In the lead up to the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship in Japan, Italian public television broadcaster RAI with the help of the Italian Volleyball Federation and the Italian women’s national team have paid tribute to a Japanese cartoon, “Attacker You!” or “Mila e Shiro, due cuori nella pallavolo” as it is known in Italian.
The cartoon was originally published in 1984-1985 as a manga book and then converted to an animated series at around the same time. The main character dreams of playing in the 1988 Seoul Olympics for the Japanese women’s national team, while she is in high school.
Here is the opening scene sequence to the animated series which is posted on youtube.
Attacker You! was syndicated for broadcast overseas and translated into Italian, French, Spanish and Polish after its original broadcast in Japan. Surprisingly I had seen an interview with Italian women’s national team player Simona Gioli from the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals in Macau from 2011 during the then FIVB Heroes campaign. In her interview she mentions that she watched Mila & Shiro, and volleyball became her passion after that.
With the tournament being hosted in Japan, RAI and the Italian Federation wanted to create an interesting promotion for RAI’s broadcast of the tournament. What they came up with is magical.
The promotion features captain Cristina Chirichella (#10), Ofelia Malinov (#5), Anna Danesi (#11), Lucia Bosetti (#16), Miryam Fatime Sylla (#17), Paola Ogechi Egonu (#18) and libero Monica De Gennaro (#6). All of these women were named to the Italian roster for the World Championships. With the switching from animation to live action scenes through the promo, it looks a great portrayal of 80’s animation and “dramatic” action scenes as well. If you notice in the first video, the song used in the original animation was also used in this promo.
I think that RAI and the Italian federation wanted to pay respect to the creator of the Attacker You! series with this video. Additionally with series having being popular in Italy for over 30 years, it is hard not to imagine the sport of volleyball growing there without the cartoon.