Megalo Box- Episode 4: The Climb

Joe’s first fight makes quite a wave for himself by improvising his lack of a gear as a selling point.  A rather bold move for a rather dangerous sport where even grazes makes cuts across faces. Joe is up for the first sanctioned fight in his career and it’s up in the air if his experience and mettle of throwing matches will come to be enough where he won’t be doing anything of the sort.

The results of the fight are pretty amazing though.

Nanbu decides to utilize the fact that all of Joe’s available gears are out of commission to sell his persona harder in his first fight. Going under the name “Gearless Joe”, Joe is put up against the Shark with no gear to speak off and only with his fists. The crowd is none too pleased with Joe making a mockery of the game but their interest is piqued when the match begins and Joe is able to dodge a couple shots and land a few clean hits. Joe is eventually forced to block a punch with both his hands and with the power of a gear backing Samejima, Joe is knocked down. Nanbu yells at him to get up and Joe is utterly stunned after the blow, unable to properly process anything around him. He gets back up before the timer gets him and the round ends with Joe back on his feet.

All of Nanbu’s advice and tips go through Joe’s ear and out the other as the next round almost sees a repeat of the first. Joe is pinned down and Samejima’s infamous brutality almost has the latter risk being disqualified and disenfranchised forever and Joe is let off from a vicious beatdown. Once again, Joe returns to his corner to hear some advice that he protests that he already knows and some mishaps caused by Nanbu and Sacchio builds up the tension where Joe yell back at Nanbu where the two get into an argument. Sacchio is the one to break the two’s arguments up and accuses Nanbu for constantly storming over Joe with information while Joe isn’t heeding any of it.

With some mutual understanding now forged, Nanbu actually gives advice and calms Joe down and helps him admit that he’s fearful and anxious to all hell about the fight. Nanbu reassures Joe that this reflex is completely natural but Joe will need to overcome it and remember his training and be mindful of his opponent at all times. Joe returns to the ring with his fear ever so slightly mastered and a plan of attack firmly in his mind. He escapes the corner from Samejime and as the latter rushes in to pursue him, Joe turns the momentum against him and goes for a strike instead of fleeing. Samejima is knocked out and Joe wins the favor of the crowd and this launches his fame skyhigh as he manages to rocket through the ranking list jumping from the bottom ranks of 257 all the way up to 102 in a span of a few matches. The trio christen their little boat/gym before Nanbu goes off to arrange another match with contact he has with the association. The contact promises Nanbu that he has arranged a match between his sponsored fighter and Joe, with the former’s current ranking being 17th. Nanbu is overjoyed to get someone so close to the top and the sponsor says that his fighter was the one who requested a match between him and Joe. The fighter in question steps up from behind Nanbu and the latter’s worried reaction suggests that he’s someone he knows.

This certainly subverted my expectations.

Not so much in the way of the actual fight but the speed in which Joe climbed his ass out of the bottom. From Rank 257 to 102 in a span of a couple fights where Joe’s innate talents and conquering his fear allowed him to jump multiple ranks above the fodder. From Nanbu’s words an episode ago, I thought we were going to get three more big fights after this one but considering that we have so many episodes to cover those before the end, I can understand why. I guess the real meat of the series would lie within the Top 100 ranked fights instead of the other half’s outliers. The episode’s ending does bring up some interesting implications as the man in question seems to be someone who Nanbu coached a long time ago. Aside from those, the animation quality was kept decently enough aside from Joe’s rather elongated pose when trying to dodge a couple hits here and there but the rest I have no complaints about, hopefully it stays that way, or better yet, we get more dynamic and smoother fights.

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