- Genre : Cyberpunk, Sports!, action, cool
- Studio: TMS Entertainment
Last episode ended on possibly the best cliffhanger we’ve seen from Megalo box (I’ve been hanging off cliffs all season…) and I was genuinely curious to see what Joe would do. He’s still essentially a brick, by that I mean a narrative foundation with no significant character arc, but the rough outline of a personality that has been established is that he’s headstrong and his relationship with Nanbu is largely practical. It wouldn’t be farfetched for Joe to ignore Nanbu at this point. I’m not even sure the two ever got to discuss what was a stake. This could be interesting.
I may not have made myself entirely clear last week. I believe Nanbu’s character to be riddled with what we’d ordinarily consider flaws but that doesn’t mean I dislike the character in any way. I quite like him in fact and that is probably in part *because* of those flaws. He flies in the face of the sassy old father figure trainer archetype that crowd the genre. This is why I didn’t necessarily want him to get a clear redemption arc as he was much more unusual when a bit shady.
So this episode was Nanbu’s redemption arc…
It wasn’t bad. Right from the opening scene we focus on a solitary Nanbu in his car. He’s being watched by the mob so he can’t escape minutes before the start of the match and he hasn’t heard anything from Joe since the young man stormed out. We get little in the way of dialogue here but something about Nambu’s demeanor already tells us he’s a changed man. A calm faith in his partner coupled with a resignation to his faith seems to have steeled his resolve. I may be seeing things but he looked almost noble, guys.
Then for some reason we got dead air for a while and the lead up to the fight. I probably missed it, but it appears Joe decided to put on a gear again. I’m not sure where he got it. A questionable move since he hasn’t been training with a gear for some time and it muddies his brand. It did however capture the crowd’s attention.
The fight proper wasn’t bad, however it wasn’t all that exciting to look at. It cut back and forth between Nanbu and Joe, with occasional glimpses at Yuri, and no one else. The tension was in seeing if Joe would throw the match or not rather than in the boxing itself. So the dramatic focus wasn’t on the ring but in the spectator box where Nanbu was essentially being held hostage to ensure the fix would go down.
How you all liking my ‘50s shyster terminology?
Fujumaki is a pretty effective villain. The stoic “it’s just business” type of antagonist that contrasts well with the fierier personalities in the cast. Ultimately, everything happens as you would expect it too. Joe has seemingly decided to take the fall after all but his opponent is in fact quite strong so it’s not as if victory would have been assured in any case and when he does go down, it’s due to a very real punch that caused real damage. In fact, the only thing that got Joe back up is hearing the voice of his beloved rival Yuri from the side of the ring combined with Nanbu’s selfless appeal to keep on fighting, and nothing else.
Thank fully a few words of encouragement are way more powerful than concussions and Joe was able to easily get up and quickly finish up his opponent with a K.O., no less. A few minutes of basking in the limelight all by himself and longing glance toward Yuri, was all Joe needed to get his energy back up and quickly go to Nanbu’s rescue.
I guess possibly spoilers but I’ve been describing the episode blow by blow so if you’re still here…
I thought for a second, they might have killed Nanbu and as sad as that would have been it would also have been a powerful statement, giving Joe a unquestionable dramatic motive to keep fighting and having the plot take responsibility for it’s narrative.
They hadn’t. Turns out Nanbu had gouged his remaining eye out himself with a butter knife… It’s implied, we didn’t actually see it. I may have laughed a little. Stoic mobster dude thought it was a boss move so they’re all even now it seems. Cause guts! Don’t get me wrong, as far as gestures go, it was pretty epic and all but Fujumaki, dude, you have a business to run. You can’t just forgive debts left and right because you think someone’s cool. This is gonna set a bad precedent for your enterprise.
So Joe is finally going to face Yuri again but his now blind trainer is going to have a tough time advising him from the ropes. And there’s No One Else that can do it. No One… I have a very very bad feeling about who’s going to be helping Joe….
I have a few more pics. I still have no clue if you guys like these…