Sometimes a lie that goes on long enough eventually becomes true.
In the best case scenario, Nanbu finally sees clearly on what’s truly important. I wasn’t too keen on Sacchio’s scene this episode, and admittedly I wasn’t ever big on his character, but it was still a poignant decision that made Nanbu relinquish what Fujimaki hanged over him from the start of the series. All that remains is the final bout.
Sacchio runs off from Yukiko’s mansion to see the event, Nanbu prepares to instruct Joe until the point where Fujimaki orders the throw, and Joe stands alone in the ring. Burroughs makes his gaudy entrance first and Joe is instructed to enter next but to everybody’s surprise, he is utilizing the gear he used when he fought in the underground rings. The crowd and Sacchio are displeased with Gearless Joe’s decision but the fight goes underway nonetheless. Nanbu informs that Joe is to throw the match in the last minute of the third round. Nanbu’s instructions are fair and efficient but Joe ignores some of them as he struggles but survives Burrough’s onslaught. Fujimaki is almost impressed at how coach-like Nanbu sounds and even he notices that Joe is ignoring certain advice and getting hit back in the process.
Up on the VIP seats, Yuri notices something is off with Joe’s performance while on the outskirts of the arena, Sacchio does some quick mental pep work before he decides to return to the arena and cheer Joe on. As the 2nd round comes to a close, Joe’s gears starts breaking off and Nanbu reassures him that there’s only a couple minutes left before they’re free of debt to Fujimaki but the latter corrects Nanbu and explains that even after the big payout, the two of them will be in his debt until they die. The third round finally enters the window of opportunity for Joe and Sacchio’s return has Joe distracted for a split second before he is knocked out, almost in sync with Fujimaki’s plans. Sacchio yells for Joe to stand up again and even Yuri comes down to the floor to remind Joe what he said to him 3 months ago.
The voice to bring Joe back to his feet however is Nanbu himself and he finally admits and knows that Joe’s skills are nothing short of being true and that his future is waiting for him. As Nanbu fends himself off of Fujimaki’s goons, Joe is able to win back against his fight with Burroughs as the former’s gears break away from him. As Joe is crowned as the victor to face Yuri, he and Sacchio quickly rush up to Fujimaki’s VIP room where they find a bloody Nanbu clutching his face. Joe checks on his coach and demands to know if Fujimaki did this to him but Nanbu declares that he was the one who decided for himself and tore out his own remaining eye. Nanbu continues saying that if he’d rip his own damn heart out if it meant securing Joe’s future. Fujimaki remains silent before he tells them to leave and his associate asks if this is alright with him and Fujimaki states that there’s nothing left to take from a man who dreamed of seeing his fighter on the big stage willingly sacrifice his sight for it.