• 1st Stringer Matches

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    As you might have noticed, I didn’t post anything in the past few weeks (not that I updated regularly before, but oh well), mostly because translating the chapters into German is kinda useless and I didn’t really enjoy doing the review either. So, in the end I figured I might just as well talk a bit about the recent chapters and see how that goes.

     

    Note: The following contains spoilers if you have not yet read Shin Prince of Tennis up to chapter 58.

     

    Alright, so I want to talk a bit about the newly introduced High Schoolers, No. 11-20 of the 1st String and how I think the current matches will play out.

    First up, we have Fuwa Tetsuhito, a 2nd year. We didn’t get to see much of him yet, except that he can apparently play blind, as well as a teaser regarding his special ability, Mirror Eyes. Given the name of that ability, it seems that the opponent will end up feeling as if he was playing against himself, it will be interesting to see how far this goes and whether Fuwa can imitate the opponent’s playstyle or something along those lines.

     

    To get to his match against Yukimura, I see Yukimura winning this. He is still one of the strongest Middle Schoolers (Tezuka is definately better, Echizen and Sanada might be, so Yukimura’s number 4 at worst) and he got quite a bit of hype by being the only Middle Schooler that made the 2nd String representative team. Given Kirihara’s comment about how the Middle Schoolers in general had good results in the shuffle matches, Yukimura’s winning rate was probably pretty close to 100% with 6-0s or 6-1s in most cases. In other words, it seems unfitting to have him lose at this point just to demonstrate the strength of what will mostly be fodder characters.

     

    Secondly, by giving him the chance to play against his own abilities, he basically gets the perfect possibility to evolve. Some think that he will get Ten’imuhou no Kiwami, but personally I’m hoping for something along the lines of Sanada’s Black Aura, I think it’d be nice if Rikkai’s three demons got something that unifies them and sets them apart from the rest.

     

    No. 12 and 13, Date Danji and Ban Rikiya. Both are power players and it seems like they are a Leader Follower Pair (one of the 4 pair types introduced in Pair Puri 4, read more here), with Date being the leader. In general their game plan seems to be that Ban does most of the rallying and tries to put the opponent into a bad position and Date finishes the point with one of his special moves.

    Speaking of which, seeing as he got Danji no Haru and Danji no Natsu (Spring and Summer of Danji respectively), I’m looking forward to seeing Danji no Fuyu (Winter of Danji), it has to be insanely powerful.

    As I mentioned earlier, Ban seems to be more of an assist type, his explosive shot (wonder whether it’ll ever get an official name) and his durability are pretty impressive.

     

    Their opponents are Kawamura and Kabaji, which surprised me, I didn’t expect to see them in a match like this. On the other hand, I guess no one else can take on a pair that completly destroyed Nakagauchi.

    I honestly can’t find much of a reason why Kawamura/Kabaji should win, they didn’t get all that much focus in the original and I don’t recall them being all that popular either, so unless Konomi wants to establish them as more important characters for the future, I don’t see much hope for them.

     

    The 1st Stringer’s No. 14 is Hakamada Izou, he seems to be a bit bloodthirsty, doesn’t he? There isn’t much to say about him at this point, besides that his technique is called Vanish. It seems to be a super version of the Meteor Drive Niou/Kirihara used back in Inui’s dream during the National final’s S2 match (which I think is a bit different from Fuji’s Hoshi Hanabi in that it can be used in any situation), so it’s quite powerful.

     

    Nevertheless, Kintarou should be able to win this match. As we didn’t get to see much of the match yet, this is mostly based on plot, but just as with Yukimura, having Kintarou lose to a (probably) unimportant character just feels wrong. There’s also the fact that Ryoma probably gets to play one of the top 10 rather soon, and Kintarou basically has to keep up with him.

     

    Next up, we have the Mutsu twins, Yuuma and Yuuho. I actually have even less to say about them than about Hakamada… they use Synchro and that’s about it. I guess through them we got to know what happens in a Synchro battle (the one with the stronger basic abilities wins), which is nice. Following that, their base stats are probably well developed all around.

