Hatanaka Kosaku, a hopeful boxer, has a mean KO punch. Unfortunately, his dietary willpower is weak, and he eats even greasy hamburgers right before a bout. As a result, he has to compete in higher weight classes, and as soon as he takes an abdomenal punch, he vomits, which causes him to lose the match in shame. As he tries to grapple with his weak will, he meets Sister Angela, a novitiate at a local convent. While Sister Angela strives to help Hatanaka in his endeavor, he seems to make her training to be a nun more difficult.
Well, I think this anime is ok. I felt that they did little with Angela and wasn’t really used right and she’s just a supporting character, and not really a main one who has to struggle with her own issues in relation to her lifestyle. Like her supporting cast is opposite from that in the manga such as Mother Abbess who is strongly opposed to Kousaku’s advances. While in this one, of course it’s natural to assume but it’s not really emphasized that because she’s a nun in training, she can’t have romantic relations with Kousaku due to those reasons. Kousaku’s portrayal shows he is
very serious about boxing but yet he can’t give up food like he’s that douche from the season 5 of Ultimate Fighter, Gabe Reudiger who wouldn’t give up eating cake and chips. And Mukoda’s portrayal is what you’d expect but he is very realistic about approaching problems and solving some of them. Like if Kousaku was really going out to eat, that’s his own fault when he should know this could be his last chance.
Anyway, in comparison to the drama and manga, it is more boxing centric than romance and comedy centric which I find is good for those who like Hajime no Ippo and Ashita no Joe which transitions to what I want to say next about the fights.
If you have watched Ashita no Joe, then I guarantee you’re going to enjoy the fights. A majority of the angles and a fraction of the execution pays major homage to it. Kousaku like Joe is a hard punching brawler but in his fight with Jiro, he shows he does have basic technique against an Olympic gold medallist with his dodging and footwork. And the way he loses sometimes is similar to Joe’s losing streak except under different circumstances of why they’d puke in a middle of a fight. Joe not feeling comfortable fighting after killing Rikiishi, and with Kousaku, he pigs out. And of course we’ll see the use of fouls to win fights. So either the staff of this anime, or Takahashi herself is a fan of Ashita no Joe. But the ending fight ends in an anti-climatic nature which has happened in some other action oriented Takahashi mangas such as Inuyasha vs Bankotsu in the manga version. And the fights in the live action One Pound Gospel have this problem as well.
But for the character design, it’s your typical Rumiko Takahashi art style and if you like Ranma and Inuyasha, you’re going to instantly recognize it. But what’s also fun is that there are no bizarre hair styles and hair colors.
Moving on, I would like to make the notion that this anime never had a dub release. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing, I’m leaving that up to you. But the Japanese cast does have some of the biggest name. Furuya Tooru, the voice of Tuxedo Mask and Amuro Rei and Saint Seiya plays Kousaku. He portrays the character as serious and has a fun side to him. He brings out the confession of his love in a very sincere way in comparison to the sugar rushed portrayal of KAT-TUN’s Kamenashi Kazuya in the live action, which is another review for another time. And Tsuru Hiromi, the voice of Bulma in DBZ and Ukyo from Ranma and Reiko from Ghost Sweeper plays a very different role from this one where she is more calm and doesn’t really have a fighting intensity, but has a certain anger for Kousaku’s indiscipline and his advances.
And I’m guessing Nagai Ichiro’s portrayal of Mukoda paved way for his role of Nekota Ginpachi in Hajime no Ippo, another boxing anime. If just doesn’t feel the same if he doesn’t end his sentences with “da ni.” OK, enough of the voice acting, time to talk about the music. It’s very uplifting and intense. It goes very well to the mood, and brings a balance to the romantic tensions between Kousaku and Angela.
If you’re looking for your typical Rumiko Takahashi romance anime, this isn’t for you. Then again, in most anime versions of Takahashi’s anime, the main female and male characters that have romantic tensions never officially hook up as a couple except for Maison Ikkoku so expect no different. Surprisingly, after reading the manga and watching a majority of the live action version, I like how this is more boxing oriented than romance as I previously mentioned. So, I think it would be a disappointment if it was romance emphasized instead because you know in the end, Angela and Kousaku won’t hook up in the oav like they do in the manga which ended not too long ago. Hopefully we may get a new anime version which can give a faithful manga adaptation which later introduced other interesting characters.
