Yawara! – Jenny the judo girl
Yawara! – Jenny the judo girl: the story of a judo champion who fights for her freedom
Naoki Urasawa, the talented manga author, has created a masterpiece with Yawara! – Jenny the judo girl. This exciting seinen manga ran in Japan in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits magazine from 1986 to 1993, winning the Shogakukan manga award in the general category in 1990. The series has captivated millions of readers with its engaging story and memorable characters. .
The popularity of Yawara! it wasn't limited to just the manga, as it was adapted into both a live action film and an anime. In 1989, a live action film was made that brought Yawara's adventures to the big screen. Then, in October 1989, the 124-episode anime series titled Yawara! A fashionable judo girl!, produced by Madhouse and broadcast on Yomiuri TV until September 1992. Fans could also enjoy the animated film Yawara! Soreyuke koshinuke kizzu!! released in 1992 and the television special Yawara! Special Zutto kimi no koto ga… from 1996.
In Italy, the animated series only partially reached the public, with the first 26 episodes being aired on Junior TV in the 90s. Initially, the series was announced under the title Ginger, the judo princess, but was later changed to Jenny, the judo girl, inspired by the French adaptation Ginger, la jeune fille judoka. The manga, on the other hand, was published more recently by Planet Manga, from February 2013 to December 20, 2018, giving Italian fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in the story of Yawara.
Jenny the judo girl revolves around the young protagonist Yawara Inokuma, who is eager to lead a normal life. However, her future is turned upside down when her overbearing grandfather, Jigoro, discovers her incredible judo talent. Determined to make her a champion, Jigoro pushes Yawara to train hard to win the national championships and the gold medal at the XXV Olympic Games. The immense pressure placed on her causes Yawara to initially hate and try to avoid martial arts. But throughout the story, the young judoka will discover a burning passion for the sport and she will have to face the difficult task of balancing her grandfather's expectations with her own personal desires for freedom.
Yawara! – Jenny the judo girl addresses universal themes such as self-determination, the balance between the expectations of the people you love and the conquest of your freedom.
Yawara Inokuma (猪熊 柔 Inokuma Yawara?, Jenny Moore in the Italian edition of the anime) is a young and determined teenager who dreams of a normal life. However, her fate is turned upside down when her overbearing grandfather, Jigoro, forces her to practice judo. Throughout the entire series, she Yawara keeps fantasizing about a romantic life and harbors the unattainable desire to have a boyfriend.
Jigoro Inokuma (猪熊 滋悟郎 Inokuma Jigorō?, Teodore Moore in the Italian edition of the anime) is a seventh-dan judo master and five-time national champion. His passion for judo is matched only by his love of food. He has high expectations for his granddaughter Yawara's career and constantly pushes her to do her best. Parallel to his judo career, he works as a doctor's assistant. In 1994, Naoki Urasawa published a short story titled Jigoro!, in which the character is the protagonist.
Sayaka Honami (本阿弥 さやか Honami Sayaka?, Betty Wing in the Italian edition of the anime) is an ambitious and spoiled heiress of a wealthy Japanese family. She has never failed in any of the sports she has played. When she meets Yawara, she pledges to defeat the girl and become the best of her.
Shinnosuke Kazamatsuri (風祭 進之介 Kazamatsuri Shinnosuke?, Robert in the Italian edition of the anime) is one of the best judo trainers in all of Japan. He has Jigoro Inokuma as his personal idol. Despite his shyness, he is very successful with girls due to his charming looks. He shows a special interest in Yawara.
Kosaku Matsuda (松田 耕作 Matsuda Kosaku?, Charlie in the Italian edition of the anime) and Kamoda (鴨田 Kamoda?, Woody in the Italian edition of the anime) are a reporter and his cameraman who work for a sports magazine. They are convinced that Yawara will become Japan's biggest sports star and follow her everywhere to document her career.
Kaoru Hanazono (花園 薫 Hanazono Kaoru?) is the captain of the judo club at Yawara's school. He is overweight and hypersensitive, but is a great friend of the girl.
Sudoh (須藤 Sudō?) is a hoodlum at Yawara's school. Initially, he's a rather negative character, but finds a new direction when he joins the judo club.
Jody Rockwell (ジョディ・ロックウェル Jodi Rokkuweru?) is the reigning judo world champion from Canada. She becomes a regular character.
Author Naoki Urasawa
Magazine Big comic spirits
Date 1st edition 1986 – 1993
Tankōbon 29 (complete)
Italian publisher Panini Comics - Planet Manga
1st Italian edition 9 February 2013 – 20 December 2018
Italian periodicity aperiodic
Italian volumes 19 (complete)
Anime TV series
Title: Jenny the judo girl
Regia Hiroko tokita
Composition series Hiroyuki Kawasaki, Toshiki Inoue, Yoshimasa Takahashi, Yoshiyuki Suga
character design Yoshinori Kanemori
Artistic direction Yuji Ikeda
Music Hideaharu Mori, Yasuo Uragami
Studio Madhouse, Kitty Films
Network Yomiuri TV, Nippon Television
Date 1st TV October 16, 1989 - September 21, 1992
Episodes 124 (complete)
Episode duration 24 min
Italian network JuniorTV
Date 1st Italian TV 1990
Italian episodes 26 / 124 21% Complete (Discontinued)
Italian episode length 24 min
Italian dubbing studio Carioca
Italian dubbing direction Lella Carcereri