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Itsuki Hirata gets giddy for Attack on Titan, critiques Baki the Grappler

ONE Championship atomweight fighter Itsuki Hirata gives her admiration for anime's use of MMA. [Photo ONE Championship]
ONE Championship atomweight fighter Itsuki Hirata gives her admiration for anime's use of MMA. [Photo ONE Championship]
Vince Richards

"Anime critic” can now be included as one of Itsuki Hirata’s new side gigs. In a video that ONE Championship posted on YouTube, Hirata displayed her affinity for traditional Japanese comic book culture and even got giddy with one of the fight scenes from the critically-acclaimed anime series, Attack on Titan.

While Attack on Titan features giants attacking a sort of industrial-aged village, the fighting techniques used in the anime’s fight scenes are as close to reality as they get.

Hirata, whose nickname is Android 18 of Dragon Ball Z fame, pointed out how realistic the arm-triangle choke looked when Eren Yeager used it on an Armored Titan in the series. She then described how the scene resembled the transitions she employed against Rika Ishige.

During the fight with the Armored Titan, Eren went for a cross counter and then transitioned into an outside leg sweep before slapping a picturesque arm-triangle choke. That same sequence was similar to what Itsuki did to Ishige in her second fight in the promotion at ONE: Century in 2019.

Itsuki Hirata, who’s fighting Jihin Radzuan at ONE X on March 26 said:

“These fight scenes look more realistic than I expected. Wow, look at this arm triangle choke and armbar. He dodges the cross and then…cross counter, outside leg sweep, and then arm-triangle choke. This grappling is great. This is what I did when I fought Rika Ishige. I always thought it was just about the Titans eating one another, I didn’t know it included so many great mixed martial arts techniques.”

Hirata also praised the realism of fighting in other animes like Kengan Ashura, Hajime no Ippo, and Baki the Grappler, but the last series didn’t get away without stern criticism from the judoka.

Biscuit Oliva, one of the supporting characters in Baki the Grappler, went to a dojo to earn a judo blackbelt but wore a sleeveless gi that Itsuki Hirata vehemently pointed out.

“Hey, first and foremost, this is totally illegal. Can you guys see this? I thought it was karate, this is completely illegal. My first impression of this scene is, I’ve never seen a sleeveless judo gi before. As you can see here, they don’t have sleeves. Is this some kind of a joke?”

Itsuki Hirata wants to keep that streak alive

Itsuki Hirata tore through the competition in her first five fights in ONE Championship going 5-0 in the promotion. Her last win was a unanimous decision victory over Alyse Anderson at ONE: Empower in September 2021. Subsequently, it was also her first fight that went to the judges' scorecards.

The Japanese prospect, however, failed to participate in the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix in October due to a non-COVID illness. Nevertheless, her return is pegged at the promotion’s biggest event to date as she returns to active competition at ONE X—ONE Championship’s 10-year anniversary event on March 26 at Singapore Indoor Stadium.

“I’m back,” Itsuki posted briefly on Instagram. “I will win, firmly.”

Edited by Allan Mathew

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