This week’s episode of Megalo Box finally takes us into the ring with JD as he works his way up the Megalonia ranks with his unorthodox fighting style. You’ll be riding the highs and the lows with JD and the rest of the Team Nowhere crew as they attempt to perform one of the biggest coups in boxing history. Can they really make it to the top or is defeat just right around the corner? Lace up your boxing gloves and put on your game face as we take a look at this week’s nail-biting episode of Megalo Box!!
JD faces off against his first opponent, hothead Shark ‘Maneater’ Samejima, with a revolutionary gimmick that will take the rest of the boxing world by storm!
Scene Stills: After the opening theme, but before the episode properly begins, a scene still from the episode appears accompanied by an instrumental track. The image is only there for a few seconds, but since it happens every episode, it’s worth noting.
Blank Gaze: When JD is knocked out or losing consciousness, his eyes become noticeably blank, this is shown with series of vertical lines drawn through the irises.
A Part of the Action: Anyone that has ever experienced a knockout or at the very least had the wind knocked out of them will tell you that it is a surreal experience, to say the least. Your senses are either dulled or impaired and the world around you seems to be moving at a different rate from that of your own body and thoughts as you try to regain a grip on reality. Well, the animation team did a phenomenal job of mirroring that in this episode. When JD is knocked out by a particularly strong punch, everything is put through a filter, the sounds are muted and there’s a hazy overtone to the animation. There’s also a heavy usage of sharp angles and viewpoints as if we the audience are seeing things the way JD sees them, but, when he comes out of it, everything returns to normal.
Clip Show Montage: Rather than showing us all of JD’s early matches, every match after Samejima is relegated to a montage sequence. We get the cliffnotes version of his matches and the training that goes along with them, which I both like and dislike. The lengthy training arcs in Ashita no Joe really bogged down the story at times and added to the rather bulky first season. But, seeing those training episodes really did help keep me emotionally invested in the boxing matches when they did occur, because you experience everything it took for Joe to get to that point; the matches somehow seemed more real.
Themes & Trivia
Everyone has a gimmick: Nanbu knows that JD is going to have to work twice as hard as everyone else if he’s going to make a name for himself in the Megalonia Tournament, so he devises a plan that is sure to generate some buzz: gearless fighting.
West: In his first match, JD enters the ring from the west corner. Aside from being one of the four cardinal directions, many cultures associate the direction with religious piety, new beginnings, and freedom. Some associate the direction with the afterlife or the netherworld.
No precedence: There is no rule in the official IMA Megalo Box regulations that states that a boxer has to compete with gear. So, while JD’s decision to box without gear raises a lot of questions, it’s not technically against the rules.
KO/TKO: They are both combat sporting terms that mean Knockout (KO) and Technical Knockout (TKO). A KO is a fight-ending move in which one of the combatants is rendered unable to fight either because they are unconscious or they are unable to rise to their feet without assistance and continue to fight. On the other hand, a TKO is when a referee or other sporting official deems a combatant unable to finish a round regardless of whether or not the individual has been rendered unconscious. This can be due to an injury that severely compromises a fighter’s safety or if a fighter is KO’d three times in one round.
Saved by the Bell: JD, still reeling from his first knockout is seconds away from taking another direct hit from Samejima, when the signal is given for the end of the round. JD is quite literally saved by the bell.
I am loving some of the stylistic choices in this week’s episode!! This is a boxing anime, so it stands to reason that the boxing matches would be the focal point of the majority of these episodes, so you’d expect the animators to really go all out to capture just how intense these matches can be. From the beautiful animation and the fluidly choreographed movements of the boxers to the visual techniques and camera angles, they put a lot of effort into making the viewer feel like they are a part of the action. Which in turn gives the matches more weight, because you feel like you are experiencing them firsthand rather than as a casual observer.
I kind of saw JD’s ‘Gearless’ Joe gimmick coming a mile away, but I still found myself getting excited about the reveal during his match with Samejima. It’s definitely unnerving to see JD facing off against opponents with all of this high tech gear on, and while you know he’s going to win because anime logic dictates he will, they don’t make it easy for him. He takes some serious hits in that first match to the point that, for a few moments, I actually believed he could lose…
Becoming the Master of Fear
Episode 4 of Megalo Box offers yet another visual delight. The stakes are high and you really feel like every punch could be JD’s last. While this isn’t my beloved Joe, Megalo Box is quickly rising up the ranks to become one of my new favorite anime series! Don’t miss out on all the action, definitely check out this week’s episode and experience the gritty boxing world for yourself!
What do you guys think of this week’s episode of Megalo Box? Did it bring the heat or what? What do you think of his new ‘Gearless’ Joe gimmick? Will it hold up or will it blow up in his face? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of theSpring 2018 anime reviewson MANGA.TOKYO!