Here we are, so close to the end. The final episode is right around the corner! But, before we toss in the towel on Joe and his Megalonia dreams, there’s one more obstacle standing in his way! This episode will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, the stakes are high this time around and more than just the match is at stake. Team Nowhere is fighting for their lives in this week’s nail-biting episode of Megalo Box!
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Joe has a difficult decision to make: throw his match against Glen Burroughs or win and incur the wrath of Fujimaki. With the threat of death looming ever closer, Joe enters the ring alone!
Out of My Hands: In my Episode 3 review, I talked a bit about the ‘Dios aprieta pero no ahoga’ cross that Nanbu kept in his truck. The phrase carved into it roughly translates to ‘God squeezes, but does not drown’, a sentiment that reflects the dog-eat-dog lifestyle of Joe and the rest of the slum dwellers in the series. In a surprising turn, Nanbu throws the cross away at the start of the episode as he makes his way to Joe’s match flanked by Fujimaki’s thugs.
Rapping: Midway through the episode, Sachio, just randomly starts busting out some sick rhymes, without any setup or warning whatsoever. It looks like the director took a page out of the Red Garden book, and decided having characters randomly break into song was the best way to cram in another single for the soundtrack. Don’t get me wrong, the rapping wasn’t bad, just really, really, REALLY unexpected.
Foreshadowing: The still of the fish with a fork in its eye that starts off the episode is foreshadowing of the highest order. I mean, damn, there’s subtle and then there’s painfully ironic and that latter category is exactly where that still belongs.
Themes & Trivia
Irony: When Joe walks into the ring for his match against Burroughs he looks noticeably different than his other appearances… he’s wearing his gear!? In one of the biggest upsets of the series so far, Gearless Joe walks into the boxing ring in a full set of gear, much to the dismay of the crowd and Burroughs.
Americans: Right, so… the rest of the world seems to have a rather skewed view of what Americans are like and I am always in awe of just how cartoony they make us look in anime. Case in point, American boxer Glen Burroughs rides into the ring on a tricked out monster truck pickup, wearing an obnoxiously gaudy fur coat, flanked by what can only be described as two ‘Good Ol’ Boys’. The only things missing were a few American flags and a goddamn Bald Eagle sitting on his shoulder…
Grounding Yourself: Sachio asks Joe how he keeps calm before matches and Joe explains that he just grabs a hold of something, anything he can get his hands on to help keep him ‘in the present’. The technique Joe is describing is called grounding and involves a person using an object to help tether them to the present moment, either to avoid nerves, anxiety or to stave off a panic attack.
Hard Water: Fujimaki mentions that he prepared a fish by having it boiled in hard water. Hard water is water with a high mineral content due to the processing it goes through to prevent contamination. In some cases, hard water can be beneficial due to the high concentration of minerals.
Hamurabi’s Code: Ever heard the phrase ‘An eye for an eye’? Well, let’s just say Fujimaki is well versed in the retaliation laws of old. Each and every wrongdoing is met with a ‘fitting’ punishment.
I was starting to fall out of love with this series and then BAM this episode drops and I was out for the count! After that dismal fight between Joe and Mikio, I was looking for some high stakes and A Death March more than delivered, both in the ring and out. Outside the match, Nanbu and Sachio have to contend with Fujimaki and the consequences of Joe winning his match against Burroughs, while inside the ring, Joe is faced with the last obstacle standing in his way of facing Yuri… Everything hangs on this fight and you can feel the weight of it with each and every second of this episode’s runtime.
All or Nothing
Episode 11, A Death March offers the perfect setup for next week’s finale, wrapping up most of the external conflicts so that next week we can focus on what is important: the match between Yuri and Joe. It’s been a long road, and we’re almost at the home stretch. Can Joe defeat Yuri and win it all or is this the end of the road for our stray dog? Only time will tell and I don’t know about you guys, but, I’ll definitely be tuning in next week!