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Prince of Tennis Part 3 (54 - 80)
(Item No Longer Available


Intro:
PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE AV SET, NOT THE MANGA THAT THIS REVIEW IS UNDER! I RECEIVED THIS SET FROM ANIMENIACS, SO THIS IS THE ONE I’M REVIEWING. END NOTE!


   Couldn’t get enough of the first two seasons, eh? Well, you’re in luck! Season 3 is here, or as I like to call it, “The Tezuka Years”. Aside from being the start of the Kanto Tournament, we finally learn the true story behind Tezuka’s injury as well as his game of tennis. Who caused it? What were the reasons? And what was the outcome?
   Now, before you get all giddy about Tezuka, let’s remember one thing: This show is really about Ryoma Echizen, so rest assured that we’ll get to see this young tennis star in action. As I mentioned before, the Kanto games has begun! So who is the first opponent of Seigaku? Is it Fudomine? Noooooo. Is it Yamabuki? Nopers. It is Hyotei! The team that lost to Fudomine in the City Tournament is back with a vengeance and a 200 member cheer squad!
   The road to the Nationals is approaching, but will Seigaku be powerful enough to stop the team that is expected to be one of the top four in this tournament? And if they do, there are still other teams to fight, including Johsei Shounan: A group of “subjects” that have been perfected through extensive training by their manager.
   Now let’s not forget the monthly Seigaku tournament (to see who will be a regular) that will determine if new players will replace the veterans of the team! Think you’ve endured all the tennis possible? The story’s just beginning in The Prince of Tennis Part 3: Episodes 54-80!

Packaging:

   Just like with the other box sets, this 3-DVD set comes packaged in the standard gatefold case that is protected by an outer plastic sleeve. A quick look at the box will show that it is designed (with the layout of the pictures) very similar to part 2. But who likes a quick look? Show me the details!

Front: The one and only Ryoma Echizen graces the front of the case with not one, but TWO pictures! The first one should look slightly familiar, since it was on the outer left flap from part 2. It is of Ryoma in a swinging stance, ready to hit the ball. The picture behind him is a larger, upper body shot of Ryoma (but not the same as the smaller one). This picture is the one that was on the label of disc 4 (from part 2). If you look in the back of the big head, the title of the show is there, along with the summary of Ryoma (which you can read a little later in this review). At the bottom right are the words “Part 3” and at the bottom left is the series logo.

Outer Spine: As you turn the case to its side, you will see a smaller picture (at the top of the spine) of Ryoma’s upper body (yup, the same as on the front). Below the shot is the title of the series (written in Japanese and English) and the words “Part 3”.

Back: Very similar to part 2, the top of the back has the title of the show written out in English and below that is a blue box with a character in it. This time it is Fuji Syusuke. And what else is in the box? Why the summary of Ryoma Echizen, which goes as follows:

   “Ryoma Echizen, a tennis prodigy, wins the cup in the U.S. Junior tournaments for 4 consecutive times. With his career, he got in the prestigious tennis club in Seishun Gakuen Junior High School. -------- His unlimited possibilities, eyes with strong will, audacious manner…He surely is the prince of tennis!”

   If you look at the right hand side of the back case, there are only two pictures this time instead of four. The shots are of Tezuka and Eiji. The shot of Tezuka is actually the one that was in the blue box on the back of part 2. I found that funny.
   There is also a summary of the box set (in Japanese) to the left of those pictures, and there are two more screenshots below that. They are of Ryoma and Mizuki (from St. Rudolph).

Outer Flaps: Hey, remember that picture that was behind disc 6 (from box set 2 (AV))? You know, the one of Fudomine holding a mini tennis court replica. Well, there is only one LARGE picture that takes up the entire left flap, inner spine, and right flap and that is the same picture. The only difference is: 1) it shows the remaining two members that were hidden from view in the second box set.

Inner Flaps and Discs: So when you open up the left flap, we see the same “ready-to-strike” Ryoma (that was on the front of the set) on the inner side of the flap, and we also see disc 7. This time, he is on a tennis court. The title of the series (in English) and the summary of Ryoma is located in the background at the very top of all the pictures from here on out. Just a little FYI for you all!
   The big picture behind disc 7 is the same as the one on the outer right flap from part 2. For those who don’t remember, it shows Ryoma, Momoshiro, and Kaidoh. The label on disc 7 shows an entirely different picture than the one behind it. It is the shot of Hyotei (the one that was behind discs 4 and 5 from part 2), except this time Sengoku is not present. He was chopped off because he was sleeping.
   When you lift up the right flap, behold disc 8 and 9. Disc 8 is the only one to have the same picture on the label that is also behind it. This one shows the regular members of Seigaku all running with their heads forward. This will make sense when you watch the episodes. The label on the disc shows the same shot, except a few of the members in are cut off (due to size). For some reason, the sharpness of the picture on the label isn’t as clear as the one behind it. The colors look a little bright and faded. Almost like TV quality.
   Finally, disc 9 shows two shots of Ryoma behind the disc. The one to the left (and the larger one) is another upper body shot, except this Ryoma is in a buttoned down coat with a red scarf. The smaller picture to the right is of Ryoma in his red jacket looking down, and holding his racket above his shoulder. The label on the disc shows Ryoma (in his Seigaku jacket) holding his racket in front of his chest and looking directly at you!

