Japanese Featherweight Champion Ippo Makunouchi has successfully defended and retained his title. Meanwhile, his rival, Ichirou Miyata, has resurfaced in Japan, aiming for his own Featherweight belt in the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation. When the rest of the world comes knocking, however, will Japan's best fighters rise to the challenge and achieve glory at the top? Or will the small island nation be crushed under the weight of greater entities? This time, champions will become challengers issuing a call to the rest of the world and ready to show off their fighting spirit!
You know, I've always loved boxing. Yet i never imagined that anime series about boxing could be much more interesting than the "real thing". Well, actually, It's not!
In this anime you don't just have pure fight, action non-stop. NO!
You get to know each one of the characters in the series. It's like you're one part of this anime. I don't know, I've never felt it before. The "gang"...It always looked like I am part of it, laughing and sorrowing with them. Watching them get beat up and yet stand again.
I know this review sounds like shit, and there are 100% lot better reviews then this,
but I'm sorry, i can't write review about this series and not get my emotions here. You know, reviews are about scores, studying all segments of series, but this anime HAS SOUL.
The characters are so vivid, and real. You have so many different people here, each one better than another, all unique in some sort of way. It blows you off. It sucks you in.
This anime shows that there is no just "brute force" in boxing. Those boxers have something that keeps them on surface, not letting them sink. And it actually shows you that this is not impossible. This is not an anime about some superhero. You can be just one of these people. With your friends, your guts, your will, will of steel. It shows you that there is nothing, NOTHING more important, NOTHING more valuable than FRIENDSHIP. It seems stupid, but that's the thing that can push you up when you feel like dying.
And you know what? Forget crap like marks. I cannot grade it. It doesn't deserve any number.
Because when you put one part of your soul in something, you cannot give it any limitations.
I started up, thinking this review is gonna be very short. But... When you are touched by something, you just cannot stop. And now i'm feeling a bit lighter, because I've shared this with you. I don't care if this was helpful or not. When this anime ended, I've lost part of my soul with it, but yet i learned something that cannot be learned in any school.
-I've learned what is the thing that makes man GREAT.
I will never forget about this one. Enjoy you guys...
To start things off, I can say is that it’s about damn time that a new anime installment of Hajime no Ippo came under way. Even though the first anime series was 70 plus episodes, I felt I didn’t get enough by the time I finished watching it. To me, Ippo vs Sendo 2 was actually the beginning!!! Since then, I decided to read the manga and currently up to date on it which is now nearly 90 volumes, and I’ll say I still haven’t gotten enough!!! But moving on, to a certain extent, New Challenger for what it covers is faithful to the manga
about 85% of the time though a few things are omitted. For example in the Date/Martinez fight, Okita fought in the undercard in the manga, but for some reason they cut it out in the anime and yet, they dedicate half of an episode to recapping Ippo’s fight with Date in the first season when they could have done something more productive instead. And I can’t deny the cut of the Kamogawa and Nekota flashback story arc. I feel I can forgive that because I think it deserves it’s own OAV or TV movie, especially under Nishimura Satoshi’s direction (which I heard is now confirmed). But for those not familiar with the manga, the first season had some cuts as well such as Mike Tyson’s story inspiring Ippo to box and Aoki painting himself black to get Ippo ready for Jason Ozuma, so omissions in this version I find aren’t too surprising as well in retrospect, but I felt the omissions were still bad ideas since those scenes did contribute something to the establishment and progression of those sections of the stories.
Next, I felt at times the pacing was unbalanced. Sometimes things were too fast due to those omissions, sometimes things were too slow just to concentrate on certain dialogs, and there are times it was just right. But I think they did the story arcs of the Martinez and Date fight and Ippo’s fight with Hammer Nao justice. In the end, rather than cutting out some parts of the manga and having been a little reliant on some unnecessary recaps, I give the story and characters.
