- Genre : Cyberpunk, Sports!, action, cool
- Studio: TMS Entertainment
After the fun I had turning Sanrio Boys into a grim psychological thriller last season, I really wanted to reproduce the experience with an new show in Spring 2018. This proved to be more challenging than I first figured as all the shows I had access to where either full blown parodies already, or really interesting, and I wanted to review them in earnest. Megalobox falls into the second category. Nevertheless, I really had my heart set on the project and since I do have a soft spot for Sports anime, I decide to try my hand at whitewashing Megalobox to give you the pg mildly hoyay Sports anime version. Wish Me Luck!
Before we get into it, let me just preface this by saying Megalobox is fantastic. Well at least the first episode is. I am a die hard fan of Hajime no Ippo so as soon as I see a pair of animated boxing gloves I’m so there. There is a scene in Hajime, where illustrious boxer and golden boy Takamura is getting ready for a championship fight. In preparation for the weight in, this hulking mass of muscles hasn’t eaten, has been drinking thimbles of water to stay alive while chewing and spitting out dried shiitake to leach moisture out of his body. After days of this, we see him just about at his limit, sobbing alone in his living room out of sheer exhaustion. It’s a powerful scene that still haunts me. I’ve been waiting for a show to illicit this type of visceral reaction.
And Megalobox did not disappoint. It’s absolutely gorgeous. A mix of luxurious, detailed animation with a certain classic flair to the designs. It reminded my of Bebop or Battle Angel Alita (Ashen Victor to be more precise), with a touch of borderlands (yes the game) or Mad Max thrown in. If any of that sounds good to you, go watch the first episode and tell me what you thought. I’m very excited for the rest of the season.
Now let’s see if I can completely ruin it by running it through a Disney filter… I’m usually better at making sappy, silly things into foreboding tales of woe so this will be quite a challenge.
There is an unfortunate prevailing misconception that Sports! anime is nothing more than cute boys doing cute things, with balls…. I personally challenge that notion and will happily go down defending my beloved genre any day of the week but it becomes hard to argue when faced with something like Megalobox. You know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. So what if J.D. and his friends happen to be very cute, there’s nothing wrong with that? Right?
As we are rolling into the second week of April here with snow on the ground and well below freezing temperatures in Montreal, it was a blissfully warming sight to have the episode open on what can only be described as an eternal summer. A radiant sun shining in a cloudless sky over a terrain that seemed to have never even seen a single snowflake, I was transported into a world that made me forget the very notion of winter for a second there. I have always enjoyed the perpetual summer afternoons of sports anime, where you could practice outdoor for hours without a care in the world.
It’s in this warm and serene atmosphere that we first meet Junk Dog or J.D. to his friends. A pretty standard sports protagonist as far as they go. Shorter than most and an ultimate underdog, he is driven by an unquenchable thirst to win despite having lost pretty much every fight he’s taken part in.
This being a Sports Anime, J.D. has of course no parents and apparently no other care or ambition other than boxing. As a twist, boxing in the Megalo Box universe, does involve bio-mechanic prosthetic, which add flashing colors and impossibly fast movements to fighing scenes, no unlike the latter seasons of Kuroko no Basuke.
Of course J.D. has a smart mouth, irreverent coach to bicker with and a group of local frenerivals..frivals? rivends?, to prove himself to but in his first match onscreen, he once again looses in the first round.
Trying to figure out what he should do from here, he accidentally runs into the pretty token girl of the show. I bet she’s going to become team manager at some point. It will probably take some finessing since there aren’t really any women in men’s boxing and it isn’t a team sport but I’m sure the show will figure something out.
For a second, I thought I saw some potential sparks flying but their meeting got cut short by obvious antagonist, and potential love rival, Yuri. Yuri is a boxing champion, towering both physically and metaphorically over J.D., he represents everything our hero longs for and seems to possess everything he wants. There initial rain soaked meeting is interrupted at its climax, in a hilariously anticlimactic scene after an overly intense slow motion build up. It’s obvious that J.D. and Yuri will have to face off at some point but they are in two completely different leagues. To add to the stereotypical jerky persona, it appears Yuri is also quite rich and unlikely to cross paths with J.D. on a daily basis.
But the faithed conformation takes place sooner than anyone would have guessed. During J.D.’s next fight, Yuri has unexpectedly taken the role of challenger. The episode ends before the start of the match but just in time to see the boys exchanging some begrudgingly respectful, and maybe just a little longing, looks.
I’m thinking either way, they will punch each others issues out and we can then settle in for a long season of really intense friendship for these two guys. I can’t wait!
Hmmm, I’m not sure I quite pulled it off here. It’s just the first episode so I haven t really hit my stride yet. Well I loved the episode so there’s no loss here. I hope you enjoyed it too.
I’ll be honest, screen caps were oddly challenging to compile for this episode. The animation is sumptuous but somehow I didn’t manage to capture the stills that puts it across. I’ll still share what I got in case you like some of them: