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Kunimitsu Tezuka

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Tezuka looks on.
Kunimitsu Tezuka
Kanji

手塚国光

Rōmaji

Tezuka Kunimitsu

Nicknames

King of Seigaku (described by Inoue Mamoru)
Dorobo-niichan (by Miyuki and Senri Chitose)
Seigaku's Pillar of Support (as a freshman and junior)

Characteristics
Gender

Male

Age

14 (The Prince of Tennis)
15 (The New Prince of Tennis)

Height

179 cm

Weight

58 kg

Birthday

October 7

Horoscope

Libra

Eyesight (Unaided)

1.5 (both eyes)

Blood Type

O

Family

Kuniharu (Father)
Ayana (Mother)
Kunikazu Tezuka (Grandfather)

Education
Junior High

Seigaku (3rd Year)

Class

3-1

Seat

12

Club Position

Captain
Regular

Elementary School

Seishun (Seiharudai) First (Daiichi) Elementary School

U-17 Training Camp

Court 5 (Former)
Court 3
Dropped Out

Tennis
Dominant Arm

Left

Play Style

All Rounder

Doubles Partner(s)

Inui Sadaharu

Racquet(s)

MIZUNO (PRO LIGHT S90)

Shoes

MIZUNO (WAVE DUAK LIGHT <6K93009>)

Media
Manga Debut

Genius 4

Anime Debut

Episode 3

Movies

Atobe's Gift
The Prince of Tennis - The Two Samurai: The First Game
Battle of the British Castle

Voice Actor

Ryōtarō Okiayu (Japanese)
Kirk Thornton (English)

Rarely smiling, he is the strict captain of Seigaku. He has complete mastery in all forms of "Muga no Kyouchi"

Background

Kunimitsu Tezuka (手塚 国光, Tezuka Kunimitsu) is the current captain of Seigaku tennis team. A serious and strict third year, he gives the series' protagonist, Echizen Ryoma, a chance to become a regular by allowing him to participate in the Intraschool Rankings Tournament. Furthermore, throughout the series, he, seeing the immense potential in Echizen, encourages him to develop his own style of tennis and to become Seigaku's "Pillar", leading the latter to consider him to be both a mentor and a rival. Like Echizen, he was made into a Seigaku regular during his freshman year.

Throughout the series, Tezuka constantly struggles with the pain in his left arm, which was caused by an injury inflicted upon him by an upperclassman two years prior to the start of the series. However, he is often willing to sacrifice his arm in order to defeat his opponent and to lead his team to the Nationals.

Despite being known as Seigaku's "strongest man", he initially remains on the sidelines during tournaments, as another teammate would sometimes play in his usual position of singles 1 or his team usually defeats their opponents in straight sets. Though he secretly challenges and defeats Ryoma in an unofficial match in an attempt to reach his junior to become Seigaku's new "pillar of support", his true skills are first shown during an Intraschool Ranking match against Inui.

Appearance

Tezuka has dark brown hair and wears glasses. The parting in his hair, while as a child, was on the right side of his head. As a 3rd Year, the parting is on the left side. He is often seen with a stoic expression.

Personality

Tezuka in action

Tezuka in his PE kit about to perform a drop shot.

As the captain of the tennis team, Tezuka is serious about everything he does, and is very strict; one of his trademark phrases is "Don't let your guard down" ("Yudan sezu ni ikou") and to Ryoma "You will become the Seigaku pillar of support" ("Omae wa Seigaku no Hashira ni nare"). Still, he is fair and sticks to his word; if the rules are broken, he punishes everyone, including the regulars.

He would often make the entire team run laps when they break the rules - a trait which he inherited from Yūdai Yamato. Though his arm heals to some extent, the doctor still warns Tezuka against long matches and using his signature drop shot. Tezuka, however, considers his health secondary to the team's success, and continues to risk re-injuring himself in his matches to ensure his team's victory, even after returning from his medical treatment.

Tezuka after winning in the Team Shuffle for the 5th Court

Tezuka's rare smile as he leaves to go to Germany.

Throughout the original manga series, though Tezuka never smiles around his team it is shown that while he is in rehab for his arm he smiles, though he is apparently immensely popular among the female fans of his school. He smiles in a flashback when Oishi's uncle tells them both that he is healed, then when his team becomes the National champions at the end of the series that he shows a smile, though he instantly reverts back when Fuji points out the fact. He smiles again during his match against his Seigaku captain Yamato Yuudai.

Tezuka in Uniform

Tezuka in his All-Japan Junior Camp uniform

Still, the fact that Tezuka never smiles and always looks so serious has been made into a running joke in the series. In the anime, his always serious attitude even prevents him from showing any reaction when drinking Sadaharu Inui's famous vegetable juices, resulting in others believing he is immune to the often dreaded concoctions. However, he quickly and sternly declines an offer to drink it later on.

Tezuka is normally addressed as Tezuka-kun, Tezuka-buchou (buchou meaning captain), Tezuka-san and Tezuka. The only people that refer to Tezuka as Tezuka are Fuji Shusuke, Oishi Shuichirou and Inui Sadaharu. The younger members (Ryoma, Momoshiro and Kaido) address him as buchou or Tezuka-buchou, respecting his position as captain more than as a senior student. Also showing they are not as familiar with him as the third years.

