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Title (English) Aim for the Ace (live)
Title (Japanese) Ace o Nerae (live)

book cover

Fantasy Novel

Classification shoujo
Synopsis For those who don't know the story, Hiromi is drawn to the Nishi School tennis club purely by hero-worship of the school princess Ryuzaki Reiko ("Ochofujin"), who is rich, beautiful, self-assured and a skilled player. As a beginner, Hiromi is truly awful, but her determination catches the eye of the stern new tennis coach Munataka. As part of his plan to develop Hiromi, to general outrage, he makes her no.5 in the inter-school tennis team in place of the apparently much more skilled and experienced Otowa Kyouko. Bullied and unhappy, Hiromi tries to resign, but the coach is unrelenting. Before long there are signs that the coach was right.
Review I have the first 4 episodes of the original 1st TV series on tape, and having re-watched it yesterday I found that almost all the major incidents of the early episodes of the anime have been re-used in the drama in some form or other.

I have reviewed the anime elsewhere in this database. In adapting the manga for the new series, the production team have kept the essence of the story much the same while completely changing the look and feel. The anime is quite comic and has a rather psychedelic colour palette, while the drama is a perhaps typical straight live-action drama. Hiromi's character is essentially unchanged (though she seems more air-headed in the first episodes of the anime) - she remains a rather cute thin little girl with above-average determination.

The tennis match sequences are well-shot, and interesting to watch even if you are not interested in tennis. The illusion that the actresses are able to play well is preserved - perhaps some skilful editing was necessary here! The story works well as a drama. So far as I can judge, the acting is good.

In case you were wondering, some care has been taken to avoid sexing it up - there is a lot more leg visible in the anime!

Itís tempting to compare this with the "other" sports-anime derived drama "Attack no 1". "Aim for the Ace" scores high because it works really well as a drama, and because it is fairly faithful to the anime. By the way, two of the actresses appear in both.

Credits Aya Ueto as Hiromi Oka
Rio Matsumoto as Reika "Ochoufujin" Ryuuzaki
Masaki Uchino as Coach Jin Munakata
Ayana Sakai as Ranko Midorikawa
Original creator: Sumika Yamamoto
Episodes 9
Release Jap:DVD
TV Showing See the whole series for free? This series may be syndicated to regional cable, satellite or terrestial TV stations. For Europe click here.
Date 2004-01-15 to 2004-03-11
Broadcaster TV Asahi
References & Help Look up the latest data on this title at:
Richard Llewellyn's Animated Divots, or
Anime News Network (see Encyclopedia section) ,
or in "The Anime Encyclopedia" (Clements & McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press, 2001).
Help & further information.



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