Almost every guy likes boxing. Hitting, power, speed, blood, muscle, pain, and sweat…The highly competitive sport can excite the primal desires deeply from my heart. Whether you are familiar with boxing or not, you can enjoy the 5 great boxing anime.
MEGALO BOX (2018)
MEGALO BOX is a great boxing anime with super great music. If Cowboy Bebop is your cup of tea, you probably will like MEGALO BOX too. As you know, celluloid animation has been almost eliminated due to its tedious process and a huge workload, and no decent celluloid style animation has appeared for a decade. Unexpectedly, a celluloid-style work has appeared in 2018, that’s MEGALO BOX. The MEGALO BOX is a tribute piece to the masterpiece, Ashita no Joe.
The story develops very smoothly, with several heated conflicts occurring naturally. In episode 10, when the old man brings up the issue of the fake match again, which seems to have no negative impact on the flashbacks, but rather meets the audience’s expectations: as expected, the gangsters are not so kind.
The music is the best part of this anime. The anime’s music director, mabanua, is a genius at hip-hop and jazz and has worked as a drummer in a jazz band, as an independent DJ, and as a composer and arranger for the soundtrack of Apollo on the Sakado Road with Yoko Sugano. His performance on Megalo Box’s bgm was a highlight, and the anime gets a nickname called “musical anime”.
The shortcomings of the show are also obvious: the lack of fight scenes and the inconsistency of the boxing action. Honestly, each fight scene is actually expressive if you take screenshots of it individually; but when put them together, it’s a bit awkward.
Overall, I think it’s the best boxing-themed anime in recent years.
Ashita no Joe (1980)
This anime is well established in the history of Japanese animation. It has been adapted into movies and anime many times. At the time, the Japanese even held real funerals for the deaths of the virtual characters in the play.
Ashita no Joe is really awesome because the manga/anime is authentic. At that time, most of the popular sports mangas and anime were the super-hero story, even in Shoujo manga like Attack on Tomorrow. Ashita no Joe shows that it’s not necessary to do all the super stuff, just the real game can be just as good.
In addition to its high quality, there is a very obvious historical factor to the popularity of this work. The story is that a street gangster walks into the boxing ring, keeps fighting and growing stronger, and eventually dedicates his life to his career. At the time, Japan was just coming out of the post-war slump, people were willing to work hard but were afraid of the future, and Joe’s story reflects the feelings of people.
At the end of the story, the protagonist, Joe, sits in a chair and closes his eyes peacefully, which became a scene that influences many people’s impressions.
Hajime no Ippo (2010-2014)
The protagonist Ippo is a kind and hardworking high schoolboy doing a part-time job at a fishing boat rental shop, always failing and being bullied. Since he started boxing, he has grown up with a strong sense of pragmatism and hard work.
Watching the anime is a great experience, it can go straight to your heart through the screen. When watching Megalo Box, the entire story is about the question: “What is the real deal?” Hajime no Ippo asks another question: “What makes a person strong?”
It is a hot blooded sports anime that could be compared to Slum Dunk in anime history. The anime can inspire the courage to keep fighting when you are most frustrated. Whether about career, relationship, or life, there’s always a reason to keep going.
Since 1989, the manga has been serialized for more than 30 years, it’s definitely a classic. The TV anime has already aired 3 seasons and is far from over yet.
Kengan Ashura (2019)
If you do like bloody fighting, this anime is surely for you. The anime is well-produced and the plot moves along smoothly without dragging at all.
In this film, the concept of “the strongest” is interpreted to the fullest. All the fighters are extreme egoists, each one has extraordinary faith, and they all believe that they are the strongest.
In cliched sports anime, as long as the protagonist has a strong will and enough luck, no matter how weak he is, he will eventually turn back the defeat and win.
But in this anime, one can only win with its own true fighting strength and skill. There is no such thing as luck and tricks, and even if you are the protagonist, you may still be beaten on the ground like a dead dog.
The anime is a co-production between Netflix and Shogakukan in Japan. The 2D and 3D mix animation is somehow weird, it took me about three episodes to get used to it. Season 2 is even better than season 1 and I’m looking forward to the next season.
The anime concludes various fighting, such as boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing, wrestling, judo, kungfu. The BAKI series is not as good as the 4 anime above, but some guy really loves its unique violence aesthetic. People who treat fighting techniques seriously may feel like the anime is nonsense because the setting completely violates the objective laws of the real world. For those who like shocking fight scenes, there are other better options: Kengan Ashura, One Punch Man. BAKI is so elaborate in its depiction of human muscles, which is a unique feature of this work.
BAKI 2 is the best in the BAKI series, which is worth a look.