One Pound Gospel is an anime about gluttony and why learning from mistakes is something important.
The story begins with a guy named Kosaku, which is a regular boxer. He's a really great boxer with a KO punch that could end the match in one round. His only problem is that he thinks about food too much. Whether he's running, practicing in the gym, or just resting, all he thinks about is one thing...FOOD. Even his trainer gets too irritated that he wants to fire him on the spot, or just plain quit as his trainer. Kosaku gets a preaching from his coach every now and
then, but the guy just lets those words flow through one ear and out the other. One day, he saw a nun by the church while doing his daily run, then started to talk to her to get to know her. When they went inside her place at the monastery, he saw FOOD! He ate as much as he can not knowing that his next fight is about to happen sooner than he thought. By the time the fight came, it was total failure...well obviously. The remaining matches that were shown in this OVA was up to his decision to quit and sacrifice eating too much, with the help of the nun and his trainer.
Aired in the late '80's, the art style is good knowing that it's an old anime. It's grainy and all, but that's what any typical old anime would deliver anyways. The story takes place most likely in Japan, with the neon lights and the side stores and all, along with the church area. The art is really simple and reminds me of Inuyasha and Ranma, which is made by the same creator that made this OVA. There's nothing really special with the place this anime took place, even the boxing ring. It's there, that's all you have to know.
The sound is not as I wanted it to be. I guess the voice actors did a fair job, but it just doesn't add up to be a 'great' anime with great sound effects. As I recall, the ending music was of a popular American song that I don't know the name, but hear alot, or was it the opening? Either way, I just didn't think that the music fits it, so I'm not a big fan of the music and sounds involved on this one that much. I've heard better music, and this is just not one of them.
The characters are also really straight-forward concerning their personalities. There are no characters that are really that ominous (except maybe for that one guy Kosaku accidentally punched in the ally way, which you would know the identity if you've watched it or going to watch it). The trainer had the personality of the typical one, all aggrevated and mad all the time. The nun was the usual none (except for the fact that she drinks alcohol o_O). Kosaku is just strange, on the other hand. For a pro-boxer, why would he not worry about being at top of his shape before each match? Might as well become some world-record hot dog eater or something (maybe surpass that dude that wins those kinds of contests like crazy haha), ya know what I'm sayin'?
The fun level of watching this show wasn't all that great. It was more of like "Hey...I watch Hajime no Ippo, why not this?" kind of a feeling. I'd have to admit I watched this show since I was currently watching Hajime no Ippo at the time and accidentally stumbled on this page seeing a picture of a guy holding his boxing gloves. I was really pumped to watch One Pound Gospel, but unfortunately, it wasn't as great as I expected. But don't get me wrong, it was a good watch. I wouldn't say I wasted my time watching it. I learned a lesson that learning your lesson is a fantastic moral lesson (wa? three 'lesson' in one sentence? maybe a new tongue twister?).
One Pound Gospel have something to say. It's that staying focused on something will make you finish the job easier and efficiently. Swerving for a detour that leads to a cliff isn't worth the short cut. That's basically the lesson of this anime. I say check it out if you want to pass some time when you're bored.
I wish I could give this short anime a higher score, but to most people it will probably feel very average.
Rumiko Takahashi is one of my favorite mangaka ever, I love her style, so that's points right there for me. I also love the retro quality, and the silliness of the setup, with this young boxer and nun-in-training. A lot more could have been done with the story and characters though. So I guess I love it's style and potential more than the story itself.
From my own scoring system:
2/3 for characters and relationships
2/3 for plot/storyline
3/3 for formal elements
0/1 for my special award
Put on those boxing gloves, and step into the ring. We're going to take a look at some of the most intense and enjoyable boxing anime and manga in existence. Are you tough enough to handle these knock-out titles?