|The Prince of Tennis character|
|Created by||Takeshi Konomi|
|Voiced by||Junko Minagawa (Japanese)
David Neil Black (English)
|Nickname(s)||Prince of Tennis
|Relatives||Nanjiro Echizen (father)
Rinko Echizen (mother)
Ryoga Echizen (adopted brother)
Nanako Meino (cousin)
Ryoma Echizen (越前 リョーマ Echizen Ryōma ) is a fictional character and the protagonist of the manga and anime series The Prince of Tennis created by Takeshi Konomi. In the series, Ryoma is portrayed as a twelve-year-old tennis prodigy who won four consecutive Junior Tennis Tournaments in America. His father is Nanjiro Echizen, a former tennis pro nicknamed "Samurai Nanjiro". At his father's request, Ryoma returns to Japan in order to attend Seishun Academy ("Seigaku"), a private middle school famous for its tennis team. Due to his cocky attitude, he constantly butts heads with some of his upperclassmen as well as anger most of his opponents in tennis matches. Still, he, along with his team, evolve as tennis players in order to win the National Tennis Tournament. Throughout the story, Ryoma continues to find his own style of tennis by creating original techniques instead of merely being a copy of his father. Ryoma also appears in other media adaptations of the series including musicals, video games, soundtracks, and movies.
Ryoma has been fairly popular among readers, having always stayed in the top four most popular characters, even placing first in two of the polls. Also, Ryoma's character has been featured in more soundtracks than any other character in the series. His likeness has appeared in numerous types of other merchandise as well, including key chains and clothing. However, in publicized reviews for the anime and manga, his character has received mixed reviews, with his personality being heavily criticized. Reviewers from Anime News Network and DVDTalk both finding Ryoma's cocky and "arrogant" attitude difficult to like. Though they both find his tennis skills undeniable, they comment on how that makes it "difficult for the reader to latch on and share in his experiences," eliminating the tension that comes with underdog appeal. The ANN reviewer, however, believes that some of the highlights of the series are the numerous ways that Ryoma defeats his opponents. On the other hand, Mania comments that Ryoma does not come off as too "over the top or too serious, but just the right level to be intimidating." And Jeffrey of IGN cites that though Ryoma starts off as "stiff and cold," he slowly starts to break out of his shell.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Tennis style and techniques
- 3 Plot overview
- 4 Notable matches
- 5 Mada mada dane
- 6 Reception
- 7 Actors
- 8 References
Ryoma is a first year student at Seishun Academy ('Seigaku'), which he attends immediately after his arrival in Japan after formerly residing in the United States. Although only a first year in middle school, Ryoma had already earned notoriety through winning four consecutive titles in the American Junior Tennis tournaments – all in a little over a year. Due to his nearly invincible tennis play, Ryoma has earned the label 'prodigy' by the age of twelve. His looks and confidence make him highly popular with ladies, although he seems not to notice, having his focus exclusively on tennis.
He is an all-court tennis player with many special shots and abilities. One of Ryoma's greatest talents is his ability to learn new techniques after only seeing them performed a few times. He also has an amazing amount of stamina and does not sweat as much as the other players. Along with fellow Seigaku regular Eiji Kikumaru, Ryoma is known to have an exceptional talent for seeing moving objects. He does not go easy on himself and pushes himself more, rather than letting himself rest. He is specifically a singles player, though he did try doubles once with teammate Takeshi Momoshiro. After seeing how bad he was at doubles, Coach Ryuzaki usually placed him in the S3 (Singles 3) or S2 (Singles 2) position. When captain Kunimitsu Tezuka goes away for rehabilitation for his arm, Ryoma and teammate Shusuke Fuji take turns for the S1 (Singles 1) position. In the Nationals, Ryoma often found himself placed in the S1 position nearly every match.
Although he is left-handed, his famous Twist Serve is only effective when delivered from the dominant hand of his opponents (i.e. he uses his right hand when serving against right-handed players). He occasionally plays tennis with his right hand as either a handicap for weaker opponents or a way to test his opponent's abilities. When the need for returning at a difficult angle or distance arises, Ryoma also incorporates the use of "nitōryū", or ambidexterity.
