(76 episodes, + 50ish episodes’ worth of sequels and specials)
What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a sports manga that started publishing in 1989 and is still running.
Ippo, our protagonist. This shy and downright wimpy high school student always gets bullied, and it’s getting worse. The paradox is that he’s actually quite strong, due to helping out all the time at his mother’s fishing shop (and doing the heavy lifting of shipping equipment).
His (single) mother would rather he spend more time socializing and having some actual teenage hobbies, but it’s hard to tell him no when he’s so earnest in helping running the struggling shop.
Takamura is some dude who rescues him after yet another attack by bullies, and gives him some first aid. As it turns out, he’s debuting as a pro boxer, and impresses Ippo enough for him to take Takamura as a role model. Now, the guy is a bit wary about this kid aiming for a career in a brutal sport he has the wrong personality for, and makes sure to give him all the proper warnings. Ippo is undeterred.
Good enough for this kind of thing. The source material shows its age a bit, as half the cast (including Takamura) rock “bad boy” pompadours.
Also, this isn’t a show that papers over the violence inherent to boxing ; blood will be drawn several times an episode.
Well, it’s a sports show that doesn’t really deviate from the usual formula. You know the drill. What it does have going for it is strong characters (I was especially impressed by how well-rounded Takamura was), and the acute sense that Ippo comes from a working-class background.
… On the other hand, I don’t really care for boxing (especially as this looks like a mostly realistic take on the sport), and long-running sports series aren’t something I’m looking forward to marathoning. This is a show that does everything right, but I don’t find it compelling enough to keep watching it.