*Minimum Spoiler Hidden Gem Review*
TL;DR: If a young Hajime no Ippo made an illegitimate baby with the sexy cougar, Cowboy Bebop, in an 80's themed love hotel with Samurai Champloo music blasting in the background, then Megalo Box would be the gorgeous mixed bastard child that will emerge from the Redline ambulance nine months later. Such a hidden gem but packs so much hype. "JOEEEEE!"
[Story: 6/10 , Characters: 7/10, Art: 9/10, Sound: 9/10, Enjoyment: 8/10]
"They don't make tombstones for stray dogs" - JD
Yes Yes Yes. This is that shounen sports anime this season badly needed to remind what real anime is all about. You don't
need bad CG. You don't need blended CG. You don't need Ufotable level CG. What you need is a good mindblasting underdog story, eyegasmic hand-drawn visuals and eargasmic catchy rap music to ignite that flame that you put out long time ago to suffer through random sports anime thrown at you. Boxing anime can always be hyped. There is just something about two people beating the crap out of each other that brings out our animalistic nature to get that testosterone cascading within us and our blood viciously pumping through our veins. Megalo Box just takes it one step further. If you didn't watch it yet, then damn you are one lucky twat, because you get to binge this greatness and I'll tell you why.
"I don't mind dying as long as I know that the faith I had in myself was real" - Joe
This is an underdog story paying an homage to the 50 years of greatness to the boxing anime, Ashita no Joe, brought in the Japanese Anime Industry. It's a similar story however with one twist, mechanical box or gear attached to every boxer that enhances the speed and power of the user. Boxing is already bloody as it is, now imagine boxing with robotic limbs.
It's a crazy concept but luckily this is not the focal point of the story and we don't focus on the gear too much but rather the boxer themselves. This anime follows the archetypal hero's journey but since they execute it well, it becomes a great strength rather than an overused flaw. The whole idea is that there is a Megalo Box World Tourney and our hero must fight from the slums where he threw boxing matches to earn money to face the number one boxer, Yuuri, in the new Megalo Box Arena. Will he be able to do it? Find out on the next episode of DBZ. Jokes aside, from training montages to flashbacks of boxers' background to understanding their purpose in life, you really get drawn to this linear rollercoaster plot that's constantly giving you knee-jerks to throw you off of it. However, if you hang on tight, albeit a few slip-ups here and there, you get to taste the rewarding experience.
"Why don't you tell me your name?" - Yuuri
The best part about Megalo Box are the characters. There aren't many but the few characters that are shown are really well fleshed out. They don't have as much complexity as other boxing anime have but given the limited number of episodes they have to work with, we get to understand their emotional baggage they carry with them. We have "Joe," a junkyard dog coming from the slums that are cast aside in the society, Nanbu, his shady coach, Sacchio, a tech-genius kid seeking revenge against the rich and lastly Yuuri, a Russian husky of a boxer, champion of the Megalo Box arena, itching to find the greatest opponent in his life to give a good beatdown. All of these masochistic characters have so much charisma that they easily outshine the lackluster one-dimensional side characters thrown in this anime. Moreover, with a great deep-voiced seiyuu cast, this show feels so gritty and lifelike. Every time, Joe or Yuuri, speaks, they just steal the scene. Kudos to the seiyuus for not holding this anime back.
"If his punches were sharp, they wouldn't sound like a cow cutting through cheese" - Coach Nanbu
Aside from the linear rollercoaster story and the gritty characters, the highlight of this anime are the animation and music. Seriously from episode one, the hand drawn animation puts so much life into this anime. Each panel feels picturesque. Each panel feels like it can be a wallpaper. The characters are so well drawn while maintaing the respect for Ashita no Joe and the use of lines & variation of pen-strokes just makes this anime stand out from other boxing anime that came out before them. It really goes to show how maintaining a good homogenous colour palette throughout the animation really pays off. The fight sequences are well drawn and choregraphed as well. Aside from the breathtaking visuals, the music is really freaking good. The OP song provides the hype and the ED song mellows us out but the background score and sound bits in the transitions are just addictive to listen to. This anime will have one of the best standalone OST to listen to. Couple that with gritty rap music thrown in at appropriate times in the anime, it catapults the plot and hype even further. If you don't get to watch the anime, atleast listen to the OST.
"Everyone's only looking out for number one,
so why stop now? You're still not done.
No metal on your back so they call you gearless,
right now the way you act sure ain't fearless" - Sacchio
Overall, Megalo Box is a great sports shounen anime to watch if you are into boxing. Their purpose was to celebrate the 50 years of Ashita no Joe and they went ahead did just that and more. They brought back boxing anime to its roots and they showed us hand-drawn animation will never be beaten by commercialized CG animation industry. If you put forth passion and work hard to achieve a goal, then it will all be worthwhile in the end. This anime isn't perfect and everyone always enjoys sports anime of the sport they are into, but even if you aren't into boxing, it's enjoyable to watch as they don't delve that much in detail about how to box. So if you can get past the crazy plot of boxers using mechanical gears & one dimensional side characters, give this show a watch. After all, this anime isn't about the destination, it's about the journey and being the spectators we are in that megalo box arena, let's just sit back and enjoy. Anyways, check it out & let me know later how you like it as well as share with me your favourite quote from the anime! Ciao.
P.S. Thank you for reading. I hope you found this short and supaishi review helpful!
Art, in its purest form, is a catharsis of imperceptible cognitive entities onto a “canvas” for the purposes of provoking reactions from others. Sometimes that reaction involves laughter, other times it is sorrow, and on rare occasions, profound enlightenment, in either case, it is the responsibility of the artist(s) to determine the desired reaction, and how best to achieve it through their intended medium. As one would expect, it permits a copious amount of creativity to take place, yielding unexpected outcomes that one would rarely see in the real world. Antithetical to this branch of human intrigue, is the world of binary
results and conventional outcomes, otherwise known as: sports. That is not to say that all sporting events are replicas of past events, but in the grand scheme, one team will lose, and one team will win — end of story. As is the case with a boxing match, one boxer will lose, and the other, by default, will win (I understand there can be split decisions, but for the sake of argument, bare with me). In case I am mistaken, one cannot win at art, as it has no predetermined result.
Ergo, making the mixture of the two (art and sport) quite the peculiar one.
One demands openness and originality, while the other requires an outcome. Not to say that it cannot be done, as the predecessor of this series, “Ashita no Joe” proved otherwise. Yet, fans of the original series will be quick to point out, that while it was a “boxing anime,” it was so much more. In a numerous amount of ways, the original “Joe” is akin to Ping Pong The Animation — a character driven narrative — as opposed to your typical sports anime. Breaking free from the restrictions of defined outcomes and crafting something truly imaginative.
That all being said, how does this new iteration of “Joe" stack up on the hierarchy of sports anime?
I’m going to discuss the story first, mainly because I feel there is one glaring detail that demands acknowledgement before pressing forward. I am referring to the “Gear” (i.e. mechanical limbs) the boxers use to inflict blood-stained carnage on their respective opponents. The concept, in theory, sounds interesting, but when one considers the ramifications, especially with the proliferation of CTE in athletes, it’s a horrifying notion. Imagine if “Iron” Mike Tyson were equipped with this "Gear" in his prime, he would straight up murder people with one punch (cue the One Punch Man theme music). In all seriousness, weaponizing the instrument of pain with highly sophisticated machinery, without providing protective barriers for the combatants is just ludicrous and a colossal oversight on the writer’s part. I understand the rationale behind the decision, as it pertains to my original statement regarding originality, or lack thereof, in sports. But, this innovative nuance is just a cosmetic flourish that adds little to nothing towards the overall plot.
Which is a shame.
Because there are numerous routes the anime staff could have taken this idea, that would have elevated this anime into something worth remembering. Perhaps, for example, they could have used the technology to profit from unnecessary conflicts and war, propagating political tensions and the fears of an overreaching quasi-government (this was sort of hinted at, but never really explored with any specific detail). Boxing would have still been the main focus, but underneath, you would have an interesting perspective about the dangers of proliferating technology. Instead, what we are left with, is a brother and sister competing for control over their father’s legacy. Then, much to the chagrin of the viewer, Yuuri decides to expel his integrated “gear” for the final match, making the entire concept an irrelevant element in a story that — desperately — needed vitality to successfully engage the viewer. As the saying goes: haste makes waste. The “gear” was the waste; therefore, invariably, the production must have been made in haste.
The remainder of the story is your ordinary sports anime framework, by which I mean: a tournament. Somewhat unavoidable, given the format of the show, but do we really need to see Joe get knocked down for a ten count, only to rise to his feet at the count of nine, in every single fight? Watch boxing clips on YouTube and you will see for yourself that this sort of thing rarely happens.
Joe, as they refer to him in the series, is reminiscent of a stray dog: he’s tough, gritty, aggressive, and has nothing to lose. Another characteristic of stray dogs is fear, an emotion that is briefly touched upon in Joe’s first fight (his first fight in the tournament, that is), but is never revisited later in the series. I would have liked to see this affliction be a recurring issue for Joe, a malignant hindrance that would have required significant mental effort to overcome his anxieties, potentially derailing his short-term goal of reaching Megalonia. Unfortunately, the series allows Joe to conquer this obstacle relatively early, diminishing much of the intrigue in his plight towards the top. In this sense, the story quickly dissolves from being an in depth character drama, and into a simple revenge story. The reflection of emulating the original “Joe” proved too arduous for “Megalo-Joe” to achieve, disappointing fans of the original series who were looking for a show that retained its predecessor’s desirable traits.
Gansaku Nanbu, Joe’s manager, is your prototypical boxing coach: tough exterior, but has a sense of honor and virtue. His actions are fairly predictable, and while they attempt to portray him as an indifferent character, we all know he will stand in Joe’s corner, no matter the circumstances; thus, nullifying the astonishment of his evident, false heel turn(s).
Nanbu’s previous protege, Tatsumi Aragaki, is the “genuine article” of the entire series. A man who was robbed of his legs and half of his face during a war, Aragaki struggles to find a reason to press forward in his “meaningless” existence. Much like the duality of his disfigured face, Aragaki leads a conflicted life, wanting to exact revenge on his coach through Joe, but also desiring a peaceful resolution that will alleviate some of his psychological woes. The depiction of this character was spot on, creating a connection with the viewer in a palpable way. The emotions that flew from Aragaki highlighted the fragile nature of all humans, reminding the viewer that one’s own mind, can be the greatest opponent of all.
