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You can call me Hal.

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Tezuka: Pro or No? (and a bit of Ryoma too)
tezuryo net
So, I almost walked out without my shirt on today because I was thinking about this. I'm not very good at multitasking.

I've talked about this before, but more in passing. In sports series, I see two main aims that a character (a "good" character, that is) can have: "enjoy your youth" or "aim for the world".

"Enjoy your youth" means that while you're in school, you'll do your best in your sport so that when you move on to adult pursuits, you won't have any regrets about that stage of your life. Some characters take up the sport for this very reason, to experience that part of school life. There's usually no expectation to continue in the sport beyond high school, or perhaps university.

Kawamura is a good example of "enjoy your youth". And in general, teams in series where the main goal is to go to/win at Nationals have this as their motivation.

"Aim for the world" means that you want to be a pro, your sport is what you want to do with your life. (Presuming you have the skills, of course. And with the realization that you will have to retire at some point.) School teams and competitions are valuable, but if they hold you back, you'll have to move on. It's a more personal journey and it's a harder one.

Rukawa (Slam Dunk) is a good example of "aim for the world".

Of course, series often contain elements of both: players on the same team have different aims, the focus can shift part-way through, etc.

And this seems like one of the big differences between the Prince of Tennis manga and anime. For Tezuka and Ryoma, the manga is much more "enjoy your youth" and the anime is "aim for the world".

Today I was thinking about Seigaku as an elevator school (in the context of reunion stories, actually, but that's beside the point). And it pinged me: in the manga, when Tezuka goes to Kyuushuu, he's at the hospital for the Seishun university. Not only does he stay within the same country, he's still in Seishun. He's still inside, still part of the system. Still in the school.

When we see him face challenges there, he goes up against a rival school, one that he may face later at Nationals.

In the anime, he goes to Germany, to a sports clinic that has treated players from all over the world. He's out of the country and out of the school, moving into a international sports environment. When he hears about it, Inoue remarks that Tezuka can travel all over the EU and see the tennis there as well. It's a good opportunity for him.

There, his project is his trainer, a former pro, who has stopped playing.

In the manga, I don't get a strong sense that Tezuka will become a pro, even if his arm will allow it. If he stopped playing tennis after high school, I wouldn't be surprised. In fact, if he stopped after junior high, I wouldn't find it totally out of character, especially if they do meet their goal. (Though -- wasn't the goal to go to Nationals? Which they've now done.) Enjoy your youth, Tezuka! (If you're not middle-aged already.)

In the anime, I think that so long as his injury or other responsibilities don't prevent him, Tezuka will at least make the attempt to go pro. It seems like his family could afford to support him while he tries. Aim for the world, Tezuka!

And Ryoma. In the manga, well, he stays put. He plays with the team, he goes on to Nationals with them. Not to say he's not expected to move beyond that and become a pro, but for now, he's there as part of the team.

In the anime, he gets a first taste of international play with the American Goodwill games arc. This isn't a school team, it's a national team (well, more regional). And then, he leaves. Leaves Seigaku, leaves Japan to go play in the US Open. OVAs notwithstanding, this is really his transition into the pro world.

It's not quite the same as with Tezuka, but it has the same flavour.

So, in conclusion, I am wearing a shirt.


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No witty elaborations, but I completely agree, and this is one of the reasons I prefer the manga storyline over the anime's. In the manga they seem to be having the time of their lives playing the sport they love, in the anime it's always aiming for more, more, more until they lose track of what they were looking for in the first place. :\

When I got to the end of the anime, I had been particularly surprised about how things had turned out. And then when I started with the scanlations for volumes beyond what's been released in bookstores here, and finally got to the point where the real divergence begins, I was left wondering why such a difference was even present.

To be honest, when I was watching that final anime arc, I was surprised to find out that Ryoma did want to go overseas.

(Deleted comment)
Enjoy your youth
It seriously took me three times to realize that that said 'youth' and not 'mouth'. :P

All this just made me think about what's going to happen once the Nationals arc is over. I mean, what is there after that? Internationals? While exciting, I hope not.

So sad.

wearing a shirt. check. the mission is complete.

and I am glad to know there are other here who believe Tez is actually about 45.

ah-ah, Hal said middle aged, and 30 is not middle aged. :)

I'm just saying he looks more like he's 30, is all ^__^

Okay, I'm commenting again. In my opinion Tezuka will keep playing tennis, period, as long as his health allows it, long into the future, but I can easily see it going both ways whether or not he goes pro. I think it'll depend on what happens in the future.

