Manga: Sekai De Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai
Sakura Hagiwara is a member of the incredibly popular idol group "Sweet Diva", along with her good friend/rival
, Elena Miyazawa. One day, they are asked to scout the female pro-wrestling stable "Berserk" for promotional business. Unfortunately, Elena's mouth got her into trouble when she made slightly negative remarks on pro wrestling within earshot of Rio Kazama, a "heel" from that stable, who takes issue and challenges Elena to a match, mops the ring with her, and in turn insults the idol life. In order to defend the pride of idol life, Sakura also challenged Rio to a match... without knowing that whoever loses will have a Traumatic Haircut
Needless to say, she, too, gets mopped and gets her hair cut. Still wanting to defend the honor of Sweet Diva, Sakura decides to sign up into Berserk, hoping to defeat Rio. Unfortunately for Sakura, pro-wrestling is a tough
job, and she ends up saddled with a staggering 50-game losing streak
. Sakura was on the verge of finally calling it quits, until Berserk's ace, Misaki Toyoda, also a former idol with similar story with her, dragged her into a 'special training'
where Sakura finally starts learning about what it means to be a wrestler, learning and improving from it and it would be only a matter of time until she scored her first victory, and changing her goal from merely beating Rio into actually being the strongest in the world. And then there's the idol life she left behind, which troubles Elena...
It has an anime adaptation as an entry of the Fall 2013 Anime
, which has quite the infamy of being peppered with lots and lots of "Owww!" moaning.
- Absolute Cleavage: Sakura's wrestling outfit.
- Achilles' Heel: The Boston Crab, Sakura's biggest weakness which causes her to give up on a drop for her first 50 matches. She got over it thankfully.
- Ass Kicks You: Sakura hits Jackal with her butt.
- Big NO: Subverted. Sakura does say a lot of "NO!" but this wasn't because of something awful happens, but because she will not do a 'Give Up'. EVER.
- Character Development: Sakura goes from just wanting to defend her idol's pride into genuinely wanting to be the strongest and taking pro-wrestling seriously. Her skills also develop from that. And she also goes from declaring "Give Up" at the drop of a hat into replying to offers of 'Give Up' with "NO!!".
- Child Prodigy: Moe is a world champion karate practitioner, despite being in high school. She's also the granddaughter of a wrestler.
- Cool Teacher: Sakura is mentored by Berserk's biggest fighter, Misaki Toyoda, herself a former idol, who was in turn mentored by Jackal Toujou, formerly of the Shangri-la stable.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Apparently, Sakura and Misaki's problems were the same (giving up too early), so Misaki/Jackal had to put Sakura/Misaki into a submission hold and not take 'Give Up' for an answer; if Sakura/Misaki didn't make a rope break, they were going to leave with broken bones.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: An inexperienced idol against someone with four years' worth of experience? The results are predictable. Then there's Sakura's 50-match skid. Then Blue Panther induces this. Although averted with Sakura vs Jackal — the latter could've ended the match this way, but decided to give Sakura a fighting chance to test her mettle.
- Cute Bruiser/Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Moe, who instantly takes down Rio with a single kick on her first appearance.
- Defeat by Modesty: Rio's Shame Hold invokes this, as it's not a physically damaging hold, but a emotionally damaging one as Sakura finds out the hard way.
- Defeat Equals Friendship: When Sakura finally defeats Elena, Elena admits the only reason why she wanted to become a pro wrestler was to get Sakura back to Sweet Idol by any means necessary, and after realizing she, too, enjoys being a pro wrestler, makes amends with Sakura.
- Determinator: After losing over 50 straight matches, Sakura never gives up, to the point of replying to every one of the referee's questions about giving up with "NO!!".
- Eagleland: Rather subverted with Jackal. She uses an American stage name, and has a very American 'feel' to her (Cowboy hat and Stripperiffic Wild West-themed clothes), and is also blonde, but she originated in Japan, having been one of Berserk's top wrestlers (and her last name is clearly Japanese). At any rate, she's totally Type I, as she serves as an All American Face and is a nice woman both in and out of the ring.
- Easily Distracted Referee: In episode 11, the referee just stands there gawking until Sakura reminds her that she's supposed to count the pinfall. The commentator even says that if she'd started counting immediately, the match may well have been over.
- Expy: Misaki Toyoda is fairly obviously based on Manami Toyota.
- Face: Most of the heroines.
- Face-Heel Turn:Elena.
- Finishing Move: Sakura's Sakura Special, a backflip kick. Also, Misaki's Misaki Special, a modified half-chicken wing, bridging German suplex.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Misaki was scheduled to have a match against Jackal for the latter's comeback, but she fell off a ring post to the ground and sprained her ankle, so Jackal had to find a replacement (she picks Sakura).
- Gratuitous English: Jackal has a lot of these.
- Generation Xerox: A former idol who easily gave up when placed in a submission hold, but became a Determinator and came to love pro wrestling: both of these things apply to Misaki and Sakura.
- Also it was inferred that Juri and Elena are the same way
- Heel: Mostly if you got a mask or face paint. Another way to spot one is if you use your 'assistant' to disrupt matches in your favor, or use 'tools' to enhance your move (like a shinai for a Camel Clutch). Subverted for Rio, who wears a mask during her intro, but then tosses it away for the match and mostly uses Face-style wrestling (although she's very aggressive and prone to Trash Talking).
