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Aim for the Ace!' (エースをねらえ!, Ēsu o Nerae!) is a classic Shoujo anime and manga written/drawn by Sumika Yamamoto, which ran from 1973 to 1980 in 18 volumes. Highly influential to shoujo, it had several series throughout the 70's and 80's and a live-action movie in 2004. It has been dubbed and distributed in Europe, in French, Italian and Spanish.
The story focuses on Hiromi Oka, who is an ordinary high school girl whose one wish is to be as good at tennis as the girl who is best in the school, the graceful Reika "Madame Butterfly" Ryuuzaki. Her coach Jin Munakata sees potential in her, and the rest of the series tells of her struggles and victories, on and off the court...
There was also a 1979 animated movie, which has noticeably better animation (directed by Osamu Dezaki, who also directed Rose of Versailles)
- Adaptation Expansion: The last OVA series (appropriately subtitled "Final Stage") picks up where the manga ended and wraps up some loose ends, most importantly Hiromi's relationship with Toudou.
- Alpha Bitch: Reika starts out acting like this, being the queen bee and at first angered that a newcomer like Hiromi could possibly have made the top five, but she warms up to her eventually.
- Backstory: Jin's expands on why he wants his girls to be strong after training
- Big Brother Worship: Ranko Midorikawa adores her older half-brother none other than Coach Jin. And yes, it pretty much goes into Brother-Sister Incest from her side.
- To Be a Master: Perfectly exemplifies the Japanese attitude of doing your best in everything (ganbarimasu).
- Dark and Troubled Past: Coach Munakata, hooooly shit. To a smaller degree, also Ranko
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Reika
- Doorstopper: A 3000 page manga! Mostly because of its long running and popularity over many years.
- Ending Theme: One of the earliest examples of the "mellower, sad ending tune" formula, "Shiroi Tennis Court"
- Even the Girls Want Her: Reika
- Hair Decorations: Reika's big pink bow, the team captain's white barrettes, and Kyoto's awful orange bow-buns.
- Gaming and Sports Anime And Manga: One of the pioneers among such stories.
- Genki Girl: Hiromi
- Ill Girl: Genderflipped by Coach Jin, who suffers of leukemia as the series begins. Even more, he's Secretly Dying... and then he actually dies.
- Love Bubbles: Happens when Reika's around.
- Naive Newcomer: Both Hiromi and Maki. Maki was really just in it to goof around from the start.
- The Ojou: Reika, who's the Ice Queen type.
- Onee-Sama: Reika. Notably, this was first written well before everyone had slash goggles built into their eyes.
- Pastel-Chalked Freeze-Frame: Most notably in the 90-minute movie retelling, directed by famed Osamu Dezaki.
- Princess Curls: Reika's long blonde ringlets allude to her Ojou upbringing.
- The Stoic: Coach Jin
- Training From Hell: And how. It turns out to be for deeper reasons than usual: Coach Jin is dying of leukemia, and he wants to train someone to pass the torch to.
- Trope Codifier: Hiromi is one of the two first big JPN examples of Passionate Sports Girl. The other is Kozue Ayuhara from Attack No. 1.