Today’s Random Tokusatsu: The Prince of Tennis (2006)

Today’s selection: The Prince of Tennis (2006, dir. Yuichi Abe)

Subgenre: Sports

Available from: Fansub-only

For those not familiar, Prince of Tennis is one of Shonen Jump‘s most popular tournament fighting titles, though the fighting in this case takes place as tennis matches. Make no mistake, however: each player has ridiculous special moves, and the infeasibility of their bone-breaking volleys and fireball serves make the series about as close to watching real tennis as Dragonball is to real kung fu. A character will put a spin on a ball so that it won’t bounce when it hits the ground, or that it curves around the net, or so that it always returns to him no matter where his opponent aims it, and these sort of shenanigans are what make the series fantastic (though I think most of its fanbase is just in it for the sweaty pretty boys).

The live-action movie version preserves most of the iconic insane tennis attacks (we don’t, unfortunately, get to see Tezuka kill all the dinosaurs), and has a cast of past and future Super Sentai stars: Deka Red, Bouken Black, Geki Red, Rio, and Shinken Blue’s actors as Atobe, Ibu, Oishi, Inui, and Fuji (actually, the whole Seigaku line-up save for Echizen come from one of the Prince of Tennis stage musicals).

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