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Characters / Yawara! A Fashionable Judo Girl

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Yawara Inokuma

Voiced by: Yuko Minaguchi (Japanese)
  • Action Girl: She's capable to defend herself against perverts and drunken businessmen.
  • Almighty Janitor: Yawara can't take the ranking exam to go past 1-dan until she's 20, but Jigoro asserts that her strength is 6-dan as of Episode 15. While he's not exactly an unbiased source, she's definitely well into the dan rankings at that point.
  • Big Eater: Much like her father and grandfather, but unlike them she is more discreet about it.
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  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Somewhat. Yawara practices some Judo every day without being told, but her mixed feelings about it lead her to go periods of time without taking it seriously. Despite this, Yawara has such deeply engrained instincts for Judo that other players have to undergo Training from Hell to even hope to match her level.
  • Can't Stay Normal: Even when she tries to live a more 'normal' life, somewhere along the way her prowess in Judo gets revealed and puts her under the spotlight once again.
  • Child Prodigy:She threw her father when she was five years old.
  • Determined Expression: She does this whenever she thinks about her family and friends, and when she's facing a particularly skilled Judo opponent.
  • Chick Magnet: Kazamatsuri, Matsuda, Hanazono and Sudoh get interested to her.
  • Girly Bruiser: Yawara is a cute, petite Japanese girl who likes nice clothes and doing domestic chores. She can also throw grown men several times larger than her onto their backs in an instant.
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  • Good Parents: Even though Yawara thinks she's the cause of having a broken family, Yawara's parents Tamao and Kojiro are shown to be loving and supportive.
  • Handicapped Badass: In Episode 124, she wins against Sayaka despite the fact the match left her with an injured right arm.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Having grown up being trained in Judo from the time she could walk, and being a prodigy at the sport, Yawara desperately wishes she had a more normal life.
  • Invincible Hero: Only seems to ever struggle during the finals of any tournament or while facing world class opponents, and never loses when she tries her best.
  • It's All My Fault: One of the major reasons for why Yawara spends much of the series having negative feelings towards Judo is because her father left home after she threw him when she was five. She was convinced that the incident left her father hating her and her family, which made her reluctant to keep practicing the sport. It takes awhile, but her friends and family do succeed in helping her learn to genuinely enjoy Judo again.
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  • The Leader: Type II. She gives some advice to her friends and other judokas about using techniques in order to defeat their opponents.
  • Love Epiphany: Yawara's epiphany of her feelings for Matsuda comes in two stages.
    • Yawara first realizes he means something to her when, after his absence from the audience of a competition is directly pointed out, she becomes nervous for the first time and barely stumbles through her matches until he shows up to cheer her on.
    • Yawara's feelings become clear around a year later, when she finally sits down to read some of the articles he wrote about her.
  • Meaningful Name: Yawara's name is the first character of 'judo'. It also means 'gentle' or 'soft'.
  • The Mentor: She's actually a better teacher than her grandfather. Her students don't have her talent, and unlike Jigoro, she works with them and helps them improve, turning Japan's worst judo club into effective practitioners in a week.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Oblivious to Love
  • Official Couple: With Matsuda.
  • Office Lady: After graduating college.
  • Panty Shot: gives a few of these in the series, as she doesn't wear pants under her skirts and she will throw somebody if they threaten her regardless of what she's wearing.
  • Reluctant Hero: Yawara is a reluctant sports hero. After Yawara's Judo skills were revealed to the public she found herself swept into the world of competition against her will by her grandfather's insistence, and news, media, and her peers made her out to be an inspirational icon and sports superstar. But all Yawara ever wanted was to be a normal girl without reporters breathing down her neck. It isn't until around 2/3 through the series that she finally makes peace with her talent and competes in Judo on her own terms.
  • Revenge: In Seoul Olympics, she does this after she finds out that Teleshikova injured Jody's leg to win. Jigoro is disapproving of it.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Fujiko.
  • Save the Villain:
    • In Episode 2, she tells Sayaka about how to defeat a criminal who slashed her kimono.
    • In the Seoul Olympics, she helps Sayaka win her match by telling her about her opponent's weakness.
  • Signature Move: She uses Ippon Seoi Nage in every match, and wins with it most of the time too. It's even lampshaded several times by announcers.
  • Skilled, but Naïve
  • Spirited Competitor: Yawara often gets fed up with the Judo that overtakes her life, but the times when she gets faced with an opponent that can put up a good fight against her are when she has the most fun.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: She looks like her grandmother, according to Jigoro.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Yawara spends the majority of the series having a complex over the fact she threw her father when she was five, after which he left home. She was in particular, reluctant to use the Tomoe Nage, the move she used on her father back then. She eventually overcomes that mental block in her final match against Sayaka.
  • Tragic Keepsake: In Seoul Olympics, she wears a judo uniform that belonged to her missing father.
  • Unknown Rival: She seems oblivious that her skill causes to attract a lot of opponent's attention from Japan and overseas. In particular Sayaka becomes extremely obsessed with beating her, constantly goading and sneering at her, but Yawara really couldn't care less.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: She's called "A Fashionable Judo Girl" for a reason, and whenever she's not in uniform or gi, she's got a new outfit from the bargain sale.
  • Unnecessary Roughness

