Posted by Lenlo on 14 May 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Megalo Box

Alright, Megalo Box was a series of highs and lows this week and I don’t want to waste time with a preamble. So this week, lets speed things up and just jump in!

To start off, the big showpiece of this week is the Aragaki vs Joe fight. We will get to its place in the story, its result and all that later. For now the elephant in the room is the quality of the fight and booooy, is that a mixed bag. To start off, the good. The music was, as always, good. It gave each round its own distinct feel. The final 30 seconds was also phenomenal. The rotating camera shot as Aragaki and Joe just hammer each other… Ive rewatched it more times than I can count. The weight, the rhythm, everything from the first two episodes is there in spades. This single shot managed to keep me excited for Megalo Box’s finale. Sadly, this shot was, animation wise, the only thing it had going for it.

Outside that 30 second clip, most of this fight was just… weightless. Maybe I am expecting to much, but the first thing I always compare Megalo Box to is Hajime no Ippo. And the key difference between the two comes down to, I think, camera angles. Megalo Box often has neutral angles, or zoomed out shots, so our fighters punches come off as limp and unaffecting. In Hajime no Ippo however the camera often follows the punches, or is over a characters shoulder clearly favoring them. Add jet engines for sound effects and every punch in Ippo hits like a freight train. For Megalo Box, just watch Joe’s first real hit on Aragaki’s chin. Everything from the sound to the animation is limp, just a light ‘pat’. I want more of the final 30 seconds and first 2 episodes, and less of these limp games of patty cake.

Now my rant on animation aside, there are some interesting narrative bits in here. The big one I noticed is that, I don’t think Aragaki was fighting with Gear. We saw when the backplate on his gear was switched out, nothing was in there. It’s possible the battery is in the plate that got swapped out, but if so I don’t see the point of the camera shot. I hope he was fighting without gear as narratively it makes it more exciting and it also gives Joe good reason to be able to stand up again and again. Knowing what we do about Aragaki and his plan for this to be his last fight, it also makes sense from his end. The only real question it leaves me with is, what is the point of the gear?

Seriously, at this point, what is the point of Gear? Joe doesn’t use it, and there’s no discernible difference in his punches. Boxers already have the strength to kill a man, so the Gear was hardly necessary to the fights ante. At this point Gear is nothing but a gimmick for Megalo Box. I understand that having Joe fight without Gear compared to Yuri’s cutting edge tech is an extension on the “Underdog” trope. The “come up from nothing” character. But it doesn’t actually do anything for the story. Joe was already an underdog, Yuri was already on a leash. The Gear didn’t enhance or change that. If Gear actually meant anything then, without it, Joe has no chance of beating Yuri. And he can’t use it without undoing his “Gearless Joe” image. If Megalo Box want’s Joe to beat Yuri, its painted itself into a corner.

Speaking of Yuri, we have 2 big opponents to go before we get to him. Those being Mikio and Burroughs, in that order. Mikio is clearly a friend, or some kind of student/admirer of Yuri. Like he wants to be Yuri’s rival and hates that Joe is taking that spot. Add to that his cryptic comments and Mikio is clearly Joes final opponent before Megalonia. Hopefully we get more time with him before the fight. The other new character, Burroughs, is most likely Joes opponent in Megalonia. The other we only got a brief TV glimpse of, and Burroughs has a lot more personality. With his announcement ceremony being ruined by Joe’s fight results, and his design being so unique, Joe will clearly be fighting him. Personally I am looking forward to his fight, as his heavyweight style ensures a unique fight compared to everything else.

So all in all, an episode of highs and lows. We know what’s going to happen now, we know what fights are coming and the basic narrative for each. The entire story for the 2nd half of Megalo Box is basically laid out. The only real question at this point are the fights themselves. Will they be good? Will they be like Shark Samejima and the first half of Aragaki’s? Or will they be like the first two episodes and the final 30 seconds of Aragaki’s? The answer’s to these questions will decide the final fate of Megalo Box. I hate to base a series off of its fights like this, but as a Boxing focused sports series, I feel its justified. I just hope I don’t have to keep referencing Hajime no Ippo to make my points.

But tell me what you think. Where do you think Megalo Box is heading? Make sure to let me know, and i’ll see you next week for another episode of Megalo Box!

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