Ayane Mitsui is not your average teen. While most teens are concentrating on school, Ayane is dead focused on becoming a pro wrestler. After failing the wrestling try outs due to botching all of her high spots. Ayane receives a visit from a trainer by the name of Kunimitsu Tangay. Fascinated with her leg strength, he tricks her into believing that she's training to become a wrestler. Before Ayane opens her eyes, she's booked and in the ring, and about to compete in her very first kick boxing match.-summary
Sometimes I really do hate the anime industry to the point where I can stick with only my collection, and shun the rest of it forever. Like Hollywood, an untalented hack of a director, or a studio will receive a huge budget to dress up a piece of shit in a fine suit, with intentions on pushing it off as the next big thing. Later, anime fans will eat it up, and pave the way for another lazy sequel or something else just as lackluster(I'm talking about you Hell Girl!) Then something with potential will be forsaken to join the lost world of "B", only to be later forgotten because it didn't receive the necessary push. If there was ever a title that I would consider to be missed potential, then it would have to be Ayane's High Kick. This very short series deserved a much longer run, because inside of this short OVA there's a story just screaming to be let out. Ayane's High Kick begins with a bit of promise, and it soon shows sparks of what it could have been, but it eventually falls victim to the low budget.
Fighting anime will normally follow a certain pattern.1) Main character trains hard. 2) Main character fights very tough opponent and is driven to the brink of defeat. 3 ) Main character some how defeats said opponent that they normally shouldn't with lady luck on their side. This anime isn't really different as it follows that same pattern for the most part. However, it's still kind of fun as you watch the main character try to overcome the obstacles.
The characters have very little to no depth and most fall in stereotypical roles, but it's still hard not to cheer for Ayane. Her clumsiness is classic and works well with the comedy. I couldn't help wonder how a die hard fan of pro wrestling did not notice she wasn't training for it. Is this dumb or what? She gives all wrestling fans a very bad name, but her clueless behaviour and excuses to get herself out of trouble adds to her cuteness.
Ayane's High Kick isn't completely about the next fight. There are also sub plots taking place concerning the vice principal of her school, which furthers the anime stereotype of vice principals being evil. Ayane's school has a rule that forbids violent extracurricular activities. After her participation in a match, the vice principal is dead set on getting her expelled. She also has to keep her training secret from her mother. So there's a little bit extra going on here adding to the suspense. Unfortunately, because of the short length only one is well used.
The animation is decent for such a short OVA. The action scenes are fun, but suffer from the overuse of stills and reused animation. The artwork is ok at times with nice character designs, however, it can be inconsistent also. This is very noticeable during the fights, because the characters almost appear to be stick figures at times. The soundtrack is ok, and it fits with the personalities of the characters. On the downside, some of the songs are constantly replayed and the over exposure caused them to over stay their welcome. The English cast is alright for the most part, but Rose Markisello who plays Sakurako Miyagawa speaks with too heavy of an accent when pronouncing her characters name. It actually grated on my nerves quite a bit.
The biggest problem that I have with this series is the very short length. Not only because the series left me wanting more, it also heavily effected the storytelling. Switching from wrestling to kick boxing is a huge transition as well as difficult. There could have been a great story told here with plenty of character development. Watching this character grow and prosper from beginner to pro could have propelled this series into classic status. The best example of a beginner turning pro, while dealing with the hardships of a physical sport would be Fighting Spirit aka Hajime No Ippo. But then again, perhaps my imagination is just running wild here.
Ayane's High Kick is definitely wasted potential, and I really hope it gets picked up one day. Ayane is an interesting character in a story that could have been very good, but a bad anime is still a bad anime. It shouldn't have saw the light of day. The series is badly rushed and the opened ending will leave almost anyone wanting more. This is an OVA I can't recommend at all. But the good thing is, the anime genre is over-saturated with action titles. So finding a better one won't be hard at all. The OVA is two episodes with a 60 minute runtime.
Pros: -Decent action scenes and music, light hearted and fun
Although the animation can look a bit aged at times it never stops you from enjoying this series. Baki the grappler and Ayane do resemble each other but there are some differences that give Ayane a much more interesting story. For one Ayane starts out with no fighting skills but her semi athletic body assures her potential to be a professional wrestler. A lot of people want to throw a wrench into Ayane's plans to dominate wrestling except for her friend and trainer. Ayane's high kick is full of … more