Jigoro Inokuma

Voiced by: Ichirō Nagai (Japanese)
  • Abusive Dad: His attitude and harsh training in judo caused his son to become distant.
  • A Day in the Limelight: There's a manga prequel called Jigoro!, where he told some of his stories about his past.
  • Ambiguously Brown: His skin was brown during his youth, but in present day his skin is quite fair. For the record, japanese people who are naturally fair skinned can easily become very tan if they are outside in the sun a lot.
  • Attention Whore: He loves to tell his achievements as well as getting on national television.
  • Berserk Button: Never insult or waste delicious food in front of him.
  • Big Eater: He is never seen without food.
  • Determinator
  • Dirty Old Man
  • Eccentric Mentor
  • Farm Boy: He worked as a farmer in Yamagata before he moved in Tokyo to train judo.
  • Follow in My Footsteps
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Yutenji.
  • Instant Book Deal: His only book, "The Judo Way Was Not Built in a Day" became very popular after its publication. Many judo enthusiasts considered it as the bible of judo.
  • Insufferable Genius: Often brags about his achievements much to the chagrin and annoyance of other characters (especially Yawara). However his bragging is not without ground, and he is a masterful teacher and a skilled Judoka. He taught a team without experience how to stand and in some cases win against the top national ranking college Judo team in a very short period of time.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He becomes this when he remembers his wife, or if somebody follows his advice.
  • Large Ham
  • Manipulative Bastard: Frequently manipulates situations to his own liking by means of extortion and taking advantage of peoples feelings and desires.
  • Meaningful Name: His first name was based on the founder of judo, Jigoro Kano.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Although it was shown that even in his youth he was still pretty short.
  • The Mourning After: He never forgets to include mention of his wife Kaneko whenever he tells his life story.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: He's a skinny old man shorter than his granddaughter but he's still the best Judoka in the world.
  • The Nicknamer: He nicknames almost every one of Yawara's friends and acquaintances.
  • Old Master
  • Renowned Selective Mentor: He's a legend in the judo community, and he "doesn't teach wimps." Even Sayaka doesn't qualify for his lessons.
  • Retired Badass: He worked as a soldier in World War II, according to the prequel.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!
  • Stage Mom: Unfortunately he often makes decisions for Yawara's life and forces her to do things without considering her feelings. Much of her professional Judo career is because of his insistence at getting titles and medals, rather than being her own desire.
  • Through His Stomach: He always brings his food in every tournament. He also appreciates Yawara's cooking.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Him and his wife.
  • Trust Me, I'm an X
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: His wife is a gorgeous and strong Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • V-Sign