He also picks up some character traits from his grandfather, and a running gag in the story is that Tezuka looks older than his actual age, often as his teammates' teacher, despite the fact that many characters also look older.

  • A terrified young Tezuka
  • A scared Tezuka throwing books in a frenzy
  • Tezuka's shocked reaction after being reminded of the "7 mysteries"
  • Tezuka annoyed at Echizen's uselessness in beach volleyball.

Despite his stoic and calm personality it is shown that Tezuka was not fond of horror stories as a first year. Surprisingly he allowed scary rumors to affect him rather deeply as a youngster. When confronted with the same situation as in one of the seven horrific mysteries of Seigaku, Tezuka immediately became anxious and began rapidly throwing books in a frightened fit. The rumor was regarding a flying library book.

Even when he's in his third year Tezuka still displays a shocked reaction when being reminded of this experience (along with the rest of his fellow 3rd year classmates).

History

Three Years Prior To The Storyline

Tezuka-11-years-old

Tezuka three years ago.

Three years prior to the start of the story, a young Tezuka showed up after the Junior Tennis Tournament and easily beat the tournament's runner-up, Sanada Genichirou. The tournament champion, Yukimura Seiichi, challenged Tezuka to a match, but the winner is not revealed. According to Sanada, they played evenly.

Two Years Prior To The Storyline

Tezuka smiled

After entering Seishun Academy, Tezuka was seen as overconfident and arrogant by some of the upperclassmen at Seigaku due to his talents and seriousness. They were especially angered when they discovered that he was left-handed since he had easily beat them playing with his right.

A jealous teammate then injured Tezuka's left arm, leading to chronic problems, and his sealing of Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami, a technique which required the use of his left arm. Still, because of his skills, he was recognized by captain Yamato Yuudai, who convinced Tezuka, who had decided to leave the club because he did not want to be on the same team as people who hurt others with their racquets, to become Seigaku's "pillar of support".

This, along with the promise he made with teammate Shūichiro Oishi, in which Tezuka promised to lead Seigaku to the Nationals, encouraged him to stay in the tennis club. Shūsuke Fuji later requested a match against Tezuka, and though Tezuka was utterly defeated, Fuji was displeased with the outcome after finding out about Tezuka's injury. The two promise to play each other once again after Tezuka's arm completely heals.

One Year Prior To The Storyline

After a while, Tezuka became a team regular despite being a freshman. By his second year, he became the team's vice-captain, and defeated Hyōtei Academy's captain in the Tokyo Prefectural Tournament. He was invited to the Junior Senbatsu tennis training camp, but because his arm problems returned, he declined the invitation without stating his reasons to the organization.

Districts

In the Quarter-finals, Tezuka is not needed to play since Seigaku win all their matches. He was the reserve player.

In the finals agaianst Fudomine, Tezuka was also not needed since Seigaku won three matches. He was supposed to play in the singles 1 slot against Fudomine's Captain, Tachibana.

Tokyo Prefecturals

Seigaku overwhelm all their opponents, in both Quarter-Finals and Finals, against St. Rudolph and Yamabuki, which prevents Tezuka from needing to play since he is in Singles 1 position. In the Semi-Finals, Seigaku did not need to play, as Ginka withdrew out of fear.

Regionals

The first serious official tournament match he plays is against Hyōtei's captain, Keigo Atobe. Though the return of Tezuka's arm injury causes him to collapse in pain, he refuses to give up, and after a long and tedious tie-break, the game ends with Atobe victorious, marking Tezuka's first loss in an official singles match. Tezuka then decides to go to Kyūshu in order to receive medical treatment for his injuries at a health clinic near Seishun University. While Tezuka overcomes his fear of feeling the pain in his shoulder, he continues to support his team, sometimes discussing the team's lineup for upcoming matches over the phone.

In the anime, instead of going to Kyūshu, Tezuka ends up going to Germany instead. Before he leaves, however, he decides to play one last match against Ryoma, with the regulars as the audience, using his right hand for the whole match. Tezuka takes time to adapt his Tezuka Zone for his right hand and gives Ryoma some trouble with it, , challenging Ryoma to adapt to a player who can evolve during the match. Ryoma takes the challenge head-on and eventually finds a way to counter it. It starts to become a close match with Tezuka slightly in the lead until Tezuka finishes the match with a right-handed Zero-Shiki Drop Shot.

Also, in the anime, he decides to return to Japan during his rehabilitation to be the subsitute coach at the Kanto Junior Selection Camp when Ryūzaki Sumire ended up getting ill and going to the hospital. Despite minor opposition at first, he gains the respect of his 'students' and he goes on to train and improve the players under his coaching.

After some time, Tezuka is challenged by Ryoma after Ryoma feels that he could not move on until he played against him again. However Ryoma eventually comes out victorious and Tezuka wishes him luck as he and Seigaku see Ryoma off as the latter travels to play in the Junior US Open.

Prior To Nationals

Tezuka struggling with weak shoulder

Tezuka in Kyushu while receiving treatment.

Prior to the Nationals, Tezuka travels to Kyushu after Tachibana suggested for him to visit an old hospital he used to go to. When Tezuka reaches Kyushu, he meets Chitose Miyuki, Chitose Senri's younger elementary school sister (Tezuka did not know at that time). She accuses Tezuka of stealing her racket and he learns that she suffered from yips while playing tennis.

