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Halrloprillalar

You can call me Hal.

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On Tezuka.
tezuka tattoo
prillalar
Oh, Tezuka, you keep me up at night.

Ryoma has both Nanjiroh and Tezuka to help him grow. Who does Tezuka have? We hardly see Tezuka play. When we do, we hardly see him challenged. (Moreso now in the manga, though it seemed odd that he was challenged in that last match.)

We know he and Inui have played a fair amount, but the last match was the only time that Tezuka really had to use his full ability. That's not actually stated, but it's obvious from the reactions of both Inui and the spectators.

How can Tezuka improve as a player if he's not playing someone better than himself? Or at least someone roughly equal. And while I'm not opposed to the idea that he's been playing Yukimura every weekend for the last three years, there's no evidence that Tezuka has any sort of training partner or mentor or coach outside of school.

Is that maybe his problem? His ability is very strong, but relatively static, because he doesn't have anything to push against.

We don't know anything about Tezuka's practice and training regimen. I'm sure we've been told it's copious and strict, but that's it. We've seen him using a ball machine, but that's no substitute for actual play.

Maybe that's one reason to raise Ryoma up. Once Ryoma can defeat Tezuka, Tezuka will have someone he can play with.

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I'm rather in favour of the idea that he used to have practice matches with Yukimura and Sanada. For one thing, it would explain why they know about the FlamingBBQ!move whose name I have forgotten, while nobody on Seigaku has a clue. Perhaps he played against them in past years, but as his injury worsened and the prospect of Seigaku and Rikkai becoming serious rivals grew, they would have tapered off; Tezuka would not have wanted to give away too much information to his opponents, and Sanada and Yukimura probably felt the same.

So that's probably how Tezuka initially developed his moves and whatnot, but I agree that now he seems rather static. That's partly because of his injury limiting him too, of course. Oishi and/or Fuji say(s) something about how Tezuka trains two or three times as hard as anyone else, but they're not specific as to how.

And I strongly disagree with those who say that he doesn't see Ryouma as a rival (not you, I don't think, but I've seen this POV elsewhere). Tezuka set himself up as a rival to Ryouma to pull out his tennis, and, not being stupid, he must realize that unlocking that potential means that Ryouma will definitely become his rival. In fact, Ryouma pretty much says so at the end of the first round of Nationals, when he welcomes Tezuka back by saying he'll take the pillar of Seigaku from him. Not accept it when given, but take it right out of his hands. That must have been one of the proudest moments of Tezuka's life, to see all the risks he took starting to pay off. And having your teammate as a rival is the best of all possible worlds. Both of them can show their complete potential without worrying about compromising the team's chances. I foresee many spectacular practice matches between them over the coming years, even after Ryouma beats Tezuka for the first time. After all, Tezuka's not going to go down without a rematch, and it'll be another valuable lesson for Ryouma to learn: just because you beat someone once doesn't mean you'll beat them the next time; they too can improve. And I think Ryouma will rather like the idea of returning in kind the favour that Tezuka did him.

I'm still hoping we'll get a manga flashback to sleepaway junior tennis camp. *g*

And I strongly disagree with those who say that he doesn't see Ryouma as a rival

I think this all hinges on how you define "rival". Certainly, Tezuka has set himself up as a goal that Ryoma has to reach, an obstacle he has to overcome. And you're right -- just because Ryoma may defeat Tezuka once, that's no guarantee he'll always do so.

But I don't think I would use the word "rival" to describe them. In the context of sports/competition/battle manga/anime (the ones I've seen, anyhow), your rival is generally your peer, a member of your cohort, or close to it. And Tezuka isn't Ryoma's peer. He's an authority figure. He's set up to parallel Ryoma's father.

I think the closest thing we've seen as a rival for Ryoma in the anime is Kevin. In the manga, maybe Kintarou will be that for him. But nothing on-going.

And I think that's why I like the Tezuka-Ryoma relationship so much. They're not in competition with each other, as rivals are, not right now. Once Ryoma gets to that point, though, then maybe they can be.

God, maybe that's their golden moment. That's when they can be happy. (Talking about love now, of course. *g*) If Tezuka lets Ryoma get too far ahead of him, then he's lost him. Wow, I've got to think about this some more.

I'm quite interested to see what Ryoma's role will be in the upcoming OVAs, since my Tezuka/Ryoma interest is mainly anime-based. Probably it will be total crack, but we can still hope. :)

Oh, I didn't mean that he sees Ryouma as a rival at exactly this moment in time. What I said (and I can see, rereading, that it wasn't as clear as it might have been) is that he sees "that Ryouma will definitely become his rival." As in, he isn't good enough yet, but he will be eventually, and then the fun really begins as the two of them start pushing each other instead of Tezuka constantly pushing Ryouma (or pulling him up, I suppose). As you say, "that's when they can be happy." So, in short, I think we agree. :D

One possible explanation of Tezuka's drive for the Nationals (besides his promise with Oishi) is the fact that taking the entire team is a challenge.