Video:
   The quality, for the most part, remained the same as episodes 34-53 from part 2. All of them were again presented in 4:3 full screen ratio. The episodes look to be taken from a TV source and had a few problems here and there. The most common ones were the pixelation. It wasn’t as evident when watching on the TV, but on the computer, it was very noticeable. One thing to look out for is some slight ghosting. During the scenes, look to the right of the character, because there’s a good chance you can see that same character again. The character’s “ghost” will not be in color, but more so a blurred version of him in the background.
   There were some distortion bars, tracking lines, color problems, and messages (all in Japanese) that would decide they wanted to include themselves in certain episodes. Those episodes, and when they occurred, are listed below:

Disc 7
   - Episode 54 at 07m56s: distortion bar flashes across top quarter of the screen.
   - Episode 54 (again) at 20m08s, but this time at bottom of screen.
   - Episode 55 at 28m43s: The screen went darker for a second and then back to normal color.
   - Episode 57 for ENTIRE episode: LOOK AT SCREENSHOT! This episode looked like it was transferred very poorly. It was the worst episode (in terms of quality) in this whole set!
   - Episode 60 at 02h09m39s: There was a message that faded onto the top of the screen for a few seconds.

Disc 8
   - Episode 63 at 17m58s: There was a message that faded onto the bottom of the screen. I see they are too good for the top of the screen this time!
   - Episode 67 at 01h36m00s: Two distortion bars (one at top and one at bottom) that flashed onto the screen.
   - Episode 67 (again) at 01h39m04s: A black line appeared at bottom of screen.
   - Episode 67 (three times a charm) at 01h39m23s: Multiple lines flash across top of screen.
   - Episode 67 (::sigh::) at 01h41m10s: A lot of little faint lines appear at top AND bottom of screen.

Disc 9
   - Episode 74 between 44m13s – 44m16s: Lines (black/white static type) flash one after another all over the screen.
   - Episode 75 at 01h25m58s: A message comes onto the bottom of the screen.

   Now it could be just me, but episodes 76-80 looked a little darker than the other ones. I think it was just late and my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I figure its worth mentioning. If anyone else has had this problem, or thinks the episodes do look darker, please let me know!
   As for the opening credits, closing credits, and episode previews, disc 7 and 8 had the first two. I don’t know why, but AV cut out the episode previews for the first 18 episodes in this set. However, on disc 9, the previews make a comeback for all 9 episodes!
   Aside from these, the quality wasn’t all too bad, but it irked me a little bit about the ghosting and pixilation. My advice: Watch these on the TV. You’ll thank me later!

Audio:
   This is an interesting topic for this box set. I really have no idea if the problems I am going to mention have to do with my headphones, but this was something that I couldn’t ignore. The whole time in EVERY episode (on my computer and through my headphones), I heard background noises that shouldn’t be there. Sometimes it was a static sound, sometimes the sound dropped on one side (mainly the right speaker), sometimes it got louder, but I didn’t know why.
   So, I decided to watch the episodes on my TV to see if the same problems would still be there. They weren’t. At least most of them weren’t. See, the only audio irregularity that remained to be heard through my TV speakers were during the opening credits for episodes 76-80. At certain points in the credits, the sound would get softer and then go back to normal level.
   Now, for those who may listen on their computer with headphones, below is a list of the times I heard the audio go out in one speaker. There may have been more times, especially on disc 8, but since I didn’t watch that disc on the computer, I can’t comment on those 9 episodes. Here they are:

Disc 7
   - Episode 57 at 01h11m44s: Sound goes out in right side of headphones for a second.
   - Episode 57 (again) at 01h20m21s: Happens again!
   - Episode 59 at 02h04m31s: Sound goes out in right side for a second.
   - Episode 59 (again) at 02h05m26s: Happens again!

Disc 8
   - No comment.

Disc 9
   - By this point, I had a feeling this had to do with my headphones, plus I didn’t really notice this problem anymore, so no comment either!

   On a much happier note, there are some new theme songs! Yay! Season 3 not only brings new episodes, but also two new opening and closing songs! The first of the new opening theme songs, “Make You Free” by Kimeru, is used for episodes 54-75. The closing theme song used for those same episodes is, “White Line” by Aozu.
   Then, when episode 76 came around, so did the new theme songs. “Long Way” by Ikou was used for the opening credits, and “Kaze no Tabibito” by Fureai was played during the closing credits.
   On the TV, aside from that dropping of volume, I had no problem with the audio. The only option to listen to the episodes was in Japanese 2.0ch. There was some great “battle” music used that I always looked forward to hearing. And trust me; you’ll learn those songs that end an episode. Those get me so mad because you know those closing credits are just a few seconds away. These ones make me a sad panda.

Subtitles:
   There’s not much change in terms of the previous box set. The subtitles are still a good size and the font is still yellow (with a black border). The names of the characters, schools, and skills, are still incorrect a lot of the times. What I find a little funny is that for the character names, they tend to write their last name when someone is referring to that person. For example, if someone said, “Hey Momo”, it would be written as, “Hey Takeshi”. To me that seems like more work, but whatever.
   Before I go any further, let me present you with this week’s installment of the list:

Correct = Incorrect
5 games to 2 = May 2
Ann = Shin
Boomerang Snake = S-Style
Cannon Volley = Cannon Intercept
Doubles = Duo
Drive-B = Intercept/Marginal Intercept
Drop Volley = Half-Volley
Fault = Hang
Formation = Matrix
Game = Set – ::Polan’s comments:: There is a difference.
Grip Tape = Bat Ribbon
Inoue = Mr. Chinsan
Jack Knife = Sickle Leap
Johsei Shounan = Jouseisyounan
Kabaji = Kachi/Kacki
Kachirou = Katsuro
Kaidoh = Hyotei
Kanto = Chika
Karupin = Karbin
Kirihara = Akaya
Moon Volley = Trick/Crescent Cut
Oishi = Shita
Pistol Pete = Fast-Gunner Peter
Rugby = Football
Ryuzaki = Kuuni
Sengoku = Chanshi
Senpei = Seinbai
Shiba = Sesame
Snake = Twist
Spin = Turning
Spin Ball = Curving
Split Step = One-Leg Small Steps
Takashi = Long
Tezuka Zone = Tezuka’s Area
Tie Break = Tie Final
Tomo = Kaori/Pon
Twist Serve = Outward-Spin Serve/Return of Service
Zero = Lezi

   Some of these were one timers, while others were always. By this late in the game, you will probably know most of the characters, and even if you don’t, just listen to the name they are saying.
   One mistake that was used a lot was the wrong tense of a word, wrong pronouns, and other stuff like that. The biggest subtitle blunder that occurred was during the last two episodes on disc 7, which were 61 and 62. Starting on episode 61 at 02h31m41s, the subtitles were displayed a sentence ahead. To make things clearer, think about ESP. You know something is going to happen before it happens. This is the same deal. The sentence that a character will say is shown one line ahead before it happens. So by the time it gets to that character, as he is speaking, the sentence that the next character after him will say is displayed.
   This happened all the way till the end of episode 62. Episode 62 not only had the advanced subtitles, but they were also shown extremely quickly (some of the time). This made it annoying because you had to mentally think about who is actually saying what is being shown, PLUS read the subtitles before they disappeared a second after coming onto the screen.
   Is there anything else wrong with the subtitles? Yes. Just like last time, there is no end punctuation aside from the question mark. Also, some dialogue will not be subtitled. So even though you see a sentence on the screen when someone is talking, it may not be everything he is saying.
   The opening and closing credits were subtitled, as well as the episode previews (that were only on disc 9). At least they made an effort to subtitle these.
   These are still HK subs and by now you should be used to them. Yes there is some Engrish, but this is nothing major. You will understand the story and you may even be less confused than in the previous set. That’s a good sign, isn’t it?

Chapter Breaks:
Disc 7 [9 episodes: 45 chapter breaks]
   Each episode was divided into five breaks as follows:

1) Beginning of Episode (before opening credits)
2) Opening Credits
3) Part A (right after opening credits)
4) Part B (halfway point)
5) Closing Credits

Disc 8 [9 episodes: 44 chapter breaks]
   The episodes on this disc had the same chapter break setup as disc 7, but there is one less break due to episode 68. This episode started with the opening credits and did not have a little intro before the credits. So the setup for 68 was:

1) Opening Credits
2) Part A (right after opening credits)
3) Part B (halfway point)
4) Closing Credits

   Other than this, everything else was the same. I really do enjoy this layout for the episodes. It makes it very easy to get to where you want to be.

Disc 9 [9 episodes: 44 chapter breaks]
   Again, same setup as before, except episode 76 only had four breaks to it. There was no prologue before the opening credits break. One thing that was included on this disc was the return of the episode previews. It is a shame that there was not a separate break for them.

