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- Prince of Tennis - Kikumaru/Oishi/Fuji/Tezuka love quadruple by Meia - (Requestied from a drabble meme. I love drabble memes. ♥) Do you know how often it is that fic comes along that has this vibe to it that is just... so much of Tenipuri fic out there doesn't have the right feel, it's not just good writing or bad writing, it's this... quality that makes me forget about everything but the sparkly fic I'm reading and just enjoyed the goddamned ride, but this fic has it. Not to mention I giggled my ass off and SPARKLED over the brilliantly on-target characterization of the characters. It was actually sort of subtle, yet not, in the way that Fuji so brilliantly just IS, but even the background characters who never really appeared were hysterical (I agree with the commentors--Momo calling Tezuka a cad = FUNNIEST THING EVER) and WHEEE FIC HIGH! *floats~* (No real warnings, it's sorta slash, but not really.)

- Prince of Tennis - Karupin drabble by Meia - Am I a heathen, harpy fangirl if I admit that Karupin fics generally don't do it for me? I'm not sure why, they just don't. However, this one... oh, my god, this was just sparkly and fun! Fuji and Ryoma's characterizations were fantastic, even in such a short time and just... the wording of the story was perfect. It's one thing to write well, it's another thing to capture that subtle tone that just jives with the series (and apparently makes me abuse the italics tags ~_~) and anime in general. Her Fuji is brilliant and I love, love, love his dialogue here. XD (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Hatch by Ruebert - The mystery, the enigma of the quiet, determined boy -- a child with a mop of hair that strayed into his eyes, who did not make friends, who preferred to read or study instead of playing during recess in primary school, who joined no clubs and had little interest in socializing, yet who could not be called a geek or wimp or bullied, either, [....] I do wonder how much my perspective on the character of Hiyoshi was affected by reading "Grasp" first (which was the smutfic I really wanted first, the thing that, since I'd decided I was suddenly interested, grabbed me and wouldn't let me go) and then this one, but... this is another fic by the same author, so it has that incredibly gorgeous writing style, the kind that is just so damned easy to read because it's Well-Written on a technical level. Everything was seamless--no awkward moments, no little things niggling at me or jarring me out of the narrative, and just an overall treat to read on that level alone. Then there was the characterization that just... hit its mark and made me BUY IT. Yes, I had a pre-existing wish to figure the character out, but I maintain that this story does an incredible job of presenting a three-dimensional and interesting version of a character that I didn't necessarily note too much the first time around. And it's not turning him into a worshipped character, I BUY that this is Hiyoshi Wakashi. (No real warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Glory by Branch - I... keep feeling like I've rec'd this story already, but I can't find it anywhere on my list. So, taking another stab at it then. ^_~ Emily is writing these Rikkai stories that... I mean... if previous to "Challenge", you'd asked me to read a story about Yukimura and Kirihara interaction, I probably wouldn't have done it, simply because I've had such a hard time tearing myself away from the YagyuuNiou stuff. Yet... she's made this team interesting for me in a way that's just amazing... she's got such a strong knack for fleshing out these characters and making them interesting and telling a genuinely good story. She was a good FMA writer, she's a flat-out great Prince of Tennis writer--and the emotion between her characters (okay, okay, I'm using this story as a springboard for a more generalized post about her Rikkai writing, that doesn't mean you shouldn't read this one anyway *grin*) is just... she made them come alive. (No real pairings, maybe a little Yukimura/Kirihara hintage, but closer to UST than anything.)

- Prince of Tennis/Koko wa Greenwood - A Tale of Two Tezukas by Aishuu - Tezuka Kunimitsu rarely got "the feeling" that something was going to go wrong, but that day as he talked to Ryuuzaki Sumire about plans for the upcoming game with Hyotei, it struck him with a vengeance. Ahahahahaha, how much is my love for Aishuu right now? IMMENSE. Because, damn, I jokingly went on about a Tenipuri/Greenwood crossover (Tezuka Shinobu and Tezuka Kunimitsu, both so smart and competent and fiercely intense and, hell, they're both student president ♥), I didn't think anyone could actually write it so WELL. There are a million little things in here that just make me bounce with GLEE. Every time Oishi tried to figure out what was going on, every time Tezuka had to repress a twitch at his "beloved" cousin, every time Fuji smothered a laugh behind his hand and his eyes lit up at what was afoot... all of it blended into this story that MADE SENSE, but it also captured the whole... off-the-wall feel both Tenipuri and Greenwood have. I cannot WAIT for more. ♥ (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Juiced Desserts by Jaelle - There's a lot to be said for cute genfics that make me sparkle and laugh like mad crazy. I adore the sense of... team, I guess, that I get from this, even if Ryoma, Momo, Fuji, and Inui are all being evil. Plus, it just seems like one of those things that could slip right in between the scenes of canon and I LOVE Jaelle's Ryoma here--bratty, but in that sort of way that's ADORABLE. Ryoma is one of those characters that can often get on my nerves, but I rabu the little brat here and what he does to Momo-chan for revenge. >:D Just... clever and FUN. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Persuasion by Emily-chan - Perhaps if this had been written by another author, I would not have been so inclined to give it a shot, but with Emily-chan... it's nice that in this story, she just... enjoys the relationship dynamic she's writing about and so often, a simple, sweet feeling of enjoyment I get from the author will carry me over issues I have with a pairing. That said, I'm not saying it was badly written, because Emily-chan actually is a good writer and the prose and dialogue really kind of sparkle here--it's not off from how I see Fuji and Yuuta's relationship, myself. I think you could read it as gen if you liked or, if you like the pairing, you could read it as more. Either way, it was a nicely written story about a relationship dynamic that doesn't get written about too much--and I laughed at the ending. ♥ (It's labelled as light Fuji/Yuuta, but you could read it as gen, I think.)

- Prince of Tennis - Temper by Branch - [part 05 in the Challenge arc] - My reactions to this fic are rather jumbled because I was squee'ing kind of hard over Yukimura's interaction with several other (non-Rikkai this time) cast members. The scene with Tachibana was absolute perfection, from the way Tachibana was just... such a good opponent, the way they understood each other, and the way Ann spazzed over Rikkai's captain being there. And then more perfection with Yukimura interacting with Seigaku and just... holy shit, the level of details is astounding (from Yukimura's gorgeous thoughts on Fuji to the way Tezuka and Fuji interact to the way Fuji reacted to Yukimura (OMG PRICELESS) and Yukimura reacted back to the way Inui was scribbling away in the corner to the way Ryoma reacts to Yukimura to the way Yukimura sees reflections and parallels all over the place, yet people are also so different, there aren't any carbon copies of people around, to the way Emily writes a particularily insightful turn of phrase, there's an ENDLESS amount of things I could go on about in this arc) and even beyond that... it's just interesting to watch things unfold. (No pairings in this particular story, but it's part of an arc.)

- Prince of Tennis - Need by Branch - [part 08 in the Challenge arc] - Oho, this one is probably going to take awhile for me to finish babbling over--largely in part because it's brought up topics I've been fascinated by in the past. This babbling may or may not make sense to you if you haven't read the fic yet. However, I like to think that... well, if a fic can get me to go on at length about it, obviously there was something in there for me to catch onto, rather than just falling asleep during it, you know? And that's one of the things I love about Emily's work, that there IS stuff for me to grab onto and chew on in her stories. (Perhaps I shouldn't be rec'ing every story in the Challenge arc, but I don't care because I'm lumping them all together and it's my site, blah, blah, blah. This story especially caught my attention because it touches on the whole strength of the tennis players in the series, but also has Genius 218 to weave into the complex question of Fuji... and there's a line in here about Fuji potentially being the best player in the series (which I'll probably have to babble about because... well because XD): "Tezuka hopes that you will be a true challenge. One he has to reach beyond himself to meet."

I really adored this because... Tezuka I think does hope to continually find stronger players, not just to be the strongest, but because it makes him reach beyond himself (beautiful way to put it) and... just... the thing of it is, people like to think Fuji is hiding this tremendous talent, and he is, but a large point of the series is that Ryoma is the best because of his personality, because of the way it sings in his blood, because of the natural love of it he has, and they've drawn many, many direct parallels between Tezuka and Ryoma (and Nanjiroh, to a lesser extent), whereas not so much with Fuji. Doesn't mean Fuji sucks, 'cause he doesn't, but his skill often lies in his scary, scary insight, his ability to figure things out, very much mental genius, whereas Tezuka is more about physical genius--witness his ability to get strong enough to beat Ryoma (after 75 episodes, so it's not like Ryoma hasn't been getting stronger and stronger all this time) RIGHT-HANDED after such a short period of time. Yes, he had some practice at it, but not that much and he's not ambidextrious. ....crap, I didn't originally mean to bring this discussion here, it's an old one, but... eheheheh, fic like this just brings it out in me. XD;;; *steps down off the soapbox now honest*

(re: Yukimura to Fuji about Fuji becoming serious later on.) "That's what Tezuka wants for you, too. That's why he's been trying to coax you or force you or, for all I know, bribe you to be serious these last years." This is the other thing that's giving me big, glowing eyes over the later developments in the Challenge arc... it's not necessarily TezukaFuji, it could just be a gen relationship between a captain and one of the important players on his team, but regardless, either way, it's fascinating and captures so much of what I adore between the characters. It's not quite understanding here, but a connection to be sure and I glow over the interesting things it can present. And, finally, I have to admit that I love that Seigaku often wins, that they don't always win, because as much as this story is from Rikkai's point of view, they're not always going to win, and I adore that she's staying true to that. (This rec sucked, but if I didn't get all of this out of my system, I was going to go mad. So there.) (No pairings/warnings here.)

- Prince of Tennis - The Continuation of War by Branch - [part 09 in the Challenge arc] - Seigaku vs Rikkai, in matches that you might not have considered, but by the time they're done? Make an incredible amount of sense. I didn't expect pretty much ANY of the match-ups Emily used in this fic, but by the time she'd gotten halfway through each one, you see what she was getting at and it's a little bit flooring to realize that someone's actually writing something like this for Prince of Tennis. That all those little details of Tezuka or Fuji or Yukimura or Inui or Sanada or Kirihara or Inui or any number of other characters' styles and attitudes are all being taken into account here and actually affect the way the story progresses. (Tezuka's match sent me over the MOON, I actually squeaked at one point in his match against Kirihara because I LOVED what Emily did with it.) Neither are past interactions forgotten about (Yagyuu and Niou's injuring Eiji is not forgotten about by either Eiji or Oishi, but it's worked out. Inui's fascination with Fuji's data or his old friendship with Yanagi or the way the team dynamics have evolved since Yukimura came back, none of these things are forgotten, instead are weaved in to create this rich, complex tapestry that I could--and apparently now have--gone on about for hours.) There's also this fabulous sense of fondness for both teams, rather than, say, matching up Seigaku and Rikkai again just to "correct" mistakes in the canon and I love that because it's... uplifting in its own way, it really is. I also love, love, love the way the matches are handled, the way instead of it being all about the games, it focuses more on the feel, what they ultimately mean to the players, rather than volley this or topspin that or drop shot this or counter that. And the parallels and differences between one captain to another? SQUEE. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Ryoma-sempai by Jaelle - This was... oh, man, this is the kind of stuff I've been pining after lately, ideas that are clever and aren't about a pairing at all (I love my pairings, but I love gen, too, y'know?) and just really, really good. The strongest thing about this story, I think, is that the whole... culture of the series is so just tightly nailed, but without burdening the fic with too much extraneous detail--what I mean by that is the touches with the level of respect in Japanese society, the way people address or treat each other. Which the fic was centered around, but it was just wonderfully. The use of a minor character (Hazue, the younger Kaidoh sibling) might have put me off at first, but, holy crap, he was used so incredibly effectively here, he was characterized fantastically, and his relationship with his older brother and with Ryoma were both just... it was one of those fics that blew me away because it was an original, clever idea carried off with a very deft hand. Hazue was likable and you empathized with him, Ryoma came shining through, and I really, really liked this take on the next year of Seigaku. Massive love for this fic. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis/Koko wa Greenwood - A Tale of Two Tezukas (part 02) by Aishuu - Oh, sure, I've rec'd the first part of this already (at least I think I have?), but I have to rec the second because... hell, this is quite possibly, hands down my favorite crossover, like, EVER. Aishuu's writing style and sense of humor are perfect for it, because she has a sharp clarity to her writing that's necessary to draw the two series together and feel like them both, that delightfully off-the-wall insanity that's not exactly similiar in both series, but she makes it work here. It feels like an anime crossover between the two would. And, oh, god, is it hysterically funny. Her characterizations of Nagisa and Shinobu and Mituru are pitch-perfect. Her characterizations of Tezuka and Fuji and Ryoma are spot-on and just so damned clever. There was no scene in this chapter that I wasn't utterly thrilled by--right from Nagisa's plotting to Fuji's machinations to Mitsuru's plight to Tezuka's conversation with Shinobu (which is, like, the funniest and most perfect thing I've read in a long time) to the kidnapping scene, it was all the good stuff. Once again, much, much love for Aishuu. ♥ (No warnings/pairings, not really.)

- Prince of Tennis - The Fast Way by Tari Gwaemir - Obviously, I don't click very often with Kamio - Shinji fics, which is too bad because they really are fun characters and that's why I'm glad to have read this little fic, since it's just so... cutely them. From the clever dialogue to the cute premise (first year Kamio and Shinji having to clean up the courts, before they split off from the main team, so you get to see a little of the hasselling they went through) to the utterly adorable ending. <3<3<3 (No warnings/pairings, really.)