I won’t engage in talking about the other character’s of the show, as the vast majority were dearth of any real personality; however, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Glen Burroughs coming out in a monster truck. I mean, what was that? We already know he’s a boisterous American, but they really tried to hammer that point home. Perhaps they watched some old clips of Stone Cold Steve Austin driving on his ATV to the ring, but just missed the point that the WWE was a contrived entertainment event, and not a real sporting competition.
The boxing matches were, for the most part, uninspiring, and as the tournament progressed to its later stages, it became onerous for the viewer to tune in to the next episode. Real life boxing is tedious enough (just look at the declining viewership numbers), but watching it in an anime format is all the more dreary when you consider the absurdity of the “gear” itself. There were a few plot twists thrown in here and there, but nothing that made the viewer second-guess the outcome of the series as a whole. Perhaps watching Ping Pong the Animation and Ashita no Joe has spoiled my standards for what to expect from future sports anime, yet, in the end, being judged by your peers is the only unbiased way of determining your place on the hierarchy of the sports anime genre. And while this may seem blasphemous to some of you, I believe the first two seasons of Haikyuu!! capture character emotions with more veracity than Megalo Box. One of the few times a Shounen anime did something better than a Seinen anime. Not the legacy Megalo Box was attempting to solidify with its sights set on attaining the previous glory of its predecessor.
Edit: After two/three months of not watching anime, I finally got around to finish this masterpiece, and I still stay behind my 9 for this anime. I only changed one small bit in my review: I notched up the story from a 8 to a 9 for its great ending (well, at least in my opinion).
I am a sucker for Moe/Slice of Life/Romance/Comedy type of anime, but once in awhile I like to tip my toes outside of that safe area. It introduced me to some great anime like Made In Abyss and not so great anime (*cough cough* Citrus *cough cough*). I tipped my
toes outside of my safe area again with Megalo Box and Megalo Box is a great one… actually not just great, an amazing one! Well, put on your boxing gloves and start your engines, this is my review of Megalo Box.
It's the typical underdog story, but executed well. Junk Dog is a really good boxer who does rigged fights for a living. When Yuri steps in the ring and kicks his ass Junk Dog wants to rematch Yuri. Yuri says he can fight him again in Megalonia, a boxing tournament. So Junk Dog joins Megalonia to fight his way up to Yuri for a rematch. The plot is pretty predictable, but who doesn't love a good underdog story?
I adore the animation. It's incredibly atmospheric. The dark colors, the fallout like environnement and the low-but-actually-not-low quality. Some may complain about the blurry resolution, but it actually adds more to the atmosphere! This anime makes me feel nostalgic for something I never had nostalgia for. And the action scenes look incredible with some of the best fights this year already. Of all the anime I have watched this season and last season, this anime has the most impressive animation out of all of them.
Christ on skateboard to Walmart, the soundtrack is amazing. The ED is reason why I started to watch this anime. The music in the actions scenes are great, the ED is incredible and that fucking tune in episode 2 is also incredible. The only song I don't like is the OP, which sadly knocks the score down a point. But for the rest it is amazing!
A easy gap that a lot of MC's fall into is that they are boring. ''ooh look how so awkward and relatable they are''. Junk Dog on the other hand is probably one of the best MC's I have seen since Konosuba. You only have to look at his smirk. His smirk has more personality than the entirety of the MC's from most anime. A side character that I also really like is Nanbu Gansaku. He is a pretty knowledgeable coach who looks like he everyday gets home at 4AM. You also have the kids and for kids they are pretty likeable and not much annoying fucks. Overall a pretty enjoyable cast.
There is not much to say about it: I had a ton of fun watching this.
This anime is amazing. Oh yeah, this anime is a 50th anniversary project of Ashita no Joe, but you don't need any information of Ashita no Joe to enjoy Megalo Box. That's all what I wanted to say. Get your ass off this site and begin watching this series!
Megalo Box is an anime adaptation of the Nintendo Switch game 'Arms'. Not really, but it could as well be since both are about tool-assisted nu-boxing.
First thing I have to mention is that I don't like this series very much unlike the 7 billion other people who are watching it. My favorite anime genre has been Sports since 2012, but this series is much closer to the Game genre. It mainly reminds me of 'Robotics:Notes', you know the 'Steins:Gate' alternative robots battle anime no one likes, and represents various things that I do not appreciate.
I have several problems with this series. These
1) The way the boxing is presented. It's almost as if there is nothing else in the universe outside the actual Megalo Box. From its settings, it is like Mad Max with robot boxing. Cold and deserted world where there is only one thing in existence that everyone loves. This would be kinda cool if that one thing was some badass thing like shark-riding, or arm wrestling, or UNO with tea parties. I find it incredibly hard to believe that at least 96% of the population doesn't find tool-assisted boxing to be dorky as hell.
2) The fights. What is this level of dullness even? Let me block until I die or alternatively one-hit K.O you. Ever seen the movie 'Real Steel' starred by Hugh Jackman? If you are watching Megalo Box, you are basically watching Real Steel. Later on, these fights start to remind less and less boxing and look like Beyblade instead except now people wear them instead of shooting them.
3) The atmosphere. There is none. It's just about our main character acting tough like he matters. The main focus is on rigging the fights, and gambling. Mainly reminding me of Daredevil's past story from the movie Daredevil (2003). Apparently the real story only begins after this phase. Great. Basically filler-content in one-cour show. No matter how I look at the show, the first 2 episodes seem to serve little to no purpose whatsoever.
4) The characters. Since this show is so heavily about Megalo Box, it even forgot to give past story or even a current story for the main character. It's almost as if our main character was discovered from nothing. How am I supposed to care about anything that is happening when the things I know about our maing character are a) he loves motorbikes b) he is terrible at driving them. "Wooo! Go for it. I am totally rooting for you mr. bikes!"
There are some things that I liked too, but these are few. The OST has some nice tracks in it. That motorcycle scene in episode 3 was definitely a badass one. "A man walks into a bar." Made me lol. I'd also like to praise the retro art but I simply can't. Japan is constantly getting blu-ray releases for 70's and 80's classic anime. Those who have seen any of them know that there is nothing sharper than old anime. So what did Megalo Box team decide to do? Add filthers that make the video seem partially pixelated, out of focus and colors look washed out. This is the furthest from retro.
When it comes to Ashita no Joe, I didn't like Joe's character much outside pig surffing (heh, obscure reference), he was a real brick, but at least he was a character who had an actual life and who went thru enormous amounts of development, becoming a decent human being during the run. There is no chance of this happening in Megalo Box without having at least 3-cours. If this is how we're tributing Ashita no Joe, then I would much rather take 4th season of Hajime no Ippo instead of some marketing bait which relies on western appeal.
*Please note that this is just my honest opinion. Many love the show and that's cool too.*
There’s an infamous quote in the wrestling community that was said by the legendary Ric Flair. “To be the man, you gotta beat the man!” While Megalo Box is not wrestling, there’s definitely an iconic meaning that can be applied here. As I was watching Megalo Box, it reminded me the excitement of fighting. A few years ago when Hajime no Ippo returned on television, it became a glorious showstopper that lived up to all expectations. For Megalo Box, this was like a feeling of deja vu.
The premise of the series involves Junk Dog, an underground Megalo Boxer. He participates in a popular sport in
their world known as Megalo Boxing. What is Megalo Boxing? It’s basically a sport that involves boxers fighting with metal gears. Think of it as boxing but with more lethal and brutal consequences. Junk Dog takes on the moniker name “Joe” so he can participate in the Megalonia tournament. Throughout the series, we see his life journey as both a Megalo Boxer and person.
On my first viewing, Megalo Box made an intimidating and fascinating impression on me. I haven’t seen the original Ashita no Joe series before so coming into this anime fresh felt intimidating at first. On the other hand, I’m also fascinated by the larger than life ideas of the show. The first two episodes immediately had me glued to my seat as we witness Junk Dog showing his fighting skills as a Megalo Boxer. It didn’t take long to realize that the show portrays him as an underdog. The experience that Joe gains is invaluable and also allows him to realize his potential. I’m also a sucker for the “David vs Goliath” trope as the idea can be applied in any sport. For Megalo Box, the stakes are raised higher because of how dangerous it is. Every fight feels as if Joe is putting his life on the life against opponents. And believe me, the characters he comes across with are no pushovers. Take Yuuri as an example. He is a Megalo Boxing champion and is considered one of the top fighters in the world. In a classic ‘David vs Goalith’ style fight, he humiliates Junk Dog in his match. The fight inspires Junk Joe to climb up the ranks and make a name for himself. It planted the seeds for Junk Dog to not only improve but also show why he deserves to be a Megalo Boxer. Junk Dog later takes on the ring name “Gearless Joe” because of his own choice to fight without gears in the ring.
Now I have to be honest here and wonder what makes a good boxing story. Is it about the development of character in and out of the ring? Does it also involve a fighter going beyond than just a fictional character? Or maybe it’s a story that always keeps up coming back for more. Perhaps it’s how much the story draws lines between fiction and reality. Personally, I think Megalo Box has a bit of every one of those aspects. Junk Dog goes against his manager Nanbu to throw a fight and takes control of his own destiny. This is a contrast to Yuuri who often follows the command of Yukiko, the head of the Shirato Group who oversees the Megalonia tournament. There’s a good contrasting comparison between these two characters as it feels like they are living in two different worlds. It also impressed me on how much Junk Dog is willing to go to prove himself. This is shown later in the series when he fights Aragaki, with both physical and emotional stakes. It escalated to the point where both fighters eventually took on an all-brawl approach to see who the last man standing. In perhaps one of the most important fights of Junk Joe’s life, he proves himself as a warrior.
For a sports show, there’s no doubt psychology is also involved in the ring. The gimmicks, trash talk, and press conferences hypes up match-ups between opponents. A big selling factor also involves the emotional quality of the show. I can’t help but root for Junk Dog early on in the series. He’s the underdog and for him to beat certain opponents is relatable. It sends across the message that anyone can do anything they set their mind into. While this seems like a cheesy gimmick for the show, it’s very real and the buildup for some of Joe’s matches is executed flawlessly. On the other hand, Megalo Box does suffer a bit on the drama side if we look beyond the ring. Some of the subplot involving Yukiko clashing with the board of directors makes a less memorable impact to connect the series together. The family feud between Yukiko and Mikio also feels like it doesn’t belong in a show like this. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good drama from time to time but the way their plot is carried out just doesn't sell well. On the other hand, the rivalries between the fighters is what got me really invested into the story. Junk Dog/Yuuri, Junk Dog/Mikio, and Mikio/Yuuri are all rivalries that stays committed to selling this show. What I’m also more invested in is how far Joe goes out to prove himself. He is very committed to his goal even if it means putting his own life on the line and taking jaw dropping risks. The guy knows what he wants to accomplish in life and to me, that’s an attitude you need to succeed.
Produced by TMS Entertainment, it’s may take a while for viewers to get used to the animation style. The characters looks like they are hand drawn and creates a sensation of the 1990s. The characters are rough looking especially for our main protagonist, Junk Dog. There’s no doubt the anime was aiming make the characters look as badass as possible. The addition of the gears these fighters wear adds more aesthetics to raise the stakes. However, the biggest selling point of the anime’s technical quality is the actual fighting. It really isn’t hard to spot how intense the action is once the fight gets into a momentum. Every punch feels impactful and camera angles captures the realism of the pain. It’s never camera shy to show blood on screen and how fighters react to their win or losses. Every fight can get viewers’ heart throbbing. The emotional impact can also be felt with the protrayal of human expressions. In terms of boxing, it also delivers its quality action such as uppercuts, corkscrew punches, jabbing, overhands, etc. Additionally, it’s worth noting how well the show’s dystopia setting is portrayed without overemphasizing element of science fiction. Sure, the series place in a futuristic environment but also shows the reality of cruelness such as poverty. If the creators were aiming for making this anime feel real, they sure got their job done.
I’m not too familiar with Katsuhiko Manabe but the music talent he brings into this anime is undeniably stylish. The fighting music amplifies the hip-pop style of the OST to bring in a lot of attitude into the series. The soundtrack is mesmerizing that always keeps its momentum from the minute the first beat hits. In the meantime, I’m also impressed by the voices of the character cast especially our protagonist Junk Dog. His personality matches with his voice that almost sounds like a fierce dog when fighting in the ring. The masculinity of all the fighters is believable because of the talented voice cast. Both the OP and ED theme songs also reflects a bit of the 1990s mood that may feel nostalgic.
Megalo Box definitely turned out to be a dark horse that I’m glad I gave a chance this year. What started out as a fight turned into an emotional story that follows the heart of an underdog. I’m in awe of how much I became invested into Joe’s character before even realizing his potential. While this anime may not be suitable for everyone, it’s still an anime that can keep just about anyone at their seat. Here is a series that made a name for itself in just 13 phenomenal episodes.
I have never been interested in the sport of boxing. I didn't have anything against it, but, back then, the chance of me watching an actual match or something related to the sport itself would be as big as the understanding of the Internet of a 90-year-old grandpa. However, everything changed after I had watched Hajime no Ippo, as not only I truly enjoyed it to the fullest, but it also sparked an odd interest in the previously avoided sport. Naturally, when I noticed that in the Spring of 2018, there's going to be an anime centred around the said sport called Megalo Box, I
got hyped, set my expectations pretty high and well, they were met to a fair degree.
From a narrative point of view, this show is a pretty average, bog standard story about an underdog boxer. You've got your protagonist, accurately named Joe (Junk Dog), climbing the leaderboards in order to beat the champion, with the help of his coach and support from his friends and fans alike. However, this is where the similarities to other classic underdog stories end. In the subtlely built dystopian world, they inhabit, there are power-enhancing mechanical arms called Gears. They serve both as a plot element everything revolves around and as a metaphor for the theme of "fake boxing". They are the technology that revolutionalised the modern concept of said sports discipline. If you wanted to be a boxer yourself, you had to buy an expensive Gear, because otherwise, when it comes to power and durability, you wouldn't stand a chance in the ring. It's an effective system from both economical and "spectator's" point of view. Who wouldn't like to see a brawl between 2 men with robot-like machinery on their shoulders? No one, therefore a system like that can have a place in the society and be a near perfect business, yet, with such an advancement came the loss of down-to-earth, genuine boxing, of which matches are decided by skill and effort put into improving it rather than one's equipment. The man using nothing but a pure talent that will shatter the concept of "fake boxing" is Joe himself. After being defeated by Yuuri, he decides to end his life filled with throwing matches in an underground ring and without any sort of Gear, he commences his journey to Megalonia, to encounter what a real (Megalo)boxing is, and as he pushes forward, he continues to prove that he's the genuine article; the real deal. Well, this is all Megalo Box is sadly about; it's a near perfect example of themes over attention to seemingly trivial yet crucial details. Even though I love such an uncomplicated yet ingenious concept when it comes down to matches and pacing, they are quite a rocky road. As the latter one is more or less solid throughout the story, the core of a boxing show, the matches themselves, more often than not, lack genuine weight, which may not reduce the viewer's enjoyment per se, yet they don't leave much of an impact after the dust settles. Such a situation would never take place if...
One of the weakest aspects of Megalo Box didn't happen to be its characters. Don't get me wrong, they have amazing personalities and designs, but I've never felt invested in even one of them. Joe is the prime example of that. Throughout the show's duration, we learn little to none about his past, his origins or how he met his future coach. Why is he such a skilled fighter? Is he a natural born boxer or maybe he acquired such a level of talent because of the harsh environment? We don't know that, in fact, we know nothing. Yes, there's one flashback when we see the exact moment Joe and Nanbu first spoke to each other, but what about it? Well, besides discovering that he has siblings, we get nothing from it. And this lack of attention placed on creating the backstory made Joe, even though he has both the look and characteristics of a total badass of the 90s, which I wholeheartedly treasure and respect, into a character I can root for, but at the same time, am apathetic towards. Nanbu and Sachio, on the other hand, served their roles quite well and grew with show's progression. Both of these personages received something that our main protagonist could only dream of: proper character arcs. In case of Nanbu, most of the process of developing and humanising his persona happened both at and before the match between his previous pupil and Joe. We could see him in his now non-existing gym, work as a coach of Aragaki, a wonderfully introduced supporting character, and how big of a burden he carries, as he let his boxer down. And by the end of the journey, he morphed from a selfish scorpion that used others to save himself into a selfless man who cared about his comrades. Sachio is kind of a mixed bag for me. In the beginning, he was a pretty pesky brat, but as we saw his troubled past, we started to understand him and the reason why he thought of Joe the way he did. Other supporting characters are solid for the most part, well, besides Yuuri, who's only character trait for 11 episodes was serving Shirato family and nothing else.
Production value-wise, this anime is an absolute masterwork. Both visually and aurally, this show oozes with such a heck ton of style and testosterone that I was left speechless many times. These retro-stylized aesthetics fit the brutal and harsh plot, shape the dystopian cities and slum surroundings and create an atmospheric tone to near perfection. One might say that the downsampling its footage was a grievous mistake, but to that, I must say no, even though I would like to see those gorgeous backgrounds in high detail. Such a treatment gave the show it's unique unpolished and dirty feel and an unmatched personality, no other modern anime could offer. Every single track you can hear in the show is indescribably brilliant and blood pumping. I swear to God, my blood pressure skyrocketed into heaven's whenever one of these, especially Megalo Box theme and Bangaichi theme, made an appearance. Free goosebumps!
So, to say that I merely enjoyed this series would be a blasphemy, goddamnit, I fricking adore it. There's nothing more satisfying and entertaining than a craft with visible effort put in, that is so enjoyable to watch, that you are, quite literally, waiting with an ominous anticipation every single week to see the next episode and there wasn't a single point where I felt bored or thought that the action I was witnessing on my screen was prolonged. Who's at fault? I guess that the audiovisual's played the most significant role in making me feel the way I felt, and hey, that's not surprising when we take into consideration how amazing they are.
While it certainly has its flaws, which can sometimes be a humongous eyesore, Megalo Box is one of the most exciting, fresh and manliest work of the Spring season, and heck, it doesn't matter if you are a fan of the sport, you will get pumped and hyped for every single bit of action out there. Full of raw, dirty and unrefined style, this retro like experience is, truly, the real deal.
I thought I'd throw in my two bits of info. Megalo Box is set in kind of this steampunk futuristic type setting where boxing apparently is still big...of all things. We've got our run of the mill down-and-out character who just wants to have a good fight. You might be thinking "Boxing? Eh, not really my thing." To be honest, boxing isn't really my thing either. BUT, the character writing in this story is very well done. The animation is well done. Voice acting, at least right now, is believable. You might stray away from it because of how the art looks but don't let
that drive you away, that hand drawn stuff is done on purpose. It feels odd to say this but it makes it look grittier. Instead of that really polished clean stuff when they combine the 2-d with 3-d and everyone has these perfect faces, nah, this is the good stuff. The fights are some of the best animated sequences I've seen in a long time. They don't do that thing where someone throws a punch and it shows a still frame while the camera shakes to simulate the force of the punch, nope, its all animated and it looks great. The dialogue itself is not scholarly by any stretch of the imagination, but the decisions these guys make seem...real. They get sad, angry, happy, by regular stuff. I think when you just have an anime about some guys or girls that are just regular people it makes it a little better. I think for what they are trying to do can be fit into 12 episodes, but this is an anime that I wished was longer, and I haven't thought that in a long time.
In spite of all the hype that Megalo Box created from it’s first few episodes, it became one of the biggest disappoints of the season. At first, it presents a familiar inspirational sports story with a vague setting to get you interested in the well-directed boxing matches. But by the end, the writing is still incredibly shallow. Megalo Box is just a carbon copy of the generic underdog boxing story, but slightly worse than the classics it desperately tries to imitate.
Aside from the addition of Gear, exoskeletons to enhance the boxers fighting, Megalo Box tells the very standard tale of a misfortunate boxer Junk Dog.
He’s wasting his talent away throwing matches for cash, a diamond in the rough who thinks he has no chance at making it big. He had long since given up his dream to become the champion of the boxing world Megalonia because he lacks the documentation to enter the tournament. When he happens to cross paths with Yuri, the current Megalo Box champion, they enter a heated rivalry that makes him feel enough passion for boxing. Of course, in their first fight, he’s crushed. But now he has to climb his way to the top of Megalonia and prove himself worthy of a rematch. Throughout his journey through the ranks, he faces many foes and learns to trust in himself and others… you can guess how the rest goes even if you haven’t seen it.
It’s an underdog story of the most generic mold, and it plays out exactly as you expect. Never was I surprised by any development, whether a twist in character or an outcome of the many boxing matches. Any nuances the show has are only superficial and do nothing to elevate the conventional plot structure. It seems like the inclusion of the exoskeletons all the boxers wear and other sci-fi elements were not to strengthen the story, it’s more just for the sake of making things look cool. The only nuance the Gear adds is the fact that it represents a system that the protagonist defies by removing. Sure this makes him seem like a badass for fighting against mechanically power fighters and challenging the world’s standards for the sport, but we already knew what the outcome of his fights would be anyways. Not to mention the gear doesn’t make much sense. It’s sci-fi without the science.