The resolution and the depths to the color are a step up from the first installment. The art isn’t as sketchy looking with the bodies, but the designs are captured wel. The fights are also faithful to the manga, but at times, I did feel it did cut some corners which I felt wasn’t as abused in the first season. I thought the corner cutting and still shots were abused in the final fight a bit more, but really didn’t overall negate my enjoyment of the fight (though I'll admit I've conjured better quality fights playing the games). I felt anime wise, the Hawk and Takamura fight didn’t live up to how Ippo vs Sendo 2 played out for those reason since Ippo vs Sendo 2 didn’t really abuse it, and brought it’s own distinction from the manga fight.
But the action in general is still pretty awesome and I felt the anime captured the fighting styles of some of the characters very well, especially with Itagaki and Miyata. I felt the Martinez and Date fight was breathtaking and used very excellent angles in portraying Martinez’s brutal power and crisp technique.
One of my main concerns is that I did not like the color schemes for some of the characters. I have played all of the Hajime no Ippo games on PS2, PSP, PSOne Wii, and DS (yeah, laugh and point and call me a fan boy) and I liked some of the color schemes given to the characters in the games. I thought the color schemes for some of the characters such as Arnie’s red and black trunks and Itagaki’s brownish-redish trunks were pretty cool, reflected their personalities, and overall just seemed to fit. While in New Challenger, they are both given blue color schemes and I feel blue as the color of trunks is kind of an abused and redundant color in Hajime no Ippo. I thought the red with Arnie really reflected his aggressive style and blue tends to be a cliché symbol that you’re level headed, I just thought it didn’t feel right.
Before I get into the best quality of this season, I’ll take about the most controversial and that is the music. In addition to a new director, this anime has a new composer for the background music, Deathnote’s very own Hirano Yoshihisa. With the omission of Imahori Tsuneo’s acoustics and techno, Hirano implements his more grand orchestrated and piano style though at times he will use electric guitars but I’ll get into that a little later. If I were to put the controversy of this situation in a nutshell I would say that I have seen the protests and objections to Hirano’s style and the wanting of Imahori to return gone near the levels of the Ryan Drummond fans amongst the Sonic base. I’ll admit I was taken by surprise by the new style of music. At times it works and at other times, it totally misses. I’ll agree that Hirano’s composition isn’t as good as Imahori’s nor does it live up to how he made the Deathnote soundtrack, but I always believed in the saying if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it and I felt the BGM as a whole in Hajime no Ippo was kind of done here.
The worst quality of the music was when Nekota and the Kamogawa crew were crying during the Takamura and Hawk fight and it was playing this lame piano music that felt really stupid. The best parts are his uses of electric guitar that sound more like something out of punch out. But yeah, I do want Imahori Tsuneo back, and this situation now makes me sympathize with the Ryan Drummond fan boys. However, Hekireki and 8AM, the respective opening and ending themes I really like a lot though not as good as 360, Inner Light, or Yuuzora no Kamihikouki, but I think they capture the spirit of Hajime no Ippo very well.
Now time to conclude this part with the voice acting which consists of Gundam and Metal Gear Solid alumnus alike. With the exception of Kobayashi Sanae reprising the role of Mashiba Kumi, the cast from the first season is back. And the voice actor who got me most was Sakaguchi Daisuke who debuted as Uso Evin in V Gundam as Hammer Nao. I felt without him, the character would fall apart. Despite how much his appearance changed from the last time we saw him, I always thought that he was still that insecure individual as portrayed in the original manga but thanks to Sakaguchi’s acting, it captures something beyond my expectations and made him more likable in comparison to how I saw him in the manga as more of an asshole. Now I want to talk about Kumi’s new voice actor Hirata Yuka. I thought she sounded too energetic and the pitch was too seductive for the character. I always thought of her as pretty much shy and her original seiyuu captured that. Hopefully they’ll bring her back in the next installment. Another actor I enjoyed was Sugahara Masashi as Martinez. Even though he doesn’t have many lines, he sounded very intimidating, charismatic and authoritive. In a way he felt like Ivan Drago from Rocky IV.
