Eiji Kikumaru

Eiji Kikumaru

Infobox animanga character
name = Eiji Kikumaru
series = The Prince of Tennis


caption =
first =
last =
creator = Takeshi Konomi
voiced by = Hiroki Takahashi (Japanese)
Steve Staley (English)
age = 14
born = November 28
class = 3-6
relatives =
aux1 name = School
aux1 = Seigaku
aux2 name = Style
aux2 = Serve and Volley, Right Handed

nihongo|Eiji Kikumaru|菊丸 英二|Kikumaru Eiji is a fictional character in the anime and manga "The Prince of Tennis". Kikumaru is very popular with fans, coming in 3rd place in the first two popularity polls of the series.cite book |title= Prince of Tennis Vol. 10 |last= Konomi |first= Takeshi |authorlink= Takeshi Konomi |year= 2001 |publisher= Shueisha |isbn= 4-08-873162-X |pages= 184 |chapter= Genius 83 ] cite book |title= Prince of Tennis Vol. 18 |last= Konomi |first= Takeshi |year= 2003 |publisher= Shueisha |isbn= 4-08-873407-6 |pages= 192 |chapter= Genius 158 ]

History

Eiji Kikumaru is a third year student at Seishun Academy (Seigaku). He is in the same class as Shusuke Fuji and also happens to be one of his good friends.

He is part of Seigaku's "Golden Pair" along with Shuichiro Oishi. Using his acrobatic play he can return almost any ball, even those that seem out of human reach. Eiji is also known to have the sharpest vision on the team, with an exceptional talent for seeing moving objects. The only other member of his team to have this talent is Ryoma Echizen. This proves to be both a strength and a weakness, especially when matched against St. Rudolph's team captain Akazawa. Other than his well known style of acrobatic play, he has his own signature smash move called " Kikumaru Beam;" which is essentially a very high behind-the-back smash that is launched either at the corner of the opponent's court, or directly at the opponent.

Though the Golden Pair seldom play without each other, Eiji has been paired with his friend and teammate Shusuke Fuji to form the "Dream Pair", as well as forming a makeshift Golden Pair with Takeshi Momoshiro. In the Nationals story arc of the manga, Eiji plays singles after Oishi gave his spot to a returning Tezuka (Echizen in the anime). He says that if Oishi will not be his partner, that he refuses to play doubles anymore. After his first match against Higa Middle School, however, he proclaims that playing singles tennis is "too lonely," and the Golden Pair becomes a team again.

Eiji's main weakness is a lack of stamina, which he overcomes through hard work and training later on in the series. His main rival is Hyotei Gakuen's Gakuto Mukahi, another acrobatic player who is extremely light and surpasses him in acrobatic play.

Although Oishi and Eiji get along very well and the two together form the famous "Golden Pair," they do have their disagreements. When Momoshiro was dropped from the Regulars and stopped attending practice, Eiji was making jokes that Oishi found insensitive. Eiji then made fun of the fact that Oishi's shirt was inside out causing the co-captain to snap and shove Eiji, pushing him across the courts. The Golden Pair stopped talking to each other until Momoshiro returned to team practices.

The Golden Pair met in their first year at Seigaku. In the anime, Eiji was a flashy singles player and found Oishi's play style boring. When he challenged Oishi to a match, he lost and couldn't figure it out. Retreating to the green bins at the park - a place the Golden Pair always go to when they need to think things over after losing a match - he saw Oishi practicing there. Eiji then told Oishi he would play doubles with him until he was able to defeat Oishi at tennis. In the manga, Eiji met Oishi by bumping into him in his first day of school after Shusuke told Eiji that Oishi was a nice person, then developed quickly a strong admiration towards him (he even defended Oishi when he found some teammates spreading ill rumors about him), and finally asked Oishi to be his partner.In the anime, when Eiji is first introduced, he launches into a full description of himself."My name is Kikumaru Eiji. I am twelve years old. I was born on the 28th of November. My blood type is A. I have a grandma, grandpa, Mother, Father and two older brothers and two older sisters...."

During their match against Masaharu Niou and Hiroshi Yagyuu from Rikkaidai Fuzoku, Oishi (who at that time was injured) thinks Eiji has already surpassed him and doesn't need to play doubles with him anymore. After Oishi gives up his spot prior to the Nationals and temporarily retires, Eiji is left without a partner; he swears that he'll never play doubles again if not with Oishi, therefore he starts a very rigorous training to overcome his flaws as a player and prove to Oishi that he's not a burden. In Seigaku's first match against Higa Chuu, he plays in the Singles 2 spot against Kai Yuuichirou, and eventually wins 7-6. During the match against Hyoutei, Eiji and Oishi are back as a doubles pair and even play for their last doubles match against Rikkaidai's Marui/Kuwahara pair.

Eiji is the youngest of five siblings. He has two older brothers and two older sisters. He also lives with his mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, and his sister's dog and his mom's parakeet, making a grand total of eleven members in the household. His name, however, means 'excellent second son'.

Personality

He is a friendly, sweet-tempered and outgoing character and the youngest of a large family. So unlike most of the characters, Eiji is usually referred to by his given name.

Eiji acts like a cat, which shows in his acrobatics and how he likes to add a "Nya" (the Japanese onomatopoeia for a cat's meow) at the end of his sentences. This is especially evident in the chibi episodes where in the TeniPuri Family stories he is the family's pet cat.

Eiji is also shown to be very playful, as proven when he helps Tomo and Sakuno cheer for Ryoma during his match against Reiji Shinjou using a special chant and in Episode 91, when he impresses the neighborhood kids with his acrobatic skills on Rokkaku's playground.