There’s an argument to be made that predictability is not an inherently bad thing and sometimes beneficial in a story that sets out to emulate the classics. Being a reboot of the classic Ashita no Joe (which I haven’t seen) it is expected to share some similarities to the older boxing stories. However, Megalo Box does not add to the formula previously established, it simply uses it to present a series with passable production values but writing that does nothing to surprise. It takes more than just imitating the best to become great, but it could help to be at least on the same level of quality of what you’re trying to imitate. That’s what Megalo Box is, desperate to be seen as one of the classics that it forgets to create an experience that can stand on its own merits.
A muddy, washed out color palette covers the whole series, suited to the dystopian setting. If it was their intention to make the show look like a classic anime similar to Cowboy Bebop, they failed, deliberately downgrading the resolution only made the show seem fuzzier and less refined. A grimy washed out color palette covers the whole series, with a low resolution making lines fuzzier. There’s no respite, even the supposedly advanced sci-fi city is unremarkable. Megalo Box doesn’t get really violent until later in it’s run, but even then its lacking the bite a gritty boxing series should have. The lines should be sharper, eye-catching, but instead, the art is soft and gray; its tiresome style would fit a show with less tension like a slice of life.
I spent more time trying to engage with Megalo Box rather than being engaged because the action it so heavily emphasized is nothing special. Even the fighting typically only consists of the basic punches and blocks despite the sci-fi tacked on elements. The animation isn’t fluid enough for them to have the impact of the real thing, and they’re not exaggerated enough to stand up against current shounen. For many of the fights Joe is typically beaten up and on the brink of defeat fight, struggling through most of the fight, only to turn it around at the last second with a single punch. This formula for the fights is repeated over and over until they lose any spark of excitement seen in the first episodes. Megalo Box quickly becomes predictable and frankly, boring, which is a death sentence for a show literally about sci-fi exoskeleton boxing.
I get that a lot of the stakes in boxing stories comes from what’s happening with the characters involved. But the people Joe fights are typically one-dimensional ciphers that are seen once and rarely again. Even the main character himself, Junk Dog (eventually Joe), has very little to him. He’s your typical underdog who’s lost confidence in himself because the world denied it to him, but gradually gains it back in combat. At many points, the series does a good job of cluing you into how he’s reacting to the fights with close-ups and the exhilarating music. Whenever he’s out of a fight it’s typically very clear what’s going on in his head because the situation he’s in is already one you can recognize.
I wish the side characters could have made up for what Joe lacked, but they’re equally shallow with predictable arcs. Joe’s manager Nanbu frustratingly jumps back and forth in progression, which to the show’s credit, is suited to his emotionally damaged character. He’s molded by the fixed boxing system to divide himself from the fighters he trains; struggling put faith in Joe’s journey to Megalonia because he has seen how much power those in control have. Then there’s Sachio, the token little kid with big dreams who follows Joe around ever since he saved him and his group of friends from the slums. His friends can be combined into one character because they offer an equal amount of development: none at all. Simply being there to cheer Joe on during matches is the extent of their impact on the show. They’re not terrible as characters, they fit in the setting, have motivations and arcs, but they’re so archetypal I couldn’t muster up a reason to care for either of them. With exception of Yuri, the main rival who gets no motivation to fight other than 'he likes to fight.' Watching him fight didn't offer any excitement because I never knew anything about him. Even his manager Yukiko had nothing to her other than inserting evilness into the plot; she's selling Gear to the military? There was so much potential for commentary, but the show drops her side plot entirely by the second half; much like the rest of its compelling themes, Megalo Box simply uses them as window dressing to appear intelligent without bothering to actually develop them.
Aside from the arena boxing, the rest of the time is spent in the wasteland setting. There isn’t much else occurring in Megalo Box’s world other than the boxing, which is why everyone gets so excited over Joe entering Megalonia despite being from the slums. Frankly, the amount of people who love the sport feels a little hamfisted, the setting is never explained enough for it to be believable. There’s no MadMax style apocalypse that has left everyone bloodthirsty scavengers, it’s just the sandy slums and the big city which controls the sport. I wish the series had at least explored more of the implications about Joe not being a citizen and therefore not being allowed to join the tournament; it’s an interesting theme considering the current state of immigration in Japan is not good. Sadly, expecting Megalo Box to add modern nuance was too much and that theme is resolved entirely by him simply receiving a citizenship after fighting a few times. There’s a bit of fanfare on the plot development, but like most conflicts in the show it is easily resolved and predictable.
Attempting to watch Megalo Box the way it wants you to, as a classic, is such a struggle. You can’t love it without constantly making concessions, the visuals are deliberately of mediocre quality, the story is deliberately very cliched, the characters are deliberately barebones. Even if it just wanted to be an enjoyable homage to the classics, drawing such close inspiration from them will only lead to the audience unconsciously comparing it and being inevitably disappointed at how this new series just does not do enough to be better.
If there was one anime that I would love to get a remake it would be Ashita no Joe. I really series especially the manga for its great boxing matches, amazing rivalry, and wonderful and realistic character development. The series also had great darker portrayal of boxing as sport where not all matches will not end pretty as boxers can potentially get injured to a point where they get they lives destroyed. Thanks to these elements that the show offers as well being a great realistic coming of age + underdog story Ashita no Joe is currently my favourite sports anime/manga series period even
beating the likes of Haikyuu and Chihayafuru even thought I adored them but personally they don’t compete the absolute greatness that is Ashita no Joe in my opinion. So when I heard the Ashita no Joe 50th project I was beyond hype because I thought my wish had came true where anime fans from this generation can finally experience the dark beauty that is Ashita no Joe in a modernize fashion. However instead of getting a Ashita no Joe remake we got Megalo Box a anime that was mean to celebrate Ashita no Joe 50th anniversary.
As a fan of Ashita no Joe franchise I was really excited for it as it thought it will be great tribute to Ashita no Joe as well being its own thing and I first I liked it a lot. However as a I watch more episodes the show slowly started to fall apart to a point where all of my excitement of the show was replaced by boredom and disappointment.
So what the hell went wrong with this show?
You’re going to find out now. Hello everyone this is Shawn aka KurataLordStage and welcome to my review of Megalo Box and with that further ado let’s started.
The story follows Junk Dog who is great at boxing who fights in underground illegal rings in fights that have a fixed result where his coach Gansaku Nanbu directs him on when to lose a fight. One evening he almost crashes his motorcycle into Yukiko Shirato, who is the head of the wealthy Shirato Group which oversees the Megalonia tournament; Junk Dog picks a fight with her bodyguard Yūri who is also the top ranked Megalo Boxer. Yukiko stops the fight but Yūri seeks out Junk Dog and meets him in the underground ring where he easily beats the less-experienced fighter and tells him to fight him again in Megalonia, which Junk Dog would need a place at the top of the official Megalo Box rankings to qualify for, as well as a proper citizenship ID to enter the rankings in the first place. After Nanbu persuades the mob boss Fujimaki to forge Junk Dog an ID under the name Joe, the two are given 3 months to achieve their goal of working their way to the top of the Megalonia tournament rankings in order for Joe to have his re-match against Yuri.
Am just going to say right now the story is only good if you never seen a underdog story in your life because this is by far the most typical underdog character driven story I have ever seen.
The first big mistake that this show it’s that is one of those climbing to the top to fight against the person who kicked your ass type of plot where the only reason why set character is even fighting is just to have re-match against the person who beat.
This wouldn’t have been so much of a problem if Joe actually grow as a character but doesn’t because by episode 11 he’s still that same bland fighter from episode 11. Yes I will admit he does change slightly in the final two episodes but it was far too late because he’s character change just felt like a afterthought thanks to the show wasting it’s time on dragged out subplots which while they were interesting it overstayed it’s welcome.
Another issue that I have with Megalo Box were the subplots. Don’t me wrong they were pretty good but the problem is almost every single subplot in the show seem to overshadow Joe’s progression meaning that side characters in this show were more fleshed out than Joe himself where he barely gets a spotlight outside of fighting.
This doesn’t induce the other things such as pacing, and writing which were lacklustre at best
It also doesn’t help that the show is predictable as hell where every single fight minus the plot convenience ones like the first Yuri fight start and end in the same way.
This is how a typical Megalo Box fight is structure.
1. Joe set up for fight
2. Joe practices
3. Joe goes to fight
4. Joe gets his ass handed to him for 99% of the fight
5. Joe wins with 1 punch.
See the problem here. I usually don’t mind shows that have a predictable nature but I feel like Megalo Box took it a next level where once you see the first two boxing matches not counting the Yuri fight you can very easily notice a nasty pattern for each fight and because of that the fights sadly have become boring and tedious to watch. I know this is a character driven show where the sport itself is not main focus but could you make the fight more tension? By the end of the third fight I got sick and tired of watching Joe’s matches because he will only win by asspulling with that lucky punch of he’s
The biggest issue with this show is that it feels like a soul less cash grab to a beloved series. What I mean by this is that it has all the elements of Ashita no Joe but it’s too afraid to become its own thing.
Yes the setting is different and some of the plot elements but other than that you only just tone down version to arguably the best sports manga/anime ever made.
Overall the story is pretty bad and uninspiring.
When it comes to the characters in Megalo Box I thought they were all underwhelming at best with two expectations.
Gearless Joe is such a terrible protagonist. We the audience barely know anything about Joe from his past to how he became the person that he is in Episode 1. His motivation is paper fin as he only wants to the enter the Megalo Box tournament for a rematch against Yuri again in a boxing match. Not for pride or carrier reasons mind you just for a silly re-match a guy who beat you in the ring. The worst thing about him is he’s bland personality and lack of actual character development because as from episode 11 he is still the bland boring character that we seen from episode 1 where he still only wants’ to have a rematch against Yuri. Maybe I was spoiled because I seen Ashita no Joe and Hajime no Ippo first but in all seriousness Joe is a terrible protagonist who barely has any depth at all.
On the other hand Nanbu is a pretty good character in his own right. Compare to the blandless Joe Nanbu is actually a charming and relatable character that is a great voice of reason for Joe. Also he has a well told back-story that actually explains in detail why he became the person that he is from episode 1 as a grumpy person. Easily the best character in the show in terms of character development
Sachio is by far my favourite character because not only he is a another great voice of reason for Joe he’s a very fun and likable character who get’s well developed as the series goes on. Not to mention he’s more interesting subplot then Joe’s paper fin rise to the top to beat set guy
The rest of the characters inducing the shitty rival Rishiki clone Yuri are all one note and forgetful.
Overall apart from Sachio and Nanbu the characters in Megalo Box were very disappointing at best.
Visually Megalo Box is good and has that gritty feel that I liked.
The art style reminds me off Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop with its more westernise and gritty look from the background scenery, some of the characters to even the use of gritty colour pallets.
