Seishun Academy

Seishun Academy

for short, is a fictional junior high school in the anime and manga series "The Prince of Tennis", created by Takeshi Konomi.

The school is famous for its talented tennis club, thus the series' leading protagonist, Ryoma Echizen, is enrolled into the school by his father, Nanjiro Echizen, a former professional tennis player and also a former student of Seigaku. The principal of the school is Hiroyuki Ishikawa.

History

In the "The Prince of Tennis" universe, Seigaku's tennis club was not always the feared monster that it is seen in the run of the series, and was average talent-wise when the school opened in 1925. The appearance of a young Nanjiro Echizen, father of Ryoma Echizen, was what had initially transitioned the club's performance from mediocre into one of the strongest teams in the area.

Although Seigaku was well known for their tennis skills in the past, the absence of Nanjiro Echizen threw the team into somewhat of a slump, leaving them unable to make it to Nationals over the next several years until a first year, Kunimitsu Tezuka, joined the Regulars. His outstanding talents played an important role in starting up where Nanjiro had left off. With the help of his then-captain Yūdai Yamato, Tezuka became the team's captain and pillar of support at the beginning of his third year. By this time, a few other extremely talented players began making their way onto the team. Yet, despite the obvious talent and potential that Seigaku's tennis club held, a few of the players lacked the heart that it took to win the game (Shusuke Fuji), while others were simply unaware of their own inner drive toward perfecting their skills (Sadaharu Inui) and bringing their hidden talents to the surface (Kaoru Kaidoh).

The arrival of twelve year old tennis genius Ryoma Echizen is what finally lit Seigaku's motivational fuse, allowing them to advance. Feeling inspired, rather than resentment toward the freshman's skills, the team combines intense training, perseverance, trust, and teamwork in order to secure a spot at the Nationals. Stated during the Yamabuki arc, one of Seigaku's flaws is that they do not have a steady doubles team besides the Kikumaru/Oishi Pair; their individual talents are so strong that they do not work well together. In the beginning of the series, doubles 2 is usually played by the Kawamura/Fuji pair, while later in the series, Momoshiro/Kaidoh pair and Inui/Kaidoh pair have taken its place, showing that Seigaku is overcoming its lack of skilled doubles teams. The team is close with rival schools Fudomine and Rokkaku Middle Schools, and share a strong rivalry with Hyotei Academy and Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku.

By the end of the series, Seigaku manages to pull off its first National victory.

The team's traditional uniform colors are blue, white, and red; blue and white shirts with red stripes on the collar, white shorts, and blue and white jackets with the Seigaku logo on the back with several red stripes on the cuffs and collar. The regulars also get their name personally stitched into the jacket. They also have blue warm-up pants with "Seigaku" printed on one side.

Seigaku Tennis Club

Coach

;nihongo|Sumire Ryuzaki|竜崎 スミレ|Ryūzaki Sumire
*anime voices|Shizuka Ogohira|Barbara Goodson:Ryuzaki is the coach of Seigaku's tennis club, as well as one of the school's math teachers. It was thanks to her that Nanjiro Echizen was able to develop his skills 25 years ago.

:Ryuzaki is the grandmother of Sakuno Ryuzaki. She also has a sort-of rivalry with her ex-mentor, Mikiya Banda a.k.a. Banji, who is the coach for Yamabuki.

:Having a whole team of "raccoons and foxes" (in her own words) is not easy. She is always there to yell, but is also considered to be a great and reliable coach. During the district tournament, though Momoshiro and Ryoma wins in their doubles match, she yells at them and punishes them for giving a shameful doubles match: they divided the court in order to play "singles"; she also stops the practice match between Ryoma and Fuji when the two continued their match despite heavy rain.

:She has a good relationship with her regulars, and participates in their recreational group activities: the bowling reunion and the beach-volley mini-tournament with Rokkaku Middle School.

:Even during the Nationals, Ryuzaki shows her hard hand as a coach when she confronts Saotome Harumi, Higa Middle School's coach, about how a real coach should be.

:For the "Prince of Tennis" live action movie, Ryuzaki's whole personality and back story was changed. Instead of being a middle-aged teacher and ex-coach to Nanjiro Echizen, she is a young, and more cheerful woman as well as Nanjiro's former classmate, who was her reason for playing tennis and becoming coach. She was played by the popular singer Hitomi Shimatani.

