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Because I'm a shameless Manjoume fangirl.

Favorite Manjoume episode?
Flame Wingman (ep 2)
VWXYZ (ep 4)
H2O (ep 12)
Manjoume Thunder (ep 24)
Armed Dragon (eps 25-6)
Ojama Delta Hurricane (ep 34)
Private Eye (ep 39)
Current results



results from last poll

How was the Prince of Tennis finale?:

More people liked it than I expected! XD I chose the last option of course, because Atobe is just... *purrrrrrs* ♥

  1. Great! I loved it! (35.94%)
  2. It was so-so (23.96%)
  3. Atobe shower was the only redeemer (21.35%)
  4. Horrible...I hated it(18.75%)
Total: 192 votes

[ previous poll results ]


what's in a name?

This is where I feature a character from an anime and explain their name meanings. If you'd like to request a name meaning, let me know! ^_^




Name: Yukimura Seiichi
Anime: Prince of Tennis

Meaning:

Yukimura is a wonderful character that has lots of potential... His name is quite fitting to his character as well. "Yuki" is the kanji for peace or happiness, and "mura" means village. I think this reflects the serenity of his nature very well.

The more interesting part about his name is the fact that it stems from the historic Japanese war hero, Sanada Yukimura. A brilliant tactician and expert in the art of war, he almost led a successful campaign against the then-shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. He is ultimately betrayed and meets a tragic end. I think it's interesting indeed, that the powerhouse tennis team Rikkaidai's Captain (Yukimura) and Vice Captain (Sanada) are named after this true life hero.

"Sei" means soul or life force. This of course, speaks to Yukimura's passionate feelings toward tennis, and his incredible will to overcome his suffering to become greater than he is. Ichi is a common ending for a boy's name.

[ previous name meanings ]


jpop rotation

rules:
1. Sampling purposes only. Please delete after 24 hours.
2. Support the artists! Albums available at yes asia,
CD Japan & amazon



Artist: Hamasaki Ayumi
Song: STEP you

[[ hook me up ]]

This song is one of Ayu's more rock-type songs. It's one of her latest singles, just before Alterna and Fairyland.

As always, leave a comment if you download...altho nobody seems to, lol....

[ previous rotations ]


winamp skin


[[ download ]]

[ other skins by me ]




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Atobe Keigo
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Prince of Tennis - ep 121


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What do you read when you come to my blog? (check all that apply)
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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

* Sound Duel 4 *



Sound Duel 4

Sound Duel 4 has been released! This is the much awaited final soundtrack from Yugioh Duel Monsters, and includes BGM from the 2nd Yugioh Movie, the Egypt arc, and KC Grandprix. It also includes TV size versions of the final OP and ED themes, Overlap and EYES.

Of course, the theme I was most anxiously waiting for was Mahaad's death theme, which turns out to be track 10, entitled "A King with No Memories." It is absolutely beautiful. Now, if they'll only release GX soundtrack, I'll be pretty happy. ^_^

I've decided to post my own translations of Sound Duel 4 tracks. Enjoy!

Images from CD are from janime. Used with permission.

Sound Duel 4

1. OVERLAP (TV size)
2. Anubis Attacks
3. Awakening of Anubis
4. Evil of Anubis
5. Power of Anubis
6. Anubis, King of Destruction
7. The Nameless Pharaoh
8. Duel!
9. The Order of the Priests
10. A King with No Memories
11. Priest Seth
12. Mahaad and Mana
13. Kisara
14. Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
15. Millenium Item
16. Priest Akunadin
17. Ancient Egypt
18. Evil Will
19. Bakura, King of Bandits
20. The Kaa Spirit Diabound
21. Zork Necrophadis
22. Summoning of the Kaa
23. Summoning of the Three Gods
24. Hope
25. Vivian Wong
26. Tense Duel
27. Card for Counter Attack
28. Stagnate
29. One card for Reversal
30. The Calm before Battle
31. Destiny
32. Fierce Attack
33. Grand Conclusions
34. Promising Power
35. Companions
36. Yugi
37. EYE'S (TV size)

Posted by athena at |12:03 PM| |

Thursday, March 24, 2005

* Yugioh GX 25 *




Yugioh GX Ep 25: vs. Manjoume Thunder! (part 1)
The Fearsome Armored Dragon!