In the anime, when all the tennis teams of Japan competed for a spot in the roster to play America in the Goodwill games, everyone was sure Echizen would get a spot. However, Tezuka (who acted as coach when Ryuzaki was hospitalized) saw that Echizen's attitude had become more arrogant since he defeated Sanada of Rikkaidai in the regional championship. Therefore, Tezuka chose to have Echizen as the reserve player, but kept in secret to see if he would change. When Echizen sees America's Kevin Smith – who had been wanting to challenge him – defeat Yamabuki's Jin Akutsu using his destructive tennis form, Echizen had a change of heart and begged Tezuka to be on the team; Tezuka revealed Echizen's spot, making him the third member of Seigaku to compete (along with Fuji and Kikumaru). Although Rikkaidai's Akaya Kirihara played Smith in the final match, Kirihara injured himself, and the "special rule" was invoked to have Echizen finish the match, which resulted in his victory and a newfound friendship with Smith.
In the manga, Ryoma goes with his team to the Nationals. In the anime, he is chosen as a wildcard for the U.S. Open and goes to it, eventually beating Lleyton Hewitt in the finals. He comes back in the OVA, and although he says he wouldn't participate with Seigaku, vice captain Shuichiro Oishi goads him into a match to take over his spot as a regular, which Ryoma does (Oishi did this because his arm was still injured and felt it would be a burden to still be on the team). Re-earning his spot, Ryoma leads the team to their first national victory. He returns to America afterwards, thus his future with Seigaku is unknown. In Takeshi Konomi's sequel Ryoma is shown in America but returns to Japan for another tennis tournament with Seigaku.
Ryoma also demonstrates prowess in other sports, such as bowling, table tennis, and billiards. His abilities in beach volleyball, however, may be questioned. When the Seigaku students go to the beach during the anime series, Ryoma plays well when paired with Kaidoh. However, he plays quite poorly in the OVA when paired with Tezuka. In the same event in the manga, Ryoma, paired with Rokkaku's Kentaro Aoi, plays decently only after activating Muga no Kyōchi. It is possible however, that the second time, they were using a beach ball, which was too light for any tennis related moves.
His catchphrase in the Japanese anime is "mada mada dane," literally meaning "no, not yet" or "not good enough." During matches against the American Team, he used the phrase in English in which he said "You still have lots more to work on". In the English-dubbed version, it is translated as "You still have a ways to go."
His favorite subject is Science, but having been brought up in the United States, Ryoma is fluent in English, which his classmates admire him for. He is also the object of admiration of his own fan club in school, which is led by Tomoka Osakada. However, he does not care about girls at this point in his life, due to solely focusing on tennis. His favorite color is silver although he is always seen wearing a red shirt and a red racket. His favorite racket is Bridgestone Dynabeam Grandea. In the manga, he is shown wearing Fila shoes, cap, wristband and shirt; in the anime, his hat has a "R" symbol on it. Ryoma is frequently seen drinking Fanta (Ponta in the anime).
Ryoma can be quite arrogant at times, but is usually able to back up his statements with his tennis skills. He is usually distrustful of other tennis players, and often provokes his opponent before a match. In the beginning of the series, Ryoma is not taken seriously by the other students at his school, especially at the Seishun Tennis Club. It is only after he beats two of Seishun's regulars (Kaidoh and Inui) that he gains respect from fellow club members.
Ryoma is arrogant by nature, yet he can be very childish at times. He is also unafraid almost to the point of recklessness, but rarely gets angry or out of control. In the TeniPuri family chibi episodes, Ryoma is the eldest son of the family and always creates all sorts of troubles. In other chibi episodes, he is mostly shown very skilled.
At the beginning of the series, all of Ryoma's tennis skills are a copy of his father's. With the help of his team captain, Kunimitsu Tezuka, Ryoma realizes his need to develop his own style of tennis if he intends to reach his goal and defeat his father.
With each match, it becomes apparent that Ryoma not only brings his potential to the front, but that he is constantly reaching a new point in the state of self-actualization – especially so during crucial points in a match. Although he views each opponent as a stepping stone of advancement, Tezuka soon becomes the wall that Ryoma has set up for himself in order to achieve actual greatness.