- Prince of Tennis - Yuuta's Favorite Christmas Story by Pout - I know, I know it's short. But, holy hell, it's brilliantly funny. Every time I reread, I break down into hysterical giggles all over again, because that is just SO VERY FUJI. And so, so incredibly Yuuta. Especially the very last line--I can just PICTURE THAT. Just... LOL. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Difficult by Cairnsy - This was an interesting Prince of Tennis fic and something I... I don't know that I was completely onboard with (which is entirely likely because I'm so very set in my own views of the character by this point--though, I thought Tezuka's view of those around him in Germany was particularily right on the mark), but enjoyed thoroughly because the writing was fantastic and it was gen fic. Gen Tezuka fic. That's deftly written, with real power to the words. Do you know how long I've wanted that? It explores Tezuka's balance between giving his all to tennis and being a regular person who misses his friends while in Germany, making my little fangirl heart go pitter-pat for the whole Seigaku team feel that it had. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - T(aS)GOAD-O! by squidlet - *runs around flailing* Shi-chan is so very bad for everyone, because she posts all these links and they're all so brilliant and I have to click and then read and then have to worry about snorting my Dr. Pepper out my nose, which means I can't drink it while I read, which means it gets cold then and do you know how yucky warm, flat soda is? */rant* But, jeezus, this fic is worth it because it's one of those ideas that's... something like old-school, but the BRILLIANT old-school anime fandom that I miss so fucking much and it's HYSTERICAL and brilliantly written and GETS the feeling of Prince of Tennis so damned well and HAHAHAHAHAHA GENIUS! Right from the beginning with the latest devestation from Inui's newest drink to Tomoka's BRILLIANCE to the ending with the ice cream to the possibility of a series of fics for this idea, I AM FILLED WITH THE GLEEFUL RABURABU JOY. And the sparkling at the BRILLIANCE, but I suspect you picked up on that already. (No warnings/pairings, not really.)

- Prince of Tennis - A Father/Son Moment by Katharos - OMG, really good Nanjiroh fics are so hard to find, especially ones that hit the absolute right tone with his interaction with baby!Ryoma, that aren't too sticky-sweet or awkward or something, but this one was genuinely clever and really sparkled. It showed all of the reasons why I love Nanjiroh so effing much and the characterization was just brilliant. Not to mention cute without being cloying--where they fall asleep together at the end? So perfect. Plus, baby!Ryoma was PERFECT. That's the Ryoma I love so much. I loved that you could see that he actually cared about the kid in his own way and, god, the explanation of why he quit the pro circuit was lovely. I cannot flail happily enough over this fic and highly, highly recommend it. ♥ (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - How Rikkai Lost Their Rather Spiffy Red Jackets and Got the Vomit Yellow Ones by Katharos - Yukimura gave him a little smile. The sheer emptiness behind it made Sanada's gut twist. "Itís nothing Sanada. Just a silly little thing."

Sanada stared at him, his fists clenching. He couldn't ask. Didn't dare to say anything that whiffed of social politeness, because the only thing it would gain him was the polite, socially acceptable lie that everyone gave. It was at that point that I think I fell for the fic--not that reading about Sanada tossing the gaudy flowers out the window because their scent was cloying and overpowering wasn't a great deal of fun as well. But it was this little moment that said so much about Yukimura and the way Sanada wanted to treat him, but couldn't because Yukimura wouldn't let him... that really won me over completely. But. Oh. Then. Beautiful Rikkai fic when Sanada gives them new uniforms and I don't think I stopped giggling/grinning like hell for the entire scene. Beautiful Rikkai fic that's hysterically insightful for each and every character, that makes them a team, that makes me laugh my ass off as they all pile into Yukimura's hospital room with their new uniforms, but that doesn't make them chariactures of themselves. Instead, it makes them the kind of team I would want to read about more often. And, god, did I mention the funny? Because it was brilliantly funny. And, yet, still somehow meaningful, too. Ooh, and the ending was really lovely, too! I'd suggest that this fic is one worth reading even if you're not much of a Rikkai fan. <3 (No warnings/pairings. Maybe a little SanaYuki if you squint, but I still say gen.)

- Prince of Tennis - Shining by Jennifier D. - It was a game, something alive, and to stay at the top, one had to fight constantly to keep one's position and reputation. It wasn't like a title, similar to the piano degree he had a home, but an ever-changing focus on the courts. Jennifier D. does one of the best Atobe voices I've read in fandom, she captures that egoism about him, but it's never really over the top or parodyish, and it's tempered with genuine elegance and brilliance. He doesn't come off as a joke or silly to me here, he comes off like... Atobe, the character who put stars in my eyes and fascinates me. The way he looks at the other players on his level, the way he approaches tennis, the way he demands of himself to be the best, the way people like Yukimura affect him, the way he progresses throughout his life, the way Tezuka affected him... it all just works for me. *__* (Maybe a faint hint of ZukaAto if I squinted, but it's really a gen Atobe piece.)

- Prince of Tennis - until their hearts stop by Meg - HAHAHAHAHA, MEG WROTE TENIPURI. That alone would have been worth reading for, but Meg also writes really well, and does crack BETTER THAN ANYONE. Seriously, even with all the crack I've seen in this fandom, even with everything I've seen on FFNET, Meg's crack is still... SPECIAL somehow. Both brilliant and a little "WHAT DID YOU JUST DO!?" at the same time. But I love Meg and I actually love this fic and her Fuji is fantastic. XD XD XD (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Second Finals by Jaelle - Ahahaha, oh, god, Jaelle needs to write more Prince of Tennis fic, because I love everything she writes and this fic is no exception. It's just... there is not enough good gen humor fic, much less fic that totally plays on the brilliance of What Could Happen Next Year and this is brilliant 'cause it totally is just that funny and, man, perfect build-up, pacing, and comedic timing. ♥ EVERYONE SHOULD READ. (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Karupin at the Nationals by Katharos - In another author's hands, a story like this, a story set from Karupin's point of view, would have been cute, may have induced a smile or two, but there's something about the way Katharos wrote it here, the way Karupin thinks of the people around him that just sent me into fits of amusement. It was the first few paragraphs that sold me, the nicknames used for the other characters that were great, then it was the ending that had me rolling around in helpless amusement again. Because... ahahahahaha, I would have paid good money to see that in the actual show itself. Beautiful. XD (No warnings/pairings.)

- Prince of Tennis - Lessons Well Learned by aki_omoi - I admit, I usually hesitate over anything labelled with multiple pairings (I'm such a dippy fangirl), but I enjoyed the two previous fics by the author, I found her style to be a really refreshing fit with the series from as of late in the fandom, so I gave this one a shot. I'm very glad I did, because I get such a strong sense of... there's something to this writing, a fluidity or an understanding of the characters, a certain style that melts away all my frustration with the fandom because, yes, this is what I wanted to read. It's subtle and has this delicate elegancy to the writing that I've been seeing for many fandoms lately (Bleach has been getting a good amount of it, honestly), something that just hits me. Each scene with Tezuka fits with the depth of his character, of even those small little meaningful moments with Fuji or Ryoma, it's... I mean, what sends me into a flailing fit is that this is the Tezuka I recognize and you have no idea how rare that is in fandom. How could I not be happy with a story that starts out like this? Things Tezuka has learned, he passes on. Not vocally, for heís always felt words are cheap and superfluous things, that a thousand pretty words canít quite compare with one successful action - so he teaches through each every carefully planned movement. Within each serve and step, he places what words could not say, these precious lessons, these things heís learned. I know it's a lot to quote but... yes. This is the fic I wanted to read. (Gen. But hints of Tezuka/Fuji and Tezuka/Ryoma if you want to see them.)

- Prince of Tennis - Essential by Branch - Oh, this was a brilliant fic that managed to say so much without having to be a sledgehammer about it, the way Sanada thinks of each of the more impactful players (that he knows/has experience with), the way each one is a brilliant insight into them makes me fangirl Emily's writing so much. Not to mention the lovely, subtle, brilliant SanaYuki touches to the story that don't overpower the main theme of the fic! But even beyond that, what really gets me with this story is that it's about tennis, it takes the approach that Konomi-sensei himself does, in showing the characters through their tennis. So much of these characters is reflected through the way they approach the game and this fic continues that, right down to the way that Ryoma is still evolving and it's just... eeee, loved this. ♥ (No real warnings/pairings, but a hint of SanaYuki if you squint, but not more than what would be in canon.)

- Prince of Tennis - A Song That Never Ends by Katharos - ....have I never rec'd this story before? Shame on me, because... well, half of it is that it's terribly cute with Yagyuu and Niou antics, Niou being himself and Yagyuu managing to contain him while still being Yagyuu... and then, finally, someone falls into Niou's trap anyway, giving him the satisfaction Yagyuu had been depriving him of and Niou laying it on thick with "Aka-chan" and the hilarious punchline of the fic... well, I just giggled too much at this fic not to squee over it. XD (No real warnings/pairings.)

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