thoughts

Waaaahhh!!!!! *cries for Manjoume-san* Why why why are your brothers so mean to you, Manjoume-san?? I think you're quite worthy, win or lose, thank you very much. Now go tell those butt heads to shove it! T.T

V sad for my Manjoume-san, but also v proud that he held his own, as he stepped up like nobody's business. You have to give this guy props. Even you player haters out there (if there even are any...) have to admit, he was looking damn fine in this episode! XD Great. Episode. Nuf said. [/end fangirl rave]

Actually, this is not the end of the fangirl rave. It will be sprinkled in throughout this summary. Apologies. I love this character too much. ^_^

summary

Episode begins with Manjoume standing on top of a large building rooftop, where the principal of the North School bestows him with a card...amongst the chanting of the students: "King, King, King!" The card is something that has been passed down through generations at the North school, and is their secret weapon. "You should be able to master this card," he says, as he gives it to him: "Now, take this card, King Manjoume...no, Manjoume Thunder!" The students respond in chorus, "Manjoume...Thunder...thunder .. thunder..!!"

He turns to his adoring crowd and raises his fist: "Manjoume Thunder!" he cries out. The crowd roars in response...

Meanwhile back at Duel Acadamia, Judai has summoned his monsters and he's having a pep talk with them, when Shou runs up and tells him that the North school reps have arrived. They hurry outside to meet them. The two principals of the schools are exchanging greetings at the pier. Ichinose asks about Tome-san, and Sameshima replies that "of course, she's doing well," explaining rather enigmatically that she is a person without which this event could not be held. Hmm...

Judai's pretty excited to meet his opponent, and jumps in between them to ask who the opponent is. Sameshima rebukes him for being rude, but Judai can't contain his excitement. "Who's my opponent?" he pleads.

"Me," Manjoume responds. He's standing on the deck of the submarine, and his followers are surrounding him protectively.

"Manjoume...It's Manjoume!" Judai looks surprised.

"It's Manjoume-san!" he says sternly.

"So who is it?" Judai asks

"He's right in front of you," Manjoume says.

"Who?"

"Me."

"Who?"

"Like I said, ME!" He looks a little frustrated. It finally dawns on Judai, the dense fool. Lol... "So my opponent is...Manjoume??"

"Manjoume-san da!" Manjoume says. "San dan!!" his classmates step in and announce. The former king of North school angrily confronts Judai for omitting the honorific "san" from Manjoume's name. (He refers to Manjoume as "Thunder-san") "Let him be," Manjoume says calmly. There's a determined look on his face. He and Judai face off..




All the sudden, the wind whips up around them, and two helicopters make a dramatic entrance. The helicopters are clearly marked as belonging to the "Manjoume Group."

"That's right!" from inside the helicopter, Manjoume's older brother Shouji yells. "It's been a while, Jun! Are you doing well?" his other brother Chousaku asks.

"Chousaku niisan, Shouji niisan, what are you doing here?" Manjoume asks, a little annoyed. (His hair whips around the wind...so cute!) "Of course, to watch over your victory," he replies, "don't worry us too much, Jun!" TV cameras crowd around, much to the surprise of the people there. Apparently, they have to come to broadcast this duel all over Japan.

Judai freaks out over the idea that his face is going to show up on TV screens all across Japan.

Back in a private room, Manjoume demands an explanation from his brothers. They reply, it's obvious...this is part of their grand scheme that they promised among themselves...their dream to found the "Manjoume Empire" of the world!! (There's a shot of the three them standing proudly behind a big sign. The sign says, "Let's Go San-biki" (Let's go, three of us!)) They explain that today, they plan to promote him, and make him a star of the dueling world.

"Jun," Shouji says sternly. Manjoume looks up with a worried look on his face. (So. adorable.) "We heard from that Chronos or other that you were expelled from this school 3 months ago."

"That...that was..."

"Do you hear me, Jun?? You were the always the bum out of the three of us!"

"Since the Manjoume Group is sponsoring this broadcast, a defeat is unforgiveable!!"

"In this briefcase is contained a load of cards that me and aniki have put together with our money. Use them to construct the ultimate deck! Do you understand me, Jun? You had better not do anything to disgrace the Manjoume name!!" Manjoume looks down and frowns...

Judai meanwhile, is running through the hallways with brush and mousse in hand, upset that no one told him he was going to be on TV. He rushes in to the bathroom, but stops short when he sees Manjoume inside. He watches from outside, as Manjoume despairs under this terrible burden put upon him by his brothers...



