Megalo Box Episode 2 Review: The Man Only Dies Once

We’re back with Round 2 of Megalo Box. This week, we pick up right where we were left off, with the underground bout between Megalonia Champion Yuri and slumdog JD. With their reputations on the line, who will wind up on top? Grab your ringside seat and let’s dive into this week’s nail-biting episode of Megalo Box!

Plot

Yuri and JD face off in the ring only for JD to get his ass handed to him, but the loss sparks a desire to compete in the Megalonia Tournament and face Yuri on his turf. When JD takes matters into his own hands, he is given the opportunity of a lifetime: compete in the Megalonia or die trying!

Episode Highlights

Sparks Fly: Whenever the Megalo Box gear hits up against each other during matches, electric sparks fly because of the friction of metal on metal, but it also a really cool visual manifestation of the fighter’s will…

Opening Theme: It’s Episode 2, so we get to see the opening theme for the first time in series! It definitely has some Wolf’s Rain vibes with all the dog/wolf imagery, but, with a grungier, much darker feel.

Dramatic Eyes: Ashita no Joe had a lot of dramatic eye close up shots, so I was definitely waiting to see a few here, and finally, Megalo Box delivered!!

Blood: It wouldn’t be a fighting anime without a little blood. However, the blood seems to have a flair for the dramatic: blood that waits until after a dramatic speech to fall, slowly trailing blood trails that seem to float gently through the air like tears… It’s clear someone decided to take notes from Studio Ghibli on the physics of bodily fluids…

Background Details: If you guys remember from my previous reviews, especially the Kekkai Sensen reviews, I am a sucker for background details. They are often overlooked, but they are little details that really help bring the world of an anime to life. There are quite a few in Megalo Box, namely the graffiti. When watching casually is easy to miss most of it, but upon a second or even third viewing, you can spot some rather plot-relevant graffiti in the background of some key scenes. Is it clever foreshadowing? Only time will tell.

Themes & Trivia

I can beat you with one arm tied behind my back: OP boxer Yuri decides to throw our protagonist a bone, by giving him a handicap during their first match: he’ll only use his left hand to fight.

Joe v. Riikishi: This first match between JD and Yuri is almost a play by play recreation of the prison match between Joe and Riikishi in Ashita no Joe, except with mecha limb enhancers.

Free Advertising: The Yuri v. Joe underground match, while serious for both combatants, was definitely little more than a publicity stunt to help promote the Megalonia Tournament for the promoters. They get to show off their prizefighter, Yuri, and get people excited for the tournament. Win-win.

Shadow Boxing: A technique used in combat sports in which fighters spar with imaginary combatants as a means of training their muscles for an actual opponent. JD does this after his match with Yuri.

Dog on a Leash: Unlike JD, Yuri is very much beholden to the whims of the Shirato Corporation. He is their prized dog they have been grooming to show off their new tech. While he is well taken care of, he isn’t given the same freedom as most people. There are a handful of scenes with Yuri staring longingly out into the distance, usually through glass. He can’t do anything without first notifying Yukiko, who he refers to as Owner.

Comments

There were two scenes that stood out to me this episode that I just have to talk about. The first is a scene where JD is looking up at an illuminated billboard with ‘It’s a wonderful District life./Not for your average joe.’ and then the focus shifts to JD and you can see the billboard reflected in his goggles. Specifically, the words ‘average joe’ and then JD turns away and the scene transitions. It’s a short scene, but it had so much weight to it. On one hand, it feels like another subtle nod to Joe and this kind of changing of the guard feel that has been prevalent in the series so far, but on the other hand, it’s very telling of where JD is as a character at this point in the story. Sure, he’s a big dog in the underground ring, but when compared with fighters like Yuri, he’s just a no-name joe from the slums just scraping by…

The second scene involves Yuri looking out of the windows of his luxury condo, only for his dog to start whining to be let out, and like dogs do, the minute the door is open the dog flies out the door into the yard. Yuri steps out too and there’s this moment where he just stands there, the wind blowing in his hair, and you realize he’s like that dog. Yeah, he’s this hotshot boxer, the pride and joy of the Shirato Company, but he’s also their property. It’s a gilded cage, but at the end of the day, a cage is still a cage.

Also, I had a full blown fangirl fit when JD chose his new name! LIKE YAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!!

Not Your Average Joe

Episode 2 definitely brought the heat. The cogs are starting to turn and the pieces are all in place. All that’s left is for the game to begin. This week’s episode definitely packs a punch fleshing out characters and laying the foundation for what’s to come. There are still quite a few Joe references and callbacks woven throughout, but with just enough of a twist to make this a refreshingly new anime experience!

What do you guys think of this week’s episode of Megalo Box? Did it bring the heat or what? Will JD be able to take on Yuri again at Megalonia? Let us know in the comment section! And don’t forget to check the rest of the Spring 2018 anime reviews on MANGA.TOKYO!

NEXT TIME: Gear is Dead

Megalo Box

Spring 2018 | Anime Info

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