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Manga / Dash Kappei

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Dash Kappei is a manga/anime created by Noboru Rokuda, first serialized in Weekly Shōnen Sunday from 1979 to 1982 and later adapted into a 65-episode anime in 1981 by Tatsunoko Production, broadcast on Fuji Television. It’s one of the first parodies of the sports manga genre from the 80's, and one of the most internationally popular.

The story is about a very short but incredibly athletic student named Kappei Sakamoto. Despite his stature, he decides to join the basketball team of his school and quickly becomes the star player and admired by everyone, including Akane, a pretty Girl Next Door and Kappei’s love interest. Perhaps, one of Kappei’s most notable quirks is his obsession with girls and their panties, preferably white.

The anime, which achieved a fair level of popularity in Europe, is also known as Gigi la Trottola in the Italian Dub and Chicho Terremoto in the Spanish dub.

This series provides examples of:

  • 65-Episode Cartoon: The anime had 65 episodes released over the course of a little more than a year.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: Early episodes have a Gonky Femme with Opaque Nerd Glasses who is this to Kappei.
  • The Ace: Kappei isn’t talented just at basketball, he actually excels at every sport he tries.
  • Alliterative Name: Aki Akane. Also applies in the Italian dub, where her given name is changed to Anna but "Akane" becomes her family name.
  • Art Shift: As a Running Gag, Kappei sometimes changes from a short guy into a tall, handsome boy one whenever he's having a "cool" or "romantic" scene and then back in a matter of seconds.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Akane in episode 57, when she gets brainwashed by Kappei's rival and begins slapping Kappei around for (to Kappei) no apparent reason.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite all his silly antics, facial expressions, and short stature, Kappei is the most clever and skilled player of the team and always comes up with strategies that surprisingly work.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy:
    • Both Kappei and Seiichiro every time that someone is interested in Akane.
    • Weaponized in the Kappei's first basketball match when he flirt with Akane and her boyfriend Daika snap.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Dash Kappei is one of the first parodies of the Sports manga genre, especially the seriousness of the 70s' works.
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • An entire subplot has Kappei disguised like an old lady in order to fool the Fencing Club.
    • In one of the first episodes Kappei does this to help some female members of the tennis and gymnastics school club.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Kappei is easily distracted by every cute girl (and their panties). During the basketball tournament an opposing team use their cheerleaders to take advantage of this and Kappei does a special training for overcome his weakness.
  • Dub Name Change: Everyone in both Italian and Spanish dubs. It was The '80s after all. However when the manga was released in Italy, it used all the original Japanese names.
  • Evil Old Folks: Kappei's grandfather, a terrible Drill Sergeant Nasty. His training was so dangerous for the young Kappei that his parents are forced to send the kid to the city and lie to his grandpa, saying that Kappei was dead. When his grandpa discovers the truth, he goes to the city and starts to train an opposing basketball team. He finally gives up when Kappei defeats him and his team.
  • Fanservice: The show has many Panty Shots and some Lingerie Scenes.
  • Farm Boy: Kappei when he lived with his parents in their farm in USA.
  • Fetish: Kappei has a fetish for white female underwear. For him it's like the Popeye's spinach.
  • Funny Animal: Seiichiro, Akane's dog, who can walk and speak like a human being, although only Kappei can understand his speech.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Kaori Natsu, the basketball team's hot-tempered coach. Though she tries to be a proper young lady and is on the hunt for a boyfriend, she loses patience easily (especially with Kappei) and is well known for her grotesque and humorous facial expressions when angered.
  • Hitchhiker's Leg: During the trip (of the basketball team) in USA, Miss Kaori try this, but she fails. Howewer in the following episode her panties achieve better results on some bikers (because one of them is similar to Kappei).
  • Hot Teacher: Miss Kaori Natsu. She is a very beautiful woman and Kappei joins in the basketball club after seeing her white panties.
  • Idiot Hero: Kappei acts like one, although he's brilliant in his own way.
  • Imagine Spot: Kappei and Seiichiro. Every times their fantasies concern a romantic relathionship with Akane.
  • Interspecies Romance: Seiichiro is enamored of Akane and dreams of marrying her (despite the fact that she is human and he a dog) and, resenting Kappei's muscling his way into her life, becomes Kappei's sworn enemy. In the last episode he is hooked with a cat.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kappei is an obnoxious pervert and an Attention Whore, but he has his good qualities and cares about Akane.
