The Prince of Tennis
Season 1, Episode 1
Pot Ep1
Air date
October 10, 2001 (Japan)
July 14, 2006 (English)
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Tokyo District Preliminary arc

A Prince Appears (王子様現る, Ōjisama Arawaru) is the first episode of the series and the first in the Intraschool Ranking arc.

The opening song is "Future" by Hiro-X and ending is "You Got Game" by Kimeru.


At the request of his father, Ryoma Echizen moves to Japan after having success at tennis in the United States, having won four consecutive American Junior Openings. On his way to a Japanese tennis tournament, he "saves" Sakuno Ryuzaki from some thugs. Due to this, he misses the tournament, however, he finds an opponent in the form of one of the thugs he met on the subway. He then puts his opponent, Sasabe, in his place during the match, where he reveals his exceptional tennis capabilities.


In this episode, Ryoma is introduced to be a young tennis prodigy who has just returned from America where he has won 4 straight tournaments. He is shown to have entered in an under 16 tournament even though he is 12. Unfortunately he had to default after receiving wrong directions by mistake and is challenged by an arrogant teenager.

When a bunch of cocky 16 year old high schoolers brag about being one of the best.We see three high school boys swinging a racquet, one 12 year old girl who is about to get hit by it and another 12 year old, boy sitting across tired of hearing them talk.

The high school boys just assume's he's being scolded, then the 12 year old puts him in his place by telling him the correct way to hold the racquet in both eastern and western worlds.

"Gripping the racquet as if picking it up from the ground is the Western Grip. Holding a racquet like your shaking hands is the Eastern Grip." He says this to explain to him that many people get these mixed up and to make him bequiet because he got it wrong. They arrive at the desitination and exit. At the station, the boy approaches the girl and asks for directions to get to the tournament, but before she can finish, he assumes the south gate and heads off. The girl is then waiting for her grandmother who turns out to be 30 minutes late and notices that she gave the boy wrong directions.

Later they arrive at the Junior Tennis Tournament, where he becomes late, because the girl he "saved" gave him the wrong directions. She apologizes and offers to buy him a can of juice, but he ends up paying for it because she had no change. As they talk they are approached by the same high schoolers and tells the 12 year old he would win the championship.

"I'll teach you how to play real tennis if you want." The 12 year old tells him. Soon the girl's Grandmother, Ryuzaki Sumire shows up, telling her that the boy, Echizen Ryoma is the Prince of Tennis. As the match goes on, the 16 year old is very surprised and can't admit defeat. Ryoma is a left handed (really ambidextrous) and can do a "Twist Serve" which hits the other boy two times in the face.


List of characters as they appear.

Tennis Techniques Introduced

Manga Chapter Equivalents

Manga and Anime Differences

  • In the manga, Ryoma wins the first game 6-2, while in the anime, he wins 6-0.
  • In the manga, Sasabe starts off the game seriously, using the Bullet Serve from the get-go, while in the anime and the Pilot novel, Sasabe uses a weak serve to mess with Ryoma, which causes Ryoma to tell him to play for real and hit a return ace.
  • In the anime, Sasabe runs away from Ryoma in fear, while in the manga, an adult comes by angrily to kick them off the courts for using it without permission.