Kosaku Matsuda

Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki (Japanese)
  • Ambiguously Brown: somewhat dark skinned, but his father is too so its probably inherited.
  • Big Damn Hero: many times he arrives at the last second to either help or cheer Yawara on.
  • Butt-Monkey: In episode 102, his leg was fractured after he managed to send Yawara on gym on time.
  • Comforting Comforter:
  • The Confidant: Intentionally or not, Matsuda often ends up being the go-to person for many characters to talk to when they have personal problems that they want to vent about.
  • Cool Bike
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has a few moments, especially to Yawara's rivals.
  • Determinator: He WILL see Yawara fight. Even if he needs to visit someone in the hospital first, travel to another city, his car breaks down, or he breaks a leg.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Has a pretty difficult time saying no to requests, which leads him being dragged around or being put in compromising situations.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: After seeing Yawara's Judo skills, he becomes convinced that she's destined for stardom, and envisions crowds cheering for her at the Olympics. 6 years later, this finally comes true.
  • Fanboy: To begin with he was a huge sports fan, and put up posters of his favorite sports heroes in his room. After he meets Yawara he becomes her #1 supporter, following her story from the moment they met and cheering her on without missing a beat.
  • Generation Xerox: for Matsudaira, but they're not related.
  • Genre Savvy: When he first met Sayaka, Matsuda pointed out that Sayaka looked like a rich villain from a shoujo manga.
  • Hero Stole My Bike:
  • Intrepid Reporter: Once he sniffs a good story in the making, he's willing to do almost anything to make sure its recorded and written.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He sometimes is grumpy and snarky towards others, but he might be the nicest and most helpful guy in the cast, often going out of his way to help his friends and acquaintances.
  • Longing Look: Often gives Yawara these when she's not looking.
  • Manly Tears: He sometimes cries when Yawara is engaged in an awesome Judo match and/or seems to be enjoying herself.
  • Official Couple: With Yawara.
  • Paparazzi: He's sometimes forced to act as this when there aren't any big sports events to report on. He hates it.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: With Kazamatsuri
  • Second Love: To Yawara.
  • Tagalong Reporter
  • Tears of Joy: Matsuda cries when he realizes that his dream of hearing crowds cheering for Yawara at the Olympics finally came true.
  • Tragic Dream: He aspired to be a 'sports star who people could be inspired by' when he was young. Unfortunately, no matter what sport he attempted he never could find one he was good at. In the end, he decided to become a journalist specializing in sports so that he could report on athletes like the ones he wished to be. Ultimately, he decides that he's satisfied that he can create articles about his favorite players reaching their goals.
  • Trash of the Titans: His apartment is an incredible mess.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
  • Use Your Head: In the manga, he has used this to escape from two kidnappers.

Sayaka Honami

Voiced by: Yoshino Takamori (Japanese)
  • Arranged Marriage: With Kazamatsuri.
  • Badass Normal: Despite the fact she has excelled in literally every sport that she's tried, Yawara's father is of the opinion that Sayaka isn't actually 'gifted' in anything, it's just pure hard work.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Completely subverted. Sayaka is a spoiled rich kid who gets everything she wants at the drop of a hat, but she works for her athletic achievements, to the point of near insanity.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl
  • Determinator: Really doesn't know when to take a break. She out-trains entire gyms of Judo practitioners and still wants them to keep coming at her, even when she herself looks like she's about to collapse.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: Her tooth's always falling out. You'd think she could afford a better dentist.
  • Fiction 500: She can tell her personal aircraft pilot to "hurry it up" and get results.
  • Generation Xerox: As Saimonji's younger sister.
  • Girl Posse
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: While she rightfully can claim she's amazing at almost everything, Sayaka has this attitude towards Yawara. Sayaka formulates every excuse she an possibly make to avoid admitting that Yawara is actually a better Judoka than her, while also elevating her own achievements as reasons for why she's the best.
  • Instant Expert: One month of training, and she's throwing her much larger 5th-dan bodyguard around like a pillow.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: But she has absolutely zero interest in making friends - instead she actively antagonizes and belittles those around her. That said, once people do enter her social circle she tries to control them to make sure they don't leave her.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: Goes from being a complete newbie in Judo to being the second best female player in all of Japan in the span of a few years.
  • Make Way for the Princess
  • Noblewoman's Laugh:
  • Ojou
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: She eventually develops this attitude towards Yawara.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
  • Rich Bitch
  • The Rival: As far as Sayaka and the media is concerned, she's this to Yawara.
  • Shipper on Deck: She thinks that Matsuda is Yawara's boyfriend.
  • Spoiled Brat:
  • Took A Levelin Badass
  • Toothy Issue: She has a false tooth that she doesn't want people to know she has. It always seems to pop out when she's feeling frustrated.
  • Training from Hell: Sayaka undergoes insane amounts of training to beat Yawara, going on world tours to train in elite Judo dojo's from various countries, and even once agreeing to spend 10 months in the mountains with no electricity.
  • Worthy Opponent: To Yawara. Eventually.

