Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl
Yawara! A Fashonable Judo Girl is Naoki Urasawa's first manga series back in 1986 to 1993 before other of his famous manga series in America like Monsters and 20th-Century Boys. It became a success franchise because Yawara! was somewhat related to real-life judo sports. Real life sports? Back in year 1992, which I tell you about the Barcelona Olympics where female players in judo are honored to participate in that flourish event. One of the female competitors of Japan, 16-year old Ryoko Tamura took the place being the world champion in Women's Judo. Since that time, Ryoko was given a nickname "Yawara-chan" to many people in Japan and still as popular as ever.
In the other hand, Yawara! was of course Naoki Urasawa's manga series which ran in 29 volumes in manga and 124-episodes (including special episodes) in anime version. Yawara! tells about a protagonist high-school girl named Yawara Inokuma who dreams to go with friends, shopping and getting her dream boyfriend. Unfortunately for her, she forced to train judo since childhood under her grandfather Jigorou Inokuma. Jigorou's dream was to make her granddaughter become a champion in Barcelona Olympics. Because of Yawara's less interest in judo, Jigorou found a perfect rival for her - a spoiled, rich lady named Sayaka Honami. When Yawara defeat Sayaka in few sweats, Sayaka decided to train judo so she could beat Yawara in a championship. Meanwhile, a sports reporter named Kosaku Matsuda found Yawara's talent in judo and convince her to be a champion.
It doesn't matter if you're not into judo but in fact there are heartwarming sensation coming through in many episodes - from comedy to romance. There are funny moments (especially when it comes to Jigorou's being over-protective to Yawara) that present. At first, we may think Jigorou is a pain a butt but no. We see him as a challenge for Yawara. His love in judo and food are always on his mind...of course his care of his granddaughter is the most. He always believe that Yawara will embrace her talent and will work hard for honor in Japan. At every end of episodes, who would love his appearances in countdown for Barcelona Olympics? Aside from Jigorou, we could see Sayaka Honami as another obstacle. Sayaka was defeated by Yawara eventhough she was trained for few weeks. In few episodes, we can tell that Sayaka's weakness for her, is an embarrassment for getting a false tooth. Later, she hired a handsome coach named Shinosuke Kazamatsuri. For Mr. Kazamatsuri, he uses his handsome looks to attract many girls around but when it comes to Yawara he skip his heart and turning to be his love interest. Sayaka already found Kazamatsuri's behavior to Yawara and decided to become rivals in love also. On the other hand, Kosaku is not only just interested in Yawara's dream, he also protects her even though he's a clumsy and goofy reporter. I can't tell much about spoilers...better watch what's next, thou.
The anime series was featured in 1989, which the same year Ranma 1/2 ran it's animated series. Not only it's anime version, Yawara! was also adapted into live-action as evidence in this Amazon.com.jp here. Both of the franchises also became a popular culture like, I said before Ryoko Tani as "Yawara-chan". With it's hip beat and lovely music, judo action, and a good premise Yawara is sure really enjoying to watch.
If you're in the Philippines, you can watch Yawara! on QTV channel 11 weekdays at 3:00 PM.