As for the animation itself this is where the show falls apart again.
Am not talking the animation where they not fighting in ring because that’s pretty good overall. Am talking about the boxing matches themselves which were all subpar and boring. It was already bad enough that Joe easily wins his fights thanks to his asspulling lucky punch but almost every single fight in the show is lifeless and lacks any real tension. Am not asking that Megalo Box show relay on style over substance but if the show can’t story and character elements right you just end up being one hell of a boring and lifeless show.
Thankfully the soundtrack is easily the best part about the series.
The soundtrack is great and well directed. It’s really fits with the gritty of the series and it really makes the show’s atmosphere more appealing to the eyes.
The opening theme is decent itself but it’s not that memorable.
The ending theme on the other hand is amazing that has a great 80s vibe to it
The Seiyuus did a pretty good job with the roles that they were given in this anime
Overall the soundtrack is great and memorable but honestly having a great soundtrack along will not suddenly make an anime good because saying Megalo Box is great because of the soundtrack a is like saying that Gundam Seed + Destiny is great because of the soundtrack. While the soundtrack for those shows are great it doesn’t have enough substance to back up its soundtrack
Disappointment is honestly the best way to describe Megalo Box as a whole. It was a anime that I wanted to love but constantly keep on disappointing me the more I watch it with its subpar plot, lacklustre fight choreography thanks to asspulls and mediocre overall characters. The only good things about this show are the music and the art-style.
At best this show is below average and at worse it’s a train-wreck that I dislike a lot.
Unless you’re very new to sports anime I recommend you to avoid this show and checking out Hajime no Ippo or better Ashita no Joe instead of this disappointing mess of a show.
The show may be just a celebration of Joe legacy but it doesn’t excuse the subpar quality of this series.
Final Score 4/10
So what I'm about to say is controversial and make people angry, but Megalo Box is a boring mediocre anime and is such.
Arc 1: Story;5
It's simple and not really to revolutionary. It's about our MC trying to prove he's a good boxer and wants to participate in Megalo tournament to step in someones ring. And to add insult to injury the execution isn't really great. The decisions in anime are admittedly retarded and how can anyone call this a future great is beyond me. Compared to HnI or AnJ it really pales a lot in what it's supposed to do. Really not much
Arc 2: Art and Sound; 6
The animation is really weird and sometimes outright ugly. Whoever directed this thought like an Instagram thot and told to put a ton of filters on the shows. The art would be better as it really can show, but the filters are ruining it. Honestly for being an anniversary project, It really looks ugly and flat. Heck the fight scenes highlight this problem as the way they fight is slow and stiff. The sound doesn't also have much as you can barely notice it unless they blare rap and an ost at a time.
Arc 3: Characters; 4
How can you write the dumbest characters in an anniversary? Joe is an alright character and Nanbu is pretty on point with both having dumb moments. Now the other characters are the epitome of fucking cancer and forgettable characters. Yuri is literally just a dog of a rich girl and you really can't even have a connection with him at all. Fujimaki is the traditional gangster and Yukiko is the generic rich girl. Now Sachio is fucking dumb. Literally the definition of wow that's just lazy. He literally knows how gears work with no explanation and is now a second for Joe. Guys this has to be the laziest writing for a show that is rated highly and people are defending the kid too. Stop and address this show has problems with the characters instead.
Arc 4: Enjoyment and overall; 4.5
This is a mediocre show that has been overblown and I just can't stand how people are enjoying this show. It's boring but overblown. For a AnJ anniversary, this is probably the worst anime for that. Once this show is done I will do a full on review of this show and what it does wrong and why it's mediocre in detail rather than a preview. I doubt this will get better, but if it can fix the issues I found with the show then maybe I my opinion will change.
Recommendations is AnJ and HnI as they both are way better in every aspect of what this show can't do.
...I gave it a few days to think about. I cannot give Megalo Box any score higher than a 4. I really wanted to enjoy Megalo Box. While I initially did, the excitement I had for the series steadily died out with each passing week. The characters got less interesting, the fights got less intense, and it just became so predictable and lackluster.
Let’s start with the characters. We have Joe, the main character and focus. For some reason, he’s basically made of adamantium so he can take hundreds of blows, get his ass knocked to the ground, but will always magically get right
back up as if it never happened. Meanwhile, his opponents almost always get one hit by Joe’s well placed punch to go down instantly. Joe wants nothing but to fight and win. Every fight, he’s essentially just a punching bag until he gets that one good punch. Joe makes all of these fights so damn predictable and boring to see. It was like watching these boxers punch a brick wall until they got too tired. They weren’t intense. They weren’t interesting. Joe wasn’t interesting.
Nanbu was the typical boxing coach. Harsh on the outside, cares a little on the inside, used to be a really good coach but is now washed up. He was probably the only thing worth remembering from the anime. He had some great development as the anime progressed.
Sachio brought nothing to the anime. His role was to scream Joe’s name constantly whenever Joe got knocked down. That’s basically all. There was a subplot with him and his parents at one point, but it really served no purpose whatsoever in terms of story or character development.
All the other boxers were kind of interesting to see. The ones from different countries actually spoke their original language which was really cool. However, none of them really differed in the ring. I know boxing can be very straightforward, but the anime really should’ve taken the liberty to focus on all the types of fighting styles of each boxer. That would’ve made them stand out more and perhaps even remember their damn names outside the central “antagonist” Yuri.
The story offered nothing of interest to me. The premise was promising at first, a normal boxer taking on these boxers with mechanical “gears” to deliver powerful blows, but as I talked about earlier, the fights all followed a similar pattern. Joe get demolished during the fight, gets knocked down, Sachio screams, Joe gets back up, hits the opponent in the face to win. Rinse and repeat. There was one fight earlier in the anime that went against this formula and I truly wish the anime made the other fights stand out more like that one. There were a few plot twists outside the boxing ring, but nothing major enough to last more than an episode before moving on to the next fight.
By now, everyone knows about the art style of Megalo Box. It’s a nice callback. At times however, you really wish it weren’t. The video quality really suffered at times in order to capture that feel of a 90’s anime. This will be the one thing people will recall about the anime a year down the line. It’ll be the thing people praise it for. It’s simply just a nice touch in my mind.
The soundtrack was the best thing about the anime. That alone was better than anything in the anime and deserves its own score. Sadly, the soundtrack alone can’t make the fights exciting or make the characters shine.
Overall, Megalo Box was disappointing. To me, it felt like wasted potential the farther I got into the series. Even the final battle in Episode 13 was disappointing. Megalo Box is an anime about dropping the ball. It sets up for some amazing fights and potential greatness just to drop the ball. And it does so over and over. It’ll pick up the ball, make the viewers excited about what it could possibly do with said ball, just to drop it onto the floor as it always has. After awhile, you just expect Megalo Box to drop the ball each time and it just becomes dull and forgettable.
But at least there was good music playing.
This is an outstanding anime. It feels nostalgic without feeling old, it feels gritty without feeling rusty, it feels grounded without feeling basic. Everything it sets out to do it does perfectly - and at that point it never forgets what it wants to be.
Story is a 9/10 so far because it gave itself enough time to give us setpieces, and made them easy to understand. We have clear motivations for all characters and we dont just have "good guy, bad guy". We have a clear goal for the whole series and the struggle is very apparent as well. It is told without hesitation, which
does in small occasions feel too hasty - but its still at a reasonable pace and fits to a specific time-dependent portion of the story too.
Theres nothing unnecessary in this story and everything thats there is there for good reason.
Art is a 10/10. Its stylized, well themed, beautiful to look at, and not even once does it feel janky. Animations aren't just beautiful though: Every kind of motion has weight and meaning behind it. This is what anime can be when looked beyond conventions.
Sound is a 10/10 as well. Everything sounds heavy, the fights have a really strong sound design. The music goes for a clearly specific feel, and while it might not be everyones taste, it serves a very specific purpose for the quite underground feel of our MC.
Which brings us to the 10/10 characters, which are, honestly, probably the highlight of the entire series. By themselves they might seem "bare bones" but they are clear personalities that are in stark contrast to each other. They have conflict, individual interests and interact in a very unpredictable way that makes them go beyond "good and bad guys" - we don't follow the MC because he is the good guy. We follow the MC because he sets out to be the guy.
I can only recommend this anime to everyone. Even though this is a boxing anime, don't expect something like Hajime no Ippo. In HnI, the fights have long build up, the fights are slow and each punch is shown to have real heavy hits. In Megalo Box, its not about the individual fights - albeit being gorgeous and incredibly choreographed. It's about the path to the top, and everything in this anime aids this single purpose. If you want incredibly deep boxing matchups with unique techniques that have to be "figured out" this might not be for you, but if you want a fighters spirit anime about a struggling stray dog, this is the perfect choice.
Megalo Box has very little to do with the art of fighting itself. There is no emphasis on technique. There is no weight training. There is no satisfying payout following the arduous process of a fighter desperately trying (and often, failing) to improve their skill. There is the bizzare inclusion of gear technology that grants fighters additional strength at cost of speed - a useless consequence with speed being paramount in combat. So how can an anime that revolves around fighting, but offers none of the impertinent detail of fighting, and is decidedly worse than its predecessors Hajime no Ippo and Ashita no Joe in
their depictions of fighting, be celebrated as one of the best releases of the year?
Megalo Box succeeds in three areas that usually manage to garner an overwhelmingly favorable response from the audience regardless of the surrounding flaws -
1) Appealing visual aesthetic. This is an attractive looking anime with well defined, distinct looking character designs and a realistic impoverished setting juxtaposed against the futuristic wealth of Megalonia
2) Epic soundtrack. A contender for best of the year, striking an impressive balance of relaxing and blood throttling beats
3) No nonsense lead character who has to fight his way to the top, seemingly against all the odds
A combination of the first two makes the anime feel atmospheric, immersing the viewer into the setting and creating a base level of entertainment from visuals and music alone. The impressive presentation makes it all the more disappointing that the fight animation is rigid and monotonous, more so resembling a match of rock em' sock em' robots than an actual high octane competition. This may even be an insult to rock em' sock em' where at the very least arms move rapidly. Slow motion is overused during fights as opposed to displaying the rapid fire jab strings and punch combinations that makes boxing so exhilarating to watch. The aforementioned lack of technique means scarce evasion tactics are used, eliminating arguably the most exciting aspect of fighting where an ill-timed whiff is met with a devastating punish. The fights in Megalo Box are rather forgettable, and at times even a chore to watch. You’d think this would be a death knell for an anime that is centered around hand to hand combat, but this is apparently less important than a pretty aesthetic, a downloadable soundtrack and a lead character that doesn't have bitchmade tendencies.
