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Manga / Attack No. 1

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Girls can play sports too!

Attack No. 1 (アタックNo.1, Atakku Nanbā Wan) is an early shoujo manga and anime series, with the anime being notable as the first televised sports anime aimed at a female audience. The manga was created by Chikako Urano and ran in Margaret from 1968 to 1970, and the anime first aired in late 1969 and ran through 1971. First meant to capitalize on the success of the 1964 Olympic volleyball team, it ended up bringing more mature fans to the shoujo demographic, compared to Sally the Witch's success in that time.

The story is centered on Kozue Ayuhara, who transfers to Fujimi college and impresses the volleyball coach when she tries out. After making friends and enemies, the story highlights her struggles and triumphs as she matures and tries her hardest to become the best volleyball player in the school, Japan and the world.

It inspired the series Attacker You! and Attack on Tomorrow, made several years later by a different animation studio but featuring several of the same staff. Even in 2006, it still ranked #9 out of 100 in the list of celebrities' favorite anime. It has a great number of fans in Europe, particularly in Germany, where it was shown as Mila Superstar (with Kozue being renamed Mila), Italy as Mimì e la nazionale di pallavolo (with Kozue renamed Mimì) and Spain as La panda de Julia (again, with Kozue renamed Julia).

In 2005 a live-action drama was made based on the series.

Tropes related to the series:

  • Academic Athlete: Kozue and Kyoko are two of Fujimi's best students (especially the latter) and talented volleyball players (especially the former).
  • The Ace: Kozue getting the No. 1 jersey is the official acknowledgement that she's the school's star volleyball player
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The manga ends with a Japanese defeat against the Soviet team, but in the anime, Japan (which team is coached by Inokuma, who was replaced in the manga) wins the Championship.
  • Badass Biker: Maya is able to ride blindfolded and rides six hours through a storm to get medicine for Kozue's tetanus.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Not only the Japanese theme, but also other openings, such as the German, are about the heroine.
  • Calling the Old Woman Out: Kyoko tells her mother, who hates sports, that she should give her children more freedom.
  • Clean Dub Name: In the German dub, main protagonist Kozue Ayuhara was renamed Mila Ayuhara. The reason is obvious, as her original first name sounded very much like "Kotze", which is a vulgar German term for vomit.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Tsutomo is run over by a train in the manga, in the anime he falls with his van to his death in the mountains and in the drama series he is run over by a car.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Anime!Inokuma isn't able to use one of his arms because he trained way too hard in college. But in the manga, both arms are fine.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: In the Italian version, the completely unrelated Attacker You! was turned into a spin off of Attack No. 1 by turning the main character into a cousin of Kozue, who inspires her to take up volleyball.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!:
    • When Tsutomo breaked up school to work at his father's shop, Kozue planned to skip school herself to earn money and support her friend, who could go back to school then, but he refused, saying, he doesn't need her pity.
    • When Kozue wants to give a volleyball out of pity to a poor boy who had stolen the Japanese "mascot," Virginia gets angry.
  • Dub Name Change: As mentioned above, Kozue's name was changed in the various European dubs: to Mila in German, Julia in Spanish, Alice in French, and Mimi in Italy. In French, Midori became Marina.
  • Follow That Car: A man who takes pictures from other teams for Tonnan’s volleyball-club speeds off in a car. Murata, one of Hongo’s friends who tries to help him in this case, flags down another vehicle, gets in and, pointing at the car, says "Follow that car!". Kozue, close behind, flags down the nearest taxi, gets in and, pointing at the car, says "Follow that car!", too. Ryuji and Yoko follow in a car, driven by Ryuji himself. And thus, the Chase Scene begins.
  • Gaming and Sports Anime & Manga: It's a manga/anime about volleyball.
  • Gratuitous English: "ATTAKU, ATTAKU, NANBA WAN!!" in the Japanese opening.
  • Man Versus Machine: Kozue and her teammates have once to deal with a team which use computers to calculate the opponent's moves.
  • Melodrama: Mostly the live-action.
  • My Beloved Smother: Kyoko and her brother loved tennis, but their mom hates and forbade sports, because in her opinion, such activities are dangerous and would be bad for her children's academic grades, so she's at first very disappointed when her daughter joins Fujimi Highschool's volleyball team. She mellows out later after she was called out by Kyoko.
  • New Transfer Student: Kozue, who moved away from Tokyo to a rural junior high school.
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted. Kozue's at the Junior High at the serie's beginning and at Highschool at the end.
  • Onee-sama
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Kozue is the second Trope Codifier in anime and manga, with only Hiromi from Aim for the Ace! surpassing her.
  • The Rival: Several, but most notable the Russian player Shellenina, who defeated Kozue's team twice, but was defeated by the Japanese team in the last match of the series, the World Championship Final (at least in the anime. In the manga, the Soviet Team wins the World Championship, but not the Junior tournament.)
  • School Sport Uniform: The shirt-and-bloomers version is used by just about all the girls who play the sport.
  • Serious Business: The sport! It's so serious she couldn't leave one game to visit her dying boyfriend in the hospital.
  • Signature Headgear: The easiest way to distinguish which girl is which is by their headbands or bows. Kozue wears a yellow headband with a bow on it. Midori has a blue headband.
  • Sore Loser: Yoko tried to stab Kozue after her team was defeated by Fujimi.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Where the original opening is appropriate to the anime, some foreign dubs play with this:
    • The German opening has a cheerful and upbeat theme tune while featuring Kozue getting violently hit by the ball multiple times, falling to the ground, and being driven to tears. In fact, the theme melody doesn't fit this dramatic series at all and it was previously used in other countries for a much more lighthearted anime, Attacker You! (see here), which was never released in Germany. Although the lyrics say "she used to be frail and sickly but that has all gone now, now she is an ace. " it kinda did fit with the pictures.
    • The French opening theme is also way too happy in contrast to the scenes of the opening and the serious/tragic tone of the series.
    • The second Italian opening, made in the 90s by Cristina D'Avena, starts out as slow but then turns into a cheery and slightly childish theme, in typical D'Avena style. Most people are mainly familiar with the first opening of the 80s, which is older but much more poignant.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the manga, shortly after the death of her son, Tsutomu's mother also loses her husband who suffers a stroke. But the anime omits this scene.
  • To Be a Master: As per usual in 70's anime, the No. 1 tracksuit is coveted by all on the team. As you'd expect, Kozue eventually gets the number thanks to a lot of hard word and love for the sport.
  • Tournament Arc: Two world cups and several tournaments between schools.
  • Training from Hell: As was popular in most early sports anime. The opening even shows her getting hit by the ball a few times.
  • Twinkle in the Eye: Done very often with various charakters..
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Kozue and Tsutomu, until the boy's death.

Alternative Title(s): Attack Number One