14 (The Prince of Tennis)
1.5 (both eyes)
Seigaku (3rd Year)
Seishun (Seiharudai) First (Daiichi) Elementary School
|Japan U-17 Camp||
Court 5 (Former)
|Foreign U-17 Camp||
MIZUNO (PRO LIGHT S90)
MIZUNO (WAVE DUAK LIGHT <6K93009>)
Kunimitsu Tezuka (手塚 国光, Tezuka Kunimitsu) is a third-year who is currently the captain of the Seigaku tennis team. He is known to be a National-level player and has been noted by many characters in the series to be one of the toughest opponents in their era.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Playing Styles and Techniques
Daily School Life
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- "I can't forgive anyone who breaks the rules." ("Kiritsu wo midatsu yatsu wa yuru san")
- "Echizen, become Seigaku's pillar of support!" ("Echizen, omae wa Seigaku no hashirai nai.")
- "Don't let your guard down." ("Yudan sezu ni iko.")
- (Commenting on Momoshiro’s Jack Knife) “It’s here at last.” (“Iyoiyo kita ka.”)
- “Akutsu’s willpower, and Echizen’s courage. Whichever is stronger will be able to control this match.” (“Akutsu no ijito, Echizen no yuki. Yori tsuyoi ho ga kono shihai yo setsuru.”)
- "Is that enough?" ("Mou ii no ka?")
- (In response to Atobe's drive volley) "Nice drive volley." ("Ii drive volley da.")
- (During his first year) "I don’t mind that. But instead, Oishi kun...in our time, let’s definitely lead Seigaku to the Nationals."
- ("Kamau wa nai sa. Sono kawari, Oishi-kun...ore-tachi no dai de wa, zettai ni Seigaku wo Zengoku e michibi te yarou ze.")
- (In response to Takesue injuring his arm) "Stop screwing around...How many years have you all been playing tennis? Rackets are not used for injuring other people! If this is what this kind of club is...Oishi-kun, sorry. I’m quitting."
- ("Fuzakeru na...Anata-tachi wa itai nannen tennis wo yatterun da? Racket wa hito kizutsu keru tame ni arun ja nai! Sonna bukatsu nara...Oishi-kun, gomen. Ore yammemasu.")
- "Don’t hold back, Atobe. Come with everything you have." ("Enyou suru nayo, Atobe. Honki de koi.")
- "Atobe...sorry, but we will be the ones going to the Nationals." ("Atobe...warui na, Zenkoku ikasete morau zo.")
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