Although Ryoma has a rather tunneled vision as to whom he considers a rival (his father, Tezuka, and Fuji), there are many that view the first year as just that. One of the more notable examples of this in the anime is Kevin Smith, the son of the tennis coach George Smith, who was defeated by Nanjiro Echizen fifteen years ago in defense of George's pupil Rinko Takeuchi, who becomes Ryoma's mother. Kevin appears later in the series in the "friendly" match between the U.S. and Japan. Kevin became obsessed with Ryoma because of their pasts, whereas in the beginning Ryoma regarded Kevin's threats with a rather unconcerned attitude until he saw him play against Yamabuki's Jin Akutsu in the streets. Tezuka was unimpressed with Ryoma's attitude toward the matches, and as a result, Ryoma is forced to earn his place as a reserve player.
Ryoma also cares much about his family cat Karupin (romanized as Kalpin in the English version of the manga). In episode 27, Karupin follows Ryoma to school after he accidentally packs its toy into his bag. After he discovers this fact, he frantically searches for his cat around the district. Also, Karupin had followed Ryoma to the US Open tournament by sneaking into Ryoma's bag.
He currently doesn't show any interest in girls because of his dedication toward tennis. Occasionally, he has been seen dismissing them. Although he has an apathetic nature, he does show Sakuno his genuine concern. In the anime, he has saved her from time to time. In the manga (Chapter 306), he threw a tennis ball at a thief for making the prepared food she made drop onto the floor.
Tennis style and techniques
- Twist Serve (ツイストサーブ)
- A serve Ryoma typically performs with his right hand, though it needs to be hit with the opponent's dominant hand. The twist serve is Ryoma's most notable shot. It is meant to shoot towards the opponent's face, making it difficult to return. He can perform it with his left hand when he is facing left-handed opponents. He claims that he does this so he can hit the opponent in the face with the ball. It was first used against Sasabe.
- In the English dubbed version of Prince of Tennis, the twist serve is referred to as the kick serve, which is similar to the twist serve, but is considered to be less powerful and easier to perform than the twist serve.
- Twist Smash (ツイストスマッシュ tsuisuto sumasshu )
- The Twist Serve in the form of a smash.The ball changes direction after it hits the ground . He uses this shot to win his game against Shinji Ibu from Fudomine.
- Twist Serve Tornado (ツイストサーブトルネード) (OVA only)
- The Twist Serve curves to the face in an abnormal way.
- Drive A (ドライブA doraibu A )
- A drive (topspin) volley hit towards the face at point blank range. Ryoma first uses this shot during his match against Yamabuki's Jin Akutsu..
- Drive B (ドライブB doraibu B )
- A topspin drive volley with two consecutive bounce arcs, the shape of which form the eponymous 'B'. Ryoma usually slides up near the net and then jumps to perform the Drive B. However, during his match against Aoi Kentaro, Ryoma also uses a Drive B when he is still sliding on the ground. He then uses the force made by the ball to go even faster. Though it grants him more speed, this version lacks the regular Drive B height; due to the topsin, it curves towards the ground instead of going out.
- This is Ryoma's first original shot (as opposed to moves he copies from other players), and is first used in his match against Yuta Fuji. In the English manga, it has been renamed Drive V.
- Drive C (ドライブC doraibu C )
- A shot similar to the COOL drive with only half the spin. It is first used by Ryoma in the National OVA against Higa Chuu. It is similar to Fuji's Tsubame Gaeshi, but both the COOL Drive and Drive C use enormous sidespin instead of underspin. Upon hitting the ground, it spins rapidly before curving across the court floor without bouncing.
- Drive D (ドライブD doraibu D )
- A drive that follows up a returned Drive B, it has half the spin of the Drive B, but the speed of the return is enough to get the ball past most players.
- COOL Drive (COOLドライブ COOL doraibu )
- A powerful smash with a huge spin that makes the ball roll instead of bouncing up. It can be used as a forehand or backhand shot. In the manga, Ryoma uses this shot for the first time to defeat Genichiro Sanada. In the anime, he does not use it until the OVA, where he uses it against Kei Tanishi of Higa; Ryoma smashes the ball into his opponent's racquet where the ball then spins towards Kei's face.
