Posted by psgels on 1 July 2009 with categories: Anime Reviews

When I first learned about Hajime no Ippo, I wasn’t that eager to check it out. Heck, I had no interest in sports, and it’s one of those shows that has a premise that you just can’t explain without making it sound like some sort of Dragonball Z knock-off:

“So yeah this show is about a guy and he trains to become a boxer and then they fight and he gets beaten and beaten and then he manages to find his inner strength to win from his opponents!!1!1!1″.

It’s true that this show is formulaic, but it’s also SO INCREDIBLY ADDICTIVE. The sheer intensity of the boxing matches is nearly unrivalled, and the only way you can really get an idea of how incredibly good this show is is by watching it yourself. This series knows exactly how to pull the right strings during the boxing matches, and even though most boxing matches take up multiple episodes, they just keep you glued to the screen and only make you want more.

New Challenger forms an excellent introduction to the franchise for those who find the 75 episodes of the first season a bit too much of a commitment. It’s an excellent standalone series to watch. I myself watched nothing of the first series and yet I was perfectly able to follow it; some of the references to the first season that it made were perfectly explained for those new to the franchise, and the characters were already strong enough to carry the show on their own.

What’s also interesting about this new season is that while you might expect this show to be mostly about the titular Makunouchi Ippo, it’s actually one of those series that doesn’t have a clear main character. Instead, we get a bunch of arcs that each focus on a different character, and Ippo only plays the central role in one of them (that arc, by the way, also was arguably the weakest of the bunch; the thing with Ippo is that he’s by no means a bad character, but he is one of the least interesting members of the cast). Especially the Brian Hawk-arc was absolutely epic.

So yeah, Hajime no Ippo stands out in its simplicity; for every arc you know exactly what you’re going to get: an incredibly intense boxing match with sympathetic and strong characters and awesome graphics. And it never gets old. It’s the perfect series for if you want to blow off some steam.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 9/10
Setting: 8/10

29 Responses

  1. Julian says:

    I know it’s INCREDIBLY addictive!!! I for one didn’t also liked the premise but then I watched season 1 and I was like…ok yeah let’s watch 10 more episodes!! It’s so epic in a weird way…

  2. tisb0b says:

    So they’ve finally managed to animate just under half of the manga up to around the chapter 400 mark and its currently up to chapter 858 and still kicking. I’m hoping they continue to animate this awesome series as some of the best fights are yet to come.

  3. Howling-kun says:

    psgels, you’ll probably enjoy the first season more since due to being longer, it is more focused on Ippo and his character development, at the same time allowing other characters to have major fights, specially some side-characters who haven’t nearly shown up in the second season and a greater exploring of the show’s setting. Also it is of general opinion this season’s soundtrack did poorly next to the first’s, it is too Death Note-ish.
    That aside, I’m able to say NC was as good as S1, but everyone should definetly watch it to see what the hype is really about, why it stands as the best sports anime ever.

  4. headachebaby says:


    You have to watch season 1 to say that Ippo’s character is not weak. This season focused more on other characters rather than Ippo. This anime is truly addictive and I went back and rewatch season 1 several times. No anime has been like that for me. If I rewatch it and still enjoy every episode, then it’s my #1 anime. This anime is enjoyable and it keeps you laughing and on the edge of your seat when you’re watching Ippo fight. I say take some time and enjoy season 1…you’ll love it.

  5. Julian says:

    Agreed with headachebaby, though the S2 gives summaries about S1, that doesn’t really show how much Ippo has evolved from S1 to S2. though S1’s story is mainly about Ippo (and his rival).

  6. doed says:

    There is imo no other anime that has such detailed explanations about its own theme and character development. Granted you have to watch s1 to fully understand that. #1 anime for me too.

  7. Thank you very much for the review of Hajime no Ippo. :)

  8. headachebaby says:

    Well, I posted my 1st comment before I finished watching episode 26 and now I’ve got to say that it’s not over yet. The magna is still going on and episode 26 is just starting Ippo’s new training. Damn…can’t wait for another season and watch Ippo fight Miyata. Miyata was Ippo’s 1st opponent and the rivalry between them hasn’t stop.

    I was SO HAPPY they created a second season after the first season ended YEARS ago. I hope MADHOUSE doesn’t wait for YEARS to make a 3rd season. It’s crazy how other animes that shouldn’t be coming out with new seasons still come out…it’s like “please end it already.”

