Wanna Be The Strongest ep5 & 6: the crabs return, in force!
Never thought I’d end up writing this many words about this show. Hell, I should throw a party just for surviving six episodes of bad wrestling and crotch shots.
Despite her best efforts, Sakura still can’t seem to clinch her first win. Even as we see her struggle mightily in a match with the Hornet. And we see her get through holds and counters and even illegal holds to put up a stout fight, but in the end she still ends up taking a loss, her 65th loss. So even while she continues to improve, her defeats are still gnawing away at what little self-confidence she owns. To make matter worse, she’s finally gotten her rematch with Rio. It’s been her goal this entire time. But her giant losing streak leaves her with no confidence in a winning outcome.
Her mentor sees this and points out that she’s missing a crucial factor in her game, a special move, a move much like her Misaki Special. And though Sakura begs her to teach her her’s, she’s quickly rebuffed. It seems Sakura will have to figure out this problem on her own, so she spends the rest of her time looking at other wrestler’s special moves and thinking about what will have to go into her own. While she’s doing this, she runs into her idol successor in the park, Elena.
While there, they talk about each other’s lives have been going, and Sakura expresses her fears of failure as her match with Rio approaches. In order to cheer her up, Elena convinces her to partake in a little private performance, something that Sakura had forgotten the joy of, until now. It’s enough to revitalize her spirits, for now. She may have also inspired Sakura to finally come up with her own special move.
We’re then treated to a training montage for Sakura and an interview with Rio, where she basically sh*ts on Sakura as some loser and poser who has been stalking her. She shows no concern for her opponent, and why should she? Sakura hasn’t won a match yet. And focusing back on her old idol group, Sweet Diva, with Elena finally crowned as center vocalist for the group it seems that the tension and stress on the group as been released. Elena, with some encouragement, finally decides to go to one of Sakura’s matches, and the others agree to come too. They all want to cheer her on and welcome her back once she’s done.
The night of the wrestling match finally begins, marking a full nine months of failure for the idol turned wrestler. The stadium is packed, her old idol comrades are there in attendance, and she’s now in the ring faced with the woman that pulled her into the world of professional wrestling. Does Sakura stand a chance? Can she overcome the the twin titans of a 65 match losing streak and having no real finishing move? Find out on the next exciting episode of Dragonb– *ahem*
I mean, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
End of episode.
Ugh! This anime is so devoid of hype. If I wasn’t familiar with pro wrestling, I’d wonder how Sakura could “earn” a rematch with a woman who beat her so long ago, when she hasn’t one since. The answer to that is that this is entertainment, not sport. And also, there’s only so many bottom tier losers Sakura can fight with. Ugh, this whole series has been bottom tier so far. It doesn’t help when I keep thinking of the great Hajime no Ippo series in comparison. In that series, the training montages are always met with fear and sweat and an overwhelming sense of tension and excitement before the next match. It all builds up to be this series of romantic images, a visual poem to the sport it emulates.
This show is just going through the paces, and while I give it credit for tying together the idol and wrestler sides of Sakura’s life pretty well, I just don’t get the feeling of love in this series. The music is such a bland, liefeless entity in this series. It’s not memorable, or even comprehensible in this series. Sure Ippo ripped off the Rocky theme (HARD), but it did it well. Not to mention that series had an amazing and diverse soundtrack. I can’t remember anything about this show musically, aside from how much I hate the ED song and animation. And that’s a shame, because a show staring a former idol should have great music, and a great focus on it.
Going into this next episode, I hoping – not expecting, but hoping for a few things. I want to see either well done action, or well done pervy fanservice. Both of which are things I’ve not seen AT ALL during this series. The action too often is a series of stagnant images of women putting each other in painful holds, sprinkled with scenes of slams and dropkicks. Good lord, give me a decent set at least. I’m not asking for Wrestlemania here, I just want something that looks good, exciting and fluid. The fanservice I understand is a completely subjective thing, dependent highly on individual taste. But I’d like the camera to at least refrain from freezing on a woman’s crotch for 30 seconds while she screams like she’s having a bondage orgasm. I know this is actually the show’s main goal and its only real hope for gaining popularity and sales, so I expect them to try harder.
Note: I can’t believe the announcer is hyping this match as something that goes beyond rivalry, and into the realm of fate. Nice try lady, but I’m not buying that crap.
Rio and Sakura’s rematch is finally underway, and not much time is wasted before they really start going at it. Slams, counters, Sakura even tries to do a splash from the top rope, but she’s met with a pair of boots on her way down. Rio has noticed that Sakura is obviously much better than their last encounter nine months ago. But the show unfortunately devolves into another series of submission holds, this time bringing back the dreaded and damned Boston Crab and Half-Boston Crab holds. Sakura manages a rope break the first time, but the second time around, Rio securely has her cut off from the ropes in a firm, full force Half-Boston Crab.
