Okay, so, I’ve done a lot of reviews these past few months… And I mean a LOT of reviews, filling my schedule up all the way into November… So I figured it was time for a good old fashioned rant. This is not being planned out or structured, it hasn’t been in the planning stages for more than the last half hour or so, and I have no idea how long it will be. might be a few paragraphs. might be a few pages. All I know is that I’m currently watching Wanna Be the Strongest in the world right now, and only three episodes in, I’ve got a lot of things to get off my chest.
First off, a synopsis. Sakura is the lead singer of an Idol quintet. Her manager strikes an interpromotional deal with a women’s wrestling league named BWQ(Which is just about the ugliest acronym for a wrestling promotion that I’ve ever heard) and two of the idol’s girls are off to train. The other Idol makes light of wrestling, which pisses off someone whom I believe was the only dark skinned girl in the promotion, and when Sakura steps in to defend her, a match is set up between them. Sakura gets her ass kicked, she loses by fainting, and instead of crawling back into her hole like any smart person at this point, she decides to go pro and seek revenge.
Now, I’m going to pause there, because that’s just the first episode(out of the three I’ve seen so far… don’t worry, I’ll be watching the rest), and yet I’ve already got a few things to get off my chest. first of all, if you haven’t picked up on this yet, wrestling, in this universe, is apparently real. Yeah, I know, there are people reading this with smug looks on their faces like “Dur hur hur, wrestling’s totally fake in real life…” Like you’ve discovered some ancient secret or something. Believe me, you’d have to be pretty fucking stupid to think wrestling was real, and that’s coming for a fan. I’ve been watching for exactly fifteen years this month, and let me tell you, if you actually think it’s possible to drag someone to their feet after they’ve been knocked out, and throw them in such a way that they break into a voluntary run and turn around just in time to bounce off the ropes and come back, you should probably go have your head examined. Like, right now, before it’s too late.
But yeah, wrestling’s real here, the characters are explicitly fighting each other to win, and this brings up a shitload of implications. You would assume that this kind of real fighting, or ‘shoot wrestling,’ as it’s called in the business, would lead to constant injuries, just like it did in WWE’s horrible idea for a boxing charade, the Brawl for All tournament. There were legitimate concussions and broken bones in that thing, but lo and behold, the ladies of BWQ(I will never get used to that) never suffer even the slightest bruise, even when bashing each other over the head with weapons(Which totally happens). The main character loses to the Boston crab 50 times in a row, and they’re REALLY using it on her, and she hasn’t sustained one single leg injury. What is she Gumby?
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. She trains to join BW… Fucking Q… And her training consists of Saitama style workouts, which she somehow aces, and taking 100 throws(and suplexes being called throws) in a row. That’s it, and she’s ready to debut. no running the ropes, no developing a style, no taking bumps… Just workout a lot, get stronger despite not gaining any muscle definition(Yeah, I know it’s an anime, but SERIOUSLY, show some kind of a fucking change in her body), and she gets thrown into the deep end, losing 50 matches in a row. Oh, but we only see one of the matches… For the rest, we just see her in the crab hold, we hear her pathetic cries of pain that are suspiciously disguised as sexual pleasure, we see generous shots of her tits heaving up and down, and then she says she gives up. She doesn’t tap out, because the people writing this shit didn’t even do THAT much research, she just gives up.
Keep in mind, despite her losing and crowds beginning to disperse over her, they never decide to hold her back or cut down on her in ring time. They never try anything new like sticking her in a tag team, they don’t give her a gimmick to make her more interesting… Oh, and trust me, they do gimmicks. There’s one character who dresses like a biker and has a possy of henchman, so don’t you DARE tell me they don’t have gimmicks. Oh speaking of her, remember how wrestling is real? not only do we see her blatantly beat her opponent over the head with a kendo stick, and smash some sort of steel looking box on her head, but we get to see her henchman blatantly interfere, to the point that they’re not just pulling clever tricks, they’re getting into the ring to contribute to her submission moves.
In pro wrestling, a pinfall is when you hold your opponents shoulder-blades down to the mat for a three-count(Yes, wrestling is fake, go get a fucking cookie to congratulate yourselves on that). In this match, the good girl wins with a pinfall, even though the evil girl had her shoulders down during a submission move, and that actually counts as a pinfall. Oh, wait, no it doesn’t. Anyway, episode three, Sakura’s having doubts about continuing this career… Which she damn well should have… The head trainer has a sparring match with her, where she won’t release the hold when Sakura gives up because… Get this… “It’s just you and me here. no ref… No audience… no rules.” I’m sorry, were there rules before?