Despite the selling point of an underdog fighting his way the top against the odds, in truth Joe is disadvantaged as a "gearless" fighter when gears are generally proven to be useless anyway. If anything, he's being given a significant advantage in speed, an apparently natural proficiency in boxing, and somehow being able to match the power of geared opponents despite not having a gear himself and not being particularly muscular. This Joe is a far cry from the other, infinitely more engaging Yabuki Joe who had to overcome a gauntlet of mental and physical maladies to reach the height of the boxing world, and had a famously well orchestrated character arc where we observed an aimless troubled boy develop into an honest, goal-driven man with a burning passion for professional boxing. Even if Makunouchi Ippo is even to this day a pansy (at least outside of the ring), he leads an inspirational story of a bullied nerd who through sheer dedication and perseverance works his way to the top of Japan’s boxing ladder. Both of these characters received at least one hundred episodes of development, whereas Joe receives only thirteen. We don’t learn anything about his past. We don’t learn makes him tick as a person. We don’t learn his greatest fears. His character is as deep as a puddle in the Sahara desert, and it is especially in comparison to his predecessors that he pales in comparison.
But I’m not even sure how many viewers are aware of Yabuki Joe's story. I’d wager less than 20% of the (Western) audience for Megalo Box have seen Ashita no Joe, let alone have finished it, which would explain all of the acclaim this anime is receiving even despite it's glaring flaws and stale as cardboard lead character who could only dream of being a successor to Yabuki Joe. I find it hard to imagine a viewer of Ashita no Joe watching this and walking away impressed, but there is at least one niche interest available to such fans in the many cross references and homages. From Sachio wearing Yabuki Joe's signature flat cap, to familiar character designs and reimagined scenes being taken directly from the original series, where Megalo Box fails to be a tribute in terms of writing and dramatic tension, it at least succeeds in paying open respect to the original series.
None of the above criticisms are meant to suggest that a viewer is wrong for liking Megalo Box when it does have an abundance of surface level appeal. Maybe you value tone more so than writing in media, in which case no one should be able to convince you to think otherwise. However, exceeding in one area doesn't excuse utter failure in others that are critical to the very essence of a story itself. Megalo Box is a DIRECT tribute to what I would consider to be the greatest hand to hand combat narrative in anime history. For it to have subpar fight animation and forgettable characters is a major disappointment no matter how you slice it. The only way it tries to distinguish itself from the original series is by introducing a plot device that proves itself to be totally useless, because power doesn't mean jack shit unless you can hit a moving target. Megalo Box is a decent anime for what it is - a nostalgic, short celebration of Ashita no Joe's 50th anniversary, and is not a worthy successor to the combat sport anime that came before it as is being hailed by critics universally.
Warning this review contain spoilers for Megalo Box
Tribute is a way to celebrate old works, by taking ideas of the thing is was inspire by, try to modernize its theme, and setting. That what Megalo Box is it’s a tribute to manga that was made in 1968 known as Ashita no Joe. For those who have never heard of it, Ashita no Joe was a shounen sports manga that ran in Shounen Magazine Weekly. It spanned for 20 volumes and had 171 chapters, it got an anime adaption in 1970 that ran for 79 episodes, it later got a second season during 1980 and it
ran for 47 episodes. For the time Ashita no Joe came it out nothing was like it, it was a heave drama show that covers all themes boxing had. It did a lot of things that establish what anime and manga known for, without a lot of your favorites wouldn’t be the same. With that established, going back to the word tribute, Now if a tribute only copies things from it was inspire by does that mean new viewers who never watch Ashita no Joe won’t enjoy this, no it’s possible to enjoy Megalo box with seeing Joe, true you won’t get the references, but you still able to get some level of enjoyment out of it. However, hear the thing about a tribute should do, a tribute needs to separate it self from the thing it’s reference, sure it okay to reference things you are inspire from, but you need to separate yourself from it the inspiration. That what you are looking into with this review and determine if Megalo Box did enough to consider separate series or is still in Ashita no Joe shell?
The plot of the show revolves Junk Dog wanted to see how strong he truly he is, he never been sure, due to the fact he been fighting fix boxing matches, in order to get money, as they are involved with this mafia boss they own a lot of money too. It isn’t until he meets Yuri and Yuri gets curious how strong is Junk Dog, they fight, and Yuri is impressed that he was able to make him use both his hands against him. After Junk Dog lost the match again Yuri, he vows to challenge Yuri once again and show him how strong he can become. He changes his name to Joe to as a reference to Joe Yabuki the main character of Ashita no Joe. With this you think that their a rivalry going between Joe and Yuri, but that were you wrong, as you loo into the content of their characters, Junk Dog the only one who cares about facing Yuri. Yuri during majority of the shows doesn’t care if he never faces him again, true the strong Joe become the more interest Yuri is, but it isn’t until the days before they have their final match Yuri is interested in facing him. With that we have to give Joe opponents for him to face to reach the right to face Yuri again. With that this show mainly becomes boxing matches of the week, as we keep moving on to the next guy, which hurt the show as this show doesn’t have proper build up to it matches and does spend enough time developing its characters. If was 26 instead of 13 we could have more time between matches, more growth for Joe and Yuri, and the matches could be more intense. That the problem her with it’s matches, sure they are great to look it, but you release majority of the fights fell dull, because they have to hurry up and finish the fight, that way we have time to do JD vs Yuri. Even when we get to the match, the fight is lackluster, majority of it is finally fight it just Joe taking hits and trying to survive, it isn’t until the last round, he start to fight back and beat Yuri with a Cross Counter, which that a giving as in Ashita no Joe, Joe signature move is the cross counter, so that was bound to be use in Megalo Box somepoint in the series. However even it cool too see as I do love that move, it’s comes off a lame, as if the fight had more episodes to it, the impact of cross counter, cloud have been epic, it could have been awesome, but its’ not. What we are left it an empty final fight, which a shame I wanted the fight to be epic, as Joe Vs Rikishi was, but we didn’t get that. Instead we got a lame fight. Now if you are think even if the fights were rushed and they were at least well animated, and you right they are. The show has a never nice looking retro style that different then what we are used to coming out. We get shows that look not much different from each other, so for a show like Megalo Box to come out in the time it did, felt refreshing, and that what made the popular when it was out.
Now beside the story and animation, what I want to look into before discussion my thoughts on the ending are its characters, and its character with the expect of Nanbo are one note. They stick to what they are establish of begin. Joe is stereotypical badass main character, who try to challenge the use of gears, by going in matches without one, giving him the nick name gearless Joe. Which is a cool name, I got to admit, but I wish he would grow more beside how far he gets rankings. Their nothing much to his character, he doesn’t develop enough, if the show 26 we could have done more to develop him. But with it being 13 episodes we get not much time to develop, as we got to make sure Joe can face Yuri by episode 13. Speaking of Yuri like Joe his character stays the same, he the top guy that no can defeat, he has to the best gear, he has the best promotion, he powerful, he got it all. It isn’t until episode 12 we see something about that change, he decides to let go all things he been giving to him, his gear, his team, he going to face Joe as a one-man team, to show a form of respect to him. I like this, but I wish we got something more. The other characters such as Yukiko, Sachio, Fujimaki and the guys Joe fact, are one note as well, they don’t have anything special to them. Now you nothing I exclude Nanbu right, well the thing about Nanbu he actually gets development. He starts own as your typical teacher, but we get more to his character, we see a guy to go far for to make sure Joe is successful and try to settle the score he has with Fujimaki. Which I like this, and to see how it all end him with losing an eye, was a nice brutal scene, that I was surprise to see get pull of so well. Not jut that, but when Joe was facing his former student, we get a side of Nanbu we didn’t see before. We get a man with a lot of regrets, and he wish the man he trains end better than what he ended up as. I like this it gives him something more than the character he was based off being Danpei. Nanbu is able to separate from the character he was inspired by.
The ending of the shows was a disappointment, true it was nice to see Joe win, but I would like Joe and Yuri died in the end. It would have offer a nice tragic conclusion to see these two men fight to the death. But in the end what we got with Joe retiring and Yuri being crippled, which that is rough that man career is over. But it would have been epic to see both of them die with that cross counter, and end of being a draw. With that said there isn’t too much to left say about Megalo Box, it’s a show that stick to the thing that was inspire about by. Which is not good, as a person who know on here as the biggest Ashita no Joe on here, I wanted Megalo Box to separate itself, and I could judge as its own thing, and look back on and say that was the best tribute every made. But we didn’t get that we got a series that stick what it started as and remind the same. Which is a shame, it could have been more, but because of the it being 13 episodes, what we got was anime that always be in Ashita no shell. With that being said I give Megalo Box a 6.5 out of 10.
Megalo Box is an incredible watch which sets the stage for you to want to kill for the next episode. It is the epitome of an original action-packed thriller boxing anime and will not disappoint in any major way. If you have the time of your life to lose, Megalo box should be the thief that takes your damned free time.
Scores~ Story  Art  Sound  Character  Enjoyment  Overall [8.6]
Megalo introduces a new approach to the boxing genre as it incorporates an entirely new mechanic into the physical sport. This mechanic allows the series to pan out quite interestingly as
they find means to overcome entirely different obstacles to win.
Although the story doesn't typically allow a typical "introduction" to the landscape, we are able to imply various situations with relative ease. This combined with its immersive "junk rat" feel Megalo culminates as a completely different and refreshing take on the boxing environment as it drags you into its violent and volatile world.
As this is a remake, it can be understood that the art will look rather dated and this is true here. The art style itself is of a lower resolution than the typical 2018 animes we've seen, but it works out completely in its favour here as it presents an entirely new concept. Due to the setting of the anime, the use of the older art only adds to the scrapyard feel and compliments the plot and setting produced by the studio. Combine with its consistency throughout fight scenes and solid application to characters, we are left with art as its weakest point but in no way, a hindrance.
The sound is incredible.
It's perfect timing in the fight scenes. The immersive tracks throughout the series. The appropriately themed OP and ending tracks. It brings the whole work together as a high-quality body of work. Even though the MC can sound like a bore, the studio approaches to every line with proper intentions in mind and add on top of the already immersive tone on the series. TMS Entertainment has done an incredibly good job here making the whole thing work.
Megalo Box's characters are enticing and interesting. The studio has allowed each character to carve out their own role within the series, no matter how minor it might be. Served with their own interesting and deep personalities, Megalo Box is a prime example of character and character development done right, as it proceeds to allow the characters free reign upon the world.
An action-packed, thrilling fighting anime that includes an incredibly interesting MC that strays from the "I'm weak help me" archetype basically describes what I'm seeing. I love it, to every part. The immersion that the studio has allowed Megalo to project. The consideration of every single character displayed within the series. The studio has respected this remake, reimagined it and added a little extra. This is one of the most enjoyable and memorable watches I have ever lied my eyes on.
