5. Baby Steps
Baby Steps is a rather interesting and decidedly different take on the tennis anime. It centres around Eiichiro Maruo, a 15-year-old top honour student who consistently scores straight ‘A’s in all his examinations. This is thanks to his extremely meticulous, careful notes that he jots down in classes. This habit proves to be very useful when he decides to take up tennis as a way to stay healthy, as he slowly gets enamoured by the intricacies of the game and even begins to consider playing tennis professionally.
If you love tennis or considering picking up the game, then you’ll find this anime brilliant. The depth and details of the explanations of the game and tactics can almost be taken as a coaching video. Eiichiro’s excellent analytical skills and meticulous note taking (which he often refers to during the short breaks between each game), helps him to adapt quickly to the dynamic playing style of his opponents and coming up with brilliant counter plays. Though he is talented, he continues to put in the hard work and diligent practice to achieve his goals. And though, this is anime about an action sport, it feels somewhat cerebral and manages to portray tennis as a gentleman’s sport brilliantly.
Why watch it?: It’s a tennis anime that’s a lot more grounded in the realities of the game. That’s not to say it’s boring as the theories and explanation actually play a good part of making this anime extremely interesting.
TV series: 50 episodes