"I can't! I can't! I can't! Damn it! Win! Win! I can't possibly be the bum of the family! I have to win, win and keep winning! I've got to win! Tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that! I'm gonna win, and win and keep winning! Nobody understands the weight of this burden I bear. All they say is 'Win...just win...win...'"

*sniffs....*

Judai overhears it all, and sneaks away quietly, as Manjoume crumples to the ground...

Back at the duel arena, the principals are sitting together. "If we win this year, then that prize will be ours, is that ok?" Ichinose asks, mysteriously. Sameshima agrees, saying this day is the day he looks forward to all year.

Shou tells Judai to just relax and take it easy, because afterall, he's won against Manjoume before, so it should be a cinch. Judai replies that "he wonders about that." Hayato says he can't be uncertain about things now. Judai says he's not being uncertain, only, "I respect Manjoume. He became head of that school all by himself, and brought his fight to this doorstep. He looks...kinda cool."

Chronos introduces the players. He's a little nervous b/c he's being broadcast around Japan. "First I'll introduce Drop out bo- I mean, Yuki Judai! vs, from the North School..."

"Nevermind, I will introduce myself," Manjoume says.

"Huh?"

"I said shut up and move it, you kappa-bastard!" (* A kappa is a water demon, who's got a weird hair-do) A shocked looking Chronos says his hair is done by a charismatic stylist! He gets frustrated, then all wound up in his mic wire, and he trips and falls off stage. "Drop...out!" he says as he takes a plunge.




(This part's Manjoume is so awesome!!!! Kyaaaa!!!! Manjoume-sama!!!)

Manjoume steps forward and thrusts his fist into the air and announces with great authority... "All of you...Do you remember ME??? Those of you who were relieved that I left! Those of you who said that I got what I deserved! If you don't know, then I will tell you: listen well! I have been resurrected from the depths of hell, like a phoenix! My name is... ichi, jyuu, hyaku, sen! Manjoume! Thunder!!!"

(His school mates yell the last part in unison with him, in a very dramatic fashion) Shou's surprised at how popular Manjoume is.

Manjoume continues: "I am.."

"THUNDER!"

"Manjoume..."

"THUNDER!!"

(Heheh...definitely reminds me of one Atobe Keigo and his little self-proclaming antics before vs. Tezuka..lol)

"Here I go, Judai...I can't lose this one!"

"Come, Manjoume!"

"It's Manjoume-san!"

His brothers in the audience look on proudly: "Jun...for the Manjoume Group!"

"DUEL!!"

* Duel *

Manjoume: Summons Masked Dragon in def (def: 1100).

Judai: Summons Burst Lady. Destroys Masked Dragon. Manjoume activates its ability: when this monster is destroyed in battle, special summon one dragon monster w/ less than 1500 atk from deck. He summons Armed Dragon LVL 3 (atk: 1200).

Shou asks about this card, and Asuka says it's a card that can evolve into stronger monsters by leveling up. Misawa says they are extremely rare, and wonders how he got it. In the stands, Sameshima is shocked, and asks if this is the legendary card passed down from the North school. "I told you, I'm serious. The prize will be ours," Ichinose replies. "No! It's going to be mine again this year! Judai, you had better not lose!" he yells.

Sets one m/t.

Manjoume: Standby phase, and his dragon evolves. He sacrifices it to special summon LVL 5 (atk: 2400) from his deck or hand. Judai activates his trap card Hero Halo, which prevents any monster with more than 1900 atk from attacking that turn.

Manjoume is not phased. He activates LVL 5's special ability: discard one monster from hand to destroy one opponent monster with less atk points than discard monster. He discards Dragonfly (atk: 1400). Destroys Burst Lady. Direct attack. (Judai LP: 1600). He's blown away and falls dramatically on his side. "What's the matter, Judai? Is that all you've got?" He sets one m/t and ends.

Judai realizes he's being broadcast, and says he can't look too uncool in front of the audience. "That Jun, he's doing well," his brother say with pride. "But we don't want him to win too quickly...we still have time left in the broadcast. Mwa hahahaha!!" (Jerks...!)

Judai: Summons Bubbleman in atk. Draws 2 cards by its effect. Fusion summons Tempester (atk: 2800) (Bubbleman, Featherman & Sparkman). Destroys LVL 5. (Manjoume LP: 3600). Manjoume activates Call of the Living Dead (Yay! his signature card!) to bring back LVL 5. Sets one m/t.