Megalo Box is the prime example of a boxing anime done right and doesn't seem to falter in any major aspect. The studio has respected the identity and world within the series and amplified its effect as they noticeably put every ounce of their being into this anime.
If you haven't touched this anime, I recommend you do so and come with rather high expectations because after its all said and done,
It has and will deliver.
So go to where you watch anime and watch it now. It has and will be an experience to remember.
So...Megalo Box. I have a lot of reservations for it because I really liked the first few episodes but in the end its just disappointing.
I still feel like the entire setting was created just for Megalo Box and the universe outside of it just does not exist and then what Megalovania ends up being has nothing to do with that and...they created everything for something that ended up not mattering.I dont really know what they were going for or what any supposed thematic elements could even be. Class metaphor? Not really. Natural talent vs hard work? Not sure. The pureness of a sport taken away
from the roots by companies? The Shirato people are not even a factor to the overall plot of anything. Those things are there but barely, so inconsequential that they feel like accidents and not thesis statements This entire show -the entire idea of the name of the show - exists for Joe and Yuri and they have no passion between them. A good rivalry needs some animus, some driving factor, some similarities, any emotion at all. I don't get that from either of them. I'm still unsure what their actual goals are. Why are they striving so hard for this? What even set Joe off about Yuri in the first place? Do they just want a Goku/Vegeta good-ass fight? Do they want to stare death in the face for the thrill of it? I don't think even the show knows.
The ending doesn't really settle as anything satisfying for me. I'm not even sure the characters got what they wanted based on what I thought. I feel like the conclusion they reached for the final fight was the right one, but it didn't come about naturally. They skipped too many steps. Megalo Boxing and the Gears never mattered. The idea of boxing but more dangerous didn't matter because Joe could just take any hit.
I still don't know what they were going for with this series. In a season with so many disappointments, this one still manages to stand out as it wasn't like this immediately out the gate, but instead just quickly ran out of energy.
Spike Spiegel retires from bounty hunting and decides to become an underground boxer! Reel Steel meets Hajime No Ippo!
Megalo isn't mega-awesome in any facet of the game, but it does provide enough entertainment for me to consider it a good show. Our protagonist is similar to any deadbeat, wannabe protagonist in the history of anime except for the fact that he has cool scars and rides a motorcycle to get his mind off of spicy tentacle porn.
"Joe" is tired of being a boxer who has real potential, yet continues to throw it all away by partaking in fixed fights within the underground
boxing circuit. But hey, it's the only thing he can do for actual money, right?
Wrong! Megalonia comes along and that changes everything. It's a special tournament for ultra rich boxers who have access to enhanced gear, which technically would help a boxer kill a person instantaneously upon impact, but not Joe! He's immune to punches, injuries and surgeries. And thus our story begins, Joe goes on a journey with: a shady boxing manager, an orphan kid who has sickle cell anemia, and a champion who is into beastiality with huskies (two truths and one lie).
The anime starts off fresh and intriguing but quickly loses steam and turns into your predictable, everyday fighting anime. By the end of it all, I'm asking myself why the hell did Megalonia sanction a quadriplegic war vet with massive PTSD to fight in a boxing ring where men beat each other with gigantic robot arms?
All in all, it's good but it's definitely not great. The moral of the story is... don't trust scorpions! FUCK FROGS!!
This is a bilingual review about my experience with Megalobox, I haven't seen Ashita no Joe which is what this series is giving tribute to, but that's not the real point of my review, this is probably the best candidate to anime of the year that I ever seen so far and you are gonna see why.
La reseña está en español, ve un poco más abajo para leerla.
Megalobox is one of those animes that are not seen very often in the modern anime, we can not always see a protagonist with an underdog style who has to beat people in street fights to survive through
poverty, the style of the series is something that I love and really don't understand why many people complain about the quality of the animation, this gives a pretty cool retro style, and not only there are people complaining about this, but several people see the wrong side of the premise and they think that Gears are something unnecessary and I will tell you why all these points are wrong.
I was also confused at the beginning, what is the point of using a mechanism that increases your strength? Why don't they do normal boxing? This is something that in the first 3 episodes of the series clarify quite noticeably, when Joe is watching television in the first scene, the series itself questions the existence of Gear technology, which they respond that it is a good for the society and that is a way to maintain a balance, also, later they say that Megalobox does not discriminate and anyone can enter the tournament regardless of their age or physical condition.
And it's here when the series shows us that none of these facts are like that, when Joe tells Yuuri (in the first episode) "show me your real Megalobox" it's because boxing is not just marketing, it's about feeling adrenaline and try to outdo yourself and feel the glory of winning, and these are values that in the society of the series have been lost, the existence of the gears is not only to make the fights interesting, it is a reflection that boxing it's not always about doing something you like, it's a business, a way to over-exploit people's pockets by encouraging them to enter a tournament in which if you're not a millionaire who can buy a powerful Gear, you can never win.
And this is not something that simply happens in the series, a fairly easy example of this are video games and micro transactions, you can not enjoy something you like without investing some money to gain an advantage within it (of course, in this case there are exceptions), the same happens with the world of music, not only you must invest in instruments, you must invest in advertising and a manager to make yourself known and even so, you may still fail, be betrayed and all your money will end up wasted.
Joe is aware of all this and wants to show the world that sports is something that we are all capable of enjoying and that social inequality should not be something that keeps us from doing what we like the most.
Many people do not realize the message of the series, because generally one is focused on the protagonist and the dialogues instead of looking at the surroundings, and the series doesn't directly say you all of this, you have to figure it out through all the clues in the scenarios, and little details that tells you the meaning of this anime. This is not a problem of the direction, because it's a fantastic way to show the premise without wasting time with dialogues as a way to explain the plot of the series but I have to say, being a 12 episode series about boxing is a really bad combination which proves why Hashime no Ippo and Ashita no Joe are better than this.
Now let's talk about the characters, starting with Joe, the protagonist, as I mentioned before, he's the type of person who trusts his ideals and has an instinct of justice for helping others, even though his thoughts go hand in hand with the philosophy of the series, he has no credible reason why he feels passion for boxing, at first we see that he only fights to survive and gain his paycheck, later we see what motivates him to enter the Megalobox tournament, but we never know why he likes boxing in the first place and we don't know about his past either, so the spectator usually does not identify much with the character beyond his goals. Throughout the series he really improves his way of fighting and has a great development of his way of thinking and personality but usually he makes the same mistakes sometimes despite the fact that Nanbu and Sachio remind him of those mistakes.
Nanbu Gansaku on the other hand has a consistent character development, at first we see him as a bastard who only wants to make money without caring about others, however during the series we see how his connection with Joe becomes stronger when they both try to reach to the top, and also the series shows us his reasons why he initially has this behavior with Joe through his past, so certainly, this is the best character in the whole series despite of him being a plot device in the beginning.
Sachio is a boy who is introduced in the third episode, his role is similar to Nanbu's which is to support Joe and help him train, he also has a great passion for the Megalobox and his motivations, although they are not too deep, they are understandable enough to ignore his very empty introduction. Beyond this, it is a simple character that serves to show a couple of references to Ashita no Joe and nothing else.
Yuuri is the main antagonist of the series, I would say that he is in the same situation as Joe, we don't know his past nor his real motives for being the champion of Megalobox, however his personality reflects several themes that the series touches. In addition to those already mentioned at the beginning of the review, Yuuri experiments the emptiness of always winning and understanding more what boxing truly means, this is indeed a good development of his personality, mainly because of meeting Joe in the first episode. I don't have much more to add about him.
Now let's go into my favorite territory of the series which is the soundtrack, saying that it's great it's not enough, the hip hop songs combining it with the scenes showing the city and the well detailed streets is such a great combination to help the viewer immerse itself into the urban atmosphere. And the hard rock of the opening is something wonderful showing how MANLY the series is, the ending and its lyrics reflect very well the emotions of the characters besides that it has a pretty catchy rhythm.
The animation along with the direction is very beautiful and the retro style that this has combined with the handmade animation makes it very attractive and enjoyable to look at, often the show has small quality downgrades but fortunately this doesn't happen in the fight scenes so that's tolerable, the shots of the scenarios are very detailed and quite realistic, there is not much more to say, just great.
I'm very sorry if there's grammar errors, english is not my native language I would highly appreciate suggestions and criticism to help me improve, thank you so much for reading ;)
Megalobox es de esos animes que ya no se ven muy a menudo en el anime moderno, no siempre podemos ver a un protagonista con un estilo de lobo solitario que tiene que darse de golpizas en peleas callejeras para sobrevivir en la pobreza, su estilo es algo que me encanta y realmente no entiendo por qué mucha gente se queja de la calidad de animación, siendo ésta algo que le da ese toque retro y genial a la serie, y no solo hay gente quejándose de ésto, sino que varios ven la premisa de utilizar gears como algo innecesario y les diré por qué todos estos puntos son erróneos.
Para empezar, la trama es algo que a mi también me tuvo confuso al principio, ¿cuál es el punto de utilizar un mecanismo que incrementa tu fuerza? ¿por qué no hacen boxeo normal? Esto es algo que los primeros 3 episodios de la serie aclaran de forma bastante notoria, cuando Joe está viendo la televisión en la primera escena, la serie misma se cuestiona la existencia de la tecnología Gear, a la cuál responden que es un bien para la sociedad y que es una manera de mantener un equilibrio, también más adelante dicen que Megalobox no discrimina y cualquiera puede entrar en el torneo sin importar su edad o condición física.
Y es acá cuando la serie nos muestra que ninguno de éstos hechos son así, cuando Joe le dice a Yuri (en el primer episodio) "muéstrame tu verdadero Megalobox" es debido a que el boxeo no es simplemente marketing, se trata de sentir adrenalina, intentar superarte a ti mismo y sentir la gloria de ganar, y estos son valores que en la sociedad de la serie se han perdido, la existencia de los gears no solo es para hacer las peleas interesantes, es un reflejo de que el deporte no siempre se trata de hacer algo que te guste, es un negocio, una forma para sobre explotar el bolsillo de la gente incitándolos a entrar en un torneo en el que si no eres un millonario que pueda comprarse un Gear potente, nunca podrás ganar.
Y esto no es algo que simplemente ocurre en la serie, un ejemplo bastante fácil de esto son los videojuegos y las micro transacciones, no puedes disfrutar de algo que te guste sin invertir algo de dinero para ganar una ventaja dentro de éste (obviamente existen excepciones para este caso); lo mismo pasa con el mundo de la música, no sólo se debe invertir en instrumentos, debes invertir en publicidad y manager para hacerte conocer e incluso así, es posible que seas traicionado y fracases rotundamente.