When playing games, most characters' concentration are broken up by attention and pressure. But Eiji loves the attention and actually focuses much more when he's being cheered on.

In doubles, although it looks as if Eiji is the one who controls the flow of the doubles matches when the audience sees the "Golden Pair" play (due to his flashy style and the fact that Eiji is the one who gets the ball the most), people often mistake him as the game maker. However, Oishi is the game maker. In their game against Yamabuki, Eiji asks Oishi if they can start to attack their opponents; by doing so, it indicates that Oishi is the game maker in their combination (Eiji likes to play at the net while letting Oishi control the flow of the game). Eventually, Eiji matures as a doubles player during his Doubles 2 match with Momoshiro against Hyotei, when Eiji learns that being a game maker is more difficult than he realized and appreciates Oishi's role in their partnership. During the match against Hyotei Gakuen he realizes as Momoshiro's senpai, he must learn to be the game maker and give up his usual net play, in order to defeat Hyotei and help Momoshiro control the flow of the game.

Eiji calls Ryoma "o chibi", "little guy" , while the others call him Echizen or Ryoma. He also likes to hug Ryoma the most and sometimes likes to hang off him while watching a match. Momoshiro seems to adopt this movement, so that they simultaneously jump on Ryoma. During the matches against the American team, Eiji seems to be always having a hold on Ryoma in one way or another.

Playing style and techniques

One of the most vibrant and flashy characters in Prince of Tennis, Eiji is renowned for his acrobatic play and his upbeat personality. He is, by nature, a doubles tennis player, but he has shown that he is a more than capable singles player if needed.

Acrobatic Play

Not just for flash, Eiji's flexible body allows him to reach balls with a touch of flair that few can replicate. His graceful dives and flips astonish the spectators and often gets grudging praise from his opponents.

Motion Vision

Eiji's eyes are so sharp that he can even catch the minute movements of a ball in motion. This is first shown after Inui is off the regulars, and becomes the team's trainer. During the training session, Eiji's vision is commented on by his fellow teammates. Though this ability has been used against him (see the doubles match against Saint Rudolph's Yoshirou Akazawa and Ichirou Kaneda), it is definitely a plus as it allows Eiji to react faster and keep up his acrobatic play, and as an observer he can see the ball and mention details such as when Ryoma plays against Jyosei Shonan's Reiji Shinjou. (anime only) Also, it is shown when Ryoma plays against Fuji in a practice match.

Net Play

When Eiji's up at the net he usually controls the game. With Oishi at the baseline, this pair can make plays that earns them the title of the "Golden Pair".

Kikumaru Beam

The Kikumaru Beam is a sharp volley that is hit in the air by Eiji with his right hand on the backhand side of his body, pinpointing the ball to the place where the opponents are not standing.

Moon Volley

Though this is Oishi's move, Eiji uses this to both help Momoshiro and himself to both mature and gain the flow of the match during the game against Hyotei Gakuen Doubles 2, though he didn't hit it at the last line as Oishi did.

Kikumaru Bazooka

Eiji spins high up in the air and fires off a powerful smash while also shouting out "Kikumaru Bazooka!"

Seal Step

Eiji uses his natural flexibility and speed to move from one location to a new one the moment the opponents eyes leave his first location. This gives the opponent the impression that there are two of him for a doppelganger type effect. The anime exaggerates this more than the manga giving Eiji the ability to high five and hug his doppelganger making it slightly supernatural. Where as in the manga it is all about Eiji using his speed at the right moments for an illusion as is revealed during the match against Saeki Kojirou and Itsuki Marehiko of Rokkaku.

In the anime, he first used this in a 3 on 1 practice match against his teammates before the Kanto finals.

"Pretend to Sleep" Attack

When playing against Kaneda and Akazawa, Eiji ran out of energy and stood still for 2 games, finally scoring a point against his opponents when they thought they had won. In the end, however, Seigaku lost the match because Eiji's 'battery ran out', making him so thoroughly exhausted that Oishi had to help him leave the court, as he could not walk on his own.

Synchronization

When playing in the nationals with Oishi as his doubles 1 partner, they become fully synchronized and moved as if they were one; breathing as one and knowing exactly what their partner's next move would be. It was said that doubles players could not go to the top of the pros without 'synchronization'. He and Oishi can now go into 'synchro' willingly.

Tournament Matches


legend0|#ADD8E6 = Win
legend0|#C4C3D0 = Loss

Reception

Kikumaru has done well in all of Jump's official popularity polls for the series. He came in 3rd in the first poll, and repeated that feat in the second one. He then came in 8th in the third poll [cite book |title= Prince of Tennis Vol. 33 |last= Konomi |first= Takeshi |year= 2006 |publisher= Shueisha |isbn= 4-08-874048-3 |pages= 192 |chapter= Genius 276 ] , and 11th in the fourth [cite book |title= Prince of Tennis Vol. 38 |last= Konomi |first= Takeshi |year= 2007 |publisher= Shueisha |isbn= 978-4-08-874353-0 |pages= 192 |chapter= Genius 333 ] .

Actors

* In the Anime series, Eiji's seiyū (or voice actor) is Hiroki Takahashi.
* For the live-action adaptation film of "The Prince of Tennis", Tenimyu actor Osamu Adachi portrays Eiji.
* In The Prince of Tennis Musicals, Eiji is portrayed by actors Yamazaki Ichitaro (2003-2004), Takashi Nagayama (2003-2005), Osamu Adachi (2005-2006), Koji Seto (2006-2007), and Kyousuke Hamao (2007-present)
* In the Philippine Dubbed version a college student dubbed his voice, Neil Bayawa.

References


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