This will mark my third article on this site that mentions Teekyu but I don’t care. Its 100th episode aired this week and I’m seizing the opportunity to talk about one of my favourite mindless comedy shows. Don’t misunderstand though, mindless is a positive compliment here; this show functions as the perfect palette cleanser and continues to be one of my favourite shows. Although you’ll need the ability to read subtitles at rapid speed and be prepared to marathon a whole lot of episodes, Teekyu is one of those shows that I always recommend to everyone.
BREAKNECK PACING, INSANE CHARACTERS AND PERFECT CONSISTENCY
TENNIS?, COMEDY | ORIGINAL CREATOR: TERADA, TSUGEO | 9 SEASONS, 100+ EPISODES
The Premise of this Show
Teekyu is a show that will keep you on your toes for the entire duration of each episode. That’s right, all two minutes of it! This show makes up for its incredibly swift episode times in its fast talking abilities and cramming in as much dialogue as humanly possible. Although advertised as a sports anime in some regards, I would argue that Teekyu has spent less than 10% of its run-time actually playing Tennis. Instead, the focus is on mind-boggling insane story lines that work around the maddeningly energetic cast of characters.
My History with Teekyu
Back in 2012 when the first episode of Teekyu premiered, anyone who expected this show to still be running five years later can be considered a true fan. I wasn’t even watching anime when this aired so the concept of that is pretty baffling to me. As most of these short episode shows, I found Teekyu on a whim scrolling through the airing shows back in October of 2015. At that time, there were already Five Seasons, with the Sixth airing upon my discovery.
It wasn’t as if I was at my desk at home though, I was at college. As a first year I had an awful timetable and on Tuesdays I remember having a 4 hour gap between classes. With just over an hour travel time including a train ride between my house and college, it wasn’t ideal to go home. Without the pressure of exams in the first year, I’d spend my time in a common room or library – usually messing around on my phone if by myself. That’s when I found it. Needless to say, my break was four hours long and I spent two of them marathonning all 60-odd episodes (at that time). Needless to say, it had me hooked.
A Style of Comedy I’ve yet to find elsewhere
As you might expect from a gag comedy, this show’s ridiculous writing and over-the-top performances are what brings everything together. Especially seen in anime, there are shows that try to rip off the concept of “random” humour. Usually targeted at younger audiences featuring jokes that either don’t fit the setting or just don’t fit at all, these shows have never personally appealed to me. Fan labelled “ADHD” narratives are incredibly hit and miss with most shows being a hard miss. Teekyu manages to balance this out by creating consistent character tropes and keeping the insane moments within reason of each member’s motives and intention.
For comparison, a show like Magical Somera-chan (a decent show in its own right) attempts to tackle a similar blend of comedy. Each character acts like a kid drunk on fizzy lemonade and the narrative of each episode is pretty linear due to its short run time. However, where I think Teekyu excels compared to a show like this is its awareness of its own value and creating a sense of trust in its viewers. Magical Somera-chan‘s characters are off-the-wall to the point where development or recognisable traits get lost and everyone becomes a function rather than a character. In contrast, a character like Yuri Oshimoto (purple ponytail hair) always acts as the straight man of the group. Even though that is her function, there are plenty of episodes where her love for the sport and her friends become more important than her function of keeping the show on the rails.
It’s easy to write a show that goes all over the place, what’s difficult is to keep an insane show on the rails and still have your audience gasp of shock 100 episodes into the series.
Two Relatively Strong Spin-Off Shows
Takamiya Nasuno desu!
Among our main cast of characters is the pompous rich girl Nasuno. Clearly she has been the favourite girl of either the staff our the audience because she’s the only one to get her own dedicated show. This 12 episode show of a similar 2 minute episode length continued the series’ insanely fast dialogue and followed the lives of Nasuno and her butler/servant/friend Yota. Personally, I find the strength in the main series to be how all four characters bounce off of each other so this spin-off wasn’t quite as strong. That being said, it was entertaining to see how the previously one-dimensional character acted when she’s away from her friends.
Now featuring a completely new cast of characters, fewer hectic antics and a fresh art style, Usakame only received one season for good reason. As much as I loved the new childlike crayon art style, all of the features that made the main series so strong were stripped away. The new cast is much cuter than that of Teekyu but for once in my life I’ll say that being cute isn’t all that matters in anime. In the end, this show just felt lacklustre. Fans of Teekyu felt disappointed and newcomers just saw this show as another sports/slice of life displaying a cast of cute characters.
An Incredibly Memorable Series That Never Disappoints
I guess you could say that any show of 100 episodes would be memorable in the mind of the viewer but this really is one of the shows that comes to my mind all the time. Although that being said, doing the math shows that I’ve currently spent ~3.33 hours watching this show. Where a typical 12 episode show has a run-time of 4 hours, there are an absolutely maddening amount of shows that are not nearly as memorable. Even after all of this time, every new episode brings something insane and unexpected to the world. Not just some of the time, I find that every single episode has me baffled at least.
Teekyu is one of the series that I am the most genuinely excited for whenever a new season is announced. There’s only so many ways I can explain that this show is hilarious without showing actual clips and dialogue segments. So few shows can flaunt a relatively low budget and production value without it looking like low effort content or feeling way too tryhard. Teekyu seems to be one of the most genuine passion projects in the anime industry right now. Even though episodes poke fun at the marketing of their Blu-Ray sets and merch sites, there is so much love poured into this show that I can’t help but adore this show.
Congratulations on the incredible milestone to Teekyu, Terada Tsugeo, all of the staff behind the past nine seasons and all of the people involved in bringing this series to the public! Looking forward to the next 100 episodes!