The Rise of Prince of Tennis: A Look at the Popular Sports Anime

Are you a fan of sports anime? Then you’ll want to hear about the rise of the immensely popular Prince of Tennis franchise!

The Prince of Tennis began as a manga series in July 1999 and quickly spawned a long-running anime series, two OVA series, two anime feature films, audio albums, video games, an official musical, and much more.

The series has gained immense popularity among anime fans worldwide due to its intriguing storyline, compelling characters, and colorful art style.

At MitGlobal Dubai Sports, we’re taking a closer look at the rise of the Prince of Tennis franchise and discussing its lasting impact. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the history and popularity of this beloved sports anime.

History and Context

The Prince of Tennis franchise has a long and winding history rooted in its early manga and anime adaptations. It began with the original manga, created by Takeshi Konomi, which was serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump between July 1999 and March 2008. It spanned a total of 238 chapters and 42 volumes that were later collected into 33 large-size editions.

The first adaptation of the manga was an anime series which ran for 178 episodes and spanned from October 2001 to March 2005. Of that, the first season ran for 75 episodes, while the second season, “Prince of Tennis: National Tournament”, ran for 50. This anime was well-received by fans, leading to several OVAs and TV specials of varying lengths and interesting plot-lines.

The manga also spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, including an original video animation and several live-action films. One of the most notable is The Prince of Tennis Which was released by Toei Animation in Japan, and later released to other countries by Viz Media. The movie blended several arcs from the manga into a feature-length movie that surprised even longtime fans of the franchise.

The franchise has gained a strong fandom in the years since its original release, resulting in fan sites, mantras, merchandise, and other memorabilia that further perpetuate the series’ popularity. This thriving fandom inspired the recent release of the series’ latest iteration, The Prince of Tennis II, which was released in March 2012 and targeted an entirely new generation of fans.

Story and Characters

The story of The Prince of Tennis begins with the 11-year-old Ryoma Echizen, the son of a famous tennis pro, entering the Seishun Academy to continue the family legacy. Ryoma quickly rises up in the tennis ranking as he clashes with his fellow classmates and excels in the world of tennis. In the first season, the story follows Ryoma and his peers as they train to compete in the upcoming regional tournament. The first two seasons bring us intense tennis matches between teams from all over Japan. This is further expanded in the third season, where Ryoma and his friends head abroad to the U.S. Open Junior tournament.

The characters of The Prince of Tennis are a diverse and entertaining group that is integral to the story. Sensei Kunimitsu Tezuka makes his appearance as the stern but caring coach of Seishun Academy’s tennis team. Ryoma’s rival and semi-friend, Sakuno Ryuzaki, serves as a romantic interest and moral support. Shusuke Fuji is a calm yet highly strategic player whose smooth style is sure to win games. Other characters vary in tennis playing abilities and mettle, bringing a steady stream of character development in the anime.

The anime features a variety of themes, from the hard work needed to become a pro player to the valuable spirit of friendship and the value of sportsmanship. The show displays themes like the importance of hard work, the benefits of teamwork, and how courage can help you overcome difficult obstacles. There is a focus on understanding the nuances of strategy and developing strong mental skills. Ultimately, The Prince of Tennis is a journey of self-discovery and personal growth as Ryoma and his friends strive to become the best tennis players they can be.

Influence and Reception

The Prince of Tennis has had a great impact on mainstream culture. Its popularity can be seen in its successful manga and anime series, several promotional campaigns by the Japanese government, and its line of merchandise. The series has also spawned several spin-offs, including movies, television series, and a slew of video games.

The critical reception of Prince of Tennis has generally been positive. Most reviewers have praised the series’ visuals, character development, and story. It has become one of the most popular sports anime in Japan and has gained a cult following throughout the world.

The Prince of Tennis franchise has also been celebrated for its creative use of athletics. Professional players such as Roger Federer have been shown to be influenced by the series’ portrayal of different tennis techniques. The game has also spawned a massive merchandise line, featuring items such as smartphone cases, shirts, figurines, and other products.

In addition to its success in Japan, the series has also been licensed in many other countries, including the United States, Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. The series has also been dubbed in English, Chinese, Korean, and several other languages.


The Prince of Tennis has achieved a remarkable feat in sustaining an exceptional level of success, rivaled by few other anime of its ilk. With overwhelmingly positive reviews from both critics and fans alike, the legacy of the series is a testament to the strength of its characters and its timeless story. As the popularity of the anime continues to grow, it is sure to remain a popular sports anime for many years to come.

The series has always been a shining example of what a good sports anime should be: a blend of excitement, comedy, and a plethora of amazing matches! The series draws from the familiar tennis format and spices it up with unique characters and settings that manage to bring the tension of a game to life. Whether it’s Ryoma’s pursuit of tennis greatness or the never-ending drama of rivals, The Prince of Tennis has something for everyone.

The Prince of Tennis will forever remain one of the greatest tennis franchises in the anime world. From its classic story to its memorable characters to its heart-stopping matches, this anime is an incredible work of art and will continue to be an inspiration for sports fans for many years to come.

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