There are shows and books you can describe in a capsule form and the coolness of the idea is immediately apparent: “Test pilot crashes and is rebuilt with super-cybernetics for a top-secret agency”, “Valley Girl discovers she’s destined to be The Slayer, mystical warrior against vampires and other demonic forces”, “Ancient Egyptian artifact turns out to be an alien gateway”.
Then there are those in which the capsule form ranges from the stupid to the “what drugs are you ON?”. For example, “In the future, the most popular sport in the world is female all-star wrestling. With the wrestlers in Power Armor!”
This is the anime (Japanese animation) series Metal Fighter Miku, and it is – quite preposterously – a fun show despite this utterly ludicrous premise.
Miku, the main character, is a girl whose one true dream is to be the champion of the world of women’s wrestling, “Neo-Pro Wrestling”, as exemplified by her idol, the mysterious Aquamarine – for all of them have stage names, just like wrestlers today. But she’s just a newcomer, working with three other girls (a slight modification of the anime “five-team” trope) in a newly formed and – to be honest – third-rate team called the Pretty Four.
Their manager Tokichiro really intends to make them money by using the wrestling to promote them as “idol singers” (a Japanese phenomenon akin to the corporate pop idols like Miley Cyrus), as he started out as a talent agent, but doesn’t understand that – despite some of the four, like Sayaka, liking the idea of idol singing – all four of his girls want to be wrestlers.
But unbeknownst to any of them, the corporate owner of the current front-runners in the wrestling world is Kozo Shibano, an old enemy of Tokichiro, one who has – due to a long-ago childhood enmity – vowed to ruin him in any endeavor. When Shibano discovers that Tokichiro has entered the field of Neo-Pro Wrestling, he directs that his rival be first tricked into a tournament, and then destroyed by any means necessary.
Within this utterly silly premise, the show manages to first make use of every expected trope and cliché… and then bend them just enough to make the entire farrago of warmed-over adventure series nonsense WORK. Each of the Pretty Four is an individual that we come to know, and their individual foibles – and those of their friends, co-workers, and rivals – are the keys to the events throughout the series.
I wouldn’t give Metal Fighter Miku five stars, but it’s a solid – one might say Pretty! – four. If a lighthearted quest to be your best sounds like fun, you should give Miku a try. You might find it as surprisingly good as we did, when we very dubiously listened to our friend Rob insist on our trying just one episode. And then just one more. And just one more…