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'''''Aim for the Ace!'''' (''エースをねらえ!, Ēsu o Nerae!'') is a classic {{shoujo}} manga begun in 1972 created by Sumika Yamamoto, that was later adapted into an anime in 1973. Highly influential to shoujo, it had several series throughout the 70's and 80's and a live-action movie in 2004. It has been dubbed and distributed in Europe, in French, Italian, German and Spanish.

The story focuses on Hiromi Oka, who is an ordinary high school girl whose one wish is to be as good at tennis as the girl who is best in the school, the graceful "MadameButterfly" Reika Ryuuzaki. Her coach Jin Munakata sees potential in her, and the rest of the series tells of her struggles and victories, on and off the court.

There was also a 1979 animated movie, which has [[AnimationBump higher quality animation]], since [[CaptainObvious movies have a higher budget than a TV series]].

The TV series, as well as the movie and the OVA's were directed by Osamu Dezaki, who also directed ''AshitaNoJoe'', ''Manga/RoseOfVersailles'', and the OVA's for ''Manga/BlackJack''.

''Anime/GunBuster'' starts out as an AffectionateParody of this series before evolving into its own thing.
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!!Tropes related to the series:

* AdaptationExpansion: The last {{OVA}} series (appropriately subtitled "Final Stage") picks up where the manga ended and wraps up some loose ends, most importantly [[spoiler: Hiromi's relationship with Toudou.]]
* AlphaBitch: Reika starts out acting like this, being the queen bee and at first angered that a newcomer like Hiromi could possibly have made the top five, but she warms up to her eventually.
* AnimationBump: The movie and the {{OVA}}'s
* ArtEvolution: The first two TV series (and to an extent the movie) basically had Sumika Yamamoto's artsyle with Akio Sugino's personal touches; in the {{OVA}}s, however, Akio Sugino's art-style is in full effect (so it's also an ArtShift at the same time).
* BackStory: Jin's expands on [[spoiler:why he wants his girls to be strong after training.]]
* ToBeAMaster: Perfectly exemplifies the Japanese attitude of doing your best in everything (''ganbarimasu'').
* ChickMagnet: How many girls in the cast have feelings for Munakata?
* CuteKitten: Hiromi's cat Goemon. [[spoiler: As well as his white "kittymama" and their babies.]]
* DefrostingIceQueen: Reika.
* {{Doorstopper}}: A 3000 page manga! Mostly because of its long running and popularity over many years.
* EndingTheme: One of the earliest examples of the "mellower, sad ending tune" formula, "Shiroi Tennis Court".
* EvenTheGirlsWantHer: Reika.
* HairDecorations: Reika's big pink bow, the team captain's white barrettes, and Kyoko's awful orange bow-buns.
* HugeSchoolgirl: Ranko was this in the past, and her family introduced her to tennis to work through these issues.
* GamingAndSportsAnimeAndManga
* GenkiGirl: Hiromi and Maki.
* LockedOutOfTheLoop: [[spoiler: When Munakata dies, Hiromi and the team are in the USA. Todou, Ranko and Oosaki find out but don't tell her so she won't lose her matches. (Todou has already lost his' due to the shock). [[KeepingSecretsSucks Neither is happy about it]], and specially since Hiromi has an enormous HeroicBSOD when she returns home and finds out...]]
* LoveBubbles: Happens when Reika's around.
* LoveDodecahedron: [[spoiler: Hiromi and Reika are both in love with Munakata. (And Ranko also is attracted to him, [[BrotherSisterIncest though they're half-siblings]]. He falls for Hiromi. And then he kicks it.]] Additionally, [[spoiler: Todou never really stops liking Hiromi after they break up due to Munakata's veto.]]
* [[spoiler: IllBoy]]: [[spoiler: Munakata. He has leukemia... and actually ''dies''.]]
* {{Melodrama}}
* NaiveNewcomer: Both Hiromi and Maki. Maki was really just in it to goof around from the start.
* NiceGuy: Todou
* TheOjou: Reika
* OneeSama: Reika. Notably, this was first written well before everyone had slash goggles built into their eyes.
* OjouRinglets: Reika's long blonde ringlets allude to her Ojou upbringing.
* TheOtherDarrin: Some of the cast in the second TV series and later all of the cast except for Maki and Munakata in the {{OVA}}s.
** In the OVA's Hiromi was darrin'd by Creator/YukoMizutani
* [[spoiler: ParentalAbandonment: Munakata's mother was abandoned by her husband when Munakata was a kid, and then she fell victim to DeathByDespair. (Meanwhile, Munakata's dad would marry Ranko's mother.) Munakata himself was RaisedByGrandparents afterwards.]]
* PastelChalkedFreezeFrame: Being directed by Osamu Dezaki, this is expected, especially in the movie and the {{OVA}}s.
* PluckyGirl: Hiromi, and how.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Reika's father, the president of the Japanese Tennis Federation.
* RetiredBadass: [[spoiler: Both Munakata and Katsura]]
* TheRival: Hiromi, to Reika. Ranko and Reika, to each other.
* SecondLove: Played with interestingly. [[spoiler: Hiromi's first love was her fellow tennis player Todou, but Coach Munakata vetoed their relationship because he wanted her to [[MarriedtoTheJob focus in her career first and foremost.]] Then he became this trope to Hiromi... and ''then'' he died of his illness. And later, Hiromi and Todou find each other again.]]
* [[spoiler: StarCrossedLovers: Hiromi and Munakata, because he already was dying of leukemia when he met her and they fell in love. ]]
* TheStoic: Coach Jin
* TrainingFromHell
* [[spoiler: YourDaysAreNumbered: Munakata's backstory. He was a great tennis player but was diagnosed with leukemia when he was atop of his career -- and told that he had only three years from then on. He became a coach to find a heir/heiress before he died.]]

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