Let me start by saying, it’s mind blowing to me that I just got around to watching Megalobox, especially considering it was released over two years ago in 2018. If you were to ask me what my ideal sports anime is, a boxing series set in the future where fighters wear a metal exoskeleton to enhance their speed and strength would be it.

On top of it all, I’m a real sucker for an underdog story, and while this is common-place in anime, Megalobox does it in a way that makes it stand out from the pack. Needless to say, my initial impressions of the series already had my expectations high, and after completing it, I’m happy to report that it did not disappoint with its first season.

Since the time of writing this post, Megalobox, Season 2 released in the Spring of 2021.

Megalobox Background

If the premise of Megalobox sounds familiar, it's probably because the anime is the 50th anniversary adaptation of the manga classic Ashita no Joe by Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba.Ashita no Joe first released as a manga in the 60's and it was adapted into an anime in the 60's as well that was directed by Osamu Dezaki (Dororo (1969), Astro Boy) and animated by Mushi Production (Dororo (1969), Astro Boy).

In 2018, it was adapted into an anime again with animation by TMS Entertainment (Dr. Stone, ReLIFE, Fruits Basket). They did a phenomenal job with the animation and the dynamics and motion of the fights are fluid and fun to watch, so I couldn't commend them more for the work they did onMegalobox.

Megalobox Review

Right out of the gate, I was drawn to Megalobox’s grungy aesthetic. The animation is masterfully done and it serves as a great throwback to the classic that came before it. It's 2018 release also features a similar style to other anime I love like Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Akira.

Its premise and effortless style alone isn’t what makes this series unique. The “secret sauce” is its main character JNK.DOG a.k.a “Gearless” Joe, dynamic soundtrack, and overall “cool factor”.

The story starts out in the slums where “stray dog” Joe is fighting in fixed underground matches thanks to his manager Gansaku Nanbu. Hearing the news of the Shirato Group’s upcoming Megalonia tournament, Joe grows increasingly tired of never getting the chance to show off in a real fight. His life quickly begins to change one night after almost crashing his motorcycle into Yukiko Shirato and coming toe to toe with the current Megalonia Champion, Yuri. 

After a brief exchange of words, Joe gets under Yuri’s skin so much so that he shows up to fight him in the ring. Obviously outmatched, Joe loses early on. Barely making it to his feet after, Joe demands a rematch (no one saw that coming). But, in order to fight him again he will have to meet Yuri in his ring and the only way to do that is by climbing the Megalonia rankings from the very bottom to become one of the top four fighters.

What unfolds next on Joe’s journey is pure entertainment. This series had me on the edge of my seat in every episode. It’s a show that I would recommend to fans of anime, and even to those who aren’t, with confidence. It has so much going for it with its likable main character, throwback art style, and killer soundtrack. I, for one, can’t wait for season two's release in 2021 and hope you take the time to check it out!

I would absolutely recommend not sleeping on Megalobox a second longer. Even if you aren't a fan of series centered around sports, I still think this is the one you should give a chance; However, if you aren't enjoying it by the third episode, this anime probably isn't for you.

Where to Watch Megalobox

Megalobox is currently streaming on Netflix (Season 1 only), Hulu (Seasons 1 and 2), Crunchyroll (Seasons 1 and 2). It's actually one of the best anime that's streaming on Netflix right now!

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