Megalo Box (Spring 2018) – Bite It! Bite It!

“Megalo Box” starts with an interesting yet simple premise. This show tells about Junk Dog, an underground Megalo Boxer. He participated in a popular sport known as Megalo Boxing. It’s a regular boxing sport but uses a metal gears of “Elysium” or “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare”. This sport works harder, brutally, and with high consequences can even cause death. The main character, Junk Dog, changed his name to ‘Joe’ to participate in the Megalonia tournament. Not Megalovania. But, this show not only explores zero-to-hero but it’s a show about its dystopian world with a lot of plots involved in.

I’m not one of the boxing fans even for a film. Except, I like Martin Scorsese’s “Raging Bull” for other reasons. As well as exceptions to Shawn Levy’s “Real Steel”. But, seeing “Megalo Box” as more than an anime makes me more excited. While I have never watched “Tomorrow’s Joe” and “Fighting Spirit,” this show was so popular at the time. The first episode starts with its classic old-school style impressions. So many details and animations were poured and that first boxing match just caught me up. This show put a lot of stakes into more dangerous than anything especially our main character, Joe.

Joe is another stereotypical anime character with his Spike Siegel’s hairstyle. But, he is more aggressive yet still cool. Joe, from the first viewing, looks like an ordinary boxer who relies on arbitrary characteristics. However, he put a lot of bets even for his own life. Like tropes in general, this character starts as someone with nothing. There is Yuuri as his main rival. He is a Megalo Boxing champion and is above. Meanwhile, Joe is at the bottom of the hall of fame. What makes these two characters different from just rivals or even protagonists and antagonists is their different ideology. These two characters inspire each other with their ideologies. Joe thinks that Megalo Box is just like a sport that uses a gimmick. While Yuuri thinks that Megalo Box is a sport that changes it.

Therefore, Joe began to climb the stairs of the hall of fame step by step by changing his ring name to ‘Gearless Joe’. In addition, he poured a large bet not to use gear at all. Just like his ring name. Anyway, “Megalo Box” involves a decent sports story. There is nothing special in addition to this is the character’s stage. I think this show uses a real character but is still fairly fictional. For example, the relationship between Joe and Gansaku Nanbu. Nanbu acts as Joe’s manager where he was previously known as a match manipulation. He manipulates a match in order to win in a bet. While the chemistry between two characters hates each other, both have difficult times from Nanbu who was originally a boxer and Joe with his hard life.

A contrast between Yuuri and Yukiko Shirato, the head of the Shirato Group, is another chemistry we can’t miss. This show is not just a one-dimensional explanation but explores the same still different sides of the coin. Anyway, a difference between these two characters as well as difficult times and different worlds. Unlike Joe and Nanbu, Yuuri and Yukiko have problems with each other. Besides Yukiko who manages and plans how Megalo Boxing in the future, Yuuri doesn’t agree with it. A contrast that really arises when Joe meets these characters. Until Joe made them realize that he could prove himself.

This show is a sports anime with a lot of trash talks. Most of the story is not only apart from a sport. Rather, Sachio as a more realism character than all makes this show more than boxing. This element of drama is contrasting when Sachio’s past is told. He is more human than Joe and even Nanbu himself. Even when Joe and Nanbu couldn’t get along, he acts more behind the scene. Living as a homeless child as well as his friends, Sachio is an innocent child who only has one he wants to achieve. There are not many other elements that affect the main story. One of them is Yukiko with Mikio who doesn’t have such a strong bond. But, this complex relationship between Junk Dog, Yuuri, and Mikio is the most interesting part.

TMS Entertainment got involved with many projects. But, they were created as the 90s “Megalo Box” as possible. The design characters look more real for the hand-drawn. Unlike today anime design cliche, these characters look more real and badass. No exaggerated eye design makes the impression of the 90s stronger. The gears are actually great. But, the most fascinating things that made me interested in watching them in one marathon is the choreography. Every punch feels like a punch. The cinematography is not as usual. The blood on screen as if watching “Raging Bull” but it’s an anime. The quality feels more realistic especially at techniques such as uppercut, jab, hook, and others. I mean, I don’t know much about things like that.

The futuristic impressions are so highlighted besides animation and choreography that is so brilliant. This show illustrates a dystopian world with sci-fi and post-apocalyptic-like. In terms of animation, the soundtrack is pretty good as well. I’m not a fan of hip-hop or pop music as well as I love the soundtrack in “Samurai Champloo.” Like which, “Megalo Box” brings hip-hop style with a lot of unique combinations. It can be rap or graffiti, the soundtrack always keeps its momentum including when it comes to action scenes. The opening and ending theme songs quite feel in the 90s. It brings such a nostalgic mood.

“Megalo Box” turns boxing into a sport mixed with science fiction and variety of styles. This show is definitely one of the anime of the year. Besides boxing which is the main fruit, this show keeps the other elements in balanced. The drama element, some, is not too strong. But, all of the characters involved turned into a great complex relationship between them. Only with 13 episodes, “Megalo Box” turns boxing more than just potential.

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Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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