I do know that I like manga!Tezuka more than anime!Tezuka. It was because of his match in Kyuushuu against the rival team. I finally saw him as human with his flaws peeking through. Seeing him deal with his fear to use his shoulder, and really all the stuff with him and that little girl, totally charmed the pants offa me.

I have to say that I doubt very much Tezuka would ever stop playing tennis (in both anime and the manga). He may not become a pro but he wouldn't stop playing. I don't think he'd risk his health and everything he's got for a game he didn't truly love (or maybe that's just my wishful thinking).

Either way, fics which suggest that he'd become a lawyer (a doctor/teacher/etc) just somehow don't sit well me somehow. I have a seriously hard time imagining him doing anything but playing tennis because (or maybe especially because) he's good at it. What am I saying, he's the best at it.

A valid question, though. I don't think I can answer you, because quite frankly, I don't want him to stop playing tennis. To see such a talent go to waste would - IMHO - be disastrous. Because just like you said - everything revolves around Tezuka. Everyone knows him, and everyone's goal is to beat him. If he stopped playing it'd be like tennis lost its meaning completely. There'd be no goal for any of the others to strive to anymore. Except... Ryoma, Tezuka's 'child'/replacement.

Ryoma as Tezuka's parting gift to tennis?

Because once Tezuka stops playing, there will still be Ryoma others would then gravitate to, pretty much like they once did to Tezuka. ...I just killed my own theory, dammit. >_<

Anyway, back to your question. I feel that Tezuka would probably at least finish college before going pro just to have an education to go back to in case his body doesn't hold out the strain of being a pro.

But I wonder much more why is it that Ryoma plays tennis... I wonder about it every time I watch the anime. Does he play because he loves the sport, or because his father didn't give him any other option but to play it? And now he can't stop because that's the only thing he's good in.

Okay, I'm shutting up now as I have had 5 hours of sleep in 48 hours and I'm not even making much sense even to myself. Ignore me.

I like your argumentation, but I haven't read past the Yamabuki arc in the manga yet, so I can't compare both.

So, anime.

I just know that in the anime, Tezuka seems more concerned about making Ryoma his heir and retire to fish and climb mountains. Maybe ocassionaly play Tennis with Atobe or Sanada in a retired cottage or luxury house out of town, but enjoy his...retirement.

Ryoma, on the other hand, looks to me as if he already missed enjoying his childhood, will keep missing his youth and, since he is not as perverted as his dad was/is, either he finally comes out of the closet, or he won't enjoy his life EVER. See, the only happy moments he enjoy is with his teammates and friends, who are nothing but teammates who get past cozy ;D

Anyway, I love this series so much because it is the first I see where they don't take it all SO seriously. I started with Captain Tsubasa, and there people risked their health and LIFE playing soccer, which was about ALL they ever did.

I can't speak for PoT (still doggedly torrenting for more than a year now!) but your post reminds me of my befuddlement re. the Whistle! anime which begins with the "enjoy your youth" theme (where Sho just loves to play soccer and the team's major goal is to beat Musashi no Mori) and then abruptly switches track half way through to "aim for the world" when Sho gets involved in the national team and MnM is seemingly never thought of again. I love the series but find the switch kind of sad - I'm not sure of the manga storyline apart from the Viz releases (where the MnM obsession still reigns supreme in the characters' minds as of vol 10) but I'm intrigued to see how it goes and whether it will make a similar switch in goals.

Yay! I good excuse to rewatch/reread PoT. >: )

My thoughts on Ryoma which apply to both the anime and manga:

For Ryoma, I think it's a little bit of both. Ryoma's tennis isn't about going pro. Becoming Seigaku's pillar is his goal. I think Nanjiroh's purpose in moving back to Japan and putting Ryoma in Seigaku was precisely for Ryoma to "enjoy his youth". To teach Ryoma how to enjoy tennis and make friends and be part of a team. However, there is also the understanding that sometime in the future, Ryoma is going to turn pro and "aim for the world". "Motto motto ue ni iku yo!" But not right now. Even Ryoma going to the US Open seems to build on the "enjoy your youth" theme. Ryoma wants to play more strong opponents. He's not thinking about it as a stepping stone to go pro. He just wants to do it because he's not sure when the chance will come again. The pro world may be waiting for Ryoma but Ryoma doesn't look like he's in any rush to get there.

For Tezuka, I'll have to revisit the anime and manga since he's a lot harder for me to read.

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