Anime Series Captures Pro-Wrestling Spirit

Evan Williamson, Courier Staff

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

In Japan, you have your usual popular anime shows that last a long time like Fairy Tail, Pokémon, One Piece, etc. But there is also no shortage of short-lived anime series released often and one of my favorites is Wanna Be the Strongest in the World.

It is based on a short 5 volume Manga series. I normally don’t do this in my reviews, but this is such a great story, so this is your spoiler alert warning. The series revolves around Sakura Hagiwara a member of the Japanese Idol Group Sweet Diva. One day the group was offered a little reality TV show spot where they would train as wrestlers for a day. While doing this one of the wrestlers Rio Kazama got upset that Sakura and Elena Miyazawa (another member of Sweet Diva) were taking what she does for a living lightly, saying pro wrestling isn’t as tough after all.

This results in a dissection of the sport as Rio showed Elena just how tough wrestling is. Sakura tried to defend Idols by standing up for them, this results in Rio challenging her to a real match Hair vs Hair. Sakura lost the match resulting in her hair being cut (a humiliating thing for an Idol). Sakura challenged Rio again, but she doesn’t want to face an amateur. So, she announced that she would go pro. She began training and made her pro debut after facing the “Hellish 100 throws” test which meant she had to take 100 suplexes in a row. After her pro debut, she went on to lose her first 50 matches by submission to the Boston Crab hold. During a training session veteran, Misaki Toyoda (based on famous Japanese wrestler Manami Toyota) put Sakura in the Boston Crab and would not let up until she learned how to get out of it in my favorite scene of the whole series. She learned how to handle the move and never submitted to it the rest of the series. However, despite the heart and the fight she had gained she lost her next 15 matches. Sakura found out she needed a finishing move to win. She came up with one and ended up winning her rematch against Rio for her first win. She opted to stay a professional wrestler much to Sweet Diva’s disappointment. The series continued with the Japan return of pro wrestler Jackal Tojo who was Toyoda’s mentor. Circumstances resulted in Toyoda not being able to compete so Jackal challenges Sakura. Sakura lost this match, but Jackal made her look like a superstar. The next few episodes built to the final. There was a mysterious masked wrestler that keeps interrupting matches, and a newcomer who is basically taken under Sakura’s wing. After being teased in the previous episode the masked wrestler revealed her true identity, Elena. Elena was Sakura’s friend and member of Sweet Diva. Elena challenged her to a match with the stipulation if Sakura loses she has to retire from pro wrestling and return to Sweet Diva.

Sakura won, and a decision has to be made would she return to Sweet Diva or continue to be a pro wrestler. Jackal comes in the ring and said “I think if you take a step back and look at things with a little more confidence you’ll see that the answer was obvious from the start. In other words, just do both of them.”

In the end, both Sakura and Elena decide to do both. This is such a good series just story wise and it could be because I understand pro wrestling and I researched Japanese Joshi Puroresu from this series so I have an advantage. Even so, I think this is a very good show even if you don’t understand the subject matter you really don’t need to.

A word of warning this show is for mature audiences there is some language but it is not worse than any of the other shows you’ll find out there. The show features two topless scenes but they aren’t very sexualized. A problem I do have with the show is way too much fan service, so many unnecessary close-ups in wrestling holds that serve no point but to I guess attract guys. If you can get past this though it is worth a look it is both Subbed and Dubbed and I highly recommend it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email