Saturday, December 1, 2012

Prince of Trash?

Fansub editors seem to be in short supply these days, so I've often ended up doing favors for acquaintances in the fansub community and editing projects that have been abandoned or otherwise lack critical resources. This leads me to working on shows that lie far outside by normal range of interests, such as Yawara! (sports anime), Hiatari Ryoukou (ditto), and KoiChoco (eroge adaptation). Mostly I find something of interest, such as Yawara!'s charming heroine, sometimes I don't. But rarely do the shows inspire outright rage... until I got involved with Prince of Tennis.

This started as a favor to my Saizen colleagues on the Yawara! project, where they've done all the timing and release checking. The last two OVAs in the PoT Another Story II series were translated but not edited, as was the recent PoT movie. I hate to see projects left undone, so I agreed to edit them. Now I wish I hadn't. Further, the endless popularity of the show makes me ask: Does everyone in Japan think that tennis is the grass-court equivalent of a magician's battle?

I've commented elsewhere on the cyclical nature of shounen manga and anime, and the steadily escalating nature of the hero's (super)powers, but the application of this to tennis leaves me dumbfounded. Special moves! Magic shots! Employment of life force! I saw some of this in Kuroko's Basketball, but PoT takes this to the max, over the top, and into complete absurdity. Violent street gangs that use tennis for revenge against perceived wrongs done by society? Give me a break!

Sports anime doesn't have to be this absurd. As Guardian Enzo has pointed out, the soccer (football) in Ginga e Kickoff is entirely plausible, not just as soccer, but as kid's soccer. The baseball in Hiatari Ryoukou is a bit exaggerated, but it's still believable. And the judo in Yawara! appears to be real judo, with real moves from the approved playbooks. So why does PoT play like the teenage male equivalent of a mahou shoujo series? All that's missing are the transformation scenes.

Saizen colleagues... you owe me. Big time.

Now, I fully acknowledge that I am not the "target demographic" for PoT, or any other shounen show for that matter. Further, I didn't watch the original series, so I haven't followed the evolution of the characters and their skills. Maybe the TV series contains an explanation for all this - like it's taking place in an alternate universe, or it's a fever dream, or something. Lacking that, I can only take the OVAs and movie at face value. And I'd much rather have episodes that are about actual tennis. You don't have to dress up a sport in fantasy clothes to make an interesting show. Chihayafuru demonstrated that.

1 comment:

  1. my question to you. have you ever seen a show that you love find out about the existence of OVAs that were subsequently released (due to the request of the fans) and then got super disappointed, even angry at the OVAs. For me, that's the only experience i've ever had with OVAs. That was with Iron Leaguer (I saw everything because I understand japanese) for me. I've never seen POT or have no intentions of watching it in the future but I feel like OVAs aren't the best representation of the tv shows. I can easily imagine movies being sucky too... in a similar to OVAs. My theory is that if the show is kickass amazing the creators would've accomplished what they wanted to accomplish in the anime and really go balls to walls with everything to the point that there's no point making an OVA. for an ova you need a plot, a conflict, something right? If the show's so well done with developing whatever message or plot then the ending is usually well done too so it makes it really difficult to make and OVA at that point. at least that was really obvious with me for iron leaguer.