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Five Joshi Stars And Their Anime Alter Egos Pt. II

11 months ago
Joshi wrestlers anime girls

Five Joshi Stars And Their Anime Alter Egos Pt. II

By: Mitchell Adams

Joshi puroresu is booming, with STARDOM outdrawing its brother promotion New Japan from time to time, and Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling playing home base to a pair of the sport’s biggest stars in Maki Itoh and Miyu Yamashita. TJPW also enjoys a mix of rising stars and fan favorites like Hyper Misao, each with distinct personalities, and their first live show in the U.S. was a smash hit.

Meanwhile, longtime WWE star Mercedes Moné left “sports entertainment” behind for the purity of STARDOM strong style and the bright lights of Tokyo, just as joshi wrestling is becomes as big of a Japanese cultural exchange as J-pop or anime. She is the poster girl of New Japan’s foray into women’s wrestling and the perfect foil to the sport’s best women’s wrestlers like Giulia and Syuri.

Because the last edition of this feature was so much fun, MP invites you to our next 5 Joshi Stars and Their Anime Alter Egos:

Tam Nakano

Company: STARDOM
Anime Counterpart: Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon

Tam Nakano is STARDOM’s little engine that could. She isn’t the biggest joshi wrestling competitor, nor is she the fastest. She isn’t a ring technician, nor does she possess a never-ending supply of charisma. Yet she has beaten all the top names in STARDOM more than once and is the current World of Stardom Champion.

It’s amazing watching a Tam Nakano match because nobody expects such an emotional young woman to outwit her opponents so consistently while putting up such wicked fights. Her opponents least of all!

Looking at her in the ring, you can’t help but compare her to Ami Mizuno, better known to anime fans as Sailor Mercury.

Ami is for all intents and purposes a bit of a nerd. She was constantly getting the highest possible marks in her exams even before she gained superpowers. Although few in school would give her a second look, it was even harder to imagine her as a brave and fearless warrior who would sacrifice her own life without a second thought to save her fellow Sailor Scouts and the world in general. Ami is not the toughest or the meanest fighter, but she will bubble blast villains into oblivion if she’s given no other option.

In both puroresu and anime, “fighting spirit” is the name of the game and Ami Mizuno and Tam Nakano both have it in spades.

 


Yuki Kamifuku

Company: Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling
Anime Counterpart: Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop

Known as the “Casual Beauty,” Yuki Kamifuku is a distinctly beautiful woman. And she knows it. Kamiyu knows fans look at her, and she uses this to her advantage in the ring. Coming out in ring gear comprised of provocatively cut denim and posing seductively in the ring when her name is announced is all designed to throw her opponents off their game. She gets challengers thinking she’s not taking them or the art of puroresu seriously, and just wants the attention. Nothing can be farther from the truth – and before they know it Kamiyu has pinned them.

It’s not hard to imagine Kamiyu may have taken some inspiration from her anime alter ego Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop.

Before joining the Bebop crew, Faye Valentine was essentially a thief and con artist using her considerable charms to rob her marks (usually men who couldn’t lift their jaws off the floor after seeing her) blind. She presented herself to the world as a sexy, tough, and completely independent woman who didn’t need or want anyone in her life. Unfortunately, this was only a mask she put on to hide her trauma and pain after being cryogenically frozen for over fifty years due to a terminal illness, only to wake up with no memories and all records of her life destroyed due to an accident that cost her parents their lives.

Faye took on her persona as a way to survive after being taken advantage of by the doctor who cured her, and one has to wonder if the same doesn’t ring true for Kamiyu in a way. Yuki Kamifuku has discussed suffering bouts of depression and being the victim of cyberbullying in the past, so fans can only hope her being the “Casual Beauty” is more an act to get ahead than it is an act of survival.


Mayu Iwatani

Company: STARDOM
Anime Counterpart: Nami from One Piece

Mayu Iwatani is the greatest joshi wrestler of all time in many fans’ minds — but it’s not for the reasons the uninitiated may believe. It’s not because she has held every Stardom Championship multiple times. It’s not because she’s main evented dozens of sensational cards. It’s not even because every time she gets in the ring, she puts on an amazing performance.