- Idol Singer: Sakura, formerly. Elena continues in her stead.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Rio is extremely aggressive, and even her intro had her wear a mask like a heel (but tosses it away for the match). But she's also capable of being a good sport and off-ring is a decent woman (unless someone insults wrestling).
- Jobber: How Sakura spent her first 50 matches. She still had to job about 15 matches more, but no longer because of the Boston Crab.
- Her Mentor, Misaki was the same (Only with a Figure 4 Leg Lock)
- Kick the Dog: Rio's "Shame Hold" on Sakura, done solely for the sake of humiliating her. In the manga, even her manager said it was "a bit too much."
- Male Gaze: Ass shots, boob shots, crotch shots, there's a lot of these!
- Master-Apprentice Chain: Jackal > Misaki > Sakura > Moe
- There is also Jackal > Juri > Elena
- Na´ve Newcomer: Played with. Sakura initially grasps the idea that it will take a lot of hard work to go pro, but the immense length of her consecutive losses to the Boston Crab demonstrates that she was still out of her depth in how much training was actually required.
- Professional Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Is Real: There's no such thing as kayfabe here, everything about wrestling, injuries and such are treated for as real as possible and there's no made-up kayfabe 'story arcs'.
- Red Herring: Blue Panther's identity. After spending her time as The Voiceless, Jackal pays a visit to the Miyabi stable, where The Ace there, Juri Sanada, openly reveals herself (and Jackal rightly guesses) as the Blue Panther and it looks like she's aiming for Sakura. So Juri is totally Blue Panther, right? So Sakura and Panther meet in the ring... when suddenly... Juri appeared in the same room as Jackal, watching the match and Panther removes her mask and wig and reveals herself as... Elena!?)
- Subverted. Turns out that Juri was the one who attacked Rio and challenged Sakura. However, the role of the blue panther always belonged to Elena, and Juri did so in Elena's behalf. this was all part of Elena's plan of bringing Sakura back to Sweet Diva.
- Retired Badass: Wrestling news reporter Kanae Fujishita is implied to be this, as Jackal referred to the three of them (Misaki, Kanae, and herselfnote ) as "The Golden Age Girls" when they meet in a hotel during episode 7 and also asked whether or not her back is better, hinting of a back injury that forced her into the sidelines. Misaki's flashback in the same episode shows Kanae wearing a Berserk jersey.
- The Rival: Elena. she and Sakura always competed for the center vocalist position in Sweet Diva (which Sakura always won). Although Sakura treated it as a friendly rivalry, Elena did not, although she was still good-natured about it. It was the idea that Sakura would never return to being an idol that made Elena take up the persona of Blue Panther, in the hopes of bringing Sakura back to Sweet Diva by force.
- Serious Business: Rio takes professional wrestling seriously. Insulting her sport is a one-way ticket to a world of hurting, as Elena learned the hard way.
- She-Fu: Sakura Special is basically a flip kick with the feet hitting the opponents jaws one shortly after the other. It's a modified version of the "Ice Cream Somersault" that Sakura did with Elena when she was still an idol.
- Shout-Out: Sakura's long run of notches before notching her first win is remeniscent of Japanese wrestling legend Kenta Kobashi's - in fact, it took her two more matches than him (65 losses as compared to Kobashi's 63)
- Stage Name: Mostly averted... except probably Jackal Toujou ("Jackal" can't be her birth name) and Blue Panther.
- Stripperiffic: It's a female pro-wrestling anime.
- This Is Unforgivable!: Sakura calls out Blue Panther like this for the latter's brutal Curb-Stomp Battle, this apparently impressed Jackal enough that she picks Sakura as Misaki's substitute for her match.
- Traumatic Haircut: Sakura used to have really long hair, but a misplaced bet against Rio cost her a good length of her hair. This didn't slow her down, and as time passed she regrew her hair.
- Underdogs Never Lose: Adverted, Sakura is a Na´ve Newcomer to the pro-wrestling world and being inexperienced, she lost 50 matches straight due to her lack of ability to endure pain, and 15 more later despite being able to endure pain because of the lack of a Finishing Move before she gets her first win.
- The Voiceless: The mysterious Blue Panther doesn't speak. Until The Reveal of her true identity.
- White Hair, Aggressive Heart: Rio is so far the only white haired cast member, and while she's not blackhearted, she's seriously aggressive in wrestling.
- You Are Center Vocalist Now: Sakura has always won the position of center vocalist in Sweet Diva, with Elena always finishing a close second. Now that Sakura has become a pro wrestler, Elena now became Sweet Diva's center vocalist.
- Victory Is Boring: How Elena feels about being Sweet Diva's center vocalist. She feels she did not really succeed as Sakura left their group to become a pro wrestler.
- The Worf Effect: Ironically, Rio got handed with this a lot after being shown as one of the more aggressive wrestlers in the series. First, Moe knocks her down with one kick to show her karate strength, and then before her tiebreaker match with Sakura, Blue Panther interrupts, ambushes and knocks her out with sleeper hold.
- X-Pac Heat: Happens in-universe, during Sakura's 50-losing streak as fans grew sick of her always giving up on the Boston Crab. She only manages to get away with it and turns the Heat into something more positive once she becomes a Determinator.