Posted by Lenlo on 16 June 2018 with categories: Finished Series: Action, Megalo Box

Incredible Megalo Box… Simply incredible. This week was perfect in every way but one, and at this point that one is easily overlooked. Let’s skip this preamble and jump right in!

Megalo Box had a lot going on this week as we see the culmination of a lot of characters big arcs. Starting off, lets go with Joes. The symbolism of his shoddy gear, which we only saw him wear back as Junk Dog, falling off through the fight was amazing. We saw that each time his gear fell off he took the lead in the fight, hitting Burroughs hard. It was a rather obvious, but still great, metaphor for Joe refusing to be/fighting back against “Junk Dog”. We saw that Joe didn’t want to throw this fight, but was content to stay “Junk Dog”. Atleast until Nanbu and Yuri/Sachio stepped in that is. What’s interesting to me is Yuri is Joe’s dividing line. Yuri is what separates Joe from Junk Dog, ever since their first fight which woke him up. I love everything about it.

 

Speaking of Yuri, before we get to the bigger stuff, let’s talk about him. Yuri’s role this week was motivation mostly, to remind Joe of his dreams and what Joe wants. And Yuri did it with style. Everything from the camera angle to the thunderous sound effect only enhanced his “entrance”. And I love that the security guards just backed away from Sachio when seeing him, really playing up how intimidating the Champ is. The other bit I quite enjoyed is how Yuri ended the episode. He stated before that his dog doesn’t do well with strangers, and when it was with Yuri it was very aggravated. I took this to symbolize Yuri was a “stranger”, he was like a different person after the match. How he was “off the leash”, seeing how Mikio also compared him to a stray dog like Joe. Just like Joe, I love it all.

Next up let’s head into Sachio, before heading into Nanbu’s big moment. Megalo Box completely surprised me here. I wasn’t expecting Sachio to  be more than a minor relief/audience surrogate character at the start. Here though we see he is so much more. Nanbu is battling with past mistakes, Joe with his identity, and Sachio with family. Early on we see him preparing flowers in Yukiko’s house, giving her some small character moments I enjoyed, and we see a flower taped to Joe’s ID. To me, this was the connection of Team Nowhere to Sachio’s old family. This showed me how he thinks of Team Nowhere at this point. So at the midpoint, when hes stalking off into the night and does is rap, which is simply fire, it’s a great character moment. He turns around, comes back, unable to abandon family. Megalo Box is now 3-for-3 with these.

Now for the big one, the emotional and narrative payoff of Fujimaki and Nanbu’s arc. My goodness was this amazing. When I said last week that Nanbu would “fall on his sword” to save Joe and Sachio, I didn’t think it would go like this. I am so happy that Nanbu’s mistakes from the past caught up with him, had actual costs to them. So often in anime there are no consequences for decisions characters make. So often some big fight will happen, or some character betrayal will happen, and then once the arc is over everything is reset. Characters forgive each other, Goku uses the Dragon Balls and revives Krillin, yada yada. Not so in Megalo Box. Fujimaki put it best when he said Nanbu wanted to see Joe in the ring more than anyone else, so taking his own remaining eye wasn’t something just anyone could do.

This didn’t just come out of nowhere either. Throughout the episode we see Fujimaki picking at the fish he is eating at the game. Almost every time we will see the Fish after/before a shot of Nanbu, clearly conflating the two. Early on we also see Nanbu throw out the cross he always kept in his car, setting up something bad for him later on. Its all good stuff. Based on our previous  time with Aragaki, it’s also nice to see how Nanbu isn’t just giving up on or running away from Joe. He is committed now. Such that, without Joe and Sachio, simply getting around/providing for himself are going to be difficult now. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to Nanbu, considering I don’t expect Joe to survive. Maybe Yukiko, who is becoming less characterless villain and more humanized character, could help? Who knows.

The only iffy part of Megalo Box this week was, as almost always, the fight. It was better than most fights so far, don’t get me wrong. Narratively it was great and the fact that it wasn’t ended in a single turnaround punch like other fights was a plus. The animation was also better in places, but really. Megalo Box continues to just feel… slow to me. It hangs in weird places. The angles are great, the cinematography is good. By most metrics the fights work. But to me they just feel sluggish half the time. Like the frame-count goes down or something. Its a minor gripe, as Megalo Box has improved with each fight and I expect Yuri vs Joe to be a joy to watch. But it really has lessened the value of some of these fights. If only minutely.

So all in all, Megalo Box fulfilled its hype from last week. I said before that last week was perhaps one of the best pre-finale hype episodes I have ever seen. Setting up all of its plot threads, getting all of them tied to this one fight. This thing was almost as much of a finale was Yuri vs Joe will be. This tied up one of the biggest plot threads, Nanbu and Fujimaki, and it wasn’t even the big ending! I love it. Megalo Box is probably my favorite anime of this season right now. Hero Academia is fighting for that spot with its current arc, and a lot of that is me being a big reader of its manga, but for originals/non-sequels? Megalo Box is leading by a large margin. And that includes Steins;Gate 0.

See you next week!

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