- In the Nintendo DS game Jump! Ultimate Stars, Ryoma uses this as a support attack, in which the target stops moving for a short time upon contact.
- Samurai Drive (サムライドライブ Samurai Doraibu )
- A technique where Ryoma hits a powerful return toward the rope that is between the net and the pole. Because of the tremendous force, the rope slices the ball in half, resulting in both pieces going in different directions.
- It was first seen during his one-point match against Kintarō Tooyama, but only the outcome of the ball was shown, not the technique itself. Ryoma first shows how the technique is done during his match against Seiichi Yukimura, which is also when its name is revealed.
- Muga no Kyōchi (無我の境地 Muga no Kyōchi , trans. State of Self Actualization)
- A state in which the user naturally intakes all techniques he sees and can perfectly copy them. Ryoma enters this for the first time in an unofficial match against Akaya Kirihara, and controls it for the first time in his match against Genichiro Sanada (both occurrences take place in the manga). Ryoma first enters all three doors during his match against Rikkai's Captain Seiichi Yukimura in the National Finals.
- The Samurai's Eye (侍の目 Samurai no Me ) is the anime equivalent of Muga no Kyōchi. It gives Ryoma a very dynamic play style because he is able to switch between many other player's techniques.
- Muga no Kyōchi has three doors:
- Hyakuren Jitoku no Kiwami (百錬自得の極み Hyakuren Jitoku no Kiwami , trans. Pinnacle of Hard Work)
- Ryoma can use Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami to focus all his energy into different parts of his body, increasing the capabilities of that body part.
- Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami (才気煥発の極み Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami , trans. Pinnacle of Great Wisdom)
- With Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami, Ryoma is capable of predicting the number of shots he needs to win a point.
- Ten'i Muhō No Kiwami (天衣無縫の極み Ten'i Muhō No Kiwami , trans. Pinnacle of Perfection)
- This is the ultimate door and final door of Muga no Kyōchi. In this state, Ryoma's hair and eyes turn permanently green in the manga but in the anime only his hair turns green, along with most of his hair spiking upwards. Ryoma then uses Teni Muhō No Kiwami to hit the ball at a speed that cannot be seen, unless one reviews it on a video monitor.
- Being in Ten'i Muho state gives the player an enhanced Hyaku Ren Jitoku ability, rather than having the energy focused on one part of the body, Ten'i Muho distributes double the energy on the whole body, allowing faster rate of movement and more powerful strokes. There also seems to be no limit as to how long Ten'i Muho can be used, as in Ryoma's match with Yukimura at the National Finals, Ryoma had used Ten'i Muho for the six straight games that he won from the moment he had gone into that state.
- According to Nanjiro, there was no such thing as Teni Muhō to begin with. It was simply the feeling that one has when they first enjoy playing tennis. However, when people become too absorbed in winning and losing in tennis, they eventually forget that feeling. Also, according to Inui, the Muga no Kyochi energy which has been kept up inside the body would be sent to explode whenever a person is in Ten'i Muho state, which makes the opponent forcing an error nearly impossible.
- One-footed Split Step (片足スプリットステップ kata ashi supuritto suteppu )
- A split step involving landing only one foot. This difference allows Ryoma to increase his speed and cover the court more effectively. In the English dub, it has been renamed as "Ryoma Split Step".
- Nitōryū (二刀流, lit. Two Sword Style)
- The name given to Ryoma's ambidexterity because he can play with either hand. It is a technique inherited from his father, Echizen Nanjiro. During a match, Ryoma can switch his racket to either hand, making it easier for him to return a ball, especially when his dominant hand is unable to quickly reach it.
- Tezuka Zone (Samurai Zone) (手塚ゾーン Tezuka zōn )
- The method Tezuka uses in putting a specific spin on each ball that he hits, causing the ball to automatically return to him. Ryoma uses an incomplete version to break out of Atobe's World of Ice technique. However, it is stated in the manga that Ryoma learned this technique instinctively from playing against his father's completed version of the Samurai/Nanjiro Zone every day.
