What is Shoot Wrestling? Well, for one, it’s not the type of wrestling you’ll see in a standard WWE bout. Shoot Wrestling is a full-contact style of the professional sport that hit it big in Japan in the 70s which allowed wrestlers to partake in matches not as heavily scripted than what we see in the Western circuit today. Fighters hit each other hard with not a single punch being pulled, and what went on throughout the match was not as predictable.
There are certain things in life, this being one of them, that are perfect appropriation material for an exciting Anime. The last time we saw a worthwhile series about full-contact wrestling was with Ultimate Muscle (Kinnikuman) which made it’s debut back around the same time as Shoot Wrestling itself…and I feel like that hasn’t changed, even with the release of Wanna Be The Strongest In The World.
The eye-popping world of women’s professional wrestling is sweaty, sadistic, and savagely sexy. Famous Japanese pop idol Sakura Hagiwara is better suited for the dance floor than the wrestling ring, but this ravishing songstress is about to put her body to the ultimate test.
When she and fellow idol Elena are assigned to pose as wrestlers for a very special show, a vicious lady brawler by the name of Rio decides to teach the girls a lesson they won’t soon forget. Rio unleashes a flurry of ferocious attacks on Elena, contorting her divine female form into an array of very naughty positions. Shocked by the blush-inducing beating taken by her friend, Sakura vows to get her heavenly curves ready to rumble and redeem the good name of idols everywhere by becoming a bona fide diva of the pro-wrestling world! – Madman Entertainment
What can I honestly say, story-wise, about an underwritten Anime with poor characters and an overly monotonous narrative? Probably that, I suppose. There are, perhaps, only a handful of episodes peppered throughout the twelve episode series that actually feature anything more than unnecessary dialogue and blatant fan service of which the Anime was solely created for. Clearly.
Most episodes follow the exact same system which starts with main character Sakura Hagiwara outlining a clear antagonist, training to beat said antagonist, getting locked up by a small list of very similar grapples each of which pose more a threat to her than anything else imaginable in the moment, gratuitous amounts of sexual imagery, a great deal of screaming that is not so much sexual in nature as it is simply upsetting, with an episode ultimately ending in her defeat after fighting back ever so slightly. This is pretty much how every single episode goes and while there is somewhat of a story that progresses throughout these worthless matches…it’s never in much focus, with the Anime instead placing the spotlight on new and sexy characters who will fight against Hagiwara in new and sexy ways.
What makes it even more obvious that this Anime series is just for those with a fetish for women in combat, just in case it wasn’t already as overt as it possibly could be, is that there were maybe five actual wrestling moves used throughout the entire twelve episode series, most of which were repeated time and time again. Not since a match between Hulk Hogan and the Iron Sheik has the world seen so many Camel Clutches in sequence, and I really wish that wasn’t the case because it would have been nice to see some sort of actual variety, of which there was none…unless you count changing from the Camel Clutch to the Boston Crab Hold and then back again countless times to be variety. Which it is not.
Visually, Wanna Be The Strongest In The World isn’t much to look at. Most episodes are poorly animated with all actual wrestling matches being made up mostly of stagnant images of the girls in revealing positions. You never get a good chance to see any actual technique from a cast of characters who are, supposedly, some of the best female wrestlers in Japan which just makes me laugh because, even in an Anime produced to be a little more “carnal” than most others, you expect some sort of realism…especially to that of the story in question, but there was none. I would like to say costumes were designed well, because they were, but it will only prove to have me repeat myself in regards to how much of these poor girls they exposed.
Most of what has been said about the bulk of the series at this point in time can also be said about it’s English dub. Possibly, the only worthwhile performance throughout the entire series was that of Elizabeth Lewis who provided the voice work for Sakura Hagiwara. Now, it wasn’t that her dialogue pieces were delivered in a realistic manner or anything along those lines, I simply thought that her throws of pain and anguish were actually quite striking. Instead of feeling aroused, like I assume I was supposed to thanks to her moans and groans while being forced into one of two moves used throughout the show, I actually felt bad for this girl who had her hip almost broken on several occasions and made sure that the audience absolutely knew it.
Apart from Lewis, the rest of the cast only proved to make me giggle with just how mediocre it all was. I don’t often like to criticise the works of voice artists because I am well aware that a bad performance could be caused by simple bad writing but, in Wanna Be The Strongest In The World, there were times wherein which I genuinely thought the production team hired their own family members to fill roles nobody else could/wanted to. Not only was the dialogue terrible but the way it was delivered was so cliche of bad Anime voice acting.
Just incase you havn’t quite figured it out yet…Wanna Be The Strongest In The World is NOT an Anime for those of you out there with a penchant for professional wrestling and an appetite for a well-written, well-animated series. To be entirely honest with you; I’m not really sure who this Anime is for. I’d like to say it’s for fans of the medium that need a little more sexuality in their life but there are many series’ out there that to it so much better than Wanna Be The Strongest In The World so why waste any time watching it?
Watching through this series was like a chore from the very first episode to the very last and unfortunately I found nothing positive in the experience. I usually try to find the best in even the worst pieces of entertainment simply because I feel as though the world needs a little bit of extra positivity…I tried so very hard with Wanna Be The Strongest In The World and I simply couldn’t find a thing.
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