*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!
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Apr 6, 2018 to Jun 29, 2018
Premiered: Spring 2018
Broadcast: Fridays at 01:28 (JST)
Licensors: VIZ Media
Studios: TMS Entertainment
Duration: 24 min. per ep.
Rating: R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
Score: 7.881 (scored by 266267266,267 users)
1 indicates a weighted score.
2 based on the top anime page. Please note that 'Not yet aired' and 'R18+' titles are excluded.