I very briefly reviewed the Live Action Ace o Nerae TV series in July 2004. If you haven’t yet seen it, I strongly recommend doing so. It’s not yuri, but the akogare Hiromi feels for Ochoufuujin is handled really well on both sides. In fact, all of the cast nail their roles. It’s just excellent all the way around.
The television series ended with Episode 9, but as I clicked around looking for a good picture, I find that there is a second epilogue episode that covers later events in the manga. If you don’t want to be spoiled, don’t click on the “Album” link. The pictures are pretty much a dead giveaway. (No pun intended…)
So, Episode 9 of the television series is, for the most part, a live-action version of the anime movie/OAV. The story of the OAV was Hiromi’s battle to become the representative of Japan at an international competition. Of course her ultimate rival and partner is Ochoufuujin herself, Ryuuzaki Reika. At the end of the movie Reika and Hiromi fly off to America (ooohh! lesbian code phrase!) together. Reika is in her usual girly outfit, complete with pink bow in her hair, but Hiromi has chosen to travel in a three-piece white suit and tie and a slightly butchier haircut than previously. They make a lovely lesbian couple. LOL
Unfortunately for us, the live-action version is not completely faithful to the movie. While Reika and Hiromi still have to face off, only one will be going to America. But, before you despair, let me say that the tennis match between the two women was as full of sexual tension, love, akogare, etc, etc, as anyone could have ever wanted. It was *brilliant.* The fact that Hiromi flies off with Toudou – who is a really good guy that I’ve liked in every version of this story – does not lessen by one whit the tension of this final battle. This tennis match was sex, pure and simple. If you are hardcore “cannot STAND to see Hiromi with Toudou”, then stop after the tennis match. But watch that match!
Cinematography – 6 Nothing they can do, no matter how many slow-notion and effects they use, will ever really make it seem like anyone on the show can really play tennis…but that aside, it’s pretty good.
Story – 8 Mmm, competent women. Competing.
Characters – 9 If you’re not in love with these characters by now, you’re hopeless.
Yuri – 7 Did I mention how good the tennis match is?
Service – ? What would you eroticize in this…oh, wait, women wear skirts for tennis. Ugh, okay, 4, but how sad is it that I can even think this way? There goes another piece of my soul….
Overall – 8
Your milegae may vary, but I watched this episode twice. In a row. THAT’S how good the tennis game is. ^_^