Yawara, A Fashionable Judo Girl, Volume 2 (English)

December 7th, 2009

There is a fine line between “She doth protest too much” and “Standing one’s ground.” When it comes to a woman not buckling under the pressure of the wishes of everyone around her, I’m usually right behind her, rooting for her to make her own decisions.

In Volume 2 of Yawara, A Fashionable Judo Girl, Yawara doth protest too much.

Her Mom has already pointed out that girls who do Judo are still feminine. Everyone in her school looks up to her for guidance and leadership and even her friends think she ought to step up and shine a little more.

But no, Yawara has a dream of being a nobody, of embodying the passive ideal of wife and mother and passing through life with nary an influence. Okay, fine, that’s her choice, I got it. I don’t agree with it, but it’s hers, so I respect that.

But, when the judo club implores her to become their coach so they can man up and defend their reputation, and Kazamatsuri begs her to compete, telling Yawara that she shines brightest when she’s playing Judo, Yawara hardens her heart against them and says that *they* are being selfish.

“No,” I found myself lecturing this 2-dimensional, fictitious character on the screen, “you’re the one being selfish.” Even, as Every Sports Writer Matsuda points out, Haute Couture, Rich-Girl Sayaka is running along a beach dragging a *tire,* all because of Yawara.

It takes an unfunny stalker to piss Yawara off enough to bring about the change of heart needed to make this series move forward. Watching the formerly pathetic Judo team kick his ass helped.

I did not ever do Judo, but I was a martial artist for two decades and have a few years of Aikido in there. Let me tell you something about throwing and being thrown. Throwing is easy. Being thrown is hard. Taking ukemi, as they say, is the essence of any martial art that includes throws. Here’s what I want to point out – there’s a lot you can do to change the direction of a throw. And when Yawara throws the punk stalker, she throws him straight down. In a way that I can guarantee hurt. A lot. It was satisfying.

In fact, watching Yawara practicing her rolls really made me want to break out the mat and do a little practice myself. Which is the hallmark of a really good sports story for me. I want to get up and do the thing myself.

In any case, Sayaka has eyes only for Yawara, unfortunately not in any way that can remotely be described as desire, but we’re getting there. Yawara and Sayaka are about to have their first match and will be rivals for the love of Kazamatsuri. It doesn’t sound promising, but remember Ayaka and Ryoko from Tenchi? They pretended to fight over Tenchi all the time, but even Sasami saw through that. ;-)

Ratings:

Art – 7
Characters – 5, because unfunny stalkers are unfunny
Story – 8
Yuri – 1
Service – 5

Overall – 8

Again, my sincere thanks and probably my next set of bruises as I practice my ukemi are dedicated to Ana M.! Thanks for sponsoring this trip down not just one, but two memory lanes for me. ^_^

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2 Responses

  1. Cryssoberyl says:

    Sadly, awesome female leads at least temporarily refusing to embrace their awesomeness is a common theme. In Rocket Girls, Yukari refuses for the longest time to accept that she is a smart and competant astronaut. It took half the season of Battle Athletes Victory for Akari to get her head together. Jiyu in Jubei-chan never did warm up to becoming an invincible onna-bugeisha.

    Ah well. Fortunately, we have Lina Inverse, Yakushiji Ryoko, Aikawa Maki, Takamachi Nanoha, and (dare I say it?) most of the cast of Koihime Musou, among many others, to show us how being awesome and totally comfortable with it is done. ^_^

  2. Eric P. says:

    I just might consider checking out this series–at some point, hopefully

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