|Hiromi and Ochoufujin...grrrrr.|
The "Aim for the Ace!" movie from 1979 is the epitome of early shoujo anime. Directed by Osamu Dezaki ("Onisama e," "Black Jack" OVAs), it's a sports anime that hits all the right notes for the shoujo genre including the incredibly great best friend, a little bit of romance, and a whole lot of bullying. Hiromi Oka is a 15 year old girl who is picked by the new high school tennis coach to be a regular on the team, even though she is a rank amateur. She struggles mightily throughout the movie to prove that her coach right. I have seen the first season of the TV series and enjoyed that as well. The movie pretty much covers the meat of the series which is Hiromi learning to love tennis and training like hell (which includes getting hit repeatedly by tennis balls and falling on the ground while missing the shot.) I really like the Dezaki-style of over the top freeze frames of harsh line drawings of people doing an action move while not really moving much at all. It's all so dramatic. Hiromi is a likeable heroine who doesn't give up and manages to seem like a normal teenager eating out and playing at the video arcade after school. The end was actually a surprisingly sentimental twist that left me a bit teary eyed. Why isn't there more anime like this anymore? Recommended.