Alumnus

;nihongo|Nanjiro Echizen|越前 南次郎|Echizen Nanjirō
*anime voices|Takashi Matsuyama|Liam O'Brien:Nanjiro Echizen is the father of the series' protagonist Ryoma Echizen. He is also known as 'Samurai Nanjiro' for his invincible tennis skills during his earlier years as a professional tennis player. During his Junior high years, he was trained by the current coach of the Seigaku Tennis Club, Sumire Ryuzaki. It was also in his high school life that Ryuzaki discovered Nanjiro's natural talent (when he discovered 'nitōryū' all by himself) in tennis. After leaving Japan and going pro, he remained undefeated and was only one more opponent away to earning a Grand Slam title before he unexpectedly decided to retire. ;nihongo|Yūdai Yamato|大和 祐大|Yamato Yūdai
*anime voices|Masanori Ikeda:A former Seigaku tennis captain from the days when Kunimitsu Tezuka and the other actual seniors were freshmen. He had a match against Tezuka and lost. Yamato is the one who convinced Tezuka to stay in the tennis club as Seigaku's pillar of support, calming him down when he was on the verge of quitting after being injured. Eccentric, insightful and gentle, Yamato has a unique "way" of explaining things that even Sumire Ryuzaki has trouble understanding him. He continued to help the tennis club after he graduated; in the anime, coach Ryuzaki asks him for his guidance when they go to a training camp to prepare for the Kantō conference final against Rikkai.

The Regulars

Third years

;nihongo|Kunimitsu Tezuka|手塚 国光|Tezuka Kunimitsu
*anime voices|Ryōtarō Okiayu|Kirk Thornton:He is the national-level captain of the Seigaku tennis team. His play style is all-rounder and his special shots include the "No-touch-ace Serve", which is a powerful serve with heavy topspin, making it difficult to return; "Tezuka Zone", which, using his exceptional racket control to put spin on the ball, allows all shots to return to Tezuka no matter where the opponent tries to hit; and the "Zero-Shiki (Degree) Drop Shot", which is a drop shot with a heavy backspin, which can make the ball roll towards the net rather than bouncing towards the opposing player. He was later able to adapt his Drop Shot into a serve.

;nihongo|Shuichiro Oishi|大石 秀一郎|Ōishi Shūichirō
*anime voices|Takayuki Kondo|Sam Riegel:He is the vice-captain of the team. His play style is counterpuncher (human backboard) and his special shots include the "Moon Volley", a topspin-lob hit high into the air, landing directly on the baseline, and the "Drop Volley", a feint "Moon Volley" that is hit with the touch of a drop shot.

;nihongo|Shusuke Fuji|不二 周助|Fuji Shūsuke
*anime voices|Yuki Kaida (Japanese), Adam Lawson (English, episodes 1-30) and Johnny Yong Bosch (English episodes 31-onwards):He is the "tensai", or genius, of the Seigaku tennis team. His play style is counterpuncher and his special shots include the "Disappearing Cut Serve", an extreme underhanded sidespin serve, which Fuji spins the ball before dropping it, so when the ball is sliced, the sidespin is much more than usual; and his "Triple Counters", which are three specialized counter shots that usually help Fuji win the point. He later creates evolved versions of his counters, and three completely new counters for the Nationals.

;nihongo|Eiji Kikumaru|菊丸 英二|Kikumaru Eiji
*anime voices|Hiroki Takahashi|Steve Staley:His play style is serve and volley and his special moves include "Acrobatic Play", which simply incorporates acrobatics into standard strokes; "Kikumaru Beam", a shot that utilizes Eiji's jumping skill so that as his side is facing the net; and "Kikumaru Bazooka", a shot Eiji uses as he is running towards a ball that is further back in the court, he then backflips in the air to smash the ball as he is upside down.

;nihongo|Takashi Kawamura|河村 隆|Kawamura Takashi
*anime voices|Naru Kawamoto|Richard Cansino:Though normally calm and quite timid, his personality changes to a fiery one when he grips a racquet. His play style is aggressive baseliner and his special shots include the "Burning Serve", an extremely powerful and heavy flat serve that is difficult to return, and the "Two Handed Hadokyu", which is a pure flat shot that uses both arms and wrists to provide power and also lessens the strain on the muscles. He can also perform the move one-handed, but strains the arm muscles quite easily.

;nihongo|Sadaharu Inui|乾 貞治|Inui Sadaharu
*anime voices|Kenjirō Tsuda (Japanese), Jack Bauer (English):His play style is serve and volley and his special shots include the "Super Sonic Serve", a serve which can reach 197 km/h, and the "Waterfall Serve", an upgraded serve which clocks at around 212 km/h. He also has "Data Tennis", where he gathers information on opposing players in order for him to use it to predict their play style.

