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KLIATTThis sports manga stars Ryoma Echizen, a 12-year-old boy who tries out for the 16-and-under tennis group. This is almost unheard of since the team consists entirely of upperclassmen and Ryoma is only a 7th grader. Will he make the cut? It sure looks that way to me. Ryoma beats an 8th grader playing with his right hand (he's left-handed), beats another upperclassman playing with a rickety racket that's about 100 years old, and shows he can hit a twist serve (whatever that is). The Prince of Tennis is a hit in Japan, and it's especially popular with young girls, which makes sense since all the boys in this manga are drawn as hunks. Ryoma himself is a hunk—he's slim, a gifted athlete, somewhat mysterious, and basically too cool for words. I had a few issues: Ryoma is such a good tennis player it's hard to view him as an underdog, which he's clearly meant to be; also, his personality is somewhat unformed and he hasn't yet forged any relationships with the other characters. That's okay because he's somewhat mysterious, and this is only the first volume of a long series (20 volumes and counting). Quibbling aside, The Prince of Tennis is well drawn, well written, and very suitable for younger readers. Recommended for libraries with manga collections. (Vol. 1). KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, VIZ, 189p. illus., Ages 12 to 15.