    Hajime no Ippo is a GREAT ANIME and you don’t have to be a sports or boxing fan to enjoy it. I hope that the creators feel they owe it to the fans to continue what they have started…really, it’s a great anime and worth continuing.

  9. ajay says:

    hey guys i just finished the last episode of new challenger and wanted to know if thats the end or they gonna have another season…..i really hope so this anime is tooo good

    p.s. if anyone know if there i s gonna be another season please email me

  10. edward says:

    i got interested in this anime about a week ago after reading your review on the series. but i dont like watching sequels cause i like starting from the begining.

    so i watched the first series to see what it was like and was suprised. i havent seen a anime this good in a long time. i have finished all 76 eps and am on ep 9 of NC. and i feel its much better watching NC as a continuance. so to anyone interested in checking this series out i sugest starting from the begining. both series are staggering good and ths fights are incredible. my only complaint is the music. the music in the first series especially the music that starts when ippo makes a nockout is incredible. the music in NC isnt quite as good. apart from that both series are excellent.

    the series has alot of heart and spirit with fully fleshed out characters. and watching NC after having seen the first series is so much beter cause of the nowledge and backstory of the first series makes the stories and fights in NC all the more epic and emotional. def a series id recomend to anyone.

  11. I’ve been waiting for already 2 weeks for that episode to be launched… from the beginning of hajime no ippo until this latest series. It is very very entertaining. Much more than that of Hayden Kho, Katrina Halili, and Maricar Reyes.

  12. Robbie says:

    nice review, I don’t want to add anything as this anime is just epic, absolutely love it, has anybody got any news on new challenger episode 27 being released? i went away on holiday for 2 week just after ep 26 was released and expected there to be two more available when i got back….but the usual site i use is only up to episode 26!!! any help please?

  13. gibbitup says:

    Reply to Robbie. I think that episode was the final episode for the season. I couldn’t find the episode either and I just checked a site that put Hajime no Ippo new challenger as final episode, so i’m guessing it was the last for the season. Plus if you read some of the other comments they all say that their hoping for a new season so i’m pretty sure

  14. k3rtz says:

    the 2nd season took like 3-4 years to be released.. i watch the 1st season while i was still 13-14 yrs old so i really hope they make the 3rd one in a flash cause my HUNGER for HNI is still unsatisfied!!

  15. pudding says:

    One of the voice actors of Hajime no Ippo confirmed that a 3rd season would definitly be comming and was already planned.

    And not only is the anime really good, the manga’s really nice aswell.

  16. - says:

    i wan to noe when is the 3rd season coming out

  17. David says:

    I feel that you gave this anime a fair review. I personally think its a 10/10 myself. The hard thing about this anime is finding actual English based sites that are just for the anime. the only one i’ve found so far is Hajime No Ippo Episodes

  18. Fannar Cray says:

    i have to disagree with the review and say this shows are 10 OUT of 10. Myself im from iceland and have watch’d these show’s for quite the time now 3 time’s 1’rst season and 2 time’s the 2’ond season. I cant wait for the 3’rd season and would be delighted to know when it comes out.

    I train Kick Box & Muay Thai, BJJ and though i dont train boxing these shows are such an insperation to me. So i talked to the guys that train with me i was a little bit scared at first to tell them hey guys im watching anime because okey some off em are a little round on the edge’s and well some just to cool, but they gave it a shot and fucking loved them and just couldn’t stop talking about them to me and asking me about more and i gave them NC and they loved that to espcially Takamura vs. Brian Hawk and the hard working training and wheight control.

    i know my english itsnt the best and my spelling english :$ but anyways thanks for everything Fannar Thor

  19. Cariño brutal says:

    best anime! Did became a boxer coz of this show hahaha!

  20. dan says:

    I mean, saying Ippo’s arc wasnt that the best makes sense since he doesnt really continue on the storyline from the first season immediatelly. I would really suggest watching the first season, at least his introduction to boxing. It has the most epic fights in the whole series.

  21. ZeroAnime says:

    Why does such good anime end like this? It’s just like school rumble! I want to watch more of it. I mean of ippo and of school rumble. I WANT TO SEE MORE OF THIS ANIME!

