When a friend of mine told me about Hajime no Ippo and siad it is a good anime about boxing i avoided this anime simply because one thought ran through my mind. Can an anime that runs 76 episodes about boxing be of any worth? i have always been sceptict about sports animes but after watching Hajime no ippo followed by One outs, Overdrive and Major i have since then changed my mind about them. What i can say is that Hajime no Ippo is by no means a mindblower, but this was surprisingly enjoyable.
Our main protagonist is the high school student Ippo Makunouchi who is getting bullied in school quite often. One day Ippo finds out about boxing in one of the local gyms hes world turn upside down. Ippo now puts hes all into getting accepted to the gym. One could label this as inspiring while it is very straightforward and maybe even a little cliche. What i find fascinating is that Ippo did not start boxing to get revenge against the bullies at school, instead he did it just because he wanted to know what it meant to be “strong” and how he would feel about being strong. As the story progress we will se how Ippo will progress and how he is getting better each and every time he box, still he will seem quite unchanged with hes desire to be strong still there and is search for “strength” continues.
We will follow Ippo in hes matches and in the search for “strength”. Since this series is about boxing we are going to se some great boxing matches. because, What would any series about boxing be without any fighting? In Fighting Spirit you wont se any kind of unrealistic Kame Hame Ha blats, nor wont you se any explosions anywhere, instead you will just se a one VS one match packