Popular series’ title refers to a prince, but he’s also the king of Valentine’s Day chocolate.
Japan has its own unique traditions and ideas about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day. For example, it’s customary for women to give gifts, generally in the form of chocolate, to men. This includes not only their romantic partners, but also their coworkers or classmates. And in the case of women who are hardcore anime or manga fans, there’s one more recipient of their chocolatey affections: their favorite 2-D heartthrob.
Arguably the most popular fictional guys on Valentine’s Day are the cast of Prince of Tennis. Originally created by manga artist Takeshi Konomi, the series has been churning out some sort of comic or anime content continually since 1999, enthralling fans with its tales of handsome, sinewy young men competing and sweating together all over the courts.
Fans have been sending Valentine’s Day chocolate to their favorite Prince of Tennis characters, care of the artist’s or publisher’s office, since at least 2001 (with a temporary break in 2015, when the series’ handlers briefly stopped accepting packages). So shortly after midnight on February 15, Konomi tweeted a photo with the cast’s candy haul for 2017.
集英社が…チョコで埋まってるようですヾ(๑°⌓°๑)ﾉ゜。ｿﾅﾉｶ‼ 担当編集も想像の10倍以上来てます～‼と大慌て( ` ٥ㅿ٥;)✨ 入りきらず別のビルまで運んでくださった方々本当に有り難うございます‼テニプリバレンタイン💝… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…—
許斐剛 (@konomi_takeshi) February 14, 2017
“Shueisha is…buried in chocolate!” exclaimed the artist, referring to his series’ publisher. As a matter of fact, so many fans sent in chocolate this year that the company had to enlist a few helpers to carry some of the sweets off to a separate building for storage.
Last year’s chocolate tally was 110,000 boxes, down from a high of 180,000 in 2014, Konomi is yet to reveal this year’s count (perhaps because his staff is still counting), but perhaps such informational tidbits will be coming in the future. Fans are no doubt also to hear which specific characters received the most chocolate, and while he’s far from the series’ most popular figure, we’re hoping that at least one admirer sent in a present for Prince of Tennis’ ghost referee.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s wondering who ends up actually eating all that chocolate.