I don’t think I’m going to review this title, I’m actually having a hard enough time just getting through it, but I wanted to talk about it all the same. The WWE is currently in one of the best eras of women’s wrestling it’s ever been in, now that they’re hiring actual talent and not just models who are willing to fall down a lot, but this stupid ass show is taking women’s wrestling back to the models era of 2008, only worse. I don’t know, I’m asexual, and maybe it would be different if I reacted to women holding each other in submission moves while the camera and the voice acting tried to make it as porny as possible the same way most guys do, I might not have such a gripe with it. I’m sorry, this shit isn’t sexy to me, it’s just weird and pathetic, and it’s an insult to a passion in my life that I hold almost as high in regard as anime.
It would be bad enough if they completely misrepresented wrestling, which they do. It would be bad enough if they treated their character like budget saving sex objects that they could animate for minutes on end just sitting in there in the crab move while the camera sexes them up and they moan and cry. What’s worse about it, so far, is that it’s being as lazy and uncreative as possible with a concept that offers endless possibilities. you set an anime in a wrestling ring, even if it’s stupid as hell and the wrestling is considered real, you have opportunities to create interesting characters, interesting in-ring styles, so many possible character designs… Rumble Roses was a shitty game, and look at how much imagination THAT thing had!
But no, it’s just bland, bland, bland. Everyone’s outfits are the same… Bikinis with various levels of coverage, but most so revealing that even the divas of the mid-2000s would call them slutty, aside from the one chick wearing a bodysuit. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to slut-shame anyone, or say there’s anything wrong with wearing revealing clothing, but if you’re performing in the ring, there’s a certain point where you’re just begging for a wardrobe malfunction. Anyway, we barely see any wrestling maneuvers outside of submission holds and suplexes that we can barely see due to how close the camera is. Even the nudity, which I’m pretty sure is the only thing keeping mot people watching, is the same every time. Every episode, a shower scene. Even Strike Witches liked to mix it up.
A few months ago on Facebook I gave Yuri on Ice grief for showing virtually the same skating routines over and over again with little to no variety, but at least we got to see the full routines. I actually quite loved the one kid’s rock and roll inspired routine. I just wish Strongest would show us one… Just one… Full length match. A good TV match can go anywhere from 12 minutes to 24 minutes, so they could devote an entire episode to one awesome match if they wanted to. They obviously don’t, though, because they’re obviously just using the concept of wrestling to deliver softcore porn. That actually really disappoints me.
I’m going to go finish the anime now… You know how I am, I’ll obviously have it long since finished by the time this post goes up. I’m going to hold onto the hope that it gets better, or at least a little more imaginative, but based on the things I’ve heard about it, I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, what the hell am I watching?
Update: Okay, so, I finished the show, and it does get slightly better, but it also never stops getting dumber, so that kind of evens things out. They drop the episodic showers, they show people tapping out and getting pinned, wrestlers do start to suffer damage(which they no-sell as soon as the match is over), and there are a few lengthy matches. Sakura’s grudge match against her initial rival is okay, it’s not terrible, but it… along with the other handful of matches we get to see… Is still pretty fucking stupid. I didn’t mention this earlier, but the show had a nasty habit of having it’s wrestlers have to literally yell to the ref that they were pinning someone or grabbing the ropes, because while WWE may have refs that collapse on the spot if you so much as tap them, this show has refs that are too fucking stupid to recognize the tell-tale signs that they’re trained to spot.
There’s a little more variety, too, and I do mean little. Some high-flying action gets worked in, but it does little to add any sense to the matches, which jump from move to move with almost nothing in the way of logical progression. Then of course we have the final story arc, where Sakura’s old BFF from the idol group becomes a wrestler to fight her and drag her back kicking and screaming into the idol group, even though Idols have short careers and pro wrestling would be a nice longer term plan to follow it up. I’m not gonna lie, this reveal was spoiled for me, but I already suspected it before I was told. They eventually settle on a resolution that’s almost… almost… As stupid as what happened in the second season Oreimo OVAs.
Am I going to review this? No, I don’t think it deserves to be dignified. It’s not one of the worst anime I’ve ever seen, but it’s sure as hell one of the stupidest, and if I tried thinking critically about it, I’d probably give myself an aneurysm. So there, a rant is all you’re going to get.
But hey, there’s going to be a pretty cool review next week, and after that, we start up Horror month! Hope you’re looking forward to it!
Sakura: I’ve been training so hard… Why didn’t I win? There’s got to be a reason.
Me: You know, I have a theory about that… I’m working on some sort of connection between your loss and the fact that your opponent was using a weapon and had lackeys interfering on her behalf. I think I may be on to something.
Sakura: I need a finishing move!