Kozue is a highschool girl and enthusiastic volleyball player. Her dream is to play in the Japanese national volleyball team. During the series she makes it from the school district league up to the Japanese volleyball finals, step by step till the international volleyball championship. But the faster and higher Kozue climbs the career ladder up, the more she gets confronted with the dark side of success: too high expectations, self-conceit and envy are progressing towards serious problems.
Attack No.1 or Mila Superstar as it was called when it aired in Germany is one of the childhood memories I treasure. Though the genre of Anime was not known at all at that time, Attack No.1 used to air with german dub throughout the 90's on german television. It is funny to see that hardly anybody seems to know it here, though most of 10-30 year old Germans have watched the series.
The story is rather old nowadays, young girl joins high school volleyball team, as she gets better and better she does make some friends but also some enemies. As she plays her
way up to the world championships, new friends and new funny volleyball techniques show up. Although the story is quite worn out, the anime is still fun to watch, as you can share the thrill with Mila during every match.
I cannot possibly separate my nostalgia goggles from my eyes when talking about Attack No. 1. Or as it was known to me and my fellow German speakers in the 90s, Mila Superstar.
Before Sailor Moon, before Dragonball, before Pokemon and Digimon...there was Mila. This was in more ways than one my entry drug into the world of anime.
While it is rather rough around the edges when you look at it today (I mean it was made in the 60s for crying out loud) but it still had all those tropes I would later come to love/hate in anime. It's a sports show with all the
shounen cliches you'd expect. An underdog story with a rival bully who becomes your BFF by the end, ridiculous superpowers and the melodramatic nail biting thrills of...Volleyball. Sure there were no world ending stakes, but it I'll be damned if it didn't FEEL like the world would end whenever Mila was at the face of defeat. Every time she screamed and cried, my little 5 year old self screamed and cried along. The show had a passion that I was not used to seeing in any other show.
And unlike shounen, Attack No.1 had a cast that was comprised mainly of girl characters. Surprisingly well written girl characters. A sad rarity even to this day. Mila's main concerns weren't boy troubles or looking pretty, she was a goddamn athlete. She had a dream, and my god, she was gonna live that dream if it killed her.