Well, that about says it, doesn’t it? Yes, to celebrate the…well, no occasion really, just to celebrate, we will be taking a week to look at the long running manga and anime classic, Hajime no Ippo.
“But Hachi, you divine morsel you, what exactly is Hajime no Ippo?” Good question! Hajime no Ippo is a boxing manga created by Joji Morikawa back in 1989, and is still running today. And…that’s it. No bells, no whistles. It’s a boxing story, about boxers and the boxing they do. There is naught a magical girl or a energy beam to be found, and no one will be killing anyone’s family member in revenge for a past slight, or seeking to save the world. It simply chronicles the adventures of one Makunouchi Ippo, as he endeavors to improve himself through the path of boxing, and to find out for himself what true strength is.
Well, of course, there are the occasional techniques and training montages that strain credulity, at best. And the characters are as broad and eccentric as any manga you’ll ever find. But that is all the surface dressing to what is easily one of the best stories, and particularly one of the best anime, you will ever find.
Hajime no Ippo is a triumph of great storytelling, great character development, amazing humor and heart, and of course, amazing fights. However, it is…well, not terribly well-known here in the states. Oh, it has a fanbase, of course. A small, fiercely dedicated one at that, and I and several of my friends count ourselves in said circle. But ask any ten anime fans about it, and you’ll be lucky to find one or two who know what the hell you are talking about.
Which is a shame. Almost without exception, this is anime at its finest. Not its most bombastic, or its most over-the-top. But just…finest. Doing what anime should do; tell a story in a compelling, fun and occasionally gonzo way.
So, to wit, this week will be to educate you. There will be articles galore! Lists! General discussion! And reviews of both the anime series’ that have come out based on the show! It’ll be a good time, and if I do my job, you’ll be poised to get into one of the best stories in the art form.
We begin tomorrow! Bring your gloves…
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