- Cyclone Smash (anime only) (サイクロンスマッシュ saikuron sumasshu )
- An extraordinarily powerful smash done by jumping high into the air, and twisting, then un-twisting, the body back onto the ball. It is first shown while battling Atobe, before the Kantō finals. He later perfects the move while playing Rikkai's Vice Captain Sanada.
- Snake (Buggy Whip Shot)
- A forehand or backhand shot that has an offset topspin that causes it to curve to the corners of the court, making the opponent run around and lose stamina, Ryoma first finds out about this technique from an article on a pro. Later, after he sees Kaidoh perform a variation of it, known as Snake, he realizes that Snake is the Buggy Whip Shot and manages to copy it, although he said that it is quite difficult to perform with a short reach.
- Zero-Shiki Drop Shot
- In the reserve match against Wakashi Hiyoshi, Ryoma shows the ability to use Tezuka's famed drop shot, which is a heavy backspin drop shot that drops after passing 1 foot, then after it lands on the ground, rolls back to the net instead of bouncing. However, due to Ryoma's stance (his racket 30 cm off from his normal stance), it was too obvious and Inui stated that it will not work the second time.
- Super Rising
- One of the common shots used by most characters, Super Rising is a half volley where the returner hits the ball they are returning just as it is bouncing up in order to give the opponent less time to react. Ryoma first sees this shot during his match against Yuta Fuji using it against him, and uses it himself to try to return Yuta's Twist Spin Shot. However, it was imperfect until the match against Akutsu, meaning that the Super Rising didn't take very long to master.
- Rondo towards Destruction (manga and OVA only)
- A high-level two-part smash that knocks away the opponent's racket with the first hit, and scores with the second smash, Ryoma was able to use this against Atobe, the one who invented it himself, when outside of Muga no Kyōchi. In the OVA, Ryoma was in Muga no Kyochi to use this technique, while in the manga, it was stated by Fuji that he was no longer in Muga no Kyōchi before he used this technique.
- Deep Impulse
- A powerful shot that also can be used as a serve that will injure the opponent, and consecutive attempts to return the Deep Impulse may injure the player to the point of unable to play tennis anymore. Ryoma uses this technique against Reiji Shinjou, the one who invented it, in the Kantou Regionals against Josei Shounan. However it's questionable whether Ryoma actually did it or if he merely used Shinjou's power against him.
- Stuttered Step
- A step where when running to the net, slowly stutter until coming to a complete stop. This step works well against shots that accelerate after bouncing because you hit it before it accelerates without getting hit. Ryoma used it against Shinjou Reiji, of Jousei Shounan's "Deep Impulse".
- Dragon Cyclone Smash (animated movie only)
- A move where Ryoma returns the ball at a high speed, creating a cyclone around him, which he then uses as a diversion as he hits his return.
After returning to Japan and entering Seigaku, Ryoma's tennis skills garner the attention of his upperclassmen, most notably Kunimitsu Tezuka, the team's captain who gives Ryoma a chance to be a regular on the team by entering him in a tournament that will decide the team's roster. After defeating all his opponents, Ryoma becomes a team regular despite being a first year student. In his first official tournament as a Seigaku member, Ryoma faces off against Shinji Ibu of Fudomine Middle School. Though Ryoma injures his left eye when he loses control of his racket, he is able to defeat Shinji within the next ten minutes. Following the tournament, Tezuka secretly challenges and defeats Ryoma, after which the latter realizes that he needs to be more than just a carbon copy of his father.
As of current events in the second manga series, Ryoma and the defeated participants of the matches in the U-17 Japan ranking are training in the mountains. Later, Ryoma is seen coming back from training in the mountains with the defeated participants of the matches in the U-17 ranking to the main camp, and are about to find out which 20 players from the camp will play against the Foreign Campaign Group.
Akaya Kirihara (manga version)
Ryoma and Akaya Kirihara of Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku meet prior to the Kantō Regional finals and decide to have an unofficial match. While Ryoma starts out well, Kirihara's Red Eyes form becomes too much for him. However, when losing 4-0, Ryoma unconsciously taps into the State of Self Actualization for the first time. He goes into a trance and wins six consecutive games, defeating Kirihara, but then falls unconscious. When he awakes and is later questioned by Sanada, he is unaware of his victory. Yet he got scared of red eyes and the next day everyone has red eyes, making him faint three times.
