R E V I E W – A N I M E
Mahdi Daiyan Sadol
MegaloBox is back after three years with a second season. After the tremendous success of season 1, fans really looked forward to the continuation of the story of our fearless protagonist Gearless Joe. There are a load of aspects about this particular anime to rant about. This anime is a magnificent feat that has the most futuristic sci-fi elements in recent times, a great story, well-written characters, and realistic character interactions. But what will really catch your attention in this sports drama is its usage of typical sports anime tropes. Though the creators have used all the generic tropes seen in the sports anime genre, the sheer brilliance in application of these tropes make this anime a hit. So without any further ado, let’s cut to the chase.
*Spoiler Warning. Proceed at your own risk*
Main character dragged into extreme sports
The main character is an exchange student at his new school. Before coming here, he has had to deal with a lot of things and did not particularly support this move, resulting in him being gloomy and sad all day. Suddenly comes the supporting character, an eccentric teen of his class, and, as an extrovert sports lover, he ‘adopts’ the main character and drags him into the world of extreme sports in which his other classmates are not interested. And, out of nowhere, the main character starts showing extraordinary skill at that sport.
This trope has been used a lot to set up the central characters and their involvement with the sport in focus. However, in MegaloBox, Joe was already deeply involved in megalo boxing—basically boxing with special gears on—in the past, fighting in matches regularly and throwing away fights for money.
He is into the sport to begin with and this pre-involvement gives the plot a deeper appearance. It sets up a dark undertone, helping the anime to take on a serious mood and getting the viewers engrossed. Quite a realistic approach with a solid base for Joe. Unique one indeed.
Main character chooses sports for redemption
One day, while walking around aimlessly, the main character’s eyes catch upon a bunch of disposable characters playing a certain game. His life flashes before his eyes, and he connects the solution to his miseries to the bright side of that sport. Thus, he chooses to pursue that sport throughout the entire series.
Kinda gives off Hinata vibes, right? It’s fine if you don’t agree. Speaking about Joe, like I said before, he was engrossed with megalo boxing from before. He had to throw away matches to earn money for himself and his mentor Nanbu Gansaku. Being connected with megalo boxing for a long time and being a great boxer with true talent for the sport, he absolutely hated fixing the matches and always asked for a proper fight.
This is what he wants to do at the beginning of the story. Joe seeks redemption as he struggles between making a living and pursuing his love for megalo boxing. Yes, playing a proper match with a worthy opponent is his idea of redemption. Having a ‘redemption’ part is attractive for the viewers as seeing the protagonist fulfill their inner wish is always a treat to watch. More serious the redemption, the greater the enjoyment.
Villain turned into friend and comic element
In the main character’s first ever involvement with the sport, he faces off against the villain. The villain is a regular terror in the arena, and he goes out of regulation to win the game. He is a big bully and is very proud of his way of winning, deeming every other player as an insect. The main character goes against him, and, with astonishing ability (which is out of nowhere), beats the villain. In the end, the defeated villain joins the main character and co., being his friend till the end. As a crushed egoist, he brings a comic element to the plot and entertains us with his ways.
Keeping Tsukishima-Yamaguchi and Shadow (SK8: The Infinity) aside, we have Yuri. Searching for his redemption, Joe bumps into Yukio Shirato, the regulator of megalo boxing, and world champion Yuri. Observing Joe’s hunger, Yuri challenges and defeats him single handedly (literally he beats Joe using one hand). The story of the first season circles around Joe going to Megalonia and facing off against Yuri again. Joe’s way of fighting (without a gear) intrigues Yuri and he is filled with utter admiration for him. Keeping the results of 1st Megalonia Final a secret, I can say Yuri indeed does become a friend of Joe’s in the long run. Not only Yuri, other strong characters also become Joe’s friends. However, I assure you there is no ‘power of friendship’ involved in this wonderful anime.
MegaloBox goes down the road of making the comic component into a serious one. It is symmetrical to the dark theme of the anime and important for Joe’s (as well as Yuri’s) self-salvation. Although it reduces the scope for a bit of innocent laughter, it is notable for the themes it takes. The first rivalry does not go away in vain but heats up the series till the end.
Main character miraculously wins every single match
After surprisingly beating the villain, the main character goes on to beat every single opponent he faces. It does not matter how strong, skilled, and experienced they are, they fail to cause any trouble to the main character’s winning streak. Until? Yes, until the ‘feared-like-god’ final boss enters to satisfy the main character’s hunger for a worthy opponent.
*Intense our-battle-will-be-legendary noises*
I would be lying if I said Joe does not win every single match. Yes, he does, and, moreover, he achieves that without using a gear. But the thing is, the creators did not pull any punches. Joe really is the luminary opponent of many super villains’ dreams because he has a natural talent for footwork and reflexes which is required for megalo boxing. Also, he trains hard under Nanbu Gansaku who was a reputed trainer once. This duo makes up a major component of the plot. These two and their chemistry make things possible which were once impossible.
Commoner achieving something great is highly overused as every group of anime fans is a sucker for it because a large number of fans can relate to this type of dream. MegaloBox is no different. Though it uses this skin, Gearless Joe’s winning streak is backed with such proper facts that viewers are left with no choice but to cheer him on.
Corporate politics and sci-fi
The main character faces huge corruption in the sport that he chooses. A lot of rigging and money is involved, and his super villain is also an important figure in this. Now he not only has to fight the super villain but also save his favourite sport.
There is rigging involved in Megalobox but it is only in small-scale countryside fighting arenas to make quick money and rob off unaware spectators in bidding. The opposite situation exists in the official megalo boxing. Still inner corporate politics affect the plot, and many characters get involved. However, corporate giants in MegaloBox are not there just for the sake of a villain figure. They are there as the governing body and source of sponsorship—something that is very important for any sport. The corporate element and all the characters in it add a lot to the plot. They have their own reasons, and, by the end, you really can’t hate them. Sometimes these corporations even lead to something good happening. They develop boxing gears to begin with! Amidst all the negative aura from ‘anime governing bodies’, MegaloBox gives you a fresh view in this regard.
Subsisting corporate battle is nothing new but the futuristic setup of MegaloBox adds more flair to it. Being a sci-fi, this setting adds many hardships for our characters which is important for plot progression and character development. The addition of mechanical gears brings a high adrenaline action sequence which is a brilliant move from the creators. Also, this being the norm and Joe fighting without the gear adds interesting elements. It is worth mentioning that MegaloBox is not set in a very distant future. There are no drastic changes. Technological advancement and usage of gears in sports are in use. Thus, it can be said that MegaloBox is one of the most futuristic sci-fi anime. We can easily grasp the world and feel what is happening there.
Looking for a sport anime to enjoy but tired of the overused tropes? MegaloBox is definitely for you. It is trope-y, but you won’t be bored. It’s an enjoyable trope-y anime! MegaloBox is available to binge on the official YouTube channel of Ani-One. So, what are you waiting for?