Hagiwara Sakura and Miyazawa Elena are the leading members of a popular idol group, Sweet Diva. One day, Elena is injured by the attack of a female pro-wrestler Kazama Rio during the recording of a TV program. Sakura gets mad at Rio and gives her a dropkick. To avenge Elena, Sakura enters the female pro-wrestling matches.
Do you like breasts? Of course you do, you wouldn't be watching anime if you didn't. Do you like wrestling? Doesn't matter, have some more breasts.
Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai (Sekatsuyo for short) is a story about breasts. Sentient breasts with butts attached for panty shots. Two pairs of terrific titties stop by to watch other bodacious boobies bounce around in a wrestling ring. One pair of breasts gets rankled and gives a dropkick to another pair, setting off a string of wacky adventures in the world of foxy wrestling.
Sakura, the main character, has her personality summed up entirely in the show's title (spoiler: she
wants to be the strongest in the world). The others have about as much depth as they do cleavage. There's the mean one, the wise one, the spunky one, the rival, the big shot, and a bunch of others who exist just to fill space (and bras). But who watches fanservice shows for the compelling characters? How about some compelling coconuts, right!? Unfortunately, Sekatsuyo falls short on this as well. There are roughly three kinds of shots throughout the series: close-ups of boobs, close-ups of butts, and close-ups of Sakura twisted up like a pretzel moaning in agony(?). These staple shots are repeated over and over in every episode, sometimes with differently colored boobs and butts, but always with lots and lots of moaning. Seriously, you could just listen to a clip of Sakura shouting “ITAIIII” and skip the first three episodes (which would vastly improve the pacing, more on that later). Don't get me wrong, I love fanservice, and I love breasts, but I also love a little variety. Couldn't we have had a wardrobe malfunction, or some shower shenanigans, or drunken skinship, or a hot springs episode, or ANYTHING to break up the “ITAIIII” monotony? The answer is no, we can't, not until the blu-ray specials at least. Oh well, even if the fanservice is a bit disappointing, at least the action is entertaining, right?
Let's take a minute to actually look at the wrestling presented in Sekatsuyo. Don't worry, we'll get back to the breasts soon enough. Sekatsuyo can't seem to decide if its wrestling is fake or real. On one breast, the characters seem take an inhuman amount of punishment in the ring, but there's never any mention of some supernatural wrestling powers or fighting spirit or any of that. Later on, Sakura compliments another character not on her athletic ability, but for going easy on Sakura to ensure the match is entertaining for the audience. On top of this, the animators went to great lengths to make sure all the moves were performed “safely.” For example, whenever someone takes a piledriver, the piledrivee's head is always clearly tucked in the other girl's thighs, safely away from any contact with the ground. Considering how bad the animation can get elsewhere in the show, I'm positive that the moves were intentionally and consistently shown this way as a reminder that these girls aren't really trying bust each other's boobies. So it's all fake, right?
Not so fast. On the other side of the breast, the characters all seem deathly serious about the various plotlines they get involved in. The show spends an awful lot of time backstage and out of the ring, and not once do we hear any of the characters talk about storylines or planned finishes or any of the “worked” aspects of wrestling. At one point, a masked villainess begins ambushing the other breastlers, and everyone seems genuinely surprised by this unscripted turn of events, even when there's no audience around or any other reason for them to fake surprise. Even in the ring, things get a bit blurry. Despite the moves being obviously safe, the characters still seem to get injured, and even comment on their own status in their thoughts, and try to think of strategies for legitimately beating their opponents. At one point in a match, Sakura's leg is nearly broken by an opponent who is hellbent on ending her career, which hampers her wrestling acumen later in the fight (don't worry though, her breasts are fine). If this was fake, then why would she think privately about how much it hurts and how to work around the injury? If it was real, then why would she risk hurting herself even more doing lots of outlandish flips and throws that wouldn't work without a willing partner? Sekatsuyo can't decide, so it just throws lots of boobs at your face and hopes you won't think too much.
The worst problem with Sekatsuyo, even more so than the same-y fanservice and the hard-to-follow action, is the first three episodes. As in, the ENTIRETY of the first three episodes. There's about 10 minutes of set-up for the plot at the beginning, then nothing but Sakura losing over and over and over and over until you start to wonder why you're wasting your time with this show. Even her fans in-universe give up on the show for the same reason, almost like the producers are saying “it's fine drop this and watch something else.” It's hard to describe the unbearable monotone of these episodes; Sakura loses the same way while shouting the same way as her fans shuffle out the same way. Imagine if Haruhi started with Endless Eight, except there's not even any paranormal explanation. It's really just the same thing over and over and everyone hates it, real or fictional. The show thankfully improves after this, but it's a very high hurdle to jump over for new watchers, and the payoff is still not that great.