Hayato notes that even tho LVL 5 is back, you still have to discard a monster to activates its effect. He says there aren't many monsters that have more than 2800 atk.

"Don't underestimate my deck," Manjoume responds.

Manjoume: Discards Despair from the Dark (atk: 2800) to activate LVL 5's effect. Judai activates his magic card Defusion, saving his Tempester and breaking it down into its 3 monster parts. He proceeds with battle and destroys Sparkman.

He laughs and says Judai made a mistake using Defusion. Now, his dragon can level up even more! He sacrifices it to special summon LVL 7 (atk: 2800). In a dramatic wave of his hand, and thundering roar of the crowd, his monster emerges... It's very very big. The crowd chants, "Thunder, Thunder...Manjoume thunder!!!"

Shouji says with shock that this card was not among the cards he gave Jun. Chousaku is surprised.

(Ok, this scene is DEFINITELY straight out of Atobe vs. Tezuka!!! Prince of Tennis fans, you know what I'm talkin' about!! XD )

Manjoume yells, "The winner is..."

"Thunder!!" The crowd reacts enthusiastically. "Manjoume Thunder!!!"

Judai's really excited at seeing this monster and says he wants one too. Manjoume calls him an idiot, saying it's not time to be starry eyed. Judai bounces around with joy, saying he's so happy he can duel like this. Manjoume is a little miffed by this attitude.



"I can't be like you, thinking about nothing all day and skipping through life. Look! The pressure of that glare!" The scene pans over to his brothers as they watch over him from the stands. "That is the heaviness of the glare under which all of the dreams and desires of the Manjoume family rest...upon MY shoulders! In order to fulfill my brothers' expectations, and to prove my worth, I have to defeat you here, no matter what!!"

"You're not going to defeat me so easily, Manjoume!"

"Manjoume san da!!" he yells out.

Judai: Summons Friendock in def, sets one m/t.

Manjoume: He activates LVL 7's ability: discard one monster from hand, and destroy ALL opponent monsters that have fewer atk points than discarded monster. He discards LVL 3, and destroys all 3 monsters on Judai's field. "Go!! Genocide Cutter!!"

The crowd goes wild...

Judai activates Friendock's ability, and takes back Fusion and Burst Lady from grave.

"Behold, my brothers! My power!! This is the end! Armed Dragon, LVL 7, Direct attack!! Hahahahaha......."

The dragon's claw swipes at Judai dramatically, as the screen blacks out.

To be continued...

(Hm...the first time they've ever showed "to be continued" at the end... ^^)

Next week: vs. Manjoume Thunder (part 2) Armed Dragon LVL 7

Posted by athena at |10:33 PM| |

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

* Dialects in Anime *

Dialects in Anime

I am not an expert of anime by any means, and compared to most fans, the repertoire of mangas and anime I've seen is probably relatively slim. But from what I've observed, it seems that including a character with some kind of dialect is pretty common, so I wanted to do an entry on anime characters who speak them! Characters who speak dialects always stand out in my mind, because it makes them unique and fun to listen to. They also usually add subtle dimension to their personality, which I appreciate. The most commonly used dialect is by far the Kansai dialect, and among the Kansai dialects, the Osaka dialect in particular. This pleases me very much, being a native speaker of this dialect...and I always end up being quite partial to characters who speak it. ^_^

Any characters I missed, that you love? Mention it to me in my comments! ^_~


~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


Name: Oshitari Yuushi
Anime: Prince of Tennis
Dialect: Osaka
Quote: "Eekagen ni se!"
("Quit it!")
About:

I love this character! My second favorite Hyoutei player after Atobe, this guy's accent is so endearing I wish he could be in more episodes just so I can listen to him speak! Aside from his unusual affinity for romantic movies and girls with pretty feet, he has strong ties to his Osakan roots. Even as he goes to school in Tokyo, he craves Osakan food, and goes back home just so he can experience certain cuisines in their peak seasons. Like most Osakans, he probably hates nattou (fermented soy beans), though I haven't been able to confirm it. He has some metrosexual tendencies, as is evidenced by the fact that he wears glasses (non-prescription), just for the looks of it... Hehe. He has also been seen playing manzai tennis - possibly the funniest tennis match I've ever seen. ^_^


