Post Reply Hajime no Ippo
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Posted 2/3/14 , edited 2/5/14
Written by Onymous

Stop whatever you are doing and watch this anime right now. Need convincing? Alright, read this first then watch it.

It continues the story of Makunouchi Ippo, a shy student who becomes interested in boxing. Having won the Japanese Featherweight Champion, Ippo has set his eyes on the world stage and a rematch with his rival Ichiro Miyata.

Hajime no Ippo is arguably the best sports manga ever created. Written and illustrated by George Morikawa, it has been faithfully adapted to anime by studio Madhouse. The subsequent series have each gotten better as the animation has improved to match the quality of Morikawa’s story.

The series has amazing depth, providing great insight into aspects of boxing which you just can’t get from watching the real thing. Watching the series educates you on all the elements that go into a match, from training, strategy, technique, mindset, even the chaotic elements that can sometimes decide a match. You learn that sometimes the difference between the winner and loser can come down to which boxer has more endurance or simply who wants victory hard enough to persevere.

Hajime no Ippo makes you appreciate a great number of things you have probably never given a thought to before. Watching the long periods of training the boxers of Kamogawa Gym endure lets you really see how much they suffer before a match even begins. The ingenious drills their mastermind coach devises to improve specific aspects of their performance are fascinating and infinitely more entertaining than anything a time chamber could offer.

But the series is by no means just a vehicle for technical boxing knowledge. The series has a massive cast of characters ranging from serious to comic, many of whom share a number of similarities with real boxing champions. Each opponent Ippo and his teammates face all feel like real people and there are very few villains among them. You learn what drives each boxer to win and come to sympathize with both sides. Often you have to question whether your favorite character has what it takes to defeat an opponent every bit as strong and motivated as them.

All of this plot and knowledge are masterfully woven into scenes and dialogue so that you don’t even notice how much information you are absorbing while taking everything in. The series is absolutely intense when it needs to be and hilarious the rest of the time. When you aren’t too busy appreciating what an evil genius coach Kamogawa is then you are probably either watching someone getting hit or Ippo enduring the antics of his supporting cast of characters. Morikawa is an expert at mixing in humor during the slower parts of the story and has an excellent mind for jokes and ridiculous situations so things never become stale.

The fights themselves are insane. The art in the manga was very good at conveying the force and movement of the boxers and the anime has kept true to this tradition. You can almost feel the blows landing on the screen. Morikawa is a master of taking you into the heads of the boxers so you can really sense what they are experiencing. A 3 minute round can seem to last an instant or it can feel like they have been trading punches for hours only to realize less than 30 seconds have passed. Each fight is unique and the variety of different boxing styles will make you shocked their are so many ways to approach punching another man until he falls down.

Morikawa really is a master storyteller. If you aren’t a fan of boxing before you watch this series then you will become one. If you already are then prepare for a story that really gets into the details of one of your favorite sports. Either way, if you enjoy anime then you can’t afford to miss this title.
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Posted 2/10/14
This review pretty much nails everything I love about this show. I had never heard of this series in either manga or anime until I started watching this and it blows me away on the quality of the story and animation.

I have literally held my breath during Makunouchi's fight before and had to remind myself to breath! If Crunchyroll ever gets the back episodes I will be marathon them to death!
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Posted 2/17/14 , edited 2/17/14
Awesome review. Really captures one of my favorite anime shows ever really well (also a real boxing nut :P) and i couldn't add more to it.

I have just one small question though for anyone that's able to answer it.

I never read the actual manga but seen the previous series, movie and ova. If i'd start to watch the new season of hajime do they skip anything major from the manga or is it a direct follow up after "new challenger" following the manga where that season stopped?

Thanks for any help guys.
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Posted 3/11/14
Hm, I think I'll check this out. I've been interested in trying a sports anime, but none have interested me.
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