Overview (spoilers below):
After Ryoma is forced to withdraw from the Japan U-17 training camp, Ryoga invites him to play for the US team.
It’s been a long time coming, but the wait is finally over. The popular anime franchise is back with another series that follows Ryoma Echizen’s quest to be the best of the best in tennis. This time around, the prodigy takes on a whole new ballgame as he competes in the big leagues via the U-17 World Cup. I hadn’t watched The prince of tennis when it first came out, mainly because at that time I was becoming more and more attached to action-oriented anime, like Pokemon. Also, I’m not a big tennis fan. However, after watching the latest tennis prince film a few months ago I plucked up the courage to watch the latest series in the growing franchise.
The plot of the first episode is exactly what the title suggests: Ryoma tries his hand at Team USA after an incident that forced him to be removed from the U-17 training camp in Japan. With his big brother Ryoga at his side, Ryoma proved his worth by representing America in a typical fish-out-of-water manner. But alas, it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows from now on.
First of all, Team Japan members were shocked by Ryoma’s decision to remain on Team USA despite being chosen to represent his hometown. Even worse, Kunimitsu Tezuka plays for Team Germany, meaning these former allies are now temporary opponents in the most important event in tennis history. There’s also Team Japan’s coach, who happens to be the reason for Ryoma’s withdrawal because the prodigy saved one of the members from being slaughtered by his serve. As it turns out, the trainer still holds onto this grudge as he plans to use the tournament as revenge against Ryoma.
As someone who has not seen the predecessor tennis prince Shows I found surprisingly fun, like U-17 World Cup represents future events. Unfortunately it turns out that the last CG movie wasn’t enough for me to get involved in the world building of the franchise. However, the first episode also has enough interest for me to see where it will go from here. In terms of its impressive animations and decent characters, “Team USA, Ryoma Echizen” marks a solid comeback for the tennis-centric franchise that’s likely to please even the biggest fans of the source material.