They then get into an arguement with tennis players from Shishigaku Middle School, resulting in Tezuka's defeat due to his inability to raise his shoulder. Miyuki, enraged because she realized Tezuka was injured, engages in a match with the person victorious over Tezuka. Right when he was about to hit a smash at her, Tezuka saves her while realizing that the source of his injury was also yips. Tezuka goes on to crush his opponent, while Chitose Senri shows up on the phone with Tachibana, informing his friend that Tezuka healed his injury prior to meeting his doctor.

Nationals

Muga no Kyouchi

Tezuka about to activate Hyakku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami against Kite.

He returns right before the National Tournament. In his first match upon his return, he is overwhelmed at the start, and realizes he needs he must not hold back so he unseals his Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami, to defeat Higa Middle School's captain, Kite Eishiro and to teach him the valuable lesson that Tennis Rackets are not used to hurt people after witnessing Kite's violent style of play.

Tezuka goes on to defeat Hyōtei's Kabaji Munehiro in the Quarterfinals after a long match due to Kabaji copying all of Tezuka's techniques. Kabaji makes a miraculous comeback however the difference between the copy of Tezuka Kabaji attempts to perform and Tezuka himself comes to light once the rain begins. Due to Kabaji not having the skill to be able to play well in rainy conditions while Tezuka was more than able to, Tezuka wins 7-6.

Tezuka Inui pair

Tezuka/Inui pair in Doubles 1 in the Semifinals, although the match becomes a Singles match with Inui sitting out for Tezuka.

In the National semi-finals, despite it being a doubles match, Tezuka plays one-on-one against Shitenhōji's Chitose Senri; their partners step aside in order for them to play with their full power. Tezuka realizes that Senri was Miyuki's older brother at the start of the match, seeing the Chitose siblings together. When the match starts, Miyuki watches the match between her older brother and her new friend, Tezuka.

After unveiling his new Zero-Shiki Serve, as well as revealing that he has opened the door to Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami, Tezuka wins completely 6-1. Chitose tells Tezuka that his younger sister won her school's tennis tournament and asks him to congratulate her, a request Tezuka refuses even after Chitose begs him.

Before the final match of tournament against Rikkai Junior High School, Tezuka tells Oishi that he plans to go to Germany in order to become a professional tennis player after this tournament. During his match against Sanada Genichirō, Tezuka unveils his Tezuka Phantom, however, this, combined with the continuous use of the Zero-Shiki Serve, damages Tezuka's arm, creating a weakness which Sanada soon uses to his advantage. A cord ball by Tezuka which drops from the net to his side, results in Sanada's victory. However, in the end, after Ryoma's miraculous win against Rikkai's captain Yukimura Seiichi, Tezuka finally achieves his goal of turning Seishun Academy into the National champions, and offers one of his rare smiles.

Prior to U-17 Camp

Osaka (OVA Only)

After the Nationals, Seigaku's tennis club travels to Osaka to have a joint training session with Shitenhoji's tennis club. Tezuka plays against Kintaro on the first day of practice but their match is interrupted by Shitenhoji's Baka-Pair, who sends Hitōji Yūji flying through the air and crashing into Kintaro.

Later on, Tezuka and the Seigaku regulars bump into Higa's Kite, Rin, Kai, Kei, and Chinen, who are forced to work their way home after they missed their flight back to Okinawa after the National Tournament. Kite claims that they are not from Higa, saying that they are just ascetic monks with the names of "Eishun, Rintou, Kaiyuu, Keigan, and Chinen," a lie the Seigaku regulars see through.

TezukaMiyuki

Tezuka with Miyuki in Osaka.

Tezuka is next seen in a bookstore looking at a book in German. Miyuki yells out his name and they talk together under a tree outside where Tezuka tells Miyuki to send a message to her brother, Senri, to attend the training session. Miyuki agrees and asks Tezuka if his shoulder is healed yet, to which he replies yes. When she is leaving, Tezuka congratulates Miyuki for winning her school's tournament causing her to blush.

The five Higa students are seen angry that the Seigaku regulars at night because get to stay in an air conditioned inn while they had to stay in the hot temple where they worked. Kite devises a plan to invade the Seigaku living quarters and challenges them to a pillow fight for the right of the room. Kite aims a pillow at Tezuka's previously injured shoulder, angering the Seigaku captain who retaliates by aiming a pillow at Kite's face. This starts the pillow fight between Seigaku and Higa, only to be stopped when Coach Ryuzaki comes in with a transparent gown on, revealing her undergarments, causing all of the students to drop dead on the floor with defeat.

PrinceofNaniwaTezukaPillow

Tezuka after throwing a pillow at Kite's face.

Tezuka then tells Momoshiro and Kaidoh that the training with Shitenhoji the next day will only for 1st and 2nd years, meaning that the 3rd year regulars will not participate. After Momoshiro and Kaidoh storm off without success, Tezuka tells the 3rd years that they cannot help those two. A few hours later, the 1st and 2nd years asks Tezuka for help in organizing a night training session with Shitenhoji so that they can impress Momoshiro and Kaidoh the next day.