Joe es consciente de todo esto y quiere demostrarle al mundo que el deporte es algo que todos somos capaces de disfrutar y que la desigualdad social no debe ser algo que nos retenga de hacer lo que más nos guste.
Mucha gente no se da cuenta del mensaje de la serie, debido a que generalmente uno está enfocado en el protagonista y los diálogos en vez de mirar a los alrededores y la serie no te dice todo esto directamente, debes averiguarlo a través de todas las pistas en los escenarios, y pequeños detalles que te dicen el significado de este anime. Esto no es un problema de la dirección, ya que veo como una forma fantástica de mostrar la premisa sin perder el tiempo con diálogos como una forma de exposición para explicar la trama de la serie, pero tengo que decir que ser una serie de 12 episodios sobre el boxeo es una combinación realmente mala y es por eso que Hajime no Ippo y Ashita no Joe son mejores que esto.
Ahora hablemos de los personajes, empezando por Joe, el protagonista, como he mencionado antes, es un tipo de persona que cree mucho en sus ideales y posee un instinto de justicia por ayudar a los demás, sin embargo a pesar de que sus pensamientos vayan de la mano con la filosofía de la serie, no posee un motivo creíble por el cual éste siente pasión por el boxeo, al principio lo vemos que sólo pelea para ganarse el pan y sobrevivir en la pobreza, y luego vemos lo que lo motiva a querer entrar al Megalobox, pero nunca sabemos por qué le gusta el boxeo en primer lugar y tampoco conocemos su pasado, por lo que el espectador por lo general no suele identificarse mucho con el personaje más allá de sus objetivos, posee un buen desarrollo siendo alguien que solo le gusta pelear, mejorando su estilo de pelea y aprendiendo de sus oponentes, aunque suele cometer los mismos errores repetidas veces a pesar de que Nanbu y Sachio se lo recuerden.
Nanbu Gansaku por otro lado sí tiene un desarrollo consistente de personaje, al principio lo vemos como un bastardo que solo quiere hacer dinero sin importarle los demás, sin embargo durante la serie vemos como su conexión con Joe cada vez se hace mas fuerte cuando ambos intentan llegar a la cima, y también la serie nos muestra sus motivos por el cual éste al principio tiene éste comportamiento inicial a través de su pasado, por lo que ciertamente, este es el mejor personaje de toda la serie que no es un simple plot device, si bien es alguien que contribuye a que la trama avance para que Joe consiga entrar al Megalobox, es un personaje bastante completo.
Sachio es un niño que es introducido en el tercer episodio, su función es similar a la de Nanbu la cual es brindarle apoyo a Joe y ayudarlo a entrenar, también posee una gran pasión por el Megalobox y sus motivaciones aunque no son profundizadas demasiado, son lo suficientemente entendibles como para que pase por alto su muy vacía introducción. Más allá de esto, es un simple personaje que sirve para mostrar un par de referencias a Ashita no Joe y nada más.
Yuuri, el cuál es el antagonista principal de la serie, diría que está en la misma situación que Joe, no conocemos su pasado ni tampoco sus motivos reales por el que éste sea el campeón de Megalobox, sin embargo su personalidad refleja varios temas que toca la serie además de los ya mencionados al principio de la reseña, como el vacío de ganar siempre y entender más lo que es realmente el boxeo más allá de un simple deporte que genera ganancias, ésto es considerado más un desarrollo de personaje ya que es Joe quien lo hace cuestionarse todo esto. No tengo mucho más que añadir de él.
Ahora entremos el mi territorio favorito de la serie el cual es el soundtrack, decir que es genial es quedarse corto, la combinación de hip hop con las escenas mostrando la ciudad y su pobreza van como anillo al dedo. Y el hard rock del opening es algo maravilloso mostrando lo MANLY que es la serie, el ending y su letra refleja muy bien las emociones de los personajes además de que posee un ritmo bastante pegadizo.
La animación junto con la dirección es muy hermosa y el estilo retro que ésta posee sumado a la animación hecha a mano la hace muy atractiva y disfrutable a la vista, suele tener pequeños bajones de calidad pero por suerte ésto no sucede en las peleas por lo que es tolerable, los planos de los escenarios por estar hecho a mano son muy detallados y bastante realistas, no hay mucho más que decir, simplemente genial.
For me, Megalo Box is the perfect combination of both new and old anime. The animation is stylistically textured and resembles that of Cowboy Bebop or Samurai Champloo. It is in honor of the 50th anniversary of Ashita no Joe. Megalo box starts off in the slums of what looks like a steampunk futuristic city, where "Junk Dog" or our no name hero lives. Throwing fights for a living, he has long desired to enter the pro boxing tournament that is "Megalonia". One day while he is lost in thought on his motorcyle he has a chance encounter with the Champion Yuri. Later He fights
Yuri but is shown the true difference in their powers, thus he must climb the ladder to the top of Megalonia where Yuri waits. I cannot emphasize enough how good the character building of this short series has been so far. The soundtrack is beautiful and fits the whole hood theme of the show. Not only an underdog story, but a true underdog anime that blew my expectations away.
Certainly my favorite anime this season. Go check out Megalo Box!
A project commemorating the 50th anniversary of the legendary boxing manga, Ashita no Joe—Megalo Box is remarkably cinematic very much cut in the mould of retro anime from vintage Madhouse and Gainax. What exactly makes this diamond in the rough shine the way it has? What has allowed it to shine in an era where it had every reason to be overlooked? It’s a simple answer and its nostalgia. This is like Hajime no Ippo with Sci-Fi elements being directed by Watanabe Shinichirou and Nujabes on the beat. For a spinoff series, it's surprisingly free of the burdens of being part of a legendary franchise.
Its 13 episodes long but makes every second count, it has a good pacing that builds up momentum all the way to the finale.
In a world where underground boxing has boxers wearing gear to enhance their fighting skills, Megalo Box follows a nameless wanderer in “Junk Dog,” (who later becomes known as “Joe,”) as he is used as a tool to throw matches for cash. Determined that he has what it takes to take down the champion at this year's Megalonia, he throws his past to the side and decides to fight fearlessly to the top of the rankings. He crosses paths with people who help him on his journey as well as people who attempt to sabotage his rise. Along with some surprisingly emotional episodes involving characters from the past, this show takes your heartstrings and tugs on them pretty hard on multiple occasions. While the overall series is slightly predictable in terms of where the story progresses, the point is that it keeps you emotionally invested. Whether it’s simply an episode of characters reflecting on the past or literally fighting in the ring, everyone gets his shot at a development and are fleshed out. It’s almost as if the core story of fighting to the top takes a backseat and places itself on autopilot at times, as the story takes you on separate journeys into the past or future. Just when you know you have everything figured out, Megalo Box either gives you a helluva of a fight or has you begging for certain characters fates.
In the beginning, Joe was lost and didn’t know his place in the world. He was a drifter, going along with the flow. A man from the slums who has no identity either than the moniker, "Junk Dog". After a confrontation with his destined rival, Yuuri, who happens to be the current Megalo Boxing champion, a burning desire was lit inside Joe to prove to everyone including himself that he can make it to the top and become champion by beating Yuuri. Both are polar opposites. Joe is brash, naïve and wears his heart on his sleeve. Yuuri is cool, calm and collected. Joe is from poverty while Yuuri is wealthy. Joe starts taking control of his own destiny rather than leaving it in the hands of his manager Nanbu who had Joe throw fights in the underground circuit to earn a living. Yuuri still takes demands from his manager Yukiko who is running the Megalonia. Both characters are charismatic and ooze confidence. Nanbu eventually gives up his con past and becomes Joe’s trainer and helps him get the requirements to enter ranks. Along their way they find Sachio who turns out to be a tech genius who knows about the gears, he uses his skills to help work his way into Joe’s corner. Both Nanbu and Sachio have ulterior motives for joining Joe’s journey and their reasons for it is very interesting. There is just a lot of chemistry and charm with the characters and there are layers to their relationships.
TMS Entertainment name doesn’t pop up much when elite anime studios are being discussed. But they’re seriously making their case as far as I’m concerned, not just because of quality but stylistic diversity. TMS Entertainment has never done anything quite like Megalo Box. There hasn't been much anime that try to capture an old-school mystique, and many specifically a Gainax mystique. Some even partially succeed. But Megalo Box gets a bigger piece of that pie than almost any show that I can think of. There’s no credibility gap here because every aspect of this production reeks of authenticity. Ashita no Joe wasn’t a Gainax series, and Megalo Box does feel faithful to it, but I just see that imprint all over it. The way it embraces the imperfections of the traditional hand-drawn art is visually nostalgic and beautiful. I’m in awe of the fighting sequences that I felt I had front seats to this spectacle, the animation is superb and what highlights it, even more, is the incorporation of various camera angles, shaky cam effects, the fluidity, the choreography along with well-timed panning and transitions during the action that adds realism to the physicality and pain on display. From the backgrounds, architectures to the colour palette used make it capture the retro feel and aesthetic of a 90’s classic. The visuals as a whole have a graininess that harkens back to how shows looked before the advent of HD resolutions.
When an anime soundtrack makes it on Spotify, you know it’s a killer. Megalo Box’s music is like a shoeshine combination that will knock you out and leave you in a state of pure euphoria. To put it quite simply, it’s one of the greatest soundtracks to hit the airwaves in the last decade. It’s Hip-Hop inspired and gives the show a lot of swagger and range. It’s able to elevate the action to the next level, giving you a rush of adrenaline when fights reach its climax. Each track effortlessly compliments the various moods in and outside of the ring. The Opening gets you pumped and the Ending helps you wind down from the hype. The Voice acting is exceptional and is deserving of praise. They are able to make the voice for their character fit with their look, age, masculinity (for the fighters) and personality and make it believable—especially with Joe.
There is a bit of everything in Megalo Box for everyone to enjoy. It has charisma, comedy, drama, high stakes, action and other elements that point to a love of the past decade—from the writing and script willing to venture into a dark and gloomy subject matter, as well as a soundtrack that is absolutely amazing with its Hip-Hop style. It all points to a love for a style of animation that the industry has since moved away from. It shows exactly what was so great about anime from the “Golden Era” and makes the case that even if it’s gone, the likes of Megalo Box will make sure it stays far and away from being forgotten. Joe’s rise from a no-name underground boxer to a world-class contender for a world championship title is a tale of the underdog, it’s inspiring, you cannot help but root for his success. Despite having a few hiccups along the way, it goes the distance and after 13 rounds this Cinderella story leaves its mark.