Aragaki turned out to be a cool guy after all.
I got a bit more distracted than I would have liked after picking up some VNs to read in my free time. As you can see, my schedule and timings got pushed back but hopefully this won’t happen too frequently. Aragaki turned out to be a more likeable than I thought but the fight itself, while conveying a lot of emotion felt a bit lacking.
To fight continues after Joe finally gets up to face Aragaki again but only manages to stall Aragaki until the round ends. Nanbu approaches Joe to try and convince him to forfeit the fight after promising to find another match as quickly as they can to keep their momentum, but Joe and Sacchio refuses as Joe steps up for another round. Nanbu notices Joe finally utilizing the techniques he attempted to drill into him the day before the fight. Joe repeats the advice to himself, the same words Aragaki used to hear back in the day and he gets agitated and goes on the offensive. Joe is pushed back and Nanbu tries to give new advice on the fly but Joe dismisses it as it was Nanbu who said that tricks won’t work against Aragaki. Joe keeps up his footwork but doesn’t stop getting beaten down but it also doesn’t stop him from getting back up and getting more into Aragaki’s head. As another bloody round ends, Joe explains that while Aragaki said he would destroy him, he doesn’t feel that intent from his blows and simply states that nothing else really matters in the ring, both want to win.
Joe’s mutterings get to Aragaki and the latter lets out a powerful but whiffed blow, allowing Joe to land a clean hit across his opponent’s face, downing him to the ground. Aragaki pulls himself up and the combatants share a much more aggressive exchange of blows as another round comes to an end with both of them standing. Aragaki’s corner advises him that Joe is getting lucky and only persistence is getting him this far and Aragaki still has the power to knock him out and send him home. Aragaki gets wary of Joe’s ability to immediately see the gaps in his own attacks though. The 4th round begins and the two share yet another violent exchange of constant attacks until the bell rings, but this time, Aragaki addresses his coach to throw in the towel, leaving Joe as the victor. While Joe and Sacchio are surprised by the turn of events, Nanbu notices Aragaki being supported as he leaves the arena and later visits him where Aragaki’s legs have started to bleed. Even Aragaki’s coach had intended to pull Aragaki out of the match if he didn’t bring up his condition before the round’s end. Despite all his talk about wanting to destroy Joe, Aragaki admits that he had begin to lose focus after seeing Nanbu again. He recounts the words Nanbu said to him all those years ago and Aragaki finally declares that he has moved on from his regrets and problems, he can now finally experience “tomorrow”. Aragaki hands Nanbu the old dog-race ticket he gave him as a memento that ended up saving his life and tells him to relay to Joe that he believes in him to make it to Megalonia.
Later that day, Yukiko and the Megalonia board announce their third and penultimate contender for the Megalonia tournament, Glenn Burroughs. Much to his chagrin though, the announcers are more interested in who the last contender will be and Joe is brought up by name. Up on the roof, Yuri is told by one of his associates of Joe and he catches a glimpse of the match footage between Aragaki and Joe.
Despite the emotional weight of Aragaki’s burden to continue from his past, I felt that the fight itself didn’t feel as exciting because the sound effects weren’t really up there. If the realistic choice was that they were going with then I understand but I definitely felt like the excitement could have been amplified with the hits felt like they had some serious weight to it. That circling camera shot of Joe and Aragaki exchanging blows would have felt that much more impacting.