Second years

;nihongo|Takeshi Momoshiro|桃城 武|Momoshiro Takeshi
*anime voices|Masaya Onosaka|Doug Erholtz:Known as Seigaku's number one trickster, his play style is aggressive baseliner and his special shots include the "Dunk Smash", a powerful smash, using a high jump to increase the power, and the "Super Dunk Smash", which is much stronger and has a hard return rate due to the ball's longer spin on the ground. He can also perform the "Jack Knife", a two-handed backhand stroke, which uses jumping momentum and the left foot to provide power.

;nihongo|Kaoru Kaidoh|海堂 薫|Kaidō Kaoru
*anime voices|Kōhei Kiyasu|David Lodge:His play style is counter-puncher and his special shots include the "Snake" shot, which is basically a Buggy Whip shot (also referred to as an inside-out forehand) with an extreme angle and plenty of sidespin. He also has the "Boomerang Snake", an around the pole shot that is similar to the "Snake" shot, but is hit with a different stance and uses the entire arm, so that the ball is hit with enough sidespin to carry it around the pole and land in the singles boundary. After the third years graduate, Kaido is made the new captain of the team.

First years

;nihongo|Ryoma Echizen|越前 リョーマ|Echizen Ryōma
*anime voices|Junko Minagawa|David Neil Black:The series protagonist and the only first year on the Seigaku tennis team. His play style is all rounder and his signature technique is the "Twist Serve", a variation on the standard topspin serve, where the ball is hit with a combination of both topspin and sidespin, allowing the ball to bounce high and curve toward the receiver's right. He creates several other techniques, along with being able to perform other's techniques due to learning "Muga no Kyōchi" (the "Samurai's Eye" is the anime's version of the technique). At the end of the manga, Ryoma is shown to have went back to the United States, thus his future with Seigaku is unknown.

Non-Regulars

;nihongo|Masashi Arai|荒井 将史|Arai Masashi
*anime voices|Norihisa Mori|Liam O'Brien:He is a second year student at Seigaku. Although not a regular, Arai is seemingly the best reserve player on the team, and may sooner or later become a regular himself. He is known for his hotheadedness, and hazing of weaker players. On the other hand, he is as hard on himself as he is on the others during training, as noted by Inui when the first year students accuse him of bullying Kachiro Kato.

:In the beginning of the anime, Arai plays against Ryoma Echizen and loses. He is also later attacked in another episode by Yamabuki's Jin Akutsu.

:Although initially somewhat of a jerk towards Ryoma, he comes to appreciate him and cheers for him during the match against Akutsu, and is typically seen supporting the team in future matches. In the manga, he gets very angry during the doubles 1 match against Rikkai Dai. He is also the one who declares that the non-regulars will work harder with Tezuka gone to heal his injuries. With Tezuka gone, he thinks it will be easier to become a regular, until Kachiro challenges him to a match to rethink his position. Arai respects Kachiro's courage, so when Oishi makes them stop the match and run laps, Arai tells Kachiro he will look forward to the ranking matches when Kachiro is a sophomore.

:In the anime, when Momoshiro and Kaido are late for a match, he and Kawamura are selected to get ready if they do not show up in time. Arai gets nervous and faints, but the two show up at the last moment.;nihongo|Satoshi Horio|堀尾 聡史|Horio Satoshi
*anime voices|Shigenori Yamazaki|Adam Lawson:He is a first year student and claims to know everything about tennis. He constantly brags about his "two years of tennis experience", but is, in fact, a less than average player. He often explains or tries to explain to his first year friends key words, rules, and techniques when either Inui or Inoue are not around to do so. Also, he catfights with Tomoka Osakada very frequently, with Tomoka almost always getting the upper hand.

:Horio temporary fills in for Ryoma when the latter was late to the St. Rudolph match. In this case, "filling in" meant taking Kaoru Kaido's regular jersey and shooting his mouth off, which leads to a challenge from one of the other school's players, who demanded that Horio (then pretending to be Ryoma) back his words up. Just before Horio is beaten, Ryoma shows up to bail him out, at the expense of a week's worth of doing Ryoma's homework for him.

:He has an older cousin named Junpei, who has "two years of biking experience" and helps Kintarō Tooyama from Shitenhōji to reach Tokyo. ;nihongo|Kachiro Kato|加藤 勝郎|Katō Kachirō
*anime voices|Akira Nakagawa|Wendee Lee:Kachiro Kato is a part of the "freshman three". He hangs around a lot with Satoshi Horio and Katsuo Mizuno. Although he is not very good at tennis he thoroughly supports the Seishun team. He has a father who coaches at an expensive tennis club and is seen in the manga to pick up habits that his father has, such as using the word "damn".