If you want to see anime breasts, you can do better than Sekatsuyo. You're on the internet, after all. If you want to see anime breasts wrestling, well, I'm not sure you really can do better at the moment. Wrestling is a very niche topic in anime (the only other example I can think of is Kinnikuman, which is pretty much the opposite of breasts), and shows like this aren't likely to inspire a stampede of copycats. You'll just have to make do with MMA or something in the meantime. Overall, there are worse ways to spend your time than watching Sekatsuyo, and plenty of better ways, but if you want some boobs and don't want to think, then go for it. You have no one to blame but yourself.
Ecchi shows these days are a dime a dozen, and when it comes to a studio known for such works as Samurai Girls and Queen's Blade, people don't get their hopes high for a tight narrative and endearing characters. Shows very clearly labeled as ecchi and marketed as softcore porn for blu-ray buyers from the outset are practically guaranteed to get negative reviews and low scores across the board for their entire duration.
Most deserve it. But not all of them do.
Here we have Wanna Be the Strongest in the World, aka Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai, a show with a title so generic it would
make shounen magazines cry, but with a rather unexpected execution. Yep, that's right: I'm here to say that this show is actually...kind of good.
Speaking of shounen magazines and manga, the story of this one fits in rather well with that style. The lead protagonist, Hagiwara Sakura, takes her stubborn attitude to the max when she decides to temporarily leave her idol group behind in order to get back at a pro wrestler for insulting idols and hurting her best friend by going pro herself and vowing to win a match against the one who slighted her group. But the trip isn't easy; Sakura thought she could just jump in and win a match with a minimal amount of training in the basics, but she got a hard wake up call when Rio tossed her around the ring and bent her in ways that humans probably aren't meant to bend.
But no, Sakura did not give up on her goal, and for months she trained and fought for the strength to win this fight. It's at this point where - if one is paying enough attention - the show actually starts to play with your expectations a little. For the first half of the show, nothing comes easily for Sakura. In fact, the show is extremely tough on her, with her constantly getting beaten down by her opponents and losing match after match until she was nearly ready to give up everything just to spare herself the continued pain of it all. It's odd to see her shown to actually be naive more than stubborn, not able to take nearly as much punishment as she thinks she can, and the show doesn't paint her actions in a very positive light when she's giving up every match and gradually losing all her fans.
But as they say: the harder the struggle, the greater the triumph. When Sakura finally manages to pull her feet out from under her and hang onto the rope, the eventual results are made that much better because of all the hardship she went through on the way. It may not be the most original story, but it does have an unexpected amount of heart.
The show changes gears around the halfway point, and things get a little sketchy for a while. A character is introduced that appears to have little purpose other than to be filler and/or make Sakura look a little better. A new opponent is revealed and the show appears to just be rehashing its first half entirely, which had me pretty disappointed, but a surprise twist comes that, when I really thought about it, actually made a whole lot of sense, tied up multiple loose ends with characters whose roles were appearing to be unclear, and justified many of the problems I would have otherwise had with the rest of the show. It was a very natural progression coming off from the first half that leads up to a good climax and rather cheesy, yet not bad conclusion.
Technically speaking, the show is mostly in that middle range of "you probably won't notice if you're only watching for your own entertainment." The animation budget was clearly saved for the wrestling matches, which are pretty well-done, but the CG audiences show some very rough edges. Sometimes one also has to wonder how big the rings are, because damn, it sure can take these women a long time to run across it. Despite having an idol group as a central focus, the song choice is actually still limited to just the opening and ending themes, which are overall standard fare, neither great nor terrible.
If one looks at this show as pure fanservice meant to sell blu-rays, they'll be missing out on something real that, surprisingly, is actually there. The title may be generic as all hell, but it actually defines what the show is about much more than most of the marketing ever did, and fanservice in the show is actually fairly limited. Aside from an extended shower scene in the first episode, nudity scenes are all quick, lasting only a few seconds, and are completely gone past the halfway point of the series. The rest of the fanservice is in the sexy wrestler outfits, camera shots during the fights, and cries of pain, all of which the show never lets up on, and if that kind of thing bothers you, then you should definitely avoid the show at all costs.
