No More Chocolates in Next Year's Prince of Tennis Valentine's Contest
posted on by Eric Stimson
Every Valentine's Day, eager Japanese fangirls send boxes of chocolates to Jump Square, the magazine that publishes The New Prince of Tennis, hoping to propel their favorite characters to the top of the annual Prince of Tennis popularity contest. The boxes pile up in Shueisha's headquarters, and this year they virtually overwhelmed the basement they were stored in.
But no more, says Jump Square. In a Twitter announcement on December 10, Jump Square decided to shift the contest to a regular mail-in format using ballots provided in the magazine. Jump Square reasoned that "the increasing burdens of managing and transporting large amounts of food like chocolates" made the old format too much to handle. The decision was made in consultation with Prince of Tennis creator Takeshi Konomi. Any chocolates that are sent won't be counted, but will be sent to Konomi as in previous years.
This year's Valentine's contest saw a massive increase in Valentine's chocolates over 2013, with 131,172 boxes sent as votes for the top ten characters alone. (2013's tally was 22,532, again for the top ten characters.) Of these, 62,837 were sent to Keigo Atobe, obliterating runner-up Shusuke Fuji (with 39,373 chocolates). While some fans bemoaned the demise of what had become a favorite Valentine's tradition, others were pleased that the system had changed to a more fair "one person, one vote."
Earlier this year, Japanese chocolate manufacturer Morinaga responded to fan appreciation for Atobe by making a picture of him achieving his signature move, "Atobe Kingdom," using 4,176 blocks of chocolate. The company later one-upped themselves, creating a chocolate floor mural for his birthday.