~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


Name: Dinosaur Ryuzaki
Anime: Yugioh
Dialect: Osaka
Quote: "Wai no turn!"
("My turn!")
About:

This character isn't extremely popular, but I've always liked him. He's got a lot of spunk, and unlike Insector Haga, he doesn't cheat to get his way. I kind of wished that he wasn't always subjected to bitter defeats, as he was at Duelist Kingdom or Doom (or Battle City, for that matter). I'm not especially fond of his dinosaur deck, but I did think REBD and Tyrant Dragon were pretty cool, and suited him quite well. I love his accent... It's actually probably a more rural form of Osakan, and he uses words that I wouldn't use, like referring to himself as "wai." I think his dialect sounds rougher around the edges, and it's definitely not your typical Osakan.


~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


Name: Kajiki Ryouta
Anime: Yugioh
Dialect: Tosa
Quote: "Kondo wa kanarazu katsu kini!"
("I'll definitely win next time!")
About:

I don't know much about the Tosa dialect, except that it was spoken by Sakamoto Ryoma...lol. But this character is lots of fun, and has a lot energy, which I love. I like how he's always trying to earn money to buy a fishing boat...he's got dreams, which is cute. And his relationship with his father was really sweet too.


~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


Name: Fujino Shizuru
Anime: Mai HiME
Dialect: Kyoto
Quote: "Tayori ni shitemasu sakai ni"
("I am counting on you")
About:

Although her accent is a little off, I do enjoy listening to Shizuru speak, as she has a very delicate way about it, and it's fun to hear her speak the Kyoto dialect. Maybe it's her dialect that helps too, but she seems to come across as a very cultured person, and is often seen wearing a kimono at home. She also trained in sadou, or the Japanese tea ceremony.

A little off topic of dialects, but one interesting fact about this character: Her Child is named Kiyo Hime, which suits her personality quite well. Kiyo Hime is a character from an old Japanese story (later made into Kabuki), who fell in love with a monk in training, Anchin. Her love was obsessive to the point of being stalker like, and she ends up chasing after him, even after he told her their love could never be. Anchin flees across a river into a temple, but she follows after him, turning into a large serpent so she could swim across the river. Eventually, she catches up with him...he had hidden himself inside a large iron bell. She wraps her serpent body around the bell and with the burning flames of her love, she creates a suffocating heat, wherein he perishes. Hmm...who does this remind you of?


~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


Name: Ichimaru Gin
Anime: Bleach
Dialect: Osaka
Quote: "Akan naa.."
("That's no good")
About:

