Posted by Lenlo on 5 June 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Megalo Box

Hello again everyone and welcome to another (2) week(s) of Megalo Box! First off, apologies for missing last week. Was a bit hectic. Still, means we can cover the rest of the Mikio arc in a single post! Smaller victories! Lets jump in.

To start off, Megalo Box continues to stand out. The rough lineart, the style in every scene and the narrative are lovely. Mikio’s build up, backstory and motivations all made me enjoy him as a character. He was a complete toss-pot of a person, terrible dude, but as a villain I enjoyed him. I am a little annoyed that they are playing up his “pride”, a good loser, at the end with his respect towards Joe however. It just doesn’t fit his character to me. This man was willing to blackmail his opponent, run with AI Gear and inject himself with what can only be drugs all to steal the family company from his sister. These are not the actions of a “good man” and I hope Megalo Box doesn’t attempt to redeem him. Not all characters need to be “likeable”, and we already have Aragaki for this role.

Speaking of our side characters, lets take a moment for them. The whole mini-plot with Mikio/Yuri/Yukiko was great. It really forced Yukiko to “support” Joe, and get her involved with the rest of our cast. I especially enjoyed her screen time with Nanbu. Neither of them like each other, so they both resort to blackmail and threats. In particular, Yukiko refusing to do anything unless Nanbu outted Joe was great. We know Mikio actually use Joe’s lack of citizenship against him, but based on her actions so far, I don’t think Yukiko would be above it either. Would be interesting to see her try to blackmail Joe to avoid a Yuri fight, then watch Yuri turn against her. Afterall its clear they have more in-common with each other than their own particular groups. Even Mikio calls Yuri a stray dog, just like Joe.

However as much as I love the Joe/Yuri dynamic, their relationship after only meeting 3 times, I can’t help but worry for the final fight. So far Megalo Box has been run by the “Rule of Cool”, with fights like Samejima and Mikio both getting turned around in a single blow. Both being plagued with continuous sub par animation, with flashes of brilliance such as Aragaki’s rotating shot or Joe’s slow rise against Mikio. Part of me hopes they are “saving” their time, their budget, for a 2 episode epic finale of Yuri and Joe, but until it actually happens the doubt will be there. Animation isn’t the end all be all of a fight, narrative and direction both matter and Megalo Box does both very well. But what elevates a fight above its peers is a blend of all three, which is why Hajime no Ippo’s “Takamura vs Bryan Hawk” is one of the best fights across all of anime for me.

Animation aside, there are some other complications for Joe and Yuri’s fight. Namely, the mobster Fujimaki. Based on how episode 9 ended it looks like they want something. I suspect they want Joe to throw his next fight. You might ask, why not have him throw the fight against Yuri if they want to make money, but the answer is simple. Against Yuri, the undisputed champion of the world, the odds for Joe will be terrible. They won’t make much money. But against anyone else, Joe will have amazing odds. If he throws that fight Fujimaki stands to make a lot of money. Im curious how they plan to get around this one. If they don’t throw, they get outed. Yukiko would’t save them and the mob can just kill them. The only thing that can really save them is their community, which we have seen loves Joe.

So last thing worth mention, Mikio and metaphors? Im not entirely sure where Megalo Box wanted Mikio to go. Episode 9 had some allusions to performance enhancing drugs, with the literal drugs and his AI gear which shouldn’t be legal. But at the same time we see Mikio constantly working hard. Training with his Gear, working late into the night to prove himself. Its like Megalo Box was straddling the line between unrepentant villain and disillusioned hero who went to far. Personally I prefer the former, as we already have the latter in Aragaki, who I enjoyed seeing watching Joes match. I simply don’t believe every character needs to be redeemable. But I am rambling at this point, trying to make up for last time last week. Lets finish up.

All in all, I continue to love Megalo Box. Its because I love it that I nitpick, because as I have said before I want it to be better. The biggest thing I can praise it for is the natural introduction of new problems for our main cast. Seriously, Mikio was a great antagonist, and now that we are onto our next fight with no time to build up this boxer with a credible side story, what does it do? Megalo Box instead opts to use an existing character to make the fight interesting, that being Fujimaki. Its really clever, since the man was already a tenuous ally at best, and hes not one Joe can just punch in the face. I can’t wait to see where Megalo Box goes from here.

 

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