Tezuka contacts everyone through text message and they all gather at Shitenhoji's tennis courts where the 1st and 2nd years practice with Shitenhoji. Tezuka and Shiraishi watches Momoshiro and Kaidoh looking at the courts from the outside, realizing that the two 2nd years finally realized what they needed to realize. The 3rd years Seigaku regulars comment on how ironically, Tezuka was the one who said to not give Momoshiro and Kaidoh help, yet he was the one who helped them at the end because Tezuka himself could not stay away.

At the end, Tezuka and Momoshiro are walking together to the Tokyo-bound train with supplies, talking about the training session. Momoshiro tells Tezuka that it was a great training session and that he thought after the 3rd years graduate, it would be a scary change. Tezuka replies to Momoshiro that no matter how far the 3rd years ago, things would never change. However, the two then realize that the train to Tokyo was leaving without them, with the entire Seigaku tennis club staring at him and Momoshiro as the train moved away. Tezuka drops his bag to the floor as the train is leaving, with Momoshiro screaming that he realized that him missing rides will never change as Tezuka says his catchphrase 'Yudan sezu ni ikou" (Don't let your guard down).

Tokyo

Tezukafishing

Tezuka fishing with his grandfather.

In the second PairPuri volume, on the day prior to the U-17 Camp, Tezuka goes fishing with his grandfather, much to the Sanada's family's dismay. Tezuka's grandfather had a scheduled board game against Sanada's grandfather, but Tezuka's grandfather decided to skip it to go fishing with his grandson. While fishing, both Tezuka and his grandfather receive angry text messages from each other's respective rivals that read "TEZUKAAAAAAA!"

OishiHook

Oishi's birthday present to Tezuka.

While fishing, Tezuka picks out a new hook and notices that one of his hooks was shaped like Oishi. He thinks back and remembers how Oishi had given it to him as a birthday gift and then decides to use it.

(OVA Only) The next time they have practice, Tezuka thanks Oishi for the hook and shows him a picture of himself catching a super large fish after using the Oishi hook, much to Oishi's delight.

Later, Tezuka becomes one of fifty middle school students invited to an elite training camp for the Japanese Under-17 tennis team. Coach Ryuzaki shows Tezuka and Oishi the invitation Seigaku received for the U-17 Camp.

U-17 Camp

  • Tezuka Obtaining a ball easily
  • Pinnacle of Perfection

Tezuka, along with the rest of the Seigaku regulars as well as several other middle schoolers, were invited to the U-17 Training Camp.

Upon arrival, the middle schoolers gather together. A helicopter suddenly drops tennis balls on the floor. The head coach then announces that all players unable to obtain a ball must leave the camp. All 50 middle schoolers are able to obtain a ball.

He, along with his fellow middle schoolers, were placed in a tie-breaker style elimination match against the partners they had thought they would be playing with. Tezuka paired up with his protege, Kaidō Kaoru, and tried to convey him the message of being the next captain of Seigaku, and defeated him 7-0.

Tezuka was able to move on to the 5th court relatively easily along with fellow middle schoolers Atobe Keigo, Tachibana Kippei, Chitose Senri, Ishida Gin, Akutagawa Jiro, Kite Eishiro, Shiraishi Kuranosuke, Akutsu Jin, Kirihara Akaya, Liliadent Krauser and Court Leader Oni Juujiro The Gate Keeper. Some time later, he encountered Yamato Yuudai, his former captain who now occupied the 3rd court, once more. Even though Yamato has changed drastically in looks, Tezuka was able to recognize him. Due to Oni of the 5th court deciding to put forward a Team Shuffle battle the 3rd court in a National-Styled match, Tezuka was selected by Oni for Singles 2, playing against Yamato. Before their match began, Tezuka cryptically stated that Yamato "didn't change at all."

Tezuka and Yamato play a drawn out match, until Yamato shows him the massive scars on his right arm which was due to playing beyond his arms capabilities. Warning Tezuka of the repercussions of playing recklessly for the sake of your team. After seeing this, Tezuka finally smiles during a match thanking his captain for everything he taught him. Tezuka eventually unleashes Muga no Kyouchi Pinnacle of Perfection. Tezuka defeats Yamato.

Tezuka abroad in Europe

Tezuka arriving in Germany.

Tezuka leaves the U-17 Camp but not before playing Fuji his promised match. With his new Pinnacle of Perfection he easily overwhelms Fuji, showing his new incredible level of strength. He then leaves the All-Japan Junior camp and heads to Germany.

Tezuka is then later seen having arrived in Germany outside a school, though his legacy at the U-17 camp is revived when Niou transforms himself into Tezuka to play doubles with Atobe.

