Ayane's High Kick
Mitsui Ayane is a rambunctious, hyperactive teenager that loves Pro Wrestling. She loves it so much, in fact, that her life-long goal is to become a wrestler herself and fight her idol, Toyoda, for the title belt. The only problem is she stinks at wrestling. After watching her latest failed audition, a coach for an independent kickboxing camp decides to recruit her and turn her powerful legs towards a sport they are better suited for. Unfortunately he has to fool Ayane to do this, since she is single-mindedly in pursuit of her dream. Will Ayane be the next up-and-coming kickboxing star? Or just another wrestler wanna-be?
Ayane's High Kick is a fun, charming, double episode pilot that like many others of its era, never managed to take off and become a full series. Fun characters and an interesting premise are marginalized by its short length and obnoxious cliches, but for what it's worth, it's a fun ride.
The main character, Ayane, is your typical red-haired spaz tomboy, who is probably a little bit thicker in the head than most others of her ilk. That she's actually fooled by her coach, Kunimitsu, into thinking kickboxing training is for pro wrestling borders on absurd, but her enthusiasm and determination are infectious, and I still found myself rooting for her in the end. Her friends from school, bookworm Mayu and combat-sports otaku Kappei are fun side characters that adequately complement Ayane without becoming distracting. Her "rival", however, the blond and obnoxious Migiyama, is a little over-the-top. Watching her prance around and proclaim how awesome she is when she's only fought five matches herself is somewhat irritating, but I guess that's the point. The vice principal of Ayane's high school is likewise a walking cliche, and further proof of the anime law that states all vice principals are pure unadulterated evil.
The animation is somewhat dated, but remarkably good for the time this was made. Still, fans of newer shows will probably be disappointed in the fight scenes, which have the typical sports-anime speed lines and still shots in abundance. The characters fall squarely into the "big eyes, small mouths" school of design, which can be somewhat jarring considering the subject matter of the show, but are fairly attractive none the less.
In all, Ayane's High Kick is a fun ride, but nothing to write home about. Like "The Adventure's of Kotetsu" and "Dragon Half" it really deserved more episodes. As an advertisement for the manga, however, it's not bad. I hope that someone picks up this title in print soon, since the rest of the story might be fun to read.
If you are not a martial-arts nut like me, remove a star. Most fans will probably find this on the low side of average. It just needed more. — Jason Bustard
Recommended Audience: No fan service, nudity, or really much of anything offensive besides the fights in the ring, which are rough, but not gory or brutal. Fine for young teens on up.
Version(s) Viewed: R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (2/2)
Ayane's High Kick © 1996 Nikkatsu Corporation / Okao Takahiro
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