First Impressions: Megalo Box

TWWK: Sometime in the future, boxing has entered a different realm; fighters now enhance their skill and strength with gear that makes the sport more vicious than ever. The best of these fighters will enter a tournament called “Megalonia” to discover who is the best boxer of all. Junk Dog, however, can’t even dream of it—he’s stuck throwing fights in backwater rings using pieced-together gear, but a fortuitous meeting with the woman behind Megalonia, and her champion, might change his path permanently.

Now this is the way to start a series. Right from the beginning, Megalo Box shows us it’s something different, or else that old is new again. Animated in a style that is reminiscent of Ashita no Joe, the series upon which this reenvisioning is based (Megalo Box is part of the 50th celebration of that franchise), the first episode is gritty and well-written. The throwback style to the animation is fun to look at, especially because it’s enhanced by modern techniques and a good budget: the beautiful strokes last a little longer and the scenes look a little clearer, while details fill the screen and the sound—oh man, the sound at times seems like it’s straight out of Blade Runner 2049. Like that movie, this one is a throwback that is trying to tell it’s own story and become a classic of its own, and it’s off to more than fighting start.

Dr Steve: Am I the only viewer who didn’t think this was the greatest anime episode ever? Don’t get me wrong, it was good, very good even. Still…

Maybe it’s a testimony to how weak some recent series have been that something that manages to climb above the average in the second half of the episode is making such waves. More likely, it’s simply that I don’t really get into sports anime. Yeah, that’s probably it. Nothing wrong with the genre, it just doesn’t speak to me the way it does to a lot of people.

Confession time: I stopped watching Yuri on Ice after the first episode: I was just bored.

Similarly, the initial minutes of Megalo Box (or MBox as I like to call it) had me checking my watch. It started kind of slow, though it did a decent job building the characters. Once Junk Dog crossed paths with Owner, however, I started to get interested. By the time Yuri stepped out on the rink, er, ring, it had my attention. And the final moments, with the very cool music crescendo, convinced me to come back for episode 2.

Megalo Box can be streamed on Crunchyroll.

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