Tennis Record

The following is of Tezuka's known official matches:

Official Middle School Tournaments

Tournament Round School Position Opponent(s) Score
2007 Tokyo Prefectual Quarterfinals Yamabuki Middle School Singles 3 Sengoku Kiyosumi Won (Unknown)
2007 Tokyo Prefectual Finals Hyōtei Academy Unknown Singles Team Captain Won (Unknown)
2008 Tokyo District Quarterfinals Gyokurin Reserve Player None None
2008 Tokyo District Finals Fudomine Middle School Singles 1 Tachibana Kippei None (NOTE-1)
2008 Tokyo Prefectual Quarterfinals St.Rudolph Singles 1 Nomura Takuya None (NOTE-1)
2008 Tokyo Prefectual Finals Yamabuki Middle School Singles 1 Muromachi Tōji None (NOTE-1)
2008 Kanto Regionals Round 1 Hyōtei Academy Singles 1 Atobe Keigo Lost (6-7) (35-37)
2008 Nationals Round 2 Higa Chuu Singles 1 Kite Eishirō Won (6-2)
2008 Nationals Quarterfinals Hyōtei Academy Singles 2 Kabaji Munehiro Won (7-6) (7-0)
2008 Nationals Semi-Finals Shitenhōji Doubles 1 Chitose Senri/Zaizen Hikaru Won (6-1) (NOTE-2)
2008 Nationals Finals Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku Singles 3 Sanada Genichirō Lost (5-7)
  • NOTE-1 No results due to Seigaku already winning 3 sets
  • NOTE-2 Doubles partner is Sadaharu Inui, but match is played as a 1-on-1 against Chitose.

Unofficial Singles Matches

Day Place Opponent Score
2005 Jr. Singles Tournament Sanada Genichirō Won (6-0)
2005 Jr. Singles Tournament Sanada Genichirō Won (6-1)
2005 Jr. Singles Tournament Yukimura Seiichi Unconfirmed
2006 Seigaku Yamato Yūdai Won (6-0) NOTE-1
2006 Seigaku Sugiyama Won (6-2)
2006 Seigaku Takesue Won (Unknown)
2006 Seigaku Fuji Shusuke Lost (0-6) NOTE-1
4/2008 Near a train station Ryoma Echizen Won (Unknown)
5/2008 Seigaku Momoshiro Takeshi Won (Unknown)
7/2008 Seigaku (Anime only) Echizen Ryoma Won (6-4) NOTE-1
7/2008 Jr. Senbatsu Camp Takahisa Kajimoto Won (NOTE-2)
7/2008 Jr. Senbatsu Camp Shishido Ryō Won (NOTE-2)
7/2008 Jr. Senbatsu Camp Sengoku Kiyosumi Won (NOTE-2)
7/2008 Jr. Senbatsu Camp Ootori Chōtarō Won (NOTE-2)
8/2008 Near a train station (Anime only) Echizen Ryoma Lost (Unknown)
8/2008 Shishigaku Daimaru Daikichi Lost (0-6) NOTE-1
8/2008 Shishigaku Unoki Junitsu Lost (NOTE-1)
8/2008 Shishigaku Daimaru Daikichi Won (Unknown)
8/2008 Seigaku Oishi Shūichiro Won (6-0)
8/2008 Seigaku Momoshiro Takeshi Won (Unconfirmed)
  • NOTE-1 Note that Tezuka's arm was inhibiting him from playing at his full strength at all of these matches. Against Yamato, Tezuka was using his right arm to hide his true strength, while Yamato himself already had his arm injured due to extensive practicing, which forced Yamato to not play at his best. Against Fuji, his arm was already damaged thanks to Takesue, and against Ryoma, he was using his right hand due to the shoulder injury after his match against Atobe. At Shishigaku, technically, his arm was cured, but he was afraid to raise it due to the fear of another injury, but he was able to overcome it thanks to Chitose Miyuki.
  • NOTE-2 These matches are all exclusive to the Jr. Senbatsu arc of the anime and the "matches" were all pretty much 1-point matches to see if Tezuka was good enough to be the coach. Tezuka only used light swings with his racquet, as per doctor's instructions.

U-17 Camp Results

Type of Match Partner Opponent Score
Tiebreaker-style Elimination Match None Kaoru Kaido Won (7-0)
Player Shuffle None Unknown 5th Court Member Won (Unknown)
Team Shuffle Singles 2 None Yamato Yūdai Won (6-4)

Playing Styles and Techniques

Tezuka is an All-Rounder tennis player, otherwise known as an all-court player, meaning he can use aspects of every tennis style depending on his needs. His dominant hand is his left hand, though he is shown to be capable of executing some of his techniques with his right hand as well. His skills are at the National-level and is one of the strongest tennis players in the series. As shown in Chapter 37 of the New Prince of Tennis, Tezuka's statistics reflect his status as a very skillful player, as he is recorded to have a 3 out of 5 in Speed and Stamina, 3.5 in power, 4 in Mentality, and a maxed out 5 out of 5 in Technique.

"No-Touch Ace"

A highly fast serve, this serve, while looks like a flat serve, is actually a slice serve. Not only that, he can hit the serve highly accurately in the corners of the service box.

Drop Shot (ドロップショット)

Tezuka about to do a drop shot

Tezuka performing a drop shot.

His mastery of the drop shot, including the Zero-Shiki Drop Shot, is at such a level where it looks just like a regular stroke until he hits the ball. The only (minor) difference between his drop shots and a regular stroke is that he drops the racquet head by 3.2 mm. This is one of his trump cards, and is used during slightly serious matches.

Zero Shiki Drop (Zero-Degree Drop Shot) (零式ドロップショット)
Zero Shiki Drop moments

After landing, the ball rolls back to the net.