And I’ll admit I was surprised that Ohtsuka Akio, the voice of Batou from Ghost in the Shell, Gato from Gundam 0083, as well as Solid Snake, Solidus, and Naked Snake in the Metal Gear Solid franchise as Brian Hawk who is the anti-thesis of those characters who are disciplined and formal while Hawk is pretty much an American version of Takamura. I wasn’t sure how he’d pull it off considering my familiarity with his performances as those characters so I was paying attention to how he’d do it. But after recently re-watching Rurouni Kenshin and seeing his performance as Jin-E, I felt he could do it. I think the performance that solidified him as Hawk was when he made his speech that he wanted to impregnate all the women in Japan. He was able to bring the charisma he had as those characters as Hawk in that scene, but in a comedic, disturbing, cynical and frightening fashion all at the same time. And in another scene I felt he had to define Hawk was when he meets his trainer in the flashback and asks for his license to kill and I thought he was able to bring Hawk’s qualities to life in that as well. Still, go on Anime News Network’s or this site's section on New Challenger and you’d be surprised how these voice actors have been in both Gundam and Metal Gear Solid franchises.
Thankfully they are making another installment according to Koyama Rikiya, the voice of Takamura. At first, I was pissed as fuck about the initial announcement of 26 episodes considering how much more manga material there is to cover, so I’m pretty excited since after this installment there are more of my personal favorite fights such as Ippo vs Sawamura and Miyata vs Medgoen Dachboy. In addition to pretty much seriously serialize the series, I want Nishimura and Imahori to come back.
Time to review something that actually DOESN'T suck! Hajime no Ippo is back with a vengeance!
The sequel to Hajime no Ippo continues the tale of Ippo's rise to the top of the boxing world. While the first Ippo series started as a coming of age story in which a bullied young man must learn to stand up for himself and achieve his dreams, the sequel starts right at the action and comes out swinging furiously. However, unlike the Rocky sequels, Ippo actually manages to keep the character development, pacing, and quality storytelling that made the first Ippo good. The opponents don't simply devolve into cartoon
caricature bad guys that our hero must smash...well besides Bryan Hawk. At least Hawk is hilariously goofy and fun to hate though. Also his eyebrows are only rivaled by that guy in FLCL!
While the first Ippo series boasted a wide cast of likeable characters, the second Ippo series manages to even better flesh out the side characters by giving them more of their own episodes. That means I get to see more of my man Takamura! The pompadour sporting badass who is so fucking manly he punches out a bear...then cries when he realized he orphaned the bear's cubs. The only character I missed in part 2 was Alexander Volg Zangief, because I love that dude and unfortunately he isn't in part 2.
The animation and technical aspects of the series are clearly improved since part 1. Ippo was already a good looking anime in part 1, but in part 2 the movement is even more fluid and this actually means something when you are talking about a sports anime. If an anime revolves around high stakes gambling and playing card games, you don't need to have the most fluid motion in the world. It doesn't make any impact on how enjoyable the show is. For example, Spice and Wolf the anime about trade and economics had horrible animation and it didn't matter at all. However, in a boxing anime this improved animation was perfect cherry on top of the ice cream.
One thing I love about the Ippo franchise is its ability to mix comedy, emotional moments, and pulse pounding action so seamlessly together. Very few anime are able to combine these elements together quite so perfectly. Hajime no Ippo isn't some highbrow attempt at being an artistic masterpiece, so don't go into it expecting Mushishi or Tatami Galaxy. However, it is a VERY fun to watch anime and overall very well made. I would recommend this anime highly to anyone even remotely interested in sports anime.
After finishing the first season, I was refreshed to see the art, impressed by the new opening, and thrilled by the new amazing fights, Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger is a very good sequel by deliviring the same old feeling with new art.
[+] The characters and their relationship and moment, the comedy between them is truly amazing.
[+] I really don't get why some people complain about the sound and OSTs, I didn't see any problem with it.
[+] The art especcialy in various fight scenes was really good, expressions, blood and were all very well-drawn.
[-] Sendo is way cooler in the first season, like waaaaaaaaaaaaaay cooler
Easily my favorite anime of all-time and one of the ones I enjoyed the most, it really exceeded my expectaions in every possible way.
Anime openings are extremely important. They introduce the production staff, unveil the style of the animation, and set the tone for the rest of the viewing experience. Let's take a look at the Hajime no Ippo openings and how they inform the audience and set expectations.