Do you mean bringing a whole team together with the skills to win their way to Nationals? I can see that. I sometimes wonder why Tezuka doesn't take a more active mentoring role with the club. He does sometimes, but it's not frequent, from what we've seen.

In fact, with the club as a whole, he's often more effective in his absence. (It's different with Ryoma, but isn't everything?) I was struck with Ryuzaki's comment in a recent (in my schedule) episode that Tezuka was necessary for them to win the Kantou tournament. Which turned out not to be the case. Or rather, the case in a different way than she meant it. His absence spurred everyone to try harder, in order not to let him down.

He seems to be a bit like that even when he's not away injured. He doesn't always come out to the court and when he does, it lights a fire in the club members.

He's still such a cipher to me. Which is good, I suppose, since it's interesting.

Yamato was a significant mentor to Tezuka, but Tezuka was able to beat him in tennis when he was in his first year. It didn't seem like there was anyone in the club who could fill that role for Tezuka.

Which actually makes me wonder why he's at Seigaku in the first place. It seems like they have a good tennis reputation in the long-term, but in recent years have not done so well. You'd think Tezuka would have been better off somewhere else, like Hyotei.

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Aw, thanks. :) I'm glad to hear it!

Psycologically, he's pretty alone too, although I think Yamato-buchou helped with that earlier on.

Isn't Fuji supposed to be able to challenge Tezuka? (and Atobe, but we all know where that one's going)

Fuji certainly could challenge Tezuka. They just don't really seem to actually play. Which seems kind of dumb to me.

And if the tennis program was decent enough, I don't think Tezuka would particularly mind if the team doesn't end up winning, as long as he does well.

Really? Although he def cares about himself, he seems so set on things proceeding properly. I can't see him being content in a team with people that slacked off/behaved badly in any way.

The most interesting thing to me about Tezuka is that he hid his talent as a frosh and then almost quit the team after being hazed. Not giving his all + giving up. It's just about as far from Ryoma as one can get, and even when I think of present-day!Tezuka, it seems very unexpected. (If I were a djka, it would also be a big, neon "uke" sign that Tezuka would never be able to shake.) I see Tezuka as someone who ultimately doesn't want to make waves and who can be unexpectedly fragile/emotional in making decisions. The cognitive dissonance comes in when you mix in his unemotional/stoic exterior.

Of course, this doesn't anwer your wonderings (and I guess the excuse that he's the mysterious non-practicing sports prodigy cliche like Fuji won't cut it). My completely unsupported fantasy theory is that he's somehow been playing a pro-level player since he was very young. And since it's Tezuka, I'll throw in some inappropriate affection on the pro's side that Tezuka's not fully conscious of.

I can't see him being content in a team with people that slacked off/behaved badly in any way.

Yes, I agree. Which is what happened when he tried to quit the team. I wouldn't call what happened to him hazing -- he was attacked by an older student who was trying to actually disable him. (Or at least said that's what he was trying to do.)

And Tezuka's answer to him was all about how using a racquet to hurt someone was inexcusable. The affront was more to tennis than to Tezuka himself.

The difference to Ryoma there, I think, is that I think Ryoma would either have found a way out there or not have been in a position to be attacked in the first place. In the beginning, I don't think Ryoma cares about the club as a club, but just as a pool of players to defeat. (He changes, though, as time goes on.)


I see Tezuka as someone who ultimately doesn't want to make waves and who can be unexpectedly fragile/emotional in making decisions. The cognitive dissonance comes in when you mix in his unemotional/stoic exterior.

Interesting thought. I can see that. And it's not so surprising that he would choose to hide that about himself.


My completely unsupported fantasy theory is that he's somehow been playing a pro-level player since he was very young. And since it's Tezuka, I'll throw in some inappropriate affection on the pro's side that Tezuka's not fully conscious of.

Hee! Sounds good to me. I'm still hoping we'll get more flashbacks about Tezuka in the manga. I wonder how he got interested in tennis in the first place.

And I meant to say -- I think you said once before that you see Tezuka quite differently than I do. If you have time and are interested, I'd love to hear more about how you see him. I'm still really trying to puzzle him out and it helps a lot to get everyone's thoughts and opinions.

Really? Although he def cares about himself, he seems so set on things proceeding properly. I can't see him being content in a team with people that slacked off/behaved badly in any way.
That's what I meant by the program being "decent enough." No slacking or anything like that, people who were serious about the game, but who simply weren't capable of going all the way and winning Nationals. I'm going on my interpretation that Tezuka didn't initially care about the team except insofar as they might help him--much the same attitude that Ryouma enters Seigaku with, actually. As such, he wouldn't have rejected the idea of going to Seigaku just because they hadn't been doing too well lately. Ryuuzaki's got a good reputation as a coach, after all, and as long as he got some good training, Tezuka didn't give a damn whether the team won Nationals or not. It was Oishi and Yamato who changed his mind about that.

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