Wanna Be The Strongest ep9: her first wrestling fan
Even after an action packed episode from the week before, the show is already quickly moving on, as a talented new supporting character joins the cast. Her name is Moe Fukuoka, a talented and athletic high school student who is a champion in competitive karate. Her debut almost mirrors Sakura’s in that her uninitiated, amateur hijinks in the ring are met with scorn by the other wrestlers, especially the gym bully, Rio. The difference this time around though, is that Moe is already well prepared to take care of herself, as she flattens poor Rio with one good kick when challenged. It’s starting to look like an all out rumble is about to start between her and and a few of the Berserk wrestlers before the gym’s president shows up and sees what’s going on.
He explains to the girls that Moe is actually the granddaughter of a close acquaintance from his wrestling days. He’s seen Moe’s talent and tried to recruit her heavily before, and he’s puzzled as to why she’s stopped by now after rejecting the idea so many times before. His question is quickly answered when Moe sees Sakura and literally leaps on her. She informs everyone quite joyously that it was Sakura’s match with Jackal that impressed and inspired her to come to the gym and join up. She even starts calling Sakura “senpai”, and it sticks when Sakura accepts her as her disciple. It seems kinda fast for a young woman who has not been wrestling for very long, and doesn’t have many wins under her belt.
Training begins quickly for the newest member of Berserk, and we see that she’s very much built for the world of wrestling. She quickly catches on and adjusts to the training regime. Ryo, the gym’s main trainer, sees this progress and builds on it, saying that the more they throw at Moe, the quicker she’ll progress. And after only a month, she’s nominated to go pro and successfully passes the One Hundred Holds of Hell test (I probably screwed up that name).
During that month of training, we see what is happening at another gym, the Miyabi gym. Jackal has paid a young talent by the name of Juri a visit, and in private, outs her as the Blue Panther. The keen eyes of the world champion weren’t fooled by Juri’s change of style or mask. Juri admits to the alternate identity. The world champ asks her what she hopes to accomplish by playing the assassin and crashing Berserk’s matches the way she has. Juri says that she wants Sakura. A response that puzzles Juri.
With the initial training and tradition for Moe out of the way, she’s ready to make her pro debut, and decides to jump into the waters of the professional world with Sakura as her first opponent. It’s a shock to everyone, but Rio reminds them that she still has first dibs on Sakura. They have tied record now, and their next match will decide which of them is strongest. Everyone seems to be looking forward to this matchup.
The night of the match comes, and we see the crowd (the crappy CGI one) get hyped as Rio and Sakura meet in the ring for their big match. A big match that won’t happen! The match is crashed by Blue Panther, as she swoops in and knocks Rio out with a quick, strong sleeper hold. Misaki sees what’s going on, and recognizes that technique. She quickly tries to get to the ring to save her disciple. What ends up happening is another match with consequences is agreed upon between Blue Panther and the angry Sakura. Blue Panther makes it abundantly clear that she doesn’t care at all for Sakura and her disgusting and amateurish displays in the ring, and demands that she retire if she loses the match. Sakura foolishly agrees, but also says that if she wins then Blue Panther must unmask herself and apologize to those she’s wronged from Berserk. With the terms agreed upon, Blue Panther hightails it out of the arena. Jackal looking on from above (and talking to herself out loud) wonders what this upcoming match will mean for the Japanese wrestling world in the future.
End of episode.
OK. OK. A very acceptable episode. Time was not wasted at all here, as in the first half we get the introduction and initiation of a new character, and in the second half we see a new confrontation for Sakura. Moe reminds me SOOOOO very much of another character from Hajime no Ippo. She has very similar characteristics of being a talented, flighty, energetic character, who looks up to the show’s main character as inspiration. She may be annoying in the future, but for now I can accept her as a fun new personality. Also, she’s not quite the upskirt machine I thought she’d be, and I’m fine with that. Looks like her brand of ecchi fanservice with be the same as all the other wrestlers. Though it’s funny how it seems her boobs get bigger in that tight wrestling outfit. Must be the tight sports bra.
As for the story revolving around the big players, I’m really puzzled as to the motivation of Juri to don the Blue Panther persona and antagonize Sakura and Bersekr like this. Her motivation doesn’t exactly add up properly with her actions. While the persona is great for this feud and entertainment value, I don’t understand her burning disgust with Sakura. At this point, we just don’t have enough information on her personality or past to really make a judgement. All we have to go on are her words and actions in the present. And right now, she’s a royal douche under that mask.
I feel a bit sorry for poor Rio. She’s quickly become a punchline (or punching bag) for the rest of the cast. She’s lost to a rookie who couldn’t win a match before her, she gets flattened by a high school who loves to flash her panties as she kicks, and now her match with Sakura is ruined, as she’s quickly knocked out by Blue Panther, and then carried out on a stretcher. She strikes me as a character with a fragile ego, and it’s gonna cause some problems for her in the future.
Well, that’s it for now. This show has taken a surprising turn for the tolerable. And I’m rather taken aback by it. It’s in no way Hajime no Ippo, but if this show somehow manages to touch that little part of my heart that still has a burning passion for professional wrestling, then maybe I can be proud to say that it’s not sh*t, one day. One day. Perhaps.
Note: I just noticed while I was going over my screenshots. This may be the first episode completely devoid of the idol group, Sweet Diva. Perhaps their part has been played for now, because the show seems to be focusing heavily on the wrestling now. I’m glad, too. The pacing seemed spot-on for this episode, any more sublplots and this episode may have been a mess.
- Wanna Be The Strongest ep8: the art of spotting, selling and entertaining the f*ck out of your audience!