Introduction

Hyoutei is one of the rival schools in the anime Prince of Tennis, and they're certainly the school that has goten the most attention and development after Seigaku. Each of Hyoutei's regulars has a distinct, well-developed personality; there isn't a single one of them that blends into the background. Even the two semi-regulars have been carefully developed (if nowhere nearly as extensively as the regulars).

Under these circumstances, it's only natural that the boys of Hyoutei should end up being fan favorites.

The Prince of Tennis

Prince of Tennis is a sports manga/anime series, created by Konomi Takeshi. It's the story of a junior high freshman named Echizen Ryoma, an exceptionally gifted tennis player, and of the other regular members of the tennis club of Seishun Gakuen (Seigaku, for short). The plot is basically Seigaku's journey towards the japanese national junior high tennis tournament.

Hyoutei Gakuen Chuutoubu

Hyoutei Gakuen is a rival Tokyo junior high school well-known for its tennis. Its Tennis Club boasts of over 200 members, and the regular members of the team are the best of the best. The coach sets very high, competitve standards, and any regular who loses a match is dropped from the team. It's a strong enough team that it doesn't even bother to use most of its regular members unless it is a pivotal match against a talented team. The year before Prince of Tennis takes place, Hyoutei Gakuen was the first runner up in the Kantou regionals, and they beat Seigaku's team.

Hyoutei faces Fudomine (a rival school with a "recurring role" on PoT) during the prefectural tournament. Like many others, they underestimate the caliber of Fudomine's players. Hyoutei loses the encounter without ever getting to singles 2 and 1: they use non-regulars for both doubles matches, and predictably they both lose; in singles 3, Shishido, despite being a regular, suffers a humiliating defeat to Fudomine's captian Tachibana. Hyoutei's standing suffers considerably, and they only advance to the Kantou regionals after beating St. Rudolph in the consolation round.

Due to that and to a twist of fate, Hyoutei ends up scheduled to face Seigaku during the very first round of the Kantou regional tournament. Both teams are made up of talented players, both are determined to win and eventually move on towards the nationals.

Why Hyoutei?

Aside from the fact that these are wonderfully realized characters, I have a tendency to like antiheroes or antagonists. The "Big Bad", if you will.

Hyoutei is certainly one of the toughest schools that Seigaku has had to face so far. Unlike most of the characters from the other schools (with the exception of Yamabuki's Akutsu Jin and St. Rudolph's Mizuki Hajime, of course), most of the boys of Hyoutei actually have it in them to be downright bitchy to the Seigaku team members. I love that.

(Actually, their bitchiness is due more to their being self-confident to the point of arrogance, than to any inherent nastiness... more on that later).

So, basically, what initially drew me to Hyoutei was that it provided the closest thing to bad guys you're likely to find in a sports anime.

Well, okay, that and the fact that the captain is voiced by my absolutely favorite seiyuu, Suwabe Junichi.

After that, other things started to catch my attention and draw me in deeper. Things like the wonderful(ly slashy) relationship shared by Shishido and Ohtori, one of the doubles pairs. Or the fact that the captain Atobe Keigo, for all his arrogant drama queen displays, has moments of surprising compassion. Or Oshitari Yuushi, who is, IMO, quite simply the hottest bishie in the PoTverse.

The name

I'm quite sure that most of the people reading this, particularly those who remember the early 90s, are wondering just what it was that possesed me to name a Hyoutei shrine "Ice Ice Baby". Two reasons:

1. The kanji used to write "hyoutei" actual mean "ice" and "emperor".

2. I adore campy, cheesy pop culture references.

Warning: spoilers and yaoi abound

I don't believe in spoiler-free. In fact, one way to make sure I'll read something is to label it "SPOILERS". I also think that if one attempts to be spoiler-free in a shrine, you're limiting yourself to very superficial analysis of your subject, since it's generally what's revealed along the way, the /spoilers/, what makes a story or a character (or group of characters) interesting.

So yes, here there be spoilers, and lots of them.

On the other hand I believe very firmly in yaoi in general, and in the specially strong slashiness of Hyoutei's bishounen in particular. And it shows.

For the benefit of those rare uncorrupted innocents ignorant of the fact: slash and yaoi are two words for the same thing, basically referring to the homoerotic subtext existing in movies, anime series, books or just about anything really. If this sort of thing isn't your cup of tea... well, perhaps it would be best to find another tearoom. ^^