- Keigo Atobe
; :In his Nationals match against Ryoma, Atobe demonstrates his ability to use Higuma Otoshi, one of Shusuke Fuji's Triple Counters. By quickly rotating his body, Atobe uses centripetal force to absorb the force of any overhead smash; he then returns the ball with a lob that almost always lands on the opponent's baseline.
;Tannhauser Serve:When performed correctly, the technique does not allow the ball to bounce, instead having the ball spin rapidly down the court, thus rendering it almost impossible to return. While no flaw is stated in the manga, in the anime, its flaw lies in that it places tremendous strain on the server's arm and shoulder. Atobe must exert enormous force in order for the move to come out correctly, thus he is slowly worn down during his serve.
:Also, in the anime, the serve was not fully seen until Atobe teams up with Sanada during the Goodwill Games with America, while in the manga, the Tannhauser Serve was first seen by another Hyotei player, Oshitari Yuushi, who was able to see Atobe perform the serve during practice. Also in the anime, it is said that the Tannhauser serve is a serve version of Shusuke Fuji's Tsubame Gaeshi, while in the manga, it is a version of
Ryoma Echizen's COOL Drive.
Tannhauseris the subject of a German legend as well as one of Wagner's lesser known operas. According to the anime, Atobe relates as he too is privileged, but has a heart that cannot be satisfied.
Atobe goes against Tezuka in the Singles 1 slot at the 1st round of the Kantō regional tournament. When Atobe first appears, he is arrogant, self-assured, and generally flippant about the entire deal. After discovering Tezuka's weakness to drive, he formulates a plan to ruin Tezuka's shoulder. The point of ruin comes - Tezuka collapses in pain and falls to his knees, clutching the offending body part in obvious agony. However, he refuses to give up at that point and continues the rally, much to Atobe's surprise. The tone of the game changes after that point, and Atobe becomes completely serious, wondering what compelled Tezuka to such insanity and realizing that it is his loyalty to his team. Atobe then seeks to play to his potential and beat Tezuka no matter what.
After a tedious tie-breaker going into the 30s, Tezuka hits a net ball, which Atobe dives to return. Lying upon the ground, helpless at the net, he then realizes in horror that most of the court is free for Tezuka to attack. In a twist of fate, however, Tezuka is so broken down by now that his ball hits the net, ending the game with Atobe victorious.
The captains share a long handshake after the match, and Atobe raises Tezuka's arm in air as the crowd roars in cheer for both players.
Genichirou Sanada (anime)
Atobe fights bitterly against Sanada, Rikkaidai's vice-captain, to settle which of them will first get to challenge their mutual "eternal rival", Tezuka (as the three of them hold a three-way rivalry). However, he is overwhelmed by Sanada's Invisible Swing. Just as observers decide that Atobe will lose, however, he shows off his swanky new Tannhauser serve. The match is then ended by Sakaki-sensei, who announces that both boys have now earned their positions on the team. More notable is his doubles pairing with Sanada. While initially not getting along at all and playing as two separate units, the need quickly arises for teamwork. However, since they are both probably among the top five players in the entire series, they argue about their combination, specifically Atobe's petulance over missing balls. An almost accidental act of coordination, however, compels Atobe to remember a tango concert he saw with Sanada, and they finally get in coordination, executing the Hametsu e no tango and generally exhibiting decent teamwork. At the end of their victorious match, Atobe chooses to double his catch phrase - "Oresama-TACHI no bigi ni yoi na", translating more or less to "Be Awed At The Sight Of Our Prowess!".
Genichiro Sanada (manga)
Atobe and Sanada have played twice in the manga continuity. The first time, in a match played prior to the start of the series, Sanada crushed Atobe using the Zan(Mountain) technique of his FuuRinKaZan. Although the time period of this match has never been said, the most logical time for it to have taken place would be at the previous years Kantō Tournament, where Sanada's
Rikkai Daigaku Fuzokudefeated Atobe's Hyotei team in the finals.
The second time they faced was rather different. After the current year's Kantō Tournament, but prior to the Nationals, Atobe arrived at Rikkaidai, and challenged Sanada to a match. Sanada got up to a 4-0 lead using his Zan shot, however when Atobe perfected his new technique, Ice World, Sanada couldn't cope with it. Sanada's captain, Seiichi Yukimura, stopped the match and told Atobe to leave their campus. When Sanada asked why, Yukimura told him he would have lost the match.
In the quarterfinals of the Nationals, Seigaku and Hyotei meet once again. In Singles 1, with the two teams tied 2 to 2, Atobe faces off against
Ryoma Echizen. Atobe starts off strong with his Tannhauser Serve (the first time it is seen in manga continuity). While Ryoma tries to fight back using the State of Self Actualization, Atobe reveals his World of Ice technique and easily gets to a 4-0 lead. At that point, Ryoma manages to use his father's version of the Tezuka Zone, and the match becomes much more even.
The two go to a tiebreak, but eventually, Atobe's body could not keep going, and Ryoma wins the tiebreak 119 to 117.
After the match, Ryoma shaves Atobe's head when the latter was unconscious due to the bet Atobe makes with Ryoma before the match: the loser of the match gets his head shaved (in the anime, Atobe chooses to shave his own hair after losing, despite Taki's pleas to have Ryoma shave Taki's head instead). Though, it is later revealed that Atobe's head did not get fully shaved, but he did receive a short haircut.
Reception and influence
Almost since his initial appearance, Atobe has become one of the most popular characters in "The Prince of Tennis" series. According to Takeshi Konomi, fans initially didn't like Atobe much when he was trying to destroy Tezuka's arm, but by the conclusion of the match, he had become one of their favorite characters. In the 2006 Valentine Special, Atobe was the winner, being given over 1000 chocolates. In the third characters' popularity ranking, he came in third place, behind only Ryoma and Fuji. [cite book |title= Prince of Tennis Vol. 32 |last= Konomi |first= Takeshi |year= 2007 |publisher=
Shueisha|isbn= 4-08-874015-7 |pages= 184 |chapter= Genius 276 ] In the 4th characters' popularity ranking, Atobe was voted first with a total of 12,913 votes, soundly beating Shusuke Fuji, who came in second with 6116 votes.
Ryoma Echizen, Atobe has released more character CDs than any other character in the series, and he is the only other character to have 2 full length albums (besides Ryoma). One of his singles reached top 9 in the weekly charts, the best result for any "Prince of Tennis" character CDs.
Atobe was also the first character to sing the song "Valentine Day Kiss" in 2004. Since then, the same song was released annually at Valentine's Day by different characters and featuring harmony by two other characters. In 2005 it was sung by Yuushi Oshitari, 2006 by Ryo Shishido, all of whom are
Hyotei Gakuenplayers. In 2007, it was sung by Genichirou Sanadaof Rikkai Dai, thus ending the Hyotei successions. The song appears for the second time in 2007 as a bonus track in the album of Shuichiro Oishi. In 2008, it was sung by Yuujirou Kai of Higa Middle School.
* In the anime series, Atobe's
seiyū(or voice actor) is Junichi Suwabe.
* In the English version of The Prince of Tennis, Atobe is played by
* For the live-action adaptation film of The Prince of Tennis, actor
Ryuuji Saineiportrays Atobe. All live action versions of Atobe have been in a Tokusatsu: Ryuuji Sainei was Ban/DekaRed in Tokusou Sentai Dekarangerand more recently Kazuki Kato portrayed Daisuke Kazama/ Kamen Rider Drakein Kamen Rider Kabuto
The Prince of Tennis Musicals, Atobe is portrayed by actor Kazuki Kato(2005-2006).
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