Content:
Discs 7 & 8
   These two DVDs have very similar menu layouts as the discs from part 2. When the DVDs load, a 3D tennis ball flies across a 3D tennis court. The options then fade in the same time as the opening theme song (“Make You Free”) starts playing. The song plays for 0:32s before starting over again. The options you are given are:

1) Play
2) Chapter
3) Subtitles

   When you select the chapter menu, you are taken to a screen with 9 tennis balls and a picture of Ryoma (disc 7 and 8). Each ball has a number in it (corresponding to an episode). The same song that was playing on the main menu is also playing here for 0:30s before starting over again.
   If you pick an episode you want to watch, click on that tennis ball, and you are taken to another screen. During the transition, that 3D tennis ball is hit back to the other side of the 3D court. After that, you are taken to another screen that gives you the option of choosing one of five chapter breaks for that episode. The screen also has some screenshots (not necessarily from that particular episode), two buttons (one to go to the next episode screen and one to return to the main menu, and has the opening theme song (same as the one on the pages) playing.
   Please know that every time you hit the “next” button, you will see that little clip of the 3D tennis ball going over the net.
   The subtitles menu shows a picture of Ryoma (disc 7)/ Fuji (disc 8) and has the two options (Chinese and English) written in Japanese. No music is playing on this screen.

Disc 9
   When this DVD loaded, a tennis ball floats around the screen and then disappears. At that time, two pictures, one of Ryoma and one of Kaidoh (which keeps fading in and out), pop onto the screen while the new closing theme song (“Kaze no Tabibito””) plays in the background for 0:30s before starting over again. There are the same three options that are also shown on the main menu that was also on the previous discs.
   There is a downside to clicking on the chapter menu, which is waiting 0:08s as the screen loads. During this time, the pictures on the main menu fade out as well as the options. This menu lists the nine episodes on this disc by episode number and title (in Japanese). There are also two pictures on this page (of Momo by himself and with Inui). The closing theme song is again playing for the same amount of time before starting over again.
   As you click on an episode, you are taken to another page that is very similar to the ones on the previous discs. You are able to choose from one of five chapter breaks as the closing theme song is playing in the background. Thankfully, when you click on the “next” button you do not have to go through a mini loading screen.
   Finally, the subtitles menu gives you the same two options, but this time they are written out in English and Japanese.

Conclusion:
   You know the one thing that gets me mad the most? It is when you’re watching an episode, it ends on a cliffhanger, but there are no more episodes to watch! This is how I felt after I finished episode 80. Here we are in the middle of a match and the episodes just ends. Unless you have part 4, that’s all you get to see for now. So what do you do? Get part 4! That’s what I’m doing as we speak!!!
   Not only was there a ton of action, but some of the funniest episodes I have ever seen were included in this set. Have you ever wondered what the main stars of Seigaku would look as chibi characters in random skits? Don’t tell me no! You know you’re happy to learn that you get to see all your favorite tennis heroes in 3 skits, ranging from a Godzilla/super hero short to snow white and the….9 dwarfs? Trust me, you’ll be laughing your sides off.
   Then, when you think things couldn’t get weirder, there is an episode focused on Momoshiro and Ann….ON A DATE!! When Inui learns about this, he quickly calls all the other regulars and everything spirals from there. And when you watch the running joke between Tezuka and Inui, oh boy do the laughs never stop!
   This has to be one of the best bunches of episodes in this series so far. There’s a new tournament, new teams, lots of laughs, and some good times. There are also some touching moments, more history on some of the players, and unforgettable scenes. Just look past all the bad stuff that hurt this set (video, audio, subtitles, etc) and watch The Prince of Tennis Part 3 (AV): Episodes 54-80 now! You know you love it!


Email me at jpolan@drew.edu if you have any problems, concerns, or comments.


Publisher: MAC
Discs: 3
Episodes: 27
Price: $15.00

Reviewer: Polanator
Reviewed On: 01/24/2005
Click on Image for Full Size


Look a little familar? This main menu is the same for discs 7 and 8. But what about disc 9?


Here ya go! The main menu for disc 9. I'm glad the menu was changed a little bit, but it is nothing special.


This is how the chapter menu looked for all 3 discs. This is a very nice format for the episodes! Good job AV!


Wondering why Tezuka is so mad?! It's because of this poor video quality for episode 57 (disc 7). I'd be mad too Tezuka. I'd be mad too.


Team Hyotei! Seigaku's first opponent in the Kanto games. Go! Go! Seigaku!


You know it's a powerful shot when the screen goes black and white! Tennis just keeps getting more and more extreme in this series.


Could Seigaku have a new golden pair?!


Doesn't this screenshot look darker? I felt the same way when watching those later episodes on disc 9. Oh well....gotta love the freshman!


Episode 64: It hurts to laugh! WATCH IT!!!


Get ready for a new "breed" of tennis players...Johsei Shounan Jr. High!

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