Genichirou Sanada (manga version)
Ryoma starts out the match by going into the State of Self Actualization right away. He manages to win the first game by using a blitz of techniques, but loses control of the game when fatigue sets in. While Ryoma manages to keep steady and return Sanada's Fuu, Sanada merely responds by using Ka.
With all hope seeming lost, Ryoma manages to gain a burst of energy and begins fighting back. Sanada is undaunted, but Ryoma manages to catch up and take the lead. Sanada goes into the State of Self Actualization himself, determined to end the match, but Ryoma manages to win by debuting his Cool Drive.
Genichirou Sanada (anime version)
In the final match for the Kantō Regional Finals, Ryoma and Sanada begin the deciding match. Sanada begins by using the Invisible Swing, which Ryoma cannot return, resulting in Sanada taking the first three games. Ryoma's eyes then adjust to the speed of the ball and is finally able to return it. He debuts his Cyclone Smash, which wins him the next two games. However, the fatigue caused by following the Sanada's Invisible Swing proves too much for his eyes, so he closes his eyes. To everyone's surprise, Ryoma returns the balls with his eyes closed, and wins the next game. Frustrated, Sanada unveils his Invisible Serve, which is even faster than his Invisible Swing, thus Ryoma has to open his eyes again. Nearly exhausted, Ryoma loses the following games, with the score favoring Sanada at 5 games to 3. During Sanada's match point, Ryoma receives encouragement from several other players, and quickly returns the Invisible Serve with a return ace. It is then that Ryoma uses his Samurai's Eye, and begins to use the techniques that his opponents' have previously used against him. With that, and constant use of powerful Cyclone Smashes, Ryoma wins with 7 games to 5.
The two play in the Singles 3 match during Seigaku's match with Higa Middle School at the start of the Nationals. Ryoma uses Drive Cs which everyone believes to be his COOL drive, but he reveals that his COOL drive has twice the spin of Drive Cs. However, Tanishi's Big Bang Serve allows him to win all of his service games, while Ryoma manages to win all of his, forcing a tiebreak.
It is there that Ryoma manages to return the Big Bang Serve. Ryoma had not let on to the fact that the serve had been weakening in power as the games progressed; as such, Tanishi was unaware of his own weakness, allowing Ryoma to get a return ace. Finally showing the true COOL drive, Tanishi attempts to return it before it can land, however when the ball hits Tanishi's raquet the amazing spin he puts on it forces the ball to greatly hit Tanishi's face. Ryoma takes the first win for Seigaku.
During the National quarterfinals, Ryoma and Keigo Atobe face off in Singles 1, with their respective teams tied at 2-2. Atobe uses his new Tannhauser Serve to gain the upper hand. Ryoma attempts to take the lead by using the State of Self Actualization, but Atobe is still able to keep up, and debuts his new ability, the World of Ice, which allows him to exploit all of Ryoma's blind spots and win four consecutive games.
Ryoma then manages to break out by copying what people believe to be the Tezuka Zone, though it is actually him copying his father's Zone; a technique that he learned through his experience in playing against a superior opponent [Nanjiro]. This allows him to catch up and force a tiebreak game. With the score tied at 117 each, both players collapse. Atobe gets up first and manages to walk over to receive the serve, but Ryoma manages to muster the strength to do the Twist Serve. Atobe is unable to return it, for he has already lost consciousness, and Ryoma manages to win 119-117, putting Seigaku in the semifinals.
Although the match between Seigaku and Shitenhōji had concluded, Ryoma and Kintarō Tooyama play a special one ball match. In spite of it being only for one point, they both go all out for over 40 minutes. In the end, the ball is split in half, causing it to end in a draw. Though it is hinted by Fuji that Ryoma may have unlocked Teni Muhō No Kiwami (Pinnacle of Perfection) in this match, Nanjiro, who was listening through the radio, believes otherwise.
During the National Tournament Finals, Ryoma is matched up against Rikkai Dai's captain, Seiichi Yukimura, in the Singles 1 slot; the winner of which will result in their team winning the tournament since both teams have two wins.
