Anime Discovery 2019: Megalo BOX – #205

megalo box

Last year around the Spring season, everybody was hopped up on many anime premiering that time. Your usual suspects such as My Hero Academia (in their 3rd season at the time), Full Metal Panic, Steins.Gate and then there’s some talked-about new shows like AggretsukoHinamatsuri, and even some that later when on to Netflix like Dragon Pilot but this is probably the show that I remember hearing about…… and didn’t jump in the first minute.

Yup, this is one of those shows when I skipped doing a first impression of it because at first, it felt like something that didn’t click with me.

Look, I know I’m starting to get into some sports shows like Yuri!! On Ice, Keijo!!!!!! and March Comes in Like a Lion…. OK, that latter one does count a bit because it does have shogi matches and those are a sport but the slice of life elements of that hooked me more. But other ones that are fully sports anime, I really can’t get into all that much. I mean, I’m not somebody that really into sports IRL to be honest. I’m more of a laid-back (or lazy) guy but….. if you have something in that anime that can hook me into it, then I’m game.

So what is Megalo Box about?

Set in a city where the wealthy are licensed citizens and those on the outskirts are unlicensed citizens living in poverty, the sport of megalo boxing has risen. Megalo boxing is a popular sport where the boxers fight while wearing a metal frame — something that makes their attacks even more lethal. Junk Dog fights in the underground illegal rings with fixed fights overseen by his coach Gansaku Nanbu. After he almost crashes his motorcycle into Yukiko Shirato, her bodyguard challenges Junk Dog to fight him in Megalonia — something reserved for licensed citizens. Junk Dog now works to prove himself the best fighter and move up the ranks in order to attend Megalonia.

Now the thing with this show is it’s in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the manga Champion Joe (or better known as Ashita No Joe) and don’t worry, you can go into this show not knowing much about that because it is its own story.

Oh, and after finally checking it out on streaming….. I was fucking with it.

And now, after watching it on Toonami (and yes, I watched it again on there and DVR several times)…. I really love this!!!

For one thing that I loved about this show is that it is an underdog story and I have often liked those stories in overall general media; somebody from these broken-ass streets competing in this tournament and going through a lot of trials and tribulations of this boxer and his crew. The surroundings does play a big part in here from the Restricted Area where it’s all dirty, rough and grimy…. basically the hood and the city where everything is all shiny, civilized and clean.

I overall liked the main 3 characters: Junk-Dog aka Joe, Nanbu and Sachio.

Junk-Dog as a character got some intriguing stamina (and a cool ‘fro. Represent!) as a fighter considering the beatings he’d take every round, while later on managing to come up top even though he has no gear on. It’s like an anime version of Rocky…. or Creed. Oh and sometimes having to throw fights by his crooked manager Nanbu and yes, he does fit that crooked manager type well but not the stereotypical “I’m leaving you high and mighty to dry” type of way. OK, maybe a bit of that but not scummy and he does suffer the consequences later on (You’ll know….)

Oh, and there’s Sachio, the young buck of the team and yeah, you get the deal with him instantly. Living in the Restricted Area, fixing up machinery and stealing goods to get some Red Candy (drugs!! – I think) and got more with him than what he appears later on, although you can tell from spotting some things early on. He is a very sympathetic character with some hot-headedness about him.

There is one character in the show, Aragaki and his episode was the most dramatic in terms of the shit that went down with him during fighting in a war that costed him a lot. For the other characters…… Yuri does play a riveting part with the rivalry between him and Joe, in showing him about real megalo-boxing and his other relationship with the head of the Shirato Group, Yukiko Shirato and to be honest, she is that cold and calculating to an extent. However, her brother Mikio needed his ass kicked. Yes, he’s arrogant, smug, has a big ego and you’re supposed to want his ass kicked but he really needed his ass kicked.

Animation is done by TMS Entertainment and 3xCube and this animation style… to me…. in 2018 where we had praised animation from shows like Violet Evergarden and Devilman Crybaby, this animation stood out the most during that year. I have heard that the anime was originally animated in SD and upscaled it to HD to have that retro look going for it and it works. The look and vibe of it feels like something that would air on Toonami way back in the day and it just gave me that nostalgic feeling.

 

The soun– YES, I LOVE THE SOUNDTRACK!!!! If you’ve known me on here for the last few years, you know I love it when anime and hip-hop collide and this soundtrack done by Japanese hip-hop musician Manabua and the music added to the intensity and the atmosphere of the anime along with the insert songs performed by COMA-CHI.  Oh and the opening theme “Bite” by Leo Imai….. FIRE!!! Everything about that OP and song in general is pure fire!!! When it starts and ends, you know you’re jamming to this shit all day long and you know what? It also makes me…. pissed off that the Crunchyroll Anime Awards didn’t give this any love for Best OP. Yes, the ending song “Come at Me” by NakamuraEmi is also an enjoyable bop and I love it. Still, those songs and that soundtrack is still fire and deserves more love.

For the English dub that premiered on Toonami, there was many solid performances overall from its cast. I was feeling Kaiji Tang as Joe, Erika Harlacher continues to show her range as she voices Yukiko, Erica Mendez went into spunky mode as Sachio (and got some decent bars at Ep. 11 as well) but I will say that I loved Jason Marnocha as Nanbu. I admit that I never heard much about him before in anime dub but he was great.

 

FINAL VERDICT: This was something I was just going to write off as just another sports anime that I had no interest in, but going forward into it and watching and re-watching a lot and I can safely say that this is a show that I’ve gotten into over and over and over again. I love this straightforward and effective story with these characters, the unique animation that feels like I’m a teenager again and the awesome music.

In other words, this is a knock-out…. it gets an

9/10

MEGALO BOX is licensed by VIZ MEDIA and as of this date, no home video announcement has been made. Streaming-wise, it’s available on Crunchyroll, Hulu & TubiTV. It has recently wrapped up on Toonami on Adult Swim.

 

I’m MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid and remind me to never bet on anything….. especially using my body parts as currency.

MEGALO BOX – animated by TMS ENTERTAINMENT/3xCUBE / licensed by VIZ MEDIA

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