Summary: The Kanto Tournament Finals are down to the last two matches, with the top players for the two best teams-Seishun and Rikkai-engaged in a fierce battle for dominance. As Shusuke and Akaya’s match reaches its surprising end, the final showdown begins: Ryoma vs. “Emperor” Genichiro Sanada.
Review: As I was growing up, I was never a fan of any kind of sport. After watching a few episodes of The Prince of Tennis, I admit, I was hooked. I immediately went out and bought the first three volumes of the manga, and within two months I was up to date with the most current releases. To be honest, I never watched or played a game of tennis during my entire life. So I was skeptical about reading a manga about Tennis because I knew absolutely nothing about it at all! But what makes Takeshi Konomi a great mangaka is that he wrote the manga for all sorts of people, not just the people who knew how the game works.
Volume 26 of The Prince of Tennis is a continuation of the match between Seishun and Rikkai’s championship game during the Kanto Tournament. Seishun had already lost both of their doubles matches, which put great pressures on the three singles players who were up next. Fortunately, Sadaharu won his match against childhood friend Yanagi. The next match, was probably one of the most intensed matches I’ve read since the beginning of this manga. Seishun’s Shushuke and Rikkai’s Akaya match was up next. Early on in the game, Shusuke was hit with a ball in the head which caused him to be temporarly blind. But his blindness did not stop him from winning the game! Even though, Akaya entered his selfless state, where he was able to hit every shot that his past opponents has hit, he was overpowered by Shusuke other senses which enables him to percieve where the ball was heading! Shusuke ended up winning the game, even though he was blind, bringing Seishun and Rikkai to a tie at 2 wins each. At this point, the entire Rikkai team was upset, most notably “Emperor” Genichiro Sanada. Not only were they upset about losing their reign as champions who never lost a game, they were also quite upset that they had to miss their captain’s surgery which was happening during the game. Entering the match, Sanada had no intention of giving Echizen a chance at winning the game. He had no idea that Echizen himself was a prodigy who could put himself into a state of selflessness whenever he wanted to. Because of that, Echizen won his first game against Sanada, which apparently was totally unheard of. RIght after that first game, everything went downhill for Echizen, who was quickly losing energy due to his selfless state. Sanada took advantage of that and released his most feared shot: the Furin Kazan.
Conclusion: I read this volume while I was on the bus, on my way to work. After I finish reading it, I was dying to know what happens to Echizen, but of course, being the ill-prepared person that I am, I left the next volume at home. So now I’m dying to know whether Echizen loses to the overpowering Sanada, or will his will to win bring home the championship? All in all, I really enjoyed this action packed volume of Prince of Tennis, and I will be bringing the review of the next volume, probably tomorrow at the latest.
Overall Grade: A