     

    Their opponents are Oishi and Niou (who currently appears as Kikumaru), who used their own Synchro to take the first game. However, that shouldn’t be enough, as even with the secret camp training their bases should be worse than those of the twins (which means they will lose in a Synchro battle).

    In conclusion, this is the perfect match to show either an evolution of Synchro or ways to beat Synchro without using it (it’s implied that this is possible as Date/Ban are ranked higher than the Mutsu twins and it doesn’t look like they have access to Synchro, but it was never actually shown). I also think Oishi/Niou will win because of that.

     

    Mitsuya Akuto, No. 17 and apparently Yanagi’s childhood friend or cousin. He seems to be using a Data Tennis that even surpasses Yanagi’s, maybe he’s the one who taught it to Yanagi in the first place and/or the reason Yanagi moved? We don’t know much about Mitsuya yet, but he seems to be an interesting character, both in playstyle and for the background information he could provide.

     

    This match is really difficult to predict, but I think it’s somewhat comparable to Tezuka vs Yamato in the sense that it allows Yanagi to fight and surpass someone he looked up to in the past. I already mentioned it for the No. 11 match, but I would like Yanagi to get something comparable to Sanada’s Black Aura, maybe combining it with Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami could work. Lastly, I can see Inui playing a semi important role in this match by motivating Yanagi (especially now that Yanagi thinks it’s futile to continue).

     

    The remaining Doubles match features two more characters that share a history with some of the Middle Schoolers, the Former Legendary Captains of Shitenhouji, the Smiling Sharpshooter Taira Yoshiyuki and the Tsukkomi Vending Machine Hara Tetsuya (Tsukkomi = straight man in a Manzai duo, read more here). They seem to be some sort of manzai pair, but apparently didn’t incorporate it into their play, so they seem closer to Amane/Kurobane than Konjiki/Hitouji.

    From what we’ve seen so far, Taira has a shot that can break racket guts, meaning it should only be returnable by using the frame or grip. Hara’s seems to be more of a supporting type, so I imagine he sets up situations that allow Taira to use that shot to it’s full power.

     

    Their match against Kenya and Momoshiro could really go either way. On the one hand, both Middle Schoolers got quite a bit of focus so far (relatively, not exactly a lot but quite a bit more than most others), so I don’t think they will be dropped. On the other hand, having a match between Taira/Hara and Shiraishi/??? would be very nice. Naturally we could get that match either way, but at the speed the manga is progressing, it seems more like an ideal setup to get Shiraishi a 1st Stringer spot.

    Whatever the result may be, I’m sure it’ll be close and I’m curious how Kenya and Momoshiro will combat Taira’s power shot.

     

    The last member of the 1st String is No. 20, Akiba Kyouou. We don’t know much about him yet, besides that he seems to be pretty arrogant.

     

    At the moment, he seems to have no trouble against Irie, even after Irie stopped pretending, nevertheless I see him losing this match. I can’t really argue the match-up itself as we know basically nothing about Akiba, but I’d say it wouldn’t make much sense to drop Irie at this point (which would most definately happen if he lost), as he is arguably the most developed High Schooler so far. Furthermore, Irie is one of the strongest 2nd Stringers, and having him lose would basically mean no one else has a realistic chance of winning.

     

    To summarize:

    No. 11 Fuwa Tetsuhito vs Yukimura Seiichi 1-6

    No. 12 & No. 13 Date Danji/Ban Rikiya vs Kawamura Takashi/Kabaji Munehiro 6-7

    No. 14 Hakamada Izou vs Tooyama Kintarou 3-6 (original prediction was 0-6)

    No. 15 & No. 16 Mutsu Yuuma/Mutsu Yuuho vs Oishi Shuuichirou/Niou Masaharu 4-6

    No. 17 Mitsuya Akuto vs Yanagi Renji 6-7

    No. 18 & No. 19 Taira Yoshiyuki/Hara Tetsuya vs Oshitari Kenya/Momoshiro Takeshi 7-6

    No. 20 Akiba Kyouou vs Irie Kanata 5-7

     

    That’s it for today, I hope you enjoyed the read.

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