To think I've been dragging my heels over completing this one the past several months. I was surprised to discover that this was one of Naoki Urasawa's earlier works considering his work on mystery/ thrillers like Master Keaton and Monster. Yawara is a bit more lighter in mood as a sports rom-com in its focus on our titular heroine being dragged into the world of judo competitions due to her natural talent and life-long training for the sport, despite not wanting anything to do with it. The series follows Yawara from high school to her time in the working world as her natural skills as a judoka lead her to become an international sensation due to her abilities.
On the plus side, Yawara does a mostly solid job with developing Yawara's character throughout the series as she seeks to live her life normally. But due to circumstances regularly turning against her and her grandfather's manipulations, her regular life and participating in the judo world blur together as she encounters a number of characters throughout the series who come to befriend or rival her due to her talents in judo such as reporter Matsuda, rich girl Sayaka, the Canadian judoka Jody and the cold Soviet judoka Anna. These help Yawara slowly mellow out of her desire for normalcy throughout the series and her reasons for not wanting anything to do with judo get further explored as the series progresses.
In regards to supporting characters to the series, they are a bit hit or miss. Some get a decent amount of fleshing out and make for interesting characters to see develop like Matsuda and even Fujiko, Yawara's college friend from later in the show's run. Others don't get much fleshing out being reduced to archetypes and exist either as opponents for Yawara to overcome, comedic relief or showing off their more obnoxious habits. While I did not mind those serving as Yawara's opponents or comic relief, those who were more obnoxious and self-absorbed (mainly Yawara's grandpa Jigoro, Sayaka, womanizer Kazamatsuri and photographer Kuniko) did press my buttons at points as I watched the series, especially if the show chose to devote a good deal of time to focus on them.
The anime also does a great job at believably showing off the various rules and applications of judo for tournament competition. The normal weight classes, rules and point systems for competition; as well as the different grapples, throws and submissions utilized in spars and matches are authentically explored as such where judo enthusiasts will appreciate the authenticity. There is the occasional dependence on drama tropes in some shoddy attempts to create tense moments and Yawara being mostly unstoppable against her opponents kills some of the intrigue of her matches, but this doesn't get in the way of the authenticity of judo competitions that Naoki Urasawa shows off for this series.
While having some hiccups, Yawara is a mostly solid sports rom-com exploring Yawara trying to juggle her life as a normal girl and gifted judo-ka, while also doing a great job at believably portraying the sport it focuses on. While sports anime mostly struggle at finding an audience due to heavy focus on their sport of focus, Yawara does a decent enough job to balance focus between judo and the ongoing storylines involving Yawara and other characters within her life. This is one of the better sports-themed anime titles to watch if the genre grabs your interest.
Old Man Dream: ...later titles in the Macross franchise can finally come stateside with all involved parties finally coming to a truce over how to handle things with the Macross trademark and all later anime in the franchise associated with it.
Apr 9, 2021 10:26:05 GMT
Taka: I see. A global release will benefit it. Gundam did pretty good. The only few franchises that are only popular in Japan but not popular in the west - Yokai Watch comes to mind.
Apr 10, 2021 1:55:16 GMT
Master Menos: F for Respects. DMX did all his work while suffering from a drug addiction, and I almost never knew until a point. I hope his next life treats him far better.
Apr 10, 2021 15:30:45 GMT
HungryWorld: Sorry for taking so long for the things i have to do, have been suffering from some health issues (including mental health deterioration). Anyways hope i can be a bit more active here soon enough once i am properly patched up again.
Apr 27, 2021 17:45:38 GMT
Taka: No worries, health, family, school, and work take priorities first.
Apr 28, 2021 7:41:52 GMT