Cover of the first manga volume
|Written by||Noboru Rokuda|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday|
|Original run||1979 – 1982|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masayuki Hayashi|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||October 4, 1981 – December 26, 1982|
The manga was also adapted into a 65-episode anime television series by Tatsunoko Production in 1981, chiefly directed by Masayuki Hayashi. The anime was aired across Japan on Fuji TV Sundays at 6 p.m. from 4 October 1981 to 26 December 1982. In Japan, it was one of Tatsunoko's most successful shows of the 1980s in terms of ratings, regularly scoring around 15-20%, but it achieved even greater success when it was adapted for the Italian TV market in 1983 under the title Gigi la Trottola. Due to the anime's success in Italy, the complete manga was also released there (keeping the original Japanese title and character names) in 2001. Italian dubbed version of the anime also aired in Poland in the early 90s with Polish voice-over, where it was known under its Italian name. The anime also became a hit in two separate Spanish dubs, one aired in Spain and the other in Latin America, both titled Chicho Terremoto. The anime was very successful in Spain and in Italy.
The hero of the story is Kappei Sakamoto, a high school student with amazing athletic abilities who joins the basketball team of Seirin High School and quickly becomes one of the most skilled players. Kappei has one unusual handicap for a basketball player - his height; he stands not even one meter tall. His Achilles' heel is female undergarments; he has a particular interest in white panties, and is even more enthusiastic about joining the basketball team when he discovers that the team's female coach, Coach Natsu, wears white panties (although his inventive attempts to sneak a peek at said panties usually result in a physical beatdown from the hot-tempered coach). Eventually, Kappei's athletic prowess extends beyond basketball, and he tries out for - and excels at - every sport the school offers.
In the first episode, Kappei meets and becomes enamored with Akane Aki, a sweet, pretty girl who is quite athletic herself (she later joins the school's ping-pong team) and signs on as assistant coach of Seirin's basketball team. Much to Kappei's delight, not only is Akane pretty, but she also wears white panties, and Kappei sets his sights on winning her heart. Kappei eventually moves in with Akane and her family after his parents (who are rarely around) leave for the United States. However, Kappei has an unusual rival for Akane's heart - Akane's dog, Seiichiro, who has often fantasized about marrying his owner and, resenting Kappei, immediately seeks to sabotage his relationship with Akane through various tricks. Seiichiro can also speak, although only Kappei can understand him.
- Kappei Sakamoto (坂 本 勝平, Sakamoto Kappei) - The protagonist of the story. He excels in every sport and loves to be in the spotlight, especially when he is admired by the girls. He is obsessed with white women's panties, for him a "symbol of purity." Falls in love with the beautiful Akane, and wants to marry her. He is voiced by Mayumi Tanaka in the anime, and is known as Gigi Sullivan in the Italian and Latin American versions and Chicho Terremoto in the Spanish version.
- Akane Aki (秋 あかね, Aki Akane) - Pretty, sweet, popular, and even-tempered, Akane-chan, a transfer student to Seirin High, becomes the assistant coach of the school's basketball team. She befriends Kappei and is a strong believer in his talents, and though she initially finds him rather strange, soon develops feelings for him, and even shows signs of jealousy when Kappei shows interest in other girls. She is voiced by Mizuho Tsushima in the anime, and is known as Anna Akane in the Italian version, Rosa (or Rosita) in the Spanish version, and Ana in the Latin American dubs.
- Seiichiro (诚一郎) - Akane's dog, who can walk and speak like a human being, although only Kappei can understand his speech. He is also enamored of Akane and dreams of marrying her (despite the fact that she is human and he a dog) and, resenting Kappei's muscling his way into her life, becomes Kappei's sworn enemy, but also his best friend. He often appears in brief entr'actes to explain the rules of whatever sport Kappei happens to be playing at that time. Seiichiro is voiced by Toru Ohira in the anime and is known as Salomone in the Italian version and Bobby in the Spanish dub.
- Coach Kaori Natsu (夏 かおり, Natsu Kaori) - The basketball team's hot-tempered coach. Though she tries to be a proper young lady and is on the hunt for a boyfriend, she loses patience easily (especially with Kappei) and is well known for her grotesque and humorous facial expressions when angered. She is voiced by Kazue Komiya in the anime, and is called Gloria in the Italian version and Eva in the Spanish dubs.
- Kaoru Tachibana (立花かおる, Tachibana Kaoru) - Captain of the basketball team. Voiced by Kazuhiko Inoue in the anime, known as Thomas in Italian and Antonio in the Spanish version.
- Kyōshirō Nemuri (狂四郎, Kyōshirō) - A member of the basketball team, very tall and handsome, with blond hair and blue eyes; a ladies' man. Voiced by Kazuyuki Sogabe in the anime, known as Adamo in Italian and Felipe in Spanish.
- Daiba - A member of a rival basketball team. He stands nearly three meters tall, and is a giant in every sense of the term. He is also Akane's ex-boyfriend; Akane broke up with him because of his violent temper, and now he wants to discredit Kappei and win her back. Voiced by Akira Murayama in the anime, known as Alan in Italian and Tobías in Spanish.
- Mr. Okazaki - Kappei and Akane's homeroom teacher. Voiced by Hiroshi Masuoka in the anime, known as Señor Povedilla in Spanish.
- Akane's Parents - Voiced by Shunsuke Shima (father) and Keiko Tomochika (mother) in the anime.
- Original creator (manga): Noboru Rokuda
- Executive producer (Tatsunoko): Kenji Yoshida
- Planning: Ippei Kuri (Tatsunoko), Tadashi Oka (Fuji TV), Minoru Uchima (Yomiko Advertising)
- Producers: Tomoyuki Miyata, Hajime Taniguchi, Masanori Nakano
- Chief Directors: Masayuki Hayashi, Seitaro Hara
- Technical Directors: Akehira Ishida, Keiichiro Mochizuki, Hiroko Tokita, Katsuhiko Akiyama etc.
- Script: Shigeru Yanagawa, Yu Yamamoto, Haruya Yamazaki, Takeshi Shudo, Akiyoshi Sakai, Osamu Sekiguchi, Sukehiro Tomita
- Animation Directors: Sadao Miyamoto, Shizuo Kawai, etc.
- Music: Koba Hayashi