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Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl

Thursday, January 17, 2008 |

Every teenager, in some respect, has to deal with meddling parents. But Yawara is a special case. Her grandfather Jigoro, whom she lives with, has been training her since childhood to be the guiding star of women's judo. A former judo prodigy, he works her relentlessly, planning for the day when his young protégé will make her spectacular debut on the judo stage. His goal is the Olympic Gold in women's judo (even though the category doesn't yet exist) and eventually the coveted National Merit Award. And he'll do anything to achieve it, be it sneaking into her room to purge it of girly, non-judo distractions, creating a rival, intimidating potential suitors, or scheming to force her into judo matches. Yawara, like any good teenager, is rebelling; all she wants is to be a normal girl. She skips practice, wears makeup (the horror!), practices cooking, and most of all, goes looking for love. But being normal isn't easy when it seems the cosmos themselves are plotting against you. Her manufactured rival, one of Japan's richest socialites, won't leave her alone, a nosy reporter becomes obsessed with her potential after witnessing her takedown of a purse snatcher, and even the guy she's attracted to turns out to be a judo coach. It seems Yawara is destined to be a judo girl whether she likes it or not.

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