In the ancient city of Rome, boxing has become a popular sport among slave fighters forced into battle, with diligent training and a fierceness high amongst the fighters. Cestvs, a small 15 year-old fighter whose trainer was victorious many times and excellent at boxing, taught him the techniques he needs to win. After beating a friend at an impromptu request of the Emperor, Nero, he sees first-hand what happens to the loser—immediate death.
Cestvs is sent to the Coliseum in Rome with his other slave fighter friends, where they fight to survive. The only way to be free, according to the Emperor, is to win 100 fights—a great feat indeed, when your life is on the line during every fisticuff. He wins his first match, but is torn between having to win and seeing his opponent meet his end. He doesn’t have much time to think about it, as the Emperor, who is only two years old than him, is impressed by what he sees and desires to meet him. Shortly after, the next fight begins with what seems to be a potential rival to Cestvs, who is also the son of one of the guards of the Emperor.
My first reaction to this anime was not great, as it begins with poor 3D animation, though after that, it switches to a the more typical 2D style which was an improvement, but not by much. As someone who has visited Rome and thought it was one of the most beautiful places I’d been to, I was looking forward to see if this anime took advantage of the marvels of that city; sadly, it does not. The characters, also, need their backgrounds more fleshed out, as I couldn’t find myself connecting with them. In fact, at one point I thought the main character was going to be killed and wasn’t too bothered by it, since I knew nothing about him except his name. I don’t think I’ll be watching to see if he does survive, as the opening episode of CESTVS -The Roman Fighter- didn’t really do one thing to hold my attention.
CESTVS -The Roman Fighter- can be streamed through Crunchyroll.