One of the reasons Tezuka is acknowledged as a National-level tennis player, this is a high-level backspin drop shot that, once it touches the ground, it rolls back to the net due to the amount of backspin added instead of bouncing, making it impossible to return once it makes contact with the ground. One notable difference between the anime and the manga versions is that, in the anime, Tezuka can perform the Zero-Shiki only with the backhand, while in the manga, he can hit it with both the forehand and the backhand. This is definitely one the greatest of his trump cards.

Zero Shiki Serve (Zero-Degree Serve) (零式サーブ)

A variation of the Zero-Shiki Drop Shot, it's a serve that, instead of bouncing, it rolls back to the net just like the Zero-Shiki Drop Shot, due to its incredible spin. This does not give the opponent the chance to even touch the ball. Similar to the Tezuka Phantom, the amount of spin used to execute this technique puts a heavy burden on the arm, and can injure his arm if it was to be used consecutively.

This technique was broken once, even though it seemed impossible, by Sanada Genichirō in the manga. Sanada is able to use KaRinRai to weaken the spin on the ball, raise the ball from the ground, and allow it to go over the net, successfully defeating the serve.

Nitōryū (二刀流|lit. Two Sword Style)

The name given to Tezuka's ambidexterity because he can play with either hand. While his dominant hand is his left hand, he is also capable of playing with his right hand. His control of his right arm is great enough that he is capable of executing his techniques at a level that is seemingly on par with his left. He often plays with his right arm as a handicap as shown in flashbacks about his matches against older students during his first year.

Tezuka Zone (手塚ゾーン, Tezuka Zōn)

Tezuka Zone

Tezuka using Tezuka Zone.

A (nearly) impossible technique, only 3 people are known to use this technique. This technique forces any shots the opponent hits right back to Tezuka. The reason any of the opponent's returns are "sucked" into his hit zone is due to the large specific amount of spin that is required for Tezuka to add to the ball, which is freely controlled. Tezuka does not even need to move a step; all he needs to do is pivot one foot around the area he is standing in without lifting that foot from the ground, and putting a specific rotation on the ball with every hit.

Tezuka Zone in action

The Tezuka Zone being brought out.

With every return, Tezuka can (presumably, due to deduction) add a new heavy spin to the ball. This technique also is one of the only techniques to defeat the triple counters of Fuji. This technique can be broken, however, by these ways: by putting a counterspin to the ball to neutralize the spin (demonstrated by Sengoku Kiyosumi in the anime and by Sanada in the manga and OVA), by putting a stronger spin on the ball to break the spin on the ball, making it an uncontrollable shot in which neither players will know whrere the ball will go (demonstrated by Echizen Ryoma in the anime, when both players were using their right hand) and by overpowering the spin with sheer power to decrease the range where the ball will be returned (demonstrated by Sanada). The technique can also be broken by hitting cord balls, thus neutralizing the spin on the ball, as demonstrated by Fuji against Niou's version of the Tezuka Zone.

Tezuka Phantom (手塚ファントム)

Tezuka Phantom being brought out

Tezuka Phantom.

A variation of the Tezuka Zone, instead of sucking the ball towards Tezuka, it forces the ball out of bounds. However, the amount of spin the Tezuka Phantom requires to even make the ball out in singles is six times greater than the spin used for the Tezuka Zone, which puts a very heavy burden on Tezuka's arm, and consecutive uses of this technique may result in Tezuka re-injuring his arm or being permanently sidelined.

Muga no Kyōchi (無我の境地, Muga no Kyōchi, trans. "State of Self Actualization

Muga no Kyouchi

Muga no Kyōchi

")

Tezuka has been revealed to have unlocked Muga no Kyōchi prior to his entry into middle school. However, he was never shown to copy another's technique in this state, and he has never used Muga no Kyōchi by itself.

Tezuka has been shown to actually have unlocked Muga no Kyōchi at a young age, since Oishi has mentioned that Tezuka had a prototype version of Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami during his freshman year, and was confirmed during a flashback of Sanada Genichirō that Sanada was defeated by Tezuka in Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami. However, due to his arm injury, both Muga no Kyōchi and Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami were sealed until the Nationals during his 3rd year against Kite Eishirō in the match 2nd round match between Seigaku and Higa.

Muga no Kyōchi has three doors, but Tezuka has unlocked two of them by the end of the Nationals Arc. However, in the New Prince of Tennis Manga series, he unlocks the last door. They are:

Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami (Pinnacle of Hard Work)
Hyakku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami in action

Tezuka using Hyakku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami.

The first door of Muga no Kyōchi that Tezuka has opened, he focuses all of the energy of Muga no Kyōchi into different parts of his body, increasing the capabilities of that body part. What makes Tezuka's Hyaku Ren possible is the Tezuka Zone, which allows him to focus the Hyaku Ren's energy into his left arm, preventing the immense loss of stamina caused by the Muga release, and giving him the ability to return balls with twice the strength, or spin, that they were hit with.

Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami (Pinnacle of Great Wisdom)
Tezuka using Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami

Tezuka using Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami.

The second door of Muga no Kyōchi that Tezuka has opened, he can focus the power of Muga no Kyōchi into his brain, which allows him to be able to tell how many shots the current rally will take and who will win the point, giving him a form of foresight. Tezuka first unlocks this in his match against Chitose Senri a fellow Saiki Kanpatsu no Kiwami user. Unlike the other Aura's, this aura sparkles around the user.