I'm the kind of person who can generally look past a show's flaws if there's still something real and good there to see; I can pick out a diamond in the rough, so to speak. I went into this show basically expecting trash, like most people did, but for some reason I seem to be one of a very limited pool who actually found something worthwhile in the show. It gives me the feeling that many viewers don't even give a show like this a chance, they simply see exposed nipples and apply a stigma to it that means it must be terrible regardless of anything else, because why would a director put such scenes in an otherwise good show? Well, there are any number of reasons, and I for one choose not to dismiss a show just because it uses a few cheap tactics to get viewers when it is otherwise very much worth my time.
What I found here was a show with a tight narrative, a good cast, and more heart than the majority of shows that are only out there to raise flags.
Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai (or SekaTsuyo for short) is another inspiring sports show, but cleverly disguised as a trashy ecchi show about girls getting close and personal. This season has seen several of these, like the new season of Hajime no Ippo or Yowamushi Pedal which gives the viewer anime's take on competitive cycling.
The story's focus is largely on the main character, Hagiwara Sakura and the challenges facing her each episode. Most of the time it flows smoothly but the pacing of the actual fights range from okay to poor. The fights don't offer much in the way of surprises and feel too staged
and forced, especially when the patterns start to repeat and you begin to notice that the fighters seem to take turns beating on each other. The choreography itself is decent, the moves are well done and given a sense of impact, but the submission holds tend to drag out and the cries of pain from the voice actresses become grating and even embarrassing to listen to. The art shares this problem, as the crotch shots, breast shots and the outfits in general aren't very pleasant to look at - it feels like the artists featured all that just to classify the show as ecchi which is doesn't exactly feel like.
The songs used in the opening and ending, as well as the background music is forgettable but not bad. It's standard with a hint of blandness, just enough to not have anything to say about it. As far as voice acting goes the female ones show a huge amount of skill with their in-fight cries and screams, which sound more painful than erotic (I suspect that was the intended effect.)
Sakura is much like the generic sports anime protagonist: ambitious and enthusiastic, though she has a few moments that set her apart from the rest. While all of those protagonists face setbacks in one form or another, Sakura's struggle is painful, brutal and supremely captivating. Viewers watch her struggle and achieve nothing and fall further each time and it's a reminder that real life isn't as forgiving as anime. It was a fresh viewing experience, and while it was frustrating and even agonizing to watch her, I'm glad that I did. Her struggle was noble and the fruits of her labor were infinitely sweet.
Sakura's struggle is like any other, and that's fine. Watching her is inspiring, even while seeing her fall you root for her and when she rises you cheer with the crowd. While this isn't an exceptional anime that should be among to top of this season, it's good entertainment and one of the few animes about wrestling.
Is It Yuri?
With many women comes much speculation. Sadly, there's not much to go on so I would not recommend it for the yuri factor alone.
This is an ecchi show. You are forewarned if you don't like to see boobs bouncing. Proceed at your own risk.
Now, if ecchi doesn't bother you, and you like stories with character developments, you might just find this story a surprise sleeper waiting to be discovered.
The premise of the story actually has a lot more in common with titles like Slam Dunk, Haikyuu, etc (it is about sports after all) than with what we generally think of as ecchi. Sakura, our protagonist, decides to join pro wrestling on a whim after her profession - idol - and friend were abused/ridiculed by a pro wrestler.
fake as pro wrestling may seem, it takes incredible talent and hard work to perform, and our protagonists was quickly abused of her naive notions. Her perseverance to take on the obstacles is the journey this story undertakes.
If the chosen sports isn't female pro wrestling, this title probably will barely be associated with ecchi at all. There are no generic harem MC's around, nor are there any boob grabs etc. The "ecchi-ness" basically comes from the attires and the awkward positions wrestlings tend to cause wrestlers to be in, and yes, boobs will bounce around when the body is slammed upside down. The same can be found in gymnastics and figure skating, which I guess some people can also see them as ecchi. People will see what they want to see.
And I see a young woman who was willing to take on the challenge of becoming a pro wrestler, going through the hardships and challenges, and find herself alone the way.
This by no means is a sports master piece as Slam Dunk, nor does it fully avoid "fan service" shots, and the amount of difficulty encountered in the beginning can be disheartening for viewers to continue (ITAI!). But overall the story is a fun ride. It will transport you to the ring side and make you feel the pain and joy of the characters. It's worth a try.