  22. Sasuke 34 says:

    Hajime no Ippo is incredibly addictive!!! and the suspence keeps me at the edge of my seat!, but I do think the show revolves around Ippo and the people he meets

  23. Sasuke 34 says:

    reply to Robbie.I looked it up and I think it should come out on July 27 but I’m not to sure but I’ll keep looking

  24. Sasuke 34 says:

    reply to Robbie.I looked it up and I think it should come out on July 27 but I’m not to sure so I’ll keep looking

  25. steven says:

    i love the that there are no fillers the first season show came out 10 years ago then nc came out i just hate fillers:(

  26. steven says:

    nc it came out a few mouths ago to me filers kill animes i rather have animes do what the anime is doing

  27. steven says:

    there should be new ep coming out in july im hoping

  28. StunnaOnFlyRims says:

    Around the 23-25th episodes it just gets sorta comical.

    Before the fights were reasonably drawn out but the last one is just… insanely stupid. This fight completely broke away from practicality with Takamura. I can see being knocked out 2 or 3 times but this just disappointed me with how dramatically unrealistic it was. Dehydrated, underweight, sleep deprived, knocked out several times, after going for 3 rounds further then his limit AFTER taking at least 2 rounds of straight devastating hits. Im sorry but this is a shame.

    Spoiler End

    The rest of the series is pretty good though. would be 90/100 except for that one part. Not to mention the animation style changed and its more carton-like. Over all I would say miles above any current 2011 anime but honestly 85% when put together with the amazing 1st season.

  29. kakashi7 says:

    This anime is amazing not just for the story line and great ut value but what makes it so great is the charecter developement. Ippo has to be one of the most dynamic characters of any anime hes not a total boyscout like goku or rediculously over convident screaming “Beleive it ” like naruto, he the average socially awkward teen aged nice kid that everyone picks on, who wishes he had the strength to pretect his self or atleast talk to the girl he likes ( i know his charecter is not completely beleivable like how he can be so nice to the same people that who treated him like crap but even that shows how strong be is because anyone whos ever lived knows it takes alot of strength to forgive). But thats what makes the show so addictive seeing not only his skills evovle but him as a person from a challenger to a champion carving out his destiny with his own fist and holding on to the beleive that maybe we could do the same…. MAN I CAN’T WAIT FOR THIS NEW SEASON! :)

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  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:43 PM)
    Anyway seriously though, I’d say it does actually make sense in context xD Since none of monsters are actually that threatening.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:42 PM)
    .-. I have no words, mainly because whenever anyone uses word “Realism” in context of video game, I want to say rude words xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:40 PM)
    I think he gave it a passing glance and felt it wasn’t his thing, I remember he also felt that he thought the idea of sparing the monsters wasn’t believable or realistic given that he felt if you were realistically placed in that situation yourself, the real thing to do would be to fight back out of fear.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:37 PM)
    Did he actually play the game though? I mean, did he actually discover it himself or did he just heard the spoilers?
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:35 PM)
    I had a talk with a friend about undertale and he wasn’t a fan, he prefers other types of rpgs, the choice element also made him uncomfortable and that he felt the game was too punishing.
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:34 PM)
    @Kaiser: Puzzle elements, outside of sparing everyone, seem to be mainly just parodying video game puzzles. Like, only place where you actually have to solve actual puzzles is in Hotland, before that pretty much every puzzle is automatically solved, really easy or has some silly twist to it. Like the puzzle you can skip by pressing a switch in tree trunk. Can’t say I’m too fond of puzzles either, but I liked how game was making fun of them
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    Speaking of awful sense of humor and things that dorks like, just wanted to say that turns out I was right about Jitsu wa watashi wa in that main couple does get together before chapter 100(forgot what exactly, some where in 80-90 range I think). But they are such huge dorks that they do everything ridiculously slowly because they are that embarrassed, so they have had like just one date(in chapter 100). Not that I expect anyone to remember what the heck I’m talking about xD
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:32 PM)
    The battle system grew on me a bit, but I didn’t like the puzzle elements it offered, the actual gameplay looked kind of dull also. Some of the characters were likeable enough, Papyrus, Asogore, the flower guy being my favourite though the plot didn’t really get interesting until the end.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:27 PM)
    I think any emotional response from undertale for melargely came from that it gave me this great sense of nostalgia bomb, but I’m okay with that totes =)
  • Masky
    (Thursday, Nov 26. 2015 07:27 PM)
    And as a dork, I can say its to me personally funniest crap I have played in long time because it appeals to my sense of humor so well that I realized things about my sense of humor that I hadn’t noticed before while playing the game <_< I mean, its really darn silly game, even with the emotional moments.

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