Teni Muhō No Kiwami (Pinnacle of Perfection)
Tezuka activating Tenimuhou no Kiwami Muga no Kyouchi final door

Tezuka activating Flawless Unity.

This is the ultimate door and final door of Muga no Kyōchi that Tezuka has opened (manga only). In the New Prince of Tennis Manga, Chapter 37 (Farewell Tezuka Kunimitsu), he uses the Teni Muhō No Kiwami (which is noticed by Seiichi Yukimura) against former Seigaku captain, Yamato Yūdai in the U-17 Team Shuffle match between 3rd Court and 5th Court. The theory behind the Teni Muhō No Kiwami, according to Inui Sadaharu, is that it can focus all of his energy into every part of his body, like a full-potential version of Hyaku Ren Jitoku no Kiwami.

According to Nanjirō, however, 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. Tezuka was able to achieve the said feeling of having fun in tennis when he realized that he had accomplished everything he wanted to do, thus giving him a feeling of self-fulfillment as well as re-learning to play tennis for his own sake. So far, five characters in the Prince of Tennis series (including New Prince of Tennis) (Anime and Manga) have managed to achieve this state: Echizen Nanjirō, Echizen Ryoma, Tezuka Kunimitsu and most recently, Toyama Kintarou and Oni Juujiro.

U-17 Stats

Speed - 4.5: He has the speed of a top class athlete, but he is unable to travel at unbelieveable speeds.

Power - 4: When he activates Hyakuren Jitoku no Kiwami, he is able to exhibit astounding power. However, his own playstyle is not very powerful.

Stamina - 4: Because he strictly regulates himself, the stamina of his cardio-vascular system is not a problem. However, in a drawn out match, parts of his body will tend to scream out. The only thing he needs to do is work on the stamina of his burdened elbow.

Mental - 5: He is the type that can sacrifice his body nonchalantly. Once he conquered his yips, he acquired a steel will.

Technique - 6: With things like his Zero-Shiki shots and Tezuka Zone, He stands above the rest with skills that can send his opponents into despair

Kurobe Memo: Of course, I had intended to have him flourish within the 1st String, however it can't be helped since he withdrew from the camp. It'll only be a matter of time for him to reach the top level of the pros.

Personal Information[1]

  • Foot Size: 27.5 cm
  • Hobby: Fishing, camping, mountain climbing
  • Family Composition: Grandfather, Father, Mother
  • Father's Occupation: Company Employee (firm)
  • Spends Allowance On: Book Fees
  • Favorite Motto: The enemy exists within oneself.
  • Best Subject: World History
  • Worst Subject: None
  • Committee: Student Council President
  • Most Frequently Visited Spot at School: Library
  • Favorite Colors: Green or Blue
  • Favorite Foods: Unacha (a dish where eel is dipped and broiled in soy-based sauce with fish and kelp soup poured over it)
  • Favorite Movies: Famous classics regardless of whether they're Japanese or foreign
  • Favorite Book: Western books
  • Favorite Music: Classical (Beethoven)
  • Favorite Type: Those who give it their all in everything (It's fine if they're a little scatterbrained), A person who is energetic and serious
  • Favorite Date Spot: Fishing in the streams on a mountain
  • What he wants the most at the moment: A photo book of famous mountains in the world
  • Daily Routine: Writing in his journal
  • Dislikes/Bad at: Neglecting one's work, being idle
  • Skills outside of Tennis: Woodwork/Carpentry
  • Favorite Shoe Brand: MIZUNO (WAVE DUAK LIGHT <6K93009>)
  • Favorite Racquet Brand: MIZUNO (PRO LIGHT S90)
  • Catchphrase: Yudan sezu ni ikou or "Don't let your guard down," "Let's go without being careless"
  • Second Best Sport: Archery [2]

Daily School Life[1]

  • 05:30 - Rises from bed. Has breakfast after stretching and weight training.
  • 06:30 - Listens to English lessons on the radio
  • 06:50 - Goes to school. Morning practice
  • 08:40 - First Period: Society/World History
  • 09:40 - Second Period: Calligraphy
  • 11:00 - Third Period: Math III.
  • 12:00 - Fourth Period: Music/Classics Appreciation.
  • 12:50 - Lunch break: Has unacha (bento)
  • 13:20 - Fifth Period: P.E./Hurdling
  • 14:20 - Sixth Period: Science III/Physics.
  • 15:20 - Student council meeting. Takes care of reports on suggested items.
  • 16:00 - Club activities. Free practice.
  • 19:00 - Returns home. Takes a bath
  • 19:30 - Dinner.
  • 20:00 - Watches the TV program "The gluttonous player title." (recording)
  • 21:00 - Reads. (mainly foreign books)
  • 21:30 - Diary. Goes over points that need reflection.
  • 22:30 - Goes to sleep.

Note from Ishikawa Hiroyuki (Principal): Tezuka-kun is our school's pride. As the student council president, he is the captain who controls the entire country. I have no complaints.

Note from Oishi: He doesn't show people his laughter... He seldomly laughs outside, but I wonder if he laughs at home.

