|The Prince of Tennis|
|Season 1, Episode 3|
October 24, 2001 (Japan)
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The Seigaku Regulars Make Their Debut! (Tōjō! Seigaku Regurā, 登場!青学レギュラー) is the third episode of the series and the third in the Intraschool Ranking arc.
The Seigaku Regulars are introduced, while a Journalist, Mamoru Inoue, and a Photographer, Saori Shiba, visit Seigaku in order to report on the team's upcoming ranking matches. Meanwhile, Ryoma defeats a second year non-regular, Masashi Arai], using an old broken tennis racket when the latter hides all three of Ryoma's rackets. Seeing his skill, the captain of the tennis team, Kunimitsu Tezuka, enters Ryoma's name on the roster for the intraschool ranking matches despite the fact that he is a freshman.
The episode starts at school, some of the regulars were gathered together, talking about the freshman, Ryoma Echizen. We scene past through Sakuno and her friend, also Tezuka. At the tennis courts, Horio is beside Ryoma, talking about how Momo was only using half his strength because of his ankle injury (Ryoma isn't listening). As Horio keeps talking, the other freshmen gather, saying how Horio knows so much, Ryoma just leaves.
A sophomore then walks to Ryoma, not knowing Ryoma was the 'freshman' as Ryoma points to Horio. The sophomore is angry with the 'freshman' till Arai comes, telling him he has the wrong one. Flash to the tennis locker room, Horio is talking then walks off to the door, after stepping on an old racket he puts away, ramming into Arai. Ryoma walks by, not being nice to his senpais.
Horio and friends run. Arai and his buddies talk in the locker room, unhappy about Ryoma might being able to be a regular. Inside, Tezuka, Oishi, and Ryuzaki are figuring about which people to choose in the ranking tournaments. Oishi mentions Ryoma. Freshmens are training outside, as they have to do sit-ups next. Inoue and Shida, the reporters, are passing by.
Arai comes, trying to intimidate Ryoma then the regulars come. Oishi, who Horio thinks is Tezuka till a couple seconds later, lets the freshmen play on the courts. The regulars do a smash practice (all tennis balls go into the basket no matter where Oishi lobs it). Arai once again talks to Ryoma as Oishi accidently lobs to high, which Ryoma hits right in the basket.
Arai threatens, Tezuka appears and makes both Arai and Ryoma run 20 laps. As Ryoma runs, Arai has an idea (looking at Ryoma's tennis bag). The freshmen are swinging their rackets as Ryoma comes back, finding his bag gone. Arai wants a match, though Ryoma's racket is 'missing', Arai passes Ryoma an old racket. Arai starts talking, obviously pointing out Arai hid Ryoma's rackets, Ryoma accepts the match.
The match goes on as Ryoma can't hit the ball for a bit then he spins his body to add a spin on the ball. Arai is losing then on. Ryoma obviously wins, saying his warm-up is now done. Tezuka and Oishi were watching from the school, Tezuka states to make everyone, including regulars, to run laps for breaking the rules. Ryuzaki is looking down at the ranking tournament sheet, to see Ryoma's name on it.
List of new characters as they appear.
Tennis Techniques Introduced
Manga Chapter Equivalents
- Chapter 4: A Declaration Of War
- Chapter 5: The Dusty Racket
- Chapter 6: Irony
Anime and Manga Differences
- In the manga, it was Arai that questioned who the "Super Freshman" was (while making his debut), but it was switched to an unnamed club member in the anime.
- In the manga, when the Regulars stepped onto the courts, Kaido was not wearing a bandana, while in the anime, he was introduced with the bandana from the start.
- The Freshman Trio's roles are slightly more expanded in the anime.