Review will be broken down like so : Art Story Characters Overall Enjoyment Story 10/10 The story is rather straightforward it starts off with Makunouchi Ippo getting bullied and is saved by Takamura Mamoru a pro boxer. This is how he gets introduced to boxing. Ippo is deeply inspired by Mike Tyson after Takamura let him watch some of his fights. Ippo then wants to take up boxing to become stronger as a person. This is the start of his journey as a boxer. We see Ippo meet his rival or more accurately his idol and is inspired by Miyatas near flawless technique and wants to work harder to be as strong as him and fight him in a pro match. We also meet Coach Kamogawa who takes an interest in Ippo and trains him personally which other boxers do not get the opportunity of. So thats my rough summary on the plot what i love about ippo is how deeply nuanced it is mixed in with a wonderful cast of characters and a well executed journey of boxing. What separates Ippo from most sports anime is : school. I believe that High School sports are great it brings relatability to the viewers and allows us to experience school sports that we may never have. But there lies the problem it is centered around schools so fixed tournament bracket types studying and grades are prevalent in most of these shows. It becomes a problem when you watch a bunch of these sports anime as their tournament style risks and consequences are inherently similar. But with Ippo boxing takes place outside of school so we dont have to go through that obligatory studying cause im failing in school cause i care more about my cocurricular activities even though im a genius episode. It becomes tiring and underwhelming. With Ippo we see him grow in boxing prowess without being hindered by school responsibilities. The stakes in Ippo are also higher as not only does he get beaten physically he fights with opponents internationally and is much tougher than him. Bringing me to my next point. I love how international Ippo goes it feels much more real as we see WBC WBA IBC IBF get featured heavily in Ippo which genuinely enhances the immersion of the manga. It also ups the stakes as being a world champion vs a high school national champion are two completely different realms of existence. Morikawasensei also expertly brings the realism of boxing into the manga while making it entertaining by taking artistic liberties and hyperboles. We learn with Ippo how boxing is done. What i feel is overlooked about Ippo is the fact that many will think its just two guys just throwing fists theres nothing different about boxers This is where they are wrong. Morikasensei expertly displays to us different kinds of boxers. The two main categories being an InFighter and OutBoxer and many subcategories between the two. This brings out a lot of different fighters and possibilities in the ring. Every fight brings a different atmosphere and stakes in a fight due to stylistic differences. After 1299 chapters of Hajime no Ippo you would expect me to already be sick of reading fights over and over again. But this is not the case. Morikawasensei is able to reel in real world boxing problems like getting punchdrunk severe headtrauma fist problems and superficial problems of never being able to have a match against someone. It feels so real its the same as watching boxing in real life. I watch a lot of boxing and I can confirm that what ippo brings to the table is very real and genuine. Hajime no Ippo embodies what Coach Kamogawa once told him Anything can happen in boxing Art 10/10 The art in Hajime no Ippo is severely under appreciated. Its not popular in how pretty it looks because its not standard anime/manga art style. Its uniquely Morikawas style and it separates itself apart from most typical anime/manga. It also suits the sport it represents rough and gritty. It definitely gets the job done and is a stand out in art style. If you were to see a panel of Hajime no Ippo beside other mangas it would stick out like a sore thumb from how different it looks and pleasing to see something special. I adore how Morikawa panels action sequences. It is simple clean and you see the motion without getting too confused with flashy panels or crazy cuts in angles which can be disorienting in most action manga. A good example is the two panels below read right to left for the panels character faces blurred out so no spoilers 49 49 The simple horizontal panelling that goes for two pages and rarely changes in size keeps the reader focused on the action and not get distracted by unnecessary things. The white backdrop is also a beautiful addition in keeping the reader focused to the two fighters. No exposition throughout this exchange between fighters and it really shows how actual boxing matches feel like no voices all action until the last second. Morikawa excels at getting his art to speak for themselves. Another thing he excels at is in showing the speed motion and strength of every fighter which can be seen below : 45 49 You can really feel the weight of every action the characters in Ippo does.The rough look of the characters and punches make them feel so strong and powerful. A small note on Ippos comedic art style it never fails to get me to chuckle and the troll faces are the best ive seen thus far with Slam Dunk coming in at a close second.Just look at this : 49 44 Overall the art for Ippo is exceptional. Characters 10/10 Characters in Ippo are well written and are endearing to us the readers. The protagonist Makunouchi Ippo is a kind respectful kid who embodies what a Japanese hero is like. Hes not the brightest but you appreciate how passionate he is for the sport of boxing and training for it. Like i mentioned earlier fighters all have different styles in boxing with some even overlapping one another and/or mixing with other styles. Take my favourite fighter Takeshi Tiger of Naniwa Sendo hes loud straightforward brash and values strength. He displays these 4 skills exceptionally well in fights loud and brash being how explosive and erratic his style of boxing is. Straightforward in a sense that hes an infighter and goes manoamano up close and personal with his opponents. He values strength to put this as simply as possible he punches like a truck 1 got smash and theyre out. Not only does it bring new styles of characters and personality. We see how past experiences of Ippos opponents translate into their style. Take for example Ryuhei The Dragon Sawamura he grew up abused and did some pretty messed up things as a child. He grew up bitter and hungry for violence and when he got introduced to boxing he fought his opponents not to win but to mercilessly destroy them to the point of disqualifications. See how his childhood his messed up upbringing affected his style. Not only him but many others. Some other examples are Malcolm The Magician Gedo a boxer who fixes fights for money Alexander Red Wolf Volg Zangief a Russian boxer who supports his mother all by himself in japan hence the Red Wolf = Lone Wolf. Every reader can find themselves in most characters not as a fighter but as a person. Everyone is able to relate to the ensemble of characters Hajime no Ippo has. This brings a lot of depth to all the characters and you get emotionally invested and feel happy when they win and upset when they lose. Overall Thoughts 10/10 and Miscellaneous Things Ive never enjoyed a manga as much as Hajime no Ippo one of the best sports manga to date. I have yet to finish Ashita no Joe another boxing manga im looking forward to. Hajime no Ippo is definitely a must read sports manga and is the One Piece of sports manga scene. Art: 10/10 Story: 10/10 Characters: 10/10 Overall Enjoyment: 10/10
100 /100
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