No, the reason why many fans view her as the best of all time is because of what she’s had to overcome.

Born and raised in a small village just outside Yamaguchi, Japan, Iwatani was involved in an incident as a teenager that is not a matter of public record. This incident, whatever it was, resulted in people in her small community shunning and shaming her. This drove Iwatani into a deep depression and she stayed at home, locking herself out of society for three whole years. It was not until she watched an episode of a DragonGate TV show that she found the strength to re-enter the world through her love of puroresu. She soon left her small village behind and traveled to Tokyo to live out her dream.

Her anime alter ego? Nami, from One Piece.

Nami also overcame so much tragedy before finding a home with the Straw Hat Pirate Crew and living out her dream of becoming a master mapmaker.

A war orphan, raised along with her fellow adopted sister Nojiko by a young Marine Bellmare on a small island community, Nami spent the first ten years of her life poor but happy while dreaming of traveling the world and becoming a master mapmaker. This happiness was tragically cut short when evil Arlong Pirates took over her island and demanded that each citizen pay protection. Unable to pay protection for herself and her daughters, Bellmare attempted to deceive the Arlong. However, Nami inadvertently gave the game away and Bellmare was murdered in front of her children. But it would only get worse for Nami from there.

After discovering she could draw maps, the Arlong tricked the young Nami into joining their crew with food and money causing her community, including her sister, to shun and shame her. Not until joining the Straw Hat Crew did she get her revenge and find her place in the world.

The stories of Mayu and Nami are both tragic, but they are also beyond inspiring.


Miyu Yamashita

Company: Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling
Anime Counterpart: Videl from Dragon Ball Z

Miyu Yamashita is without question the one true ace of Tokyo Joshi Pro-Wrestling. She has been with the promotion since its inception in 2013. She has trained in mixed martial arts her whole life. She has won the promotion’s biggest prize, the Princess of Princess Championship, three times as well as holding the record for most consecutive days as champion at 1,065. She has won championships all over Europe, Asia, and North America. She has also trained new members of Tokyo Joshi’s roster, most notably Yuki Arai. All this and she’s only 28 years old.

You only accomplish all this before the age of 30 if you are headstrong beyond belief and have a Napoleonic level of self-determination. How could Yamashita’s anime alter ego not be Videl from Dragon Ball Z?

Videl was born into a fake martial arts dynasty with her father Hercule lying to the world, saying he defeated the evil villain Cell. Despite this, she actually possesses legitimate martial arts knowledge, an untiring work ethic, and just like Miyu, an insane amount of self-determination. It was this determination that drove her to discover the truth about Z fighter Gohan being the warrior who really defeated Cell. It was this determination that allowed her to learn the techniques of KI Energy faster than any Z fighter before her.

Yamashita may not quite be able to snap her opponent’s necks with her spin kick finisher like Videl did to Spopovich, but she often comes close!


Hikaru Shida

Company: All Elite Wrestling
Anime Counterpart: Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon

Hikaru Shida is easily the most decorated veteran of All Elite Wrestling’s women’s division. Debuting in 2008 for Ice Ribbon, she was always a bit taller and a lot stronger than her fellow competitors. This, combined with her natural toughness and training in judo and kendo, meant most of her opponents were easily intimidated.

But that’s not to say Shida doesn’t have a softer side. A talented musician and singer, Shida has wowed fans with her piano covers of popular songs posted on her social media pages while also delighting them with her love of cosplay as well as her appreciation of both Eastern and Western pop culture icons.

It’s difficult to not compare her to Lita Kino, also known as Sailor Jupiter.

Lita Kino is bigger, stronger, and a lot tougher than most of the girls in her school, and along with her martial arts knowledge many feel intimidated by her. But like Hikaru, she has a softer side: she enjoys baking, flower arranging and being with her friends. Most would count themselves lucky to be Lita’s friend or even just a good person in her orbit as she has been known to take down bullies without her powers just as well as taking down villains with them.

Hikaru Shida showed herself to also have a low tolerance for bullies and villains on AEW TV joining her old foes Britt Baker and Jamie Hayter in their battles against The Outcasts. The future match between these two teams will probably have more sparks than a Sailor Jupiter lightning attack!

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