Megalo Box (メガロボクス Megaro Bokusu) is a 2018 anime television series created in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the manga Ashita no Joe. It is produced by the studio TMS Entertainment, who also produced the second Ashita no Joe anime in 1980. The head of production is director Yō Moriyama, working with screenwriters Katsuhiko Manabe and Kensaku Kojima, with music composed by hip-hop artist Mabanua. The series is simulcast on Crunchyroll. The series was licensed by Viz Media for an English release and began airing on the Toonami block on December 8, 2018.
A few weeks back, I was flipping through the channels on the Pluto app before eventually deciding to just watch whatever was on their anime channel. What I saw as a skinny dude with an Afro boxing with a chunky American while they both wore these strange contraptions called “gears”. The animation style caught my eye and the music caught my ear. Next thing I knew the episode was over, and I could no longer look up the show’s name.
So I got online and searched for “boxing anime”, and after filtering out Hajime no Ippo I was finally able to find the name Megalo Box. And whether they intended to create a Cowboy Bebop/Samurai Champloo/Redline/Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots crossbreed or not, I was hooked. Granted, while some time has passed and I admittedly don’t love this show like I do those titles, I think it’s an anime worth checking out.
“To be quiet and do as you’re told, that’s the cowardly choice.” These are the words of Junk Dog, an underground fighter of Megalo Box, an evolution of boxing that utilizes mechanical limbs known as Gear to enhance the speed and power of its users. Despite the young man’s brimming potential as a boxer, the illegal nature of his participation forces him to make a living off of throwing matches as dictated by his boss Gansaku Nanbu. However, this all changes when the Megalo Box champion Yuuri enters his shabby ring under the guise of just another challenger. Taken out in a single round, Junk Dog is left with a challenge: “If you’re serious about fighting me again, then fight your way up to me and my ring.”
Filled with overwhelming excitement and backed by the criminal syndicate responsible for his thrown matches, Junk Dog enters Megalonia: a world-spanning tournament that will decide the strongest Megalo Boxer of them all. Having no name of his own, he takes on the moniker of “Joe” as he begins his climb from the very bottom of the ranked list of fighters. With only three months left to qualify, Joe must face off against opponents the likes of which he has never fought in order to meet the challenge of his rival. – [Written by MAL Rewrite]
While the story of Megalo Box is thrilling and entertaining, it’s far from original on all fronts. In fact, you could probably tell it was the spiritual successor to Ashita no Joe without having seen it (which admittedly I haven’t, so please tell me if I’m wrong here). But at the end of the day it’s an underdog story that you’ve either got to get behind or you won’t really enjoy it.
Art and Music: 4/5
THE HYPE IS REAL WITH THIS ONE!
If you like a show you can watch for the badass action scenes and hype music, then you’ve got to watch Megalo Box. I don’t often get into sports anime with the exception of The Prince of Tennis, but this show practically pumps adrenaline into your veins with every episode. Half the time I feel like I’m watching a classic from the 80s or early 90s with some of the slick animation and energetic beats.
There really aren’t any complaints as far as the art and music go. The only reason it doesn’t get a perfect score is that even at the show’s climax I never felt like it evolved. Great consistency, but nothing new.
Overall, Megalo Box is a cool watch that I would recommend over most of the seasonal lineup. It’s a quick 13 episodes with 3 specials on the Blu-ray that go by just like that. It wraps up very cleanly, but some have shared their problems with the ending which is understandable. It seemed a little anti-climatic in the final moments, but it doesn’t ruin the show for me.
Anyway, what did you think of the show?