Before his match with Seiichi Yukimura, Ryoma had amnesia, but luckily due to his teammates' and other teams' help by stalling their games and helping him "re-learn" tennis, he eventually overcomes his amnesia right before his match. Ryoma starts off strong and uses three of his signature techniques, but Yukimura returns them all without having to move from the baseline. In response, Ryoma activates Muga no Kyōchi and uses five consecutive copied techniques, but once again, Yukimura returns them all without much effort. Ryoma then reveals that he has opened Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami, but it is only after Yukimura wins three straight games that Ryoma is able to use Hyaku Ren to its fullest, going on to win a point. Right after, he reveals that he has also opened Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami. However, he breaks his own prediction by hitting the ball out of the court, and just when his nose begins to bleed, Yukimura decides to show his true strength. As they play, Yukimura informs him that he is losing his senses, which becomes a reality as Ryoma has already lost his sense of touch, followed by his sight. Though Ryoma continues to hit the ball through his hearing, he eventually loses that as well.
Despite losing all his senses, Ryoma attempts to continue playing. As he realizes what tennis means to him, he activates Muga no Kyōchi's final door, Teni Muhō No Kiwami (Pinnacle of Perfection). Using Teni Muhō, Ryoma continues to get consecutive service aces as well as return aces from Yukimura's serve, and eventually catches up to Yukimura, and then takes the lead by winning five games in a row. However, just when Ryoma needed one more game to win, Yukimura begins to adjust to Ryoma's playing style, and is thus able to return Ryoma's hits. Ryoma then uses his Samurai Drive, splitting the ball in half, and though Yukimura is able to return it, Ryoma is able to smash both halves into Yukimura's side of the court, winning the match 6-4(manga).
Mada mada dane
Mada mada dane (まだまだだね) is a phrase that has been popularized by Ryoma Echizen. The meaning literally means "No, not yet," but varies in similarity, with meanings that include "You still have a long way to go," "Not good enough" or "Still no good," and "It's not over yet." In the English version of the manga, or as translated directly in a chapter of the Japanese manga, it is "You still have lots more to work on." In the English anime, it is translated as "You still have a ways to go." He says this to annoy and also to taunt his rivals. While most often linked to Ryoma Echizen, it is actually a derogatory phrase that is heard quite often in anime. Differences in usage include:
- Mada mada dana: used by the former Samurai Nanjiro in his glory days.
- Mada mada daze: used by Ryoga Echizen, Ryoma's supposed older brother. He is seen in the movie "Futari no Samurai" and in the newer episode "The Prince of Naniwa" (where he is shown intensely practicing.) The phrase is also used by Echizen Nanjiro in the expansion OVA series when trying to teach Ryoma the Pinnacle of Perfection Technique.
- Mada mada sune (or mada mada desune): used when addressing someone in higher respect.
- Mada mada ssuyo: used in the anime, when coach Ryuzaki asks Ryoma if he wants to continue during his match against Sanada in the Kantō Finals.
- Mada mada dayo: Used by Coach Sumire Ryuuzaki when she used to coach Nanjiro.
According to every Shonen Jump character popularity poll of series, Ryoma has been fairly popular among readers; he won both the first and third popularity polls; he ranked second in the second poll; and third in the fourth popularity poll. Also, since Ryoma is the main character of the series, he has been featured on more soundtracks than any other character, with some featuring only himself. Numerous types of other merchandise have been released in his likeness, including key chains, clothing, and mugs.
In publications focused on manga and anime reviews, Ryoma's character has received both positive and negative remarks, though his personality is largely criticized. In Anime News Network's review of the series' first manga volume, they comment on how his skills doesn't "leave much room for improvement,...making it difficult for the reader to latch on and share in his experiences," and that his character "comes across as dull, cold and untouchable." However, they remark that the highlights of the volume are the "numerous methods Ryoma takes to make his opponents eat their words on the tennis court." When a reviewer from the same site reviewed the first DVD volume, he had a similar response in regards to Ryoma's skills, in that it eliminates underdog appeal, and describes Ryoma as "terse, reserved, and arrogant, which makes him difficult to like." John Sinott of DVDTalk echoes the same sentiments in regards to Ryoma's personality, seeing him as cocky and unlikeable despite having the talent to back up his attitude. His review of the next two DVD volumes went on to describe how Ryoma's impossible tennis moves hindered his ability to enjoy the show, and Park Cooper of MangaLife was similarly surprised at the character's unnatural abilities. Chris Beveridge of Mania, however, sees Ryoma as one who does not come off as "over the top or too serious," yet still cites the character's "serious level of confidence," and also comments on how "Ryoma's nature as someone who has seen a good bit of the world comes into play nicely at times." Though Jeffrey Harris of IGN also sees Ryoma as a "fairly stiff and cold character," he believes that the character begins to warm up to his teammates and is "slowly breaking out of his shell."
