- Genre : Cyberpunk, Sports!, action, cool
- Studio: TMS Entertainment
As the season is winding down we’re getting some unbalanced weeks. For instance, Grancrest is over but I haven’t picked anything to replace it yet so you’re getting my Megalo Box episode review a little early this week. I’ll also be back a bit later in the day to give you my thoughts on this week’s Steins;Gate 0.
For the last time this season, let’s catch up with our two handsome young men, destined to meet up again to share a ring and the best moment of their lives.
It’s always impressive when a show can surprise you in the last-minute without completely upending its own narrative. Right from the get go there was something a bit different about this last episode, it felt more…mature(?).
Team nowhere, casually chatting and even goofing around in their change room before the big fight might look like same old same old but you could cut the tension with a knife. These were not the usual shenanigans, these were worried nervous people trying to distract themselves and put on a brave front. Gone were the petty bickering and friendly teasing. Gone was Joe’s bravado. No one was declaring a victor or planning the future. It was all down to the wire.
I’m usually oblivious to other people’s feelings. I knew exactly what Joe and Nanbu were going through. For a second I may have even felt those butterflies in my own stomach. This was it, the real deal, no going back now. And for some reason I was worried.
The bulk of the episode was dedicated to the dates match between Yuri and Joe. No big surprises here. Without the gears, the fight was less visually impressive than earlier ones from the series. It quickly deteriorated into a slug fest. However, the pacing and sentimentally manipulative (I use the term lovingly) interludes delivered quite the emotional punch.
I couldn’t help but wonder, now that gears were no longer a factor, if weight classes shouldn’t be taken into consideration again. I mean Yuri looks to be almost a foot taller than Joe. This can make for an almost insurmountable difference in the ring. Fortunately for our hero, my musings from last week turned out to be spot on and Yuri’s recovery from surgery had left him considerably weakened and fragile. I believe Joe would not have stood a chance otherwise.
One of the little touches I particularly enjoyed was how Nanbu kept putting his hand on the ring so that the feel of the vibrations could help him visualize the fight. This guy has really adapted to blindness quickly. Are we entirely sure it wasn’t a glass eye he gave the mobster guy in the first place.
The series had been heavily foreshadowing tragedy since the first episode. Considering that it’s been billed as the spiritual successor of Ashita no Joe, you cannot blame the audience for certain…expectations. After seeing Yukiko crying, I really thought they went the way of a fatal fight for a second there and I didn’t quite know how to feel about it. It was still gutsy, as those not familiar with the earlier anime would probably not have been prepared for such a blow. I was taking it in when I saw Nanbu cheerfully practicing his gym’s anniversary celebration speech.
That blindingly bright sunny afternoon, full of colors and cheerful face was such a contrast with the tension and grit of the episode so far that it took me a minute to adjust. Somehow seeing a serene and generally content looking Yuri in a wheelchair was the perfect conclusion. Tonally and emotionally, by far one of the best handled moments of the series, and as a finale tends to be particularly important, I would say it made up for a lot of the clumsier narrative turns through the season.
For a while, they didn’t show us Joe. Letting the audience wonder if he had moved on to better thing, forgetting his roots or whether the trauma of the fight had driven him to seek out a completely new path. Turns out it was neither, although it does seem he has given up boxing, at least for now.
The entire celebration was a pleasure to watch. A warm and gentle goodbye that made me remember the series with a sudden unexpected fondness. Even the kids playing with toy gears were adorable. However, it was that scene of Joe sitting on the floor and chatting with Yuri that truly stole my heart. All that unspoken meaning, the deep sense of bound and compassion that flowed out of the simple image.
So here we are, at the end of the road. Whatever else I may have said about this series, I can’t deny that in the final round, it was a clear knock out!
I got you all the screencaps this week. It was worth it!