With Sakura securely held in the tightest hold she’s ever been held in before, the crowd actually begins to cheer on the lovable loser, who is trying tenaciously to escape Rio’s hold. And with their support and all her effort, she’s able to drag her face past the ropes, forcing another rope break. At this point, all I’m thinking is dear god, please don’t let them get stuck in a third submission hold! And how is my plea met? WITH ANOTHER SUBMISSION HOLD!! This time Rio slips behind her opponent and latches on with a sleeper hold. She’s not done yet, though. She then begins to swing Sakura around in the hold, forcing the centrifugal force to tighten her grip on Sakura’s neck. She then drops herself and Sakura on their butts on the matt, and forcing the poor rookie into a seated sleeper hold with body scissors, therefore constricting her breathing and movement even more! Surely Rio is going all out in her effort to wipe Sakura out as quickly and viciously as possible. Sakura struggles to get free, but appears to succumb to the hold. The ref has no choice but to test her consciousness by doing the classic “lift the arm up and see if it falls three times” technique. And the match is almost called, if not for a scream from Elena that wakes her up. Sakura struggles with all her might to escape the hold, wiggling and bucking in every and any way possible. A THIRD ROPE BREAK is achieved!
Rio has had enough of this, and decides to pour on the punishment. Over and over, she slams Sakura, feigns a pin, picks her up again and slams her until it appears there’s no life left in her. She then takes the opportunity to climb to one of the turnbuckles and somersault from the top rope onto Sakura – but that’s just what the rookie wants, and she rolls out of the way just in time to let Rio take the full punishment of her own missed move. It’s officially payback time, as Sakura constricts Rio in a vicious Boston Crab, and then an even more vicious Half-Boston Crab. (Does someone get paid extra for all these f*cking Boston Crab holds?!) Sakura pours on the payback as she does everything to Rio, that she’s done to her! Sakura is on a roll, as the crowd is now going wild over her comeback performance, but the comeback isn’t complete until she gets the pin. After Rio is pounded into a second pin-slam, her shock turns into anger as she sees that her four year career could be damaged by being the first person to lose to Sakura. She breaks the pin with all her might, and as they both get up, she gives Sakura vicious backfist, knocking her out. But that appears to be the last of her strength, as she too falls to the mat.
Both wrestlers manage to beat the ten-count to get up, but seem to have lost much of their strength. But Sakura still has one trick left up her sleeve. What could it be? It has to be her special move, of course! But Rio won’t wait around to see what it is and goes in for another backfist. But this time, she’s met with a pair of backflip kicks straight to her jaw! It’s Sakura’s signature idol move, the Ice Cream Somersault! But now it’s to be forever named, the Sakura Special! (Really? No one could think of anything more creative than Sakura Special?)
There isn’t much time to celebrate for Sakura, or time for Rio to wallow in her loser’s shame. Rio eventually picks herself up and grabs a mic. She asks Sakura the crucial question. Now that she’s accomplished her goal, what will she do with herself? Will she go back to her polished and cherished idol career, or will she continue to wrestle and improve? It’s a choice Sakura doesn’t make lightly, as you can see the struggle in her face. She picks up a mic of her own (because after a match they just appear on the ground) and announces that she will continue to wrestle. The crowd is ecstatic. But the girls of Sweet Diva and Sakura’s idol fans are heartbroken, with tears flowing all over the place.
End of episode.
Congratulations Sakura. You’re now an esteemed 1-65 record is truly something to celebrate.
OK-OK, I’m being harsh. This episode was reasonably entertaining. Hell, this was the first episode that I could use the word “entertaining” with so far in this whole series. Though overall, I’d say it was still subpar. At time the action was fast and kinetic, but too often the match devolved into a submission hold voyeurism, as we stared at one girl lay her butt on the other girl’s head and pull her legs so hard that she screams in delicious pain as her overly plump crotch is displayed to all the spectators. Then there would be a rope break, and it would repeat. I think there were a half dozen rope breaks in this episode! That’s ridiculous! Maybe it’s because of the era and styles of wrestling I watched, but I want to see my wrestlers move! I want to see punches, dropkicks, clothes lines and a few – I repeat, a few submission holds
Everything just seems to be all wrong in my eyes. Even if the show’s aim is to show you lady parts getting beat up so you shell out the cash for the uncensored blu-ray (good lord blu-ray would be such a waste of resources for this show), you could still try to get the viewers excited with more pomp and production. The show needs to make the viewer interested in pro wrestling, like any sports anime would. It’s not so much that the show isn’t realistic. It’s pro wrestling, so it shouldn’t matter. It’s that I don’t feel the love for the chosen subject that I have seen in just about any show that focuses on an activity, like for kendo, go, boxing, baseball, soccer or basketball. This production is just flat. And now that the first half of the series is done, we have to see how Sakura rises to become a star. It will be an interesting trek, because the show is already introducing its version of the best female wrestler in the world, and of course she’s a blonde foreigner. I’m seriously hoping she’s some twisted interpretation of Hollywood Hogan. I don’t know why exactly, I just think it’d be hilarious.