- In the anime series, Ryoma's voice actor is Junko Minagawa in the Japanese version; in the U.S. version, his voice actor is David Neil Black.
- For the live-action adaptation film of The Prince of Tennis, actor Kanata Hongo portrays Ryoma. Although Ryoma plays with his left hand in several scenes of the movie, he is mostly seen playing right-handed. This may have been due to Hongo being a dominant right-hander.
- In The Prince of Tennis Musicals, Ryoma has been portrayed by actors Kotaro Yanagi (2003, 2005–2006, 2010); Kimeru, who stood in for Remarkable 1st Match Fudomine due to a cast change; Yuya Endo (2004–2005); Dori Sakurada (2006–2007); Shōgo Sakamoto (2007–2009); Ryuuki Takahashi (2008–2010); and Yuuki Ogoe [2011–????].
- In the Chinese live action drama adaptation of The Prince of Tennis (Also known as Wang Qiu Wang Zi). Ryoma (Aka Long Ma) is portrayed by Qin Jun Jie. This series ran for two seasons.
- Konomi, Takeshi (2001). "Genius 83". Prince of Tennis Vol. 10. Shueisha. p. 184. ISBN 4-08-873162-X.
- Konomi, Takeshi (2006). "Genius 276". Prince of Tennis Vol. 33. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-874048-3.
- "テニスの王子様（週刊少年ジャンプ） 商品一覧 (Prince of Tennis merchandise)" (in Japanese). Shueisha. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- John Sinnott (2007-04-24). "The Prince of Tennis Box Set, Vol. 1". DVDTalk. Retrieved 2009-05-24. "As the series starts he's cocky and arrogant, and though he has the talent to back it up that still doesn't make him likeable."
- Carl Kimlinger (2007-06-26). "The Prince of Tennis DVD – DVD Box Set 1". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- Chris Beveridge (2007-04-04). "Prince of Tennis Box Set 01". Mania Beyond Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-05-25. "Ryoma's something of a quiet type but with a serious level of confidence. Not the type that comes off as over the top or too serious, but just the right level to be intimidating to those who goes against."
- Jeffrey Harris (2007-11-27). "The Prince of Tennis: Box Set Volume 3". IGN. Retrieved 2009-05-25.
- Konomi, Takeshi (2003). "Genius 158". Prince of Tennis Vol. 18. Shueisha. ISBN 4-08-873407-6.
- Konomi, Takeshi (2007). "Genius 333". Prince of Tennis Vol. 38. Shueisha. ISBN 978-4-08-874353-0.
- "約束/SEIGAKU NINE PLAYERS We Love SEIGAKU ありがとうを込めて (Single) (Limited Edition) (Maxi)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- "フライングチェリー (Single) (Limited Edition) (Maxi)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- "Prince of Tennis Manga Volume 1". Anime News Network. 2004-10-01. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- John Sinnott (2007-10-23). "Prince of Tennis – Set 3". DVDTalk. Retrieved 2009-05-24. "The real reason I can't enjoy this show though is because it doesn't capture the sport of tennis. They make up idiotic shots that defy the laws of physics. It's not just Ryoma that has this magical ability, but every player has a signature shot that just wouldn't be possible in the real world."
- Park Cooper. "Prince of Tennis 26-31: A MangaLife Spotlight". Manga Life. Silver Bullet Comics. Archived from the original on 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- Chris Beveridge (2008-01-21). "Prince of Tennis Box Set 04". Mania Beyond Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-05-25.