Megalo Box Episode 3 Review: Gear is Dead

We’re back with round 3 of Megalo Box and things are really starting to heat up! This week’s episode slowed things down a bit as we follow JD in the days leading up to his first official boxing match. But, don’t worry, there is plenty of intense action to get you your blood pumping!

Plot

With just a few days left before his first official boxing match, JD and Co. are hitting the grindstone with some intense last-minute training. But, when their training hits a bit of a snag, JD has to rely on some unlikely allies to make his Megalonia dreams a reality.

Episode Highlights

Not too distant future: The world of Megalo Box has a unique blend of modern and futuristic technology. On one hand, they have super high-tech boxing gear and training mechanisms, but they still have modern-looking cars and appliances. Just enough future tech to make the show interesting, but not enough to be outside of the scope of believability.

Animal Name Motif: Most of the boxers competing in the Megalonia Tournament have animal names, and I don’t mean names that translate to animal names, I mean legit animal names. There’s Shark, Hippopotamus, Boar, Leopard, and Seaotter, just to name a few. Some of the names correspond with the name of the fighter’s home gym, but that isn’t the case for all of them. However, I should note that the surnames are all pretty standard family names.

Callbacks to Joe: With JD entering the Megalonia Tournament, things are going to start picking up plot-wise, but before things get too serious, the series introduces us to a group of street kids. I wouldn’t bring this up, but this is just one of many callbacks to Ashita no Joe. One of the kids, Sachio, is even wearing a hat that looks eerily similar to the one Joe wore in the original series…

Fighter Stats Cards: When we are first introduced to JD’s first opponent, Shark ‘Maneater’ Samejima, it’s through a digital stats card, documenting his official matches, wins/losses, etc. It’s a cool way to introduce new fighters before their first real on-screen appearance and I really hope they keep it up.  

Last minute problem/solution: JD’s Gear goes up in flames the day before his match with Maneater; no gear means no fight. Enter Sachio and crew with a last minute solution to their problems!

Themes & Trivia

Started from the Bottom: On two fronts, first JD usually competes in unsanctioned underground boxing matches, quite literally the bottom of the barrel in terms of skills and distinction in the boxing world. Second, JD is ranked 257 out of 257 in the Megalonia Tournament. He is literally starting in last place, so he’s got of work to do if he’s going to face Yuri.

A New Rival: While Yuri is definitely the man to beat in the upcoming Megalonia Tournament, JD will have to work his way through a slew of tough boxers all vying for the number one spot. This episode, we get a look at the second best fighter in the tournament, Pepe Inglesias. The fight between Inglesias and Yuri is being billed as the title fight that will kick off the Megalonia Tournament.

Bomb shot/Boilermaker: While discussing JD’s future in the Megalonia Tournament, Nanbu drinks one of these. A Bomb Shot is a mixed alcoholic drink in which a shot glass of one drink is dropped into a larger glass of another. Given the size and look of Nanbu’s glass, it’s safe to say that he’s probably drinking a Boilermaker, a popular bomb shot that consists of a shot of whiskey dropped into a large glass of beer.

‘Dios aprieta pero no ahoga’: There’s an ornate cross hanging in Nanbu’s car with the Spanish saying, ‘dios aprieta pero no ahoga’ carved into it. The saying roughly translates to ‘God squeezes, but does not drown’. There are a number of English equivalents, the closest being, ‘God will not give you more than you can bear’. The whole thing is rather fitting given the premise of the show and JD’s circumstances.  

Viva Freedom: When Nanbu tries to chase off the street kids watching JD’s training, one of them shouts ‘Viva freedom’ This could be a reference to the 1946 Korean film of the same name. The film is notable for being the first film produced in Korea after the country became independent from Japan. Viva freedom roughly translates to ‘Hurrah freedom’.

David and Goliath: JD takes on Potemkin, an opponent that is not only bigger than he is but also armed with some impressive Gear, all while sporting no Gear of his own. It’s not the Gear that makes the match, but the fighter!

Comments

I love that this episode took the time to build on some of the more human elements of the story. Yes, this is a boxing anime so there are plenty of action scenes, but those mean nothing if the viewer doesn’t have a connection with the characters. It’s only been three episodes and yet I already feel an emotional connection with these characters. They all have their reasons for doing what they do and it’s all grounded in reality. Their needs, wants, and desires are all universal ones; the desire to prove one’s self, to win, to survive… these are all things most people watching the series have wanted at one point in their lives or another and that’s what makes for a really great underdog story.

It’s not the gear that decides who wins

The last five minutes of this week’s episode will have you on the edge of your seat! I am continually blown away by this series, not just because I’m a fan of the original Ashita no Joe anime, but because Megalo Box is a phenomenal anime series in its own right!

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: Let’s Dance With Death

Megalo Box

Spring 2018 | Anime Info | Simulcast

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