“Ippon” again!

“Ippon” again!

"Ippon" again! anime series cover art
“Ippon” again!

I Never Knew I Needed a Judo Anime

“Ippon” again! (Mou Ippon! / もういっぽん!) is a sports anime about a high school girls’ judo club. And if you’re like me, you probably never considered watching an anime about judo. But, I’m here to tell you to give it a try.

However, you shouldn’t go into this series expecting that it will teach you judo. There are very few aspects of the sport that “Ippon” again! explicitly explains. Instead, you’ll get a general understanding of the rules and how the scoring system works. That’s about it.

Now, to some of you, it may be obvious that you wouldn’t learn judo from an anime. But, there are a lot of other anime that do teach you how to do whatever the series is about. For example, March comes in like a lion teaches you how to play Shogi (at a basic level).

Towa Hiura and Michi Sonoda doing judo from the anime series "Ippon" again!
Towa Hiura and Michi Sonoda doing judo

I assumed we’d learn a bit more about judo than we do. You know, maybe some of the techniques could have been explained so we could spot when they’re used again. It also would have been nice if some of the scoring terms were defined, as well.

Here are two examples. I know that if you score an “ippon,” that’s an automatic win. And one way to score an ippon is to throw your opponent onto their back. But, how you score one from a hold is never explained.

Another example is “waza-ari,” which is a point, but not a win. As far as I understand, you win if you get 2 waza-ari. But, that’s never explained. And what counts as a waza-ari is never explained either. It’s up to the viewer to either already know, or figure it out through context, which isn’t ideal.

Someone Who Does Judo Is a Judoka

Just recently, in my review of Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro 2nd Attack, I asked what you call someone who does judo. I asked this because a significant portion of the season revolved around judo. And, we never learned what you call someone who does judo in it.

But, I now have the answer to my question thanks to “Ippon” again! Someone who does judo is a judoka. So, who are the main judoka of this series? There’s Michi, Sanae, Towa, Anna, and Tsumugi.

Michi Sonoda is the main character and is very similar to other female protagonists. She’s loud, not particularly bright, and makes friends easily. Michi also isn’t the best judoka. She’s small, which tends to be a handicap, and she doesn’t have the raw talent some of her peers do.

Midoriko Senoo defeating her opponent from the anime series "Ippon" again!
Midoriko Senoo defeating her opponent

Sanae Takigawa is Michi’s close friend who began doing judo with her in middle school. Sanae also isn’t that good at judo. And while she’s not great at using techniques, she’s pretty competent at grappling.

Towa Hiura is a judo prodigy. She’s the ace of the club and is good enough to compete on a national level. However, Towa is also very shy.

Anna Nagumo only starts doing judo in her freshman year of high school. Before that, she was a member of the kendo club and was highly ranked. But, she decided to make the switch to judo because she wanted to be in a club with Michi.

Tsumugi Himeno is the only non-freshman member of the judo club. She’s a senior who returned to the club after Michi, Sanae, and Towa revived it. Though, she only returned because the club needed a fifth member. No, not for formal recognition as a club, but to compete in a tournament.

“Sports Anime Aren’t Really My Thing”

I’m not someone who watches many sports anime. But, when I do, they typically fall into one of two categories. Either they’re very good, like Ping Pong the Animation. Or, they’re little more than a cute girls doing cute things series, like Cinderella Nine.

Most of the sports anime I’ve watched seem to fall into the latter category, which isn’t a good thing. I like CGDCT anime as much as the next person. But, sports usually aren’t cute. So, they end up being pretty boring since they don’t deliver on either the moe or the action.

“Ippon” again! isn’t a CGDCT series. Yes, the cast is all girls. But, the series isn’t about making them look cute. It’s actually about the sport, which I liked. The other sports anime I’ve seen that I’d say is most similar to this one is Iwa Kakeru!: Sport Climbing Girls.

Towa Hiura, Sanae Takigawa, and Michi Sonoda celebrating from the anime series "Ippon" again!
Towa Hiura, Sanae Takigawa, and Michi Sonoda celebrating

The biggest difference between this series and Iwa Kakeru!, though, is the characters. In Iwa Kakeru!, the protagonist is a gamer with a super brain who solves rock climbing. That’s not the most relatable or fun to watch.

And that’s why I prefer “Ippon” again! Michi is a much more relatable character because she’s pretty average at judo. And it’s not just Michi. All the girls from this series are relatable in one way or another — even the judo prodigy, Towa. You might not expect it, but the characters are the most important part of sports anime.

That’s right, it’s not the sport. I don’t care about judo at all. But, while watching “Ippon” again!, I was invested in the sport thanks to the characters. And this is exactly how I felt when watching my favorite sports anime, Ping Pong the Animation.

Conclusion

In the end, I gave “Ippon” again! a 7/10, which means it’s a good anime. If you’re looking for a new sports anime and have already watched the big names like Blue Lock, give this one a try. I have a feeling you’ll like it, even if you know nothing about judo.

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Finally, I’d like to thank Roman and JasonHK for supporting DoubleSama.com at the Heika tier this month. To learn more about how you too can become a supporter of this blog, check out Patreon.com/DoubleSama.

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