So I’m rewatching the Fudoumine matches again, and listening, as opposed to reading the initial translations, a few things catch my attention.
One is that Nanjirou is referred to as “flawless” or “perfect”, that is ten’i muhou, repeatedly.
The other is that, at this point, both Nanjirou and Tezuka state that Ryouma will have to move beyond merely copying his father if he wants to progress in his spiritual journey tennis.
So… how, again, is it moving beyond merely copying his father if Ryouma’s Final Ultimate Supercalafragalistic move is Ten’i Muhou no Kiwami?
I do not expect this to be answered, having long since concluded that if Konomi ever had a clear idea of how he wanted to conclude this story he lost it round about the time he started the National arc. But, as a fic writer who wishes to make some little sense out of canon for my own nefarious purposes, I fret.
I also note that, right from the first, there’s this pattern of players being willing to injure themselves to secure a team win. Kawamura doesn’t notice what he did to himself immediately, but Ishida is knowingly courting injury after being told it could permanently impair him to use Hadoukyuu too often. I could see this being a commentary on the way it twists the game to play it for nothing but victory, if I believed that was Konomi’s moral from the start, except… Ryouma does it too, when his eyelid is cut. And we’ve just been told, repeatedly, that he’s exactly like Nanjirou, our exemplar of Pure and Innocent Tennis, so that determination being negative doesn’t fit in nicely. This is especially so seeing as Ryouma’s stubbornness is the occasion for a heart warming round of team bonding and mutual support, as per standard shounen sports practice.
So I suppose I will just continue to consider canon Nationals some kind of strange AU and accept the pre-Nationals story trends. There’s more of them anyway.