:Kachiro once pretended to be Kaido (wearing his bandana), Momoshiro (with his hair changed) and Kawamura (acting all fired up when holding a racquet) when Kaido and Momoshiro almost missed the deadline in the Kantou finals.

:Though he is normally polite and meek, Kachiro believes strongly in justice and fights to the end to defend his beliefs. In the anime, he stands up to Arai and two other non-regular upperclassmen, who had wished ill of the Seishun regulars so that they could become regulars themselves. He plays Arai and loses, but during this game, he shows a lot of potential and faith in the regulars. Arai himself is very impressed and later apologizes to Kachiro. In another episode, he is used as a back-up plan to fill in for the regulars that have not shown up yet.;nihongo|Katsuo Mizuno|水野 カツオ|Mizuno Katsuo
*anime voices|Kei Watanabe|Yuri Lowenthal:As a part of the "freshman three", he does not stand out very much in the anime and manga, but he bears a strong resemblance to the vice-captain of Seigaku's Tennis Club, Shuichiro Oishi. Because of this resemblance, Eiji and Momoshiro once put a swimming cap on Katsuo and used a marker to try to disguise him as Oishi.

:Katsuo has shown that he has a knack for cooking in the training camp episodes before the finals against Rikkai Dai when he showed his knife skills and making of curry. At the end of the manga, a sophomore Katsuo is shown with slightly longer hair.

;nihongo|Masaya Ikeda|池田 雅也|Ikeda Masaya:A second year student, who usually hangs out with Arai during tennis practice.

;nihongo|Daisuke Hayashi|林 大介|Hayashi Daisuke:A second year student, who mostly hangs out with Arai.

Other students

;nihongo|Sakuno Ryuzaki|竜崎 桜乃|Ryūzaki Sakuno
*anime voices|Mikako Takahashi|Cindy Robinson:The first year granddaughter of coach Ryuzaki, and also an admirer of Ryoma Echizen (It is hinted strongly that she has a crush on him), and a recent member of the Seigaku tennis team for girls. :Sakuno is a kind, cute, clumsy and quiet girl with very long hair kept in twin braids, who almost always seems to worry about Ryoma and the others. She started playing tennis after she saw Ryoma playing, and her progress differs in the anime from the manga; in the anime her lack of skill is a recurring gag, while in the manga she is good enough to be seen as a promising player and even future regular. She also has a bad sense of direction, leading Ryoma various times to the wrong destination.;nihongo|Tomoka Osakada|小坂田 朋香|Osakada Tomoka
*anime voices|Fuyuka Oura|Stephanie Sheh:Unlike her best friend Sakuno, who refers to her as "Tomo-chan", the tomboyish Tomoka is outspoken, strong willed, and bossy. She is easy to spot in the crowd thanks to her brown hair kept in ponytails, her rather boyish clothing style (aside from her school uniform, she is rarely seen wearing skirts or dresses), and a mole under her right eye.

:Tomoka met Ryoma Echizen after witnessing his unofficial match with Takeshi Momoshiro in the Seigaku grounds and immediately developed a great admiration for him, to the point of becoming his self-appointed "number one fangirl", referring to him as "Ryoma-sama" (roughly translated as "Prince Ryoma") and creating his fan club, which she leads. Unlike Sakuno's own admiration for Ryoma, Tomoka's attitude towards him comes more from typical teenage idol worship inspired by his good looks and tennis skills, rather than proper romantic feelings.

:As the more colorful and expressive of the Seigaku first-year students featured in the series, Tomoka's personality and appearance combine several traits of the tomboy and fangirl archetypes. She loudly and faithfully cheers for Ryoma and the Seigaku team, no matter how hard things get for them, and is also very protective of her friends. On the other hand, she can be immature, pushy, shallow and even slightly cruel at times, especially towards her fellow first year, Satoshi Horio.

:Tomoka is also a fair cook and is excellent at sports (it is noted by Sakuno in the beginning of the Yamabuki arc that she has great potential to be a good sportswoman), but she is unable to join the tennis team because she has two toddler brothers to take care of. Some running gags in the series involve her catfights with Horio and her outrageous cheerleading tactics.

:Fuyuka Oura has released two image songs for Tomoka: "Itooshii! Suteki no Ryoma-sama!" and "Miracle Colorful Carnival" (this one being performed with Mikako Takahashi as Sakuno and Akiko Kimura as An Tachibana).

Notes and references


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