One of the most talented and promising young contenders in the world of judo is a girl called Yawara Inokuma. With her native talent and quickness, she could fight just about anyone. With intensive training given by her grandfather (a judo champion in his own right), Yawara is unbeatable. It's the desire of many in the judo world to meet and beat Yawara. Yawara, on the other hand, would prefer to give up judo and become an ordinary girl.
This show, during its run from 1989-1992 (Yawara's in training for the '92 Barcelona Olympics), caused a huge upsurge in young girls interested in judo. An original story, very little shoujo agonizing and great characters that you can really care about make this a real classic. Even if you know nothing about judo, you'll be hooked; it makes the sport very accessible. The art is about average, but the storytelling, voice acting (The indomitable Seki Toshihiko plays Matsuda, the reporter who's convinced Yawara will be a superstar), and great characters more than makes up for it. Gambatte, Yawara!
Available fansubbed; AnimEigo is considering picking it up but hasn't yet. Go to Yawara on DVD to sign the AnimEigo petition.