I don't know anything about this character, except to say that he's a Soul Reaper, and a pretty strong one at that. ^_^;;


~~~~ * ~~~~ * ~~~~


Name: Kuonji Ukyo
Anime: Ranma 1/2
Dialect: Osaka
Quote: "Uchi mo Ran-chan no iinazuke nan ya de!"
("I am Ran-chan's fiancee too!")
About:

Ukyo's my second fave minor character in Ranma, after Ryoga. She's got lots of spunk (What's with these Osakans and their spunk?? ^^) and I love her fighting spirit and no-nonsense attitude. She's got her own okonomiyaki restaurant at high school age, and knows how to make it on her own. She's got a lot of mercantile pride and professionalism, which seems to be marks of her Osakan roots. ^_^

Posted by athena at |9:13 PM| |

Monday, March 21, 2005

* Samurai Champloo 26 *




Samurai Champloo 26: Evanescent Encounter (part 3)

*sniffs* I suppose all good things must come to an end. This last episode of Champloo was excellent, I must say. It was a very good ending...but call me a sentimentalist, I really wanted the three of them to stay together forever. At the least, I was happy that they made it through this ordeal alive, but did they really have to end it like it was all just nothing? Because it obviously wasn't. But all in all, I loved it.

Just some thoughts on the show in general: This is definitely one of the more sophisticated animes I have ever seen. Just like Cowboy Bebop, (and there are some obvious similarities), Watanabe has delivered a wonderful, likeable cast of vivid characters with an intriguing story line that kept you wanting more. I think the "traveling" theme was very well incorporated as the backdrop for what was truly important: the developing of the characters and their relationships with each other.

I especially loved how they had a real love-hate dynamic, very reminiscent of Bebop (which I also loved). They work together for a common goal, and yet bicker and fight amongst themselves at the same time. And despite all their differences and clashes of personality, they each in turn care very much about each other. This is the type of storyline that is classic, and therefore always golden.

My favorite episode has got to be "The Art of Altercation," the hilarious episode featuring Spike Spiegel's VA as Nagamitsu, the guy who's aiming to be "BIG." Hehe... that episode had me rolling on the floor. I also loved "Gamblers and Gallantry," the episode where Jin falls in love. That scene where he has to make broiled eel was just too precious! Other scenes that I will never forget...
  • Jin, Fuu and Mugen enter the all-you-can eat contest!
  • Mugen trains a beetle to fight
  • Mugen gets high and forgets to rescue his friends
  • Jin dresses up as a geisha
  • Fuu plumping up everytime she pigs out
  • Mugen imagines Fuu & Jin laughing at his illiteracy

And much, much more!

*sighs* Champloo...I will miss you!!

Posted by athena at |10:27 PM| |

* Mai HiME 24 *




Mai HiME Ep 24: Love is a Battle

thoughts

Ha! You Mai HiME fans must've thought I dropped off the face of the blogging world, did you not? Image hosted by Photobucket.com Well, I have to admit I did get a little complacent with blogging this show, because there are so many other great bloggers of Mai HiME out there...you know who you are! But you know, I'm not the only one who's behind, right? Besides, the fansubs have pretty much caught up, apparently, so not as urgent a demand for full summaries, I suppose...

I'm going to skip the summaries, and just a few thoughts, since we are in the home stretch for this series. (So many shows ending...though I'm the most upset about Prince of Tennis ending... *sniffs*...)

Anyway, aside from the cheesiness of this episode being named after "Love is Battlefield," I thought it was really good! Tate has redeemed himself in my eyes, amazingly enough. It seems me and Reito were of the same mind when he said that he thought Tate would meet a more pathetic end...but he surprized us both with his honorable and honest end....though still a "martyr" of sorts anyway. Tate's death was the second time I cried while watching Mai HiME. (The first time being Haruka's death...I thought that was so sad...)

They really did a nice job of bringing the whole Mai, Tate, Shiho triangle to an end, with Tate sacrificing himself so that neither girl would end up hurting the other. And Mai's tearful farewell and crazed sorrow was really well done. It still creeps me out how Reito is supposedly manipulating the entire situation, as he has nothing but his own self-serving interests in mind. People who think they can control other people's emotional reactions really piss me off. But I have a feeling that he is going to be in for the shock of his life in the upcoming episodes...because I'm quite sure that Mai is not going to give him what he wants.

As for Natsuki and Shizuru...that situation keeps getting more and more bizarre. All the sudden, Shizuru becomes this really unstable stalker type crazy person. Was this predictable? I guess the people who appear to have it together the most are the ones that are the real crazies, but it really wasn't something I would've predicted. And who exactly is Natsuki's important person? I'm just full of questions at this point...

Finally, just a quick rant: What's up with unstable female lovers in this show? Shiho, Shizuru and Yukariko all have really unhealthy ideas of how to love somebody. It either means you become obsessive of that person, or end up debasing yourself. As someone who's always intrigued by female stereotypes in media and anime, this is something that doesn't feel very satisfying to me.

