheese enthusiast, was the one in which the coach asks players to complete their daily workout routines while each holding a big, red balloon in the air. What's up with that, you ask? well, each balloon was coated with eagle pheromones. The real challenge behind the assignment was to protect the balloon from eagles in heat by throwing tennis balls at them. Is that not amazing? It's like something out of Monty Python. In any case, let me tell you a little bit about the story.
You would expect a show like Prince of Tennis II to have a very simple story: you have a bunch of guys competing in a tournament, everyone wants to win but there is only one trophy, people get eliminated once in a while, and that is that. Quite frankly, I would have been pretty content had most of the show circled around each player’s struggle to make it in the competition, and their remorse in having to compete against the very people they have trained with for years. Instead, the show tried to get cute far too many times with poorly executed plot tangents.
I think that the main problem with Prince of Tennis II was that it tried to deliver non-stop action, but tennis isn't really all that exciting -- you gotta compensate by creating cliques and interpersonal drama. Any good sports series isn't complete without some rivalries and name-calling. The first few episodes of the series had some of that, but the writers kinda forgot about it later on. I would have also liked to see more slice-of-life episodes in which the guys get visitors at the camp, or go out to buy cigarettes, or whatever tennis players do on the spare time.
The artwork in the series also suffered at times. There was certainly a lot of frame recycling going on, but the fact that some episodes featured slideshow sequences in place for animation was more of an issue to me. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting anything amazing; this is the kind of show that is done in bulk --the original series was 178 episodes long. But really, sometimes the show looked like a cheap Sunday morning cartoon, except lacking that special spark that would have made it fun and engaging. Overall, the show wasn’t really all that entertaining.
So, should you watch Prince of Tennis II? no, but if one day you find yourself babysitting your sister’s kids and you wanna get them off your back, it’s a pretty decent series to show them; at least until they start imitating what they see on the screen and flinging balls at your Ikea decor. Overall, I would give the show a 6/10: it's was charming but also very inconsistent. Lets just say that I've been really looking forward to my next assignment.
6.0 – Okay. 6s are just okay. These series usually have many flaws, didn’t try to do anything special, or were poorly executed. Some will still love 6s, but most prefer to just skip them. Read more reviews before you decide.
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