  • Kavorka Man: Kappei is popular with girls despite being an overly goofy, perverted and rather obnoxious midget who likes to lift girls’ skirts to see their panties. Justified in his case because he’s a star athlete.
  • Keet: In addition to being very small, Kappei is rather energetic and lively. Emphasized by the titles in the foreign dubs, Gigi la Trottola and Chicho Terremoto (trottola = "spinning top" and terremoto = "earthquake").
  • The Klan: The end of the Fencing Club arc introduced a group of masked people (called KKK) that hate Kappei and start to use very type of adversary to defeat him (a beast-man, an hypnotist, a robot, etc..). Turn out that they were his team of basketball (including some ex-opponents) and all was a Secret Test of Character.
  • Lady Killer In Love: Kappei when it comes to Akane, as he genuinely loves her.
  • Last-Minute Hookup: In the final arc, this happens to every male character of the Seirin team (aside from Kappei's sidekick). This includes Kyoshiro, who starts a Teacher/Student Romance with Miss Kaori. Even the dog Seiichiro finally gives up his feelings for Akane and falls in love with a cat.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Kyoshiro, a member of the basketball team that is very tall and handsome, with blond hair and blue eyes. Weaponized by Kappei when the basketball team face a strong and all-female team.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: Kappei. He is a pervert who lifts skirt and has an obsession for white panties, but also a really funny character.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: When it's not Kappei to lift skirts, the wind (natural or artificial) will blow up.
  • Modesty Towel: Once Akane is kidnapped by a robot while she was bathing and is used as Damsel in Distress for Kappei wearing just a towel. Kappei uses the same towel to defeat the robot.
  • Mr. Exposition: Seiichiro often appears in brief entr'actes to explain the rules of whatever sport Kappei happens to be playing at that time.
  • Naïve Everygirl: Akane.
  • Nice Girl: Akane. She befriends Kappei and is a strong believer in his talents, and though she initially finds him rather strange, soon develops feelings for him.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Several during the "basketball" arc.
  • The Peeping Tom: Kappei. In the first episode he is introduced while peeping into the locker room of the girls.
  • Poltergeist: An opposing basketball team has as secet weapon the ghost of the coach's grandma that causes incidents during every match. Howewer, Kappei befriends the ghost that turns out to be Good All Along.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Akane and Miss Kaori. They are the main source of panty shot (especially Akane) in the show.
  • The Rival:
    • Akane’s dog Seiichiro, who competes with Kappei for Akane’s love.
    • Daika, Akane's ex-boyfriend and a member of a rival basketball team. Akane broke up with him because of his violent temper, and now he wants to discredit Kappei and win her back.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
    • A scene has Kappei and Seiichiro becoming Casshern and his dog Flender.
    • The coach of a opposing team dress like Darth Vader.
    • Serika of the Ping-Pong club uses the same (and infamous) spring-loaded harness from Kyojin no Hoshi.
    • As quoted above, white panties are like the Popeye's spinach for Kappei and in a scene, a tired Kappei becomes Popeye after seeing Akane's panties get her strength back.
    • An episode has Kappei dressed as Oscar from The Rose of Versailles.
    • Episode 18 has multiple reference to sci-fi, from Star Wars to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • The entire plot of episode 46, during the trip in Usa, is a big parody of West Side Story.
  • Sexophone: A saxophone starts playing in the anime when Kappei sees Miss Kaori for the first time in the series.
  • Spoiled Brat: The School President's son. He is identical to Kappei (the only differences are that he likes pink panties and is not an Ace) and very spoiled. The School President also forces the basketball team to include him in a match because he is a ill boy. Not that Kappei cares, obviously.
  • Talking Animal: Akane’s talking dog Seiichiro, though only Kappei can understand him.
  • Telepathy: In the finals, the basketball team faces an entire team of guys with these powers. Indeed, they are less athletic than other teams, but with their powers can anticipate opponent's movements. But when the former decides to defend of the latter thinking on non basketball-related stuff and their captain tries to read Kappei's mind, ends up being insane.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Akane is much taller than Kappei. Ironically, her Jerk Jock ex-boyfriend was a giant.
  • Tiny Schoolboy: Kappei who plays basketball despite standing at less than one metre tall.
  • Toilet Humor: A lot. Many gags were disgusting, like game strategies involving excessive sweating or nose boogers.
  • Training from Hell:
    • How Kappei became so good at sports, because in his childhood he was trained by a Drill Sergeant Nasty of an abusive grandfather.
    • Parodied when the basketball team, before the finals, is kidnapped by the old school president. He wants to train the team using a sort of Death Course. They immediately call him "mad" and try to escape.