Characters In Order of AppearanceEdit
- Takuma Egawa (flashback)
- Eiichiro Maruo (flashback)
- Eiichiro Maruo
- Takuma Egawa
- Yukichi Fukazawa
- Masumi Makihara
- Yuki Tajima
- Yusaku Miura
- Natsu Takasaki
- Kojirou Kageyama
- Himeko Sasaki (cameo)
- Nariyuki Koshimizu
- Eiichiro Maruo's Mother
With Natsu's advice, Eiichiro has started to return Takuma's serves (albeit, imperfect), causing Takuma to get serious and hits a winning serve. Due to this event, Coach Miura invites Eiichiro to participate in a tennis tournament. Being anxious to his first tournament and the fact that he has to face a seeded player, Natsu gives Eiichiro some courage in order for Eiichiro to have a more optimistic view on the tournament.
Takuma challenges Eiichiro to return at least one ball from his serve. However, instead of hitting the ball, Eiichiro ends up running away due to its fast speed. Aside from the speed, Eiichiro has not practiced on how to return the ball, thus, his counters look awkward so he decides to check his notes. Takuma allows it under the condition that Eiichiro only has 20 seconds (based on the rules of tennis). After checking the notes, Eiichiro's racket has managed to touch the ball, but due to the power, his racket flies away and he stumbles. While everyone is still laughing on the situation, both Takuma and Coach Miura are surprised.
Natsu, then, appears at the courts and is shocked with the sudden events in Court A. As Eiichiro starts to get confused on what to consider when returning a ball, Natsu gives an advice to Eiichiro, that is, Eiichiro should not consider the ball as his enemy; he should welcome the ball instead of chasing it away. While Eiichiro is wondering on the analogy given by Natsu, Coach Miura thinks that Natsu has given Eiichiro a good one. However, with Natsu helping Eiichiro, Takuma is starting to get even angrier, which causes the audience to flinch with the intense aura. He hits a very fast serve again, but this time, Eiichiro tries to apply what Natsu has said earlier. Eiichiro manages to set himself up to meet the ball. Unfortunately, instead of his racket, his face ends up hitting the ball, causing him to fall from impact. While Coach Miura and Natsu are inquiring on Eiichiro's condition, Eiichiro starts to laugh, causing the whole audience to worry further.
Turns out, Eiichiro has realized how to return the ball, thanks to Natsu' advice. With this, Eiichiro has starting to return the serves, but it is either out of bounds or hitting the net. The audience starts to watch the contest more earnestly as a beginner starts to return serves from one of the top servers. Even Coach Miura wonders on what is happening as Natsu's advice and the basics are not enough to return Takuma's serves. On Takuma's last serve, Takuma decides to use a completely different serve, causing Eiichiro to be shocked and is not able to return the ball. As Eiichiro realizes that he loses from the challenge, he notices that Takuma is leaving the premises instead as Takuma "does not care anymore", so in the end, Eiichiro did not manage to hear the reason Takuma is angry at him. As everyone wonders on Takuma's sudden change of serve, Coach Miura sees Eiichiro's notes and checks its contents - Eiichiro has drawn all the trajectory of Takuma's serves. Coach Miura is convinced that Takuma has realized Eiichiro's ability and decides a winning serve instead of an usual one.
As Eiichiro is picking up the balls, he wonders if he can return all kinds of serves if he practices his returns. Natsu asks Eiichiro if he had fun in the contest, which causes Eiichiro to blush. Coach Miura suddenly calls out Eiichiro and invites Eiichiro to participate on the Kanagawa Junior Tennis Circuit. At school, Kageyama sees Eiichiro's schedule and learns that Eiichiro will be participating on a tennis tournament. Natsu then appears to ask for Eiichiro's notes in English as she wants to practice her English. Later, as Eiichiro and Natsu are going to the courts, a foreigner approaches them to ask the location of STC's reception. As Eiichiro does not know how to converse with the foreigner, Natsu tries to answer, albeit in broken English. After the foreigner left, Eiichiro laments on how his English grades are high, yet he cannot converse normally.
At the courts, everyone, including Eiichiro, is practicing for the upcoming tennis tournament. Eiichiro is working too hard, up to the point that he passes out after practice. While Eiichiro is resting, he is called out to receive a copy of brackets for the upcoming Kanagawa Junior. Turns out, his opponent for the first round is Oobayashi, who is also the fifth seed of the tournament. He also learns that Takuma is the first seed, but currently in a slump. Realizing how awesome the people around him, Eiichiro starts to get more anxious, not realizing that Natsu is behind him and stumbles when Natsu tries to surprise him. Natsu learns the cause of Eiichiro's anxiousness and tells him that she also experiences such anxiousness as well. Eiichiro does not expect someone like Natsu to experience that kind of anxiousness, making Natsu pouts. Natsu shares how the people's expectations causing her to feel more pressure and when one feels helpless once s/he stads on the court. Natsu then asks Eiichiro to cheer for her, not as a seeded player but a normal player which in return, she will cheer for him as well. With Natsu's support, Eiichiro manages to have a more optimistic view on his first match and decides to practice more in preparation for his match.
Manga & Anime DifferencesEdit
- Eiichiro gets a nosebleed when he was hit by Takuma's serve in the manga.
- When Takuma is about to leave after his challenge against Eiichiro, he is already wearing his jacket in the anime while in the manga, he is not wearing his jacket yet.
- The manga explains that what Eiichiro wrote during his challenge against Takuma are the path and point of impact of Takuma's serves.
- In the anime, after learning that he will participate in a tournament, he collapses and falls unconscious. In the manga, he has a nosebleed instead.
- While both anime and manga give an explanation about "seeded players", the anime gives a better explanation about this.
- When Natsu surprises Eiichiro, in the manga, the tennis balls fall towards the tennis courts while in the anime, the tennis balls fall beside the tennis court.
- The scenes only present in the anime:
- Kageyama and Eiichiro talking about Eiichiro's first match.
- Eiichiro and Natsu helping a foreigner for directions
- The meaning of the term "draw" in tennis
- Yukichi's introduction that his surname is not the same as the one in 10,000 yen bill.
- Nariyuki Koshimizu's and Himeko Sasaki's cameo appearances