Marina InoueSayuri YahagiKyoko HikamiSatomi Akesaka
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2011
Director: Ryouki Kamitsubo
Original creator: Ryo Aduchi
Actor: Aki Toyosaki, Ayahi Takagaki, Eri Kitamura, Haruka Tomatsu, Ikue Otani, Kana Akutsu, Kanae Ito, Kokoro Kikuchi, Kyoko Hikami, Marina Inoue, Minako Kotobuki, Miyuki Sawashiro, Noriko Ueda, Saori Hayami, Satomi Akesaka, Sayuri Yahagi, Shinobu Matsumoto, Shizuka Itou, Yuiko Tatsumi
Keywords: anime, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 15 March 2023
It's a silly, fanservice-ridden comedy about a school soft tennis club. (Soft tennis is just tennis with a softer ball, invented in Japan in 1884. The rules are basically the same as regular tennis, but it behaves slightly differently and it has its own International Soft Tennis Federation.) I enjoyed the show. I generally avoid sports anime, but this show treats its sport as a gag opportunity, not as a contest. There's lots of soft tennis, yes, but it's mostly just idiots goofing off. Shiratama Middle School has an underground James Bond supervillain base, built almost entirely for hot spring nudity. The schoolgirl national champion (Misaki Shidou) can hit a soft tennis ball faster than the speed of light, which if it hits will knock you through the wall... harmlessly.
(Let's do the maths on that. A soft tennis ball weighs about 30 grams and the speed of light is about 3,000,000 km/s. Even sticking with straight Newtonian physics and ignoring relativistic effects, I think that's enough kinetic energy to change the Earth's velocity through space by about one metre/day.)
In other words, this show isn't meant to be taken seriously. It depends entirely on its cast and gags, which are fortunately quite good. It stars:
1. ASUNA = lovable pink-haired idiot with a filthy mind. She wants to be a sexpot, has a lurid imagination and is fascinated by knickers, boobs, etc. (And yet, ironically, she shows no romantic interest in anyone and is completely innocent in her interactions with boys and girls alike. She's adorable.)
2. KOTONE = a hot-blooded shounen hero... but female. She'll burn with passion at all challenges and would fight a bear if you put it on a tennis court with a racket. (She's also a superhuman karate champion, but she's chosen to get fixated on soft tennis.) She also has a crush on the teacher who oversees the club (Mishimagi-sensei), which is unfortunate for her since they're his students and he has zero romantic interest in them. He's also lazy and a bit of a drunkard, but he used to be a national soft tennis champion.
3. CHITOSE = buxom, easy-going and terrible at soft tennis... but she'll turn into a wild beast if she spies food. She'll hunt sharks and try to eat giant endangered species. She's also the club's president, since she's its only third-year.
4. KURUSU = a tennis genius who can perform superhuman sports feats, but she's also Chitose's doubles partner and so their combined average ability level is normal. Kurusu doesn't seem to care or mind. She's stoic, weird and likes dressing up in gigantic animal costumes.
Other girls will show up, but that's the initial line-up. I liked them. They're funny. They all made me laugh at some point, be it with Kurusu's surrealism, Chitose's personality shifts, Asuna's very strange ideas or Kotone being from a completely different genre. I also liked the other girls, incidentally. Elizabeth Warren is English, but has the unusual ability (in anime) to speak Japanese in a foreign accent without making me want to kill her. She's likeable rather than annoying. Then there's Yayoi, who appears late but has a highly amusing quirk.
There's lots and lots of fanservice, incidentally. The TV version puts giant cow faces over the girls' naughty bits, but the uncensored Blu-rays are full of nipples. It's not sleazy about it, though, despite having six bonus mini-episodes on the Blu-rays that are set in a public bath and have all the girls naked from beginning to end.
I liked it. I'd recommend it. It's not dramatic, obviously, except in a light-hearted way in the last two episodes, but it's a laugh with an amusing cast and some good jokes.