Relationships

  • Tezuka Kunikazu - Tezuka has a very close relationship with his grandfather and has a lot of respect for him. Kunikazu also has a strong bond with his grandson. He would even skip his shogi game (New Prince of Tennis OVA 1) just to go fishing and spend some time with him.
  • Fuji Shusuke- Tezuka and Fuji have been friends since they were 1st year, and over the years they have shared a strong bond. Even though Tezuka doesn't show it much, he values his friendship with Fuji and considers Fuji as one of his strongest rivals. He and Fuji are often seen together, have shared a number of smiles with each other, and indeed seem able to communicate with each other without words.
  • Yudai Yamato- Tezuka's former captain during his younger years. Having to suceed him as the team captain, making him the "pillar of support," Tezuka has shown to have a lot of respect for his former captain, Yamato has even helped him remember to have fun in tennis again, and has encouraged him to finally start his tennis profession in Germany.
  • Echizen Ryoma - Tezuka and Ryoma both have a strong senpai and kohai relationship, and has consider Ryoma has his own rival. Tezuka has trained Ryoma to be a player of his own experience, and has given him reason to dream higher and choose his own path to follow. His relationship with Ryoma is quite similair to his relationship with his former captain Yudai Yamato, and just like his freshman days he also made Ryoma the "pillar of support." He has believed in Ryoma till the very end.
  • Other seniors (Eiji, Oishi, Inui, Kawamura) - knowing his fellow seniors since their freshman days, Oishi and Tezuka are on good terms. As his vice-captain, Oishi has helped him lead the tennis club especially during his absence. His relationship with Inui is quite good since he relies on him as team manager and the "data man" to gather necessary data for the team. He seems to have be on good terms with Eiji and Kawamura.
  • Momoshiro and Kaidoh - Tezuka seem quite strict with his 2nd year regulars specially due the number of arguements they have just about everyday. They are often seen being scolded and ordered to run laps but he has a lot of faith in them to one day lead Seigaku.

Criticisms

Tezuka's character has been well-received by readers since his introduction, having ranked in the top five most popular characters in every Shonen Jump character popularity poll of series. He has also remained in the top 10 in the annual Valentine Chocolate Recipient rankings Takeshi Konomi releases in the manga, in which readers mail in who they want to send chocolate to. In publications on manga and anime, however, his character has received mixed reviews.

Reviewers comment on his lack of originality, and that the impossibility of one his techniques is part of why the story seems idiotic. Though one reviewer questions his likability as a protagonist, his personality is praised, with one seeing an example of his devotion as one of the highlights of the series, and another commenting that he is a good captain who is properly motivating the main character.

Trivia

Character Trivia

  • Tezuka is very close to his grandfather as they often go fishing together.
  • When he has trouble with math, Tezuka asks Oishi for help.
  • In the official art by Konomi, Tezuka is shown winning a tournament trophy as a pro when he is 25. It also appears that he has been sponsored by Adidas.
  • Tezuka is shown to be so intelligent, that he is able to correct teachers.
  • Since Tezuka looks older than he really is, he has been mistaken for a teacher. [3]
  • At the age of 10, Tezuka has climbed Switzerland's Matterhorn with his father.[1]
  • Tezuka was made vice-captain of the tennis club in his second year.[1]
  • Tezuka has been to Taiwan, before becoming a third year.[1]
  • Tezuka had originally planned to leave for Germany during the Fall trimester, and after the Nationals Tournament. He went as far as to tell Oishi that the tournament would be his last time playing tennis in Japan. [4]
  • Tezuka thinks that Shiraishi’s ability to stay calm and composed through any tough situation is what makes him scary.
  • Tezuka said he can think of 10 things at the same time. This included saying "Ich liebe dich" (I love you in German) while conversing with Fuji, and in turn making Fuji blush, somewhat embarrassed. [5]
  • He can speak German
  • He just bought a pack of new mountain climbing boots and is thinking about which mountain to climb next.

Other Trivia

  • His grandfather Tezuka Kunikazu (Age 72) is old police friends with Sanada's grandfather, Sanada Gen'emon. The two often play Shōgi together with 99 wins and 99 losses each.[6]
  • It is interesting to note that the males of the Tezuka family have their first names begin with "Kuni". Kuniharu (Tezuka's father's first name) means "fine country". Kunikazu (Tezuka's grandfather's first name) means "one country". Kunimitsu means "light country". [7]
  • In the TeniPuri episodes, Tezuka is known to be a leader of Seigaku while defeating the Rudolphian, Mizuki. Also in the baseball episode, he was shown to be going back to Japan for a baseball game. But when he was about to hit the ball, his shoulder suddenly got hurt. And in the Western TeniPuri, he was a lone gunman, but he failed to bring any guns. In the TeniPuri Family episodes, Tezuka is the grandfather of the TeniPuri family, where he is paired up to Fuji, the grandmother.
  • It is only in the OVA, the original anime's epilogue, and fanbook 40.5 that it is stated that Tezuka would be leaving for Germany in the next Spring.
  • Takeshi Konomi described Tezuka as the character who he has the least in common with.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Pair Puri Volume 2
  2. Prince of Tennis Fanbook 20.5
  3. Genius 41
  4. Genius 300s
  5. White Heat Remix - fandisc
  6. Pair Puri Volume 1
  7. Prince of Tennis Fanbook 10.5

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