Shinnosuke Kazamatsuri

Voiced by: Akira Kamiya (Japanese)
  • Arranged Marriage: With Sayaka.
  • The Casanova: Although he walks a fine line between this and Handsome Lech. Played for comedy in the anime, but he comes across as more dangerous in the manga.
  • The Chew Toy: His tendency to lie and two-time on others makes it hard to feel that sorry for him, but for a popular, rich guy who is good at Judo, his luck sucks. His crippling stage fright made it impossible for him to be a pro in Judo, but his skill made him a good enough coach that Sayaka hired him, and Sayaka having the personality she has holds a tight leash on him. When Sayaka surpasses him in skill, he ends up being basically used as her rag doll that she can throw around, and in the end he gets roped into marrying her against his will.
  • The Confidant: A major reason why so many girls go gaga for him; he knows how to be approachable so people open up to him about their troubles.
  • Cool Car
  • Dirty Coward: He'll lie and play dirty to keep ahold of the things he likes, but he's too chicken to tell anyone the straight truth when it really counts. On top of that he's deathly terrified of large swathes of people watching him and will run away to hide, his pride be damned.
  • Fanboy: He admires Jigoro very much.
  • Generation Xerox: As Saimonji, but they're not related.
  • Gold Digger: The reason he ultimately fails to gain Yawara's affection is he is far too often caught between the feelings he developed for Yawara, and the allure of the money and prestige that staying with Sayaka would grant him. in the end he gets the money and prestige, but that clearly isn't making him happy.
  • Henpecked Husband
  • Mr. Fanservice: Being the resident shameless pretty boy, he winds up being the main source of male fanservice in the form of shirtless scenes, shower scenes, and even at times being seen fully in the nude from the back.
  • Mr. Imagination: this guy does a crazy amount of inner dialogue and fantasizing for how situations will turn out.
  • Oh, Crap!
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor:With Matsuda.
  • The Rival: To Matsuda.
  • Salaryman
  • Shipper on Deck: He once told Hanazono that the only way to make Fujiko relax is to yell his feelings out of her.
  • Thinking Out Loud
  • Toplessness from the Back

Fujiko Ito

Voiced by: Chiyoko Kawashima (Japanese)
  • Badass Normal
  • Beta Couple: With Hanazono.
  • Club President: Forms a Judo club for the women's college that she and Yawara attend in order to help Yawara enjoy Judo again.
  • Dance Battler: While she still mostly uses standard Judo moves in her matches, Fujiko can't help but use some of the skills from her Ballerina days to supplement her movements.
  • Determinator
  • Graceful Loser
  • Happily Married: With Hanazono.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: She aspired to be a prima ballerina while she was a child and practiced for it so hard her pointe shoes became bloody, but she had to give up her dream when she grew too tall for it.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: She's about 5'9", which is unusually tall for a Japanese woman.
  • The Lancer
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: She was convinced her days amounting to anything were through when she grew too tall to continue Ballet. Then she tries Judo and discovers a hidden talent for it, and quickly rises in the ranks.
  • Nervous Wreck: She tends to get extremely nervous before and during her big matches, which requires her friends to give her support to help her break out of it most of the time.
  • Ocular Gushers
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Yawara.
  • Shipper on Deck: She's starting to be supportive of Yawara and Matsuda ever since she found out from Jody.
  • Survival Mantra: "Une, deux, trois...Une, deux, trois...UNE, DEUX, TROIS!"
  • Taught by Experience: Fujiko ends up excelling in Judo partly because of her background in ballet. Even while she was a newbie at Judo techniques, she discovered during her early matches that her flexibility and balance made it incredibly difficult for her get tripped or pinned down.
  • Tears of Joy
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Fujiko was expected to completely retire from Judo after she became pregnant. She ends up going back to training soon after giving birth to help motivate Yawara, and goes on to win a bronze medal at the Olympics.
  • Tragic Dream: Fujiko grew up aspiring to be a ballerina and actually excelled at it, but her dream to be a prima ballerina was cut short when she grew too tall for the position.
  • True Companions

Kaoru Hanazono

Voiced by: Masashi Sugawara (Japanese)

Kuniko Kaga

Voiced by: Runa Akiyama (Japanese)

Jody Rockwell

Voiced by: Miyuki Ichijou (Japanese)
  • Anime Accent Absence
  • Big Eater
  • Boisterous Bruiser: A rare female example. Jody has a huge, hulking figure for a woman and she's also extremely cheery and friendly.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:Subverted. Jody and Yawara became friends after the first match they have, which Yawara stopped in the middle after Jody hurt her arm. In the final match she has against Yawara in Barcelona Olympics, the two of them seriously fight it out but after Yawara wins Jody holds her hand in congrats.
  • Friendly Enemy: Jody and Yawara are always super happy to see one another, but they go all out against each other in a Judo match.
  • Friend to All Children: During Yawara's visit in Canada, Jody creates a judo club for children with her future husband.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Suffers one of these against Teleshikova twice. Thankfully she does recover.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold
  • Happily Married: To Lune.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!
  • Shipper on Deck: She's the first character who thinks that Yawara and Matsuda are a couple.
  • Took a Level in Badass: In her first fight against Yawara, the match gets stopped midway due to Jody injuring her arm. By the time they face off for the second time, Jody is able to fight intensively with Yawara point for point until time's almost up.

Kojiro Inokuma

Voiced by: Masaaki Okabe (Japanese)

Anna Teleshikova

Voiced by: Yuko Mizutani (Japanese)


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