- Genre : Cyberpunk, Sports!, action, cool
- Studio: TMS Entertainment
Just when I thought I was out…they drag me back into the BL speculation. If you don’t want us to get the wrong idea maybe don’t have Yuri break up with his girlfriend over Joe. Then get all warm and fuzzy with his ex’s brother in a secluded cabin in the woods (man and wilderness – the rules are different.). THEN get super painful backwoods surgery, put his entire career at risk, all to impress Joe. I’m not sure when the BL subplot stopped being imaginary but it’s front and center now!
So yeah…I basically summed up the Yuri side of the episode just for the sake of a questionable opening gag. I’m not sure why, but I’m a little proud…
The episode showed us the parallel lead ups to Megalonia from Yuri and Joe’s perspectives or rather from Yukiko’s and some short dude…whatever… Yuri has in fact cut ties with Shirato by choosing to remove his gear for the championship bout. Now I get the sentimental motivation of wanting to face a strong opponent on even footing, winning by your own might…blah blah blah… But this sounds just really dumb to me. Aside from the practical fact that Yuri has been practicing to fight with a gear for years now and will have to relearn a lot of things, regain instincts and balance now that his entire body composition is changed, effectively handicapping himself on a technical level. He is also undergoing major surgery (which apparently takes days to recover from but we’ll get back to it) just days before the fight, pretty much guaranteeing that he will be nowhere near top physical shape.
There’s a very common theme in anime about showing respect to your opponents by fighting with absolutely everything you’ve got. Yuri is basically slapping Joe in the face and after the later went through so much trouble to get to him.
Yuri’s own story is framed by Mikio and Yukiko as, the siblings watch over him and try to reassess the situation. They gave Mikio the full redemption treatment as we see him calm, kind, happy to help Yuri accomplish his own goals out of pure selflessness and patient and supportive to his sister. He even has a cool new anime good guy hairdo, which he is wearing very well I might add.
Yukiko on the other hand finally shows herself to be an interesting character, if only for a second. A strong willed but not particularly harsh or loud woman, who has not only successfully navigated a male dominated industry but retained both her pride and vulnerability. When Yukiko and Yuri part ways, there is no winner, no bad guy. They both have different visions and the show completely refrains from picking sides. The small flashback sequence showing us how the two first met was even tender.
Meanwhile, Joe is preparing in his own way. By training, rather than having risky surgery…pffth amateur! His part of the episode is much less involved and mostly serves to show us the Nanbu has Jedi mind trainer powers and can easily coach Joe on sound alone.
We also get a flashback scene to when Joe and Nanbu met which was considerably less interesting. We pretty much already knew the story. But it was hilariously cringy to hear Nanbu calling Joe nii-san.
One aspect that caught my attention but wasn’t directly addressed was the obvious withdrawal symptoms of Yuri’s recovery. It seems that removing a gear does some crazy things to your brain. Obviously the gears are somehow connected to the nervous system, we know that Mikio’s technology had an AI that interacted directly with his brain and Yuri’s gear is fully integrated and can’t easily be removed. However, I’m still not completely sure why they made it look as if he was weening himself off heroin. Are gears addictive? I’m not being cute – I mean it. Do they stimulate the release of neurochemicals like dopamine or adrenaline to help in fights? Will we see Yuri jonesing for a gear fix? There was something all serene about Mikio that was a touch reminiscent of a recovering addict.
I have a feeling we’ll never know. Odd side effects aside, I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this already, but this season seems to be heavily banking on Nostalgia. (I think Dawnstorm said something similar in my comments). I any case, there are a bevy of returning shows which really capitalize on their previous seasons, while Megalo Box clearly aims to capture some sort of vintage cool by hankering back to a previous era of anime.
It’s been quite successful at it for the most part, but they might have pushed it just a touch too far with this episode which seemed to feed on it’s own nostalgia. Not only is the show dripping with the sense of past, in visuals and voice acting, even splicing in regular musical montages (who does that anymore?) but the story structure itself is a little old fashioned. Plot elements hinge on characters having very strong and defined senses of Honor which play as slightly naive and outdated. Emphasis is given on conflict rather than character building or even action. Recalling times when animation was punishingly expensive and studios firmly believed audiences wouldn’t have the patience for simply watching a character evolve without some specific goal.
On top of that, this episode used it’s penultimate position to bring back a chorus line of characters we’ve seen through the season. As mentioned above, Mikio is back looking as if he’s been gone for years even though it’s been roughly a week. All the street urchins seem to have made their way back to team nowhere and even Aragaki and his coach show up to help out, because: why not? It really felt like an old sitcom. Not that I disliked it mind you. It was a bit cheesy but I still enjoyed the flashbacks and Yukiko’s character development was truly nice. As it stands, I would say our two fighters, Yuri and Joe, are now the two least developed named characters in the show and since the series proves that it *can* flesh out people, I’m going to have to assume this is a conscious decision.
It strikes me though, that with both Joe and Yuri fighting gearless, is it just going to be “Box” now?
Look at all these wonderful pictures. It was a great week for caps!