Next week: The Time of Destiny

Posted by athena at |9:45 PM| |

* Prince of Tennis 176 *



Prince of Tennis Ep 176: Climax

thoughts

Spoiler alert, obviously.

This was a really bitter sweet episode for me. It made me really sad to see Fuji lose to Tezuka...though it was to be expected, since Tezuka is untouchable at the moment. I personally thought that Fuji was supposed to be better than Tezuka, particularly in light of the manga...during his match against Kirihara, Ryuzaki said that his talents surpass even those of Tezuka. It can't be that he's been hyped as the sleeping genius for nothing.

In any case, after he lost, I thought about how sad it was, and that if I were Fuji, I would cry...then the scene switches to Fuji's face, and sure enough, he was crying! Awww.... So much crying these last episodes... Momo...Kaidoh, and now Fuji! I wonder who's next, Inui? Tezuka? I know we've seen Oishi and probably Kikumaru cry before. For those of you who saw the episode "To my dear friend," do you recall that scene where Momo cried, and told Ryoma that if he wants to go to the US, then he has to go? I could have sworn Ryoma was crying just then too. I'm sure he was...it wasn't just the water from the fountain! ^_^

This was a great episode, other than the Fuji-defeat part. Tezuka talks more than he has in all other episodes combined. Heh...well, not really. But he definitely talks a lot. Mostly his contemplations on Fuji...Hmm....

By the way, since this is the next-to-last episode, and I enjoyed the Fuji Tezuka goodness so much, I made a few Winamp skins for the occasion... enjoy! ^_^


summary

The match resumes at 15-0, Fuji's service. Oishi is shocked that the Tezuka zone has been broken. Inui says the Triple counter (Higuma Otoshi) has revitalized itself... Fuji serves his underhanded disappearing serve. Tezuka manages to return it: Fuji thinks, "As expected of you. But..!" Fuji jumps up and smashes, winning the point. 30-0. He serves underhand again, but Tezuka says it's not going to work again. He returns it, and Fuji counters with the Tsubame Gaeshi. 40-0. Tezuka notes that Fuji has led one step ahead on this one. Oishi expresses surprise by the fact that Fuji has surpassed Tezuka's expectations. Inui says it's not possible for Tezuka to activate his zone in such a situation.

Fuji thinks to himself: I don't sense the surrounding sounds and scenery...I may never have had such intense concentration before. Thanks...Tezuka!

This time, it's a normal serve. Eiji notes that he's never seen Fuji like this before. "Of course," Ryuzaki responds. "It's because up until now, Fuji has never had a passion for winning." She turns to the players on the team and ask each of them in turn what they do when they lose.

Eiji: "I go cry on Oishi's shoulder, and ponder back on what I did wrong..."

Inui: "I go over the data from the match, and analyze it, and try to work out the weaknesses for future games."

Kaidoh: "I get pissed...so I'll double my practice."

Ryuzaki says, "Exactly. Everyone feels bad about losing, and try to do better for next time, so they can win. But Fuji doesn't play to win or to get stronger. He enjoys the thrill of it, and it's like a game to him." She explains that in his matches against Kirihara and Mizuki, he played for other people (his brother and Tachibana), and didn't truly bring out his talent. This match, however, is different. For the first time ever, he is serious about wanting to win...against Tezuka, his teammate since first year...and a guy who is in many ways, his opposite.

Fuji wins the game with his Higuma Otoshi. 4-3.

Tezuka thinks that it's been a long time since he's felt this cornered in a match where he was in top condition. He serves. They rally, and then Fuji hits his Tsubame Gaeshi...it goes to the Tezuka zone, and he returns it. But Fuji says "That won't work on me anymore," dashing to the net. He hits his Hakugei, and Tezuka anticipates that it will bounce back toward him. It does indeed bounce back, but at a sharp angle, away from him. It hits the net... 0-15. Momo's shocked that even the Zero shiki doesn't work on Fuji. The team's surprized that Fuji was able to change the direction where the Hakugei bounces. Ryuzaki notes that this is certainly the arrival of a Fuji that no one has ever seen before.



Tezuka is now hitting balls without a topspin, supposedly to stop the Tsubame gaeshi...but Fuji manags to hit one back anyways, 0-30. Inui says it's like the Tsubame Gaeshi, but he returned a slice with a topspin...

A reverse Tsubame Gaeshi, Tezuka thinks. To think he's come up with such a skill on the spot...a guy to be feared....more so than I ever imagined. As they are facing each other across the net, the scene switches to the time when they were first years...

* Flashback *

Tezuka's thoughts:
Back when we were first years, I thought you were a more quiet type... Kawamura's power... Kikumaru's reflexes... Oishi's accuracy... and Inui's analytic powers... Among the teammates with individuality, you didn't stand out as much... However...

There's a scene where Fuji manages to return a fly ball with great precision. Tezuka is watching from the side, and ponders. Later, they are collecting balls, and Fuji asks Tezuka whether he's actually left handed. "How did you know? Not even Ryuzaki sensei knows about it," Tezuka says. It's just something that Fuji had surmised from his observation.. Tezuka says, "You have good instincts," to which Fuji replies that they should go home soon...the gates will be locked before long. Tezuka watches Fuji as he walks away...

Back in the present, the match continues. 0-40. Tezuka thinks, He's strong...certainly, he is one of the top players I have ever played against. In truth, back then... He flashes back to the scene where he promises Fuji to play a match, back in first year.

The reason why I promised...was because I wanted to reveal your true identity. Just like I wasn't using my left hand, you haven't been playing your best either. I wanted to expose the true you. But...

The scene changes to their first year's match.

Under usual circumstances, I would have asked him to reschedule our match, when I could be in my best condition. But the reason I didn't may have been that I was a little over-anxious to measure the true strength of this mysterious teammate of mine.

Eventually...you slowly began to reveal your skills.
There's a flashback from year 2, when Fuji's playing against another school as a Seigaku regular. By second year, the name of Seigaku's "Fuji Shusuke" was already famous. But in my eyes, it still didn't appear as though you were playing to your capacity.

The scene switches to 1st year Momo and Kaidoh competing against each other during practice, with 2nd year Eiji remarking to Fuji how those two are really going at it. Tezuka's thoughts continue... If you had more of a fighting spirit, we may have been more like rivals...like Momoshiro and Kaidoh. I thought that you were purposely avoiding playing me...that subconsciously, you were saving your strength. And time passed, without us ever determining who was the stronger player. One day, when my left arm is healed, we will have a rematch...and this time, I will bring out your true abilities... that had become my desire.

Scene is now on the school rooftop, 3rd year, before Tezuka leaves for Germany.

Fuji: "Germany, huh? That's pretty far..."

Tezuka: "Don't worry. Although I won't be here, Seigaku has Oishi...and you."

"How long will you be gone?"

"I don't know...I'm going to concentrate on getting better, for now.

"So when you return, you will be Tezuka Kunimitsu, in perfect condition."

"Yeah. I'll be able to play in my best condition. Against anybody."

"Anybody?"

"Anybody." He emphasizes the word meaningfully.

"Is that right? Well...I look forward to it," Fuji says hesitantly.


Back in the present, Oishi is asking, "Then...this lineup was Tezuka's request?" Ryuzaki answers "Yes, but it's not like I manipulated it just to take in the player's wishes. It was my wish as well."

The teammates note that Tezuka's hits have become sharper and stronger. (The flying ball turns into a cheesy looking aparition of a dragon...hehe... Fuji's ball turns into some kind of bear?)

Tezuka thinks: "I finally understand...why I was wishing for a match with you so much..."

Fuji thinks: "I finally understand...why I was avoiding a match against you so much, even though I wanted it at the same time..."

Tezuka: "...because I knew that by playing you, I can better myself."

Fuji: "...because by playing you, I will change myself. I was scared of that."

Tezuka: "Now, you are truly my best rival!"

Fuji: "You once asked me where my true self really was. The answer is finally revealed itself. My true self is...HERE! Here, on this court, as I battle against you!"

Fuji hits a Tsubame Gaeshi, but it returns to the Tezuka zone. He hits a Hakugei, and Tezuka flies up (v dramatically, I might add) and smashes it. Fuji think he can return it with the Higuma Otoshi, but the ball hits the top fo the net, and falls behind him. 6-6. Fuji realizes that it is the same technique Ryoma used to break his Higuma.

It goes into tiebreak. It's now 6-5, Tezuka's match point. Fuji serves, thinking, "I won't let you take this point...Tezuka!" The ball eventually makes it to Tezuka zone, and Fuji thinks he's gonna do a drop shot. But Tezuka grabs the racket with both hands, hitting the ball back with great power. Fuji Hakugeis the return, and Tezuka smashes, hitting it onto the net again. Fuji does the Higuma, thinking he has won the point...but Tezuka spins the air and switches hands at the last minute, and manages to swing around to hit a right-handed Zero shiki drop. Fuji is in shock. Tezuka wins, 7-6.

"I didn't think you would hit a right-handed Zero-shiki right there... You are truly amazing, Tezuka," Fuji says.

"It's not like I was aiming for it. My body just moved by reflex..." He looks up. Tears are streaming down Fuji's face. "Fuji..."


"I didn't know that losing could be so bitter," he says. "But it feels great..." Tezuka smiles, and offers his hand. They shake...

Ryuzaki says.."Ryoma...Fuji and Tezuka had a great match." There's a once in a lifetime pic of Fuji and Tezuka with their arms around each other, and Tezuka has on a million dollar smile. Absolutely. Adorable. So I forgive him for beating Fujiko-chan. ^_^

In the states, Ryoma wins his first match. He says, "I can't lose so easily...I've left a lot behind." He grins...

Next time: Final episode! 1 hour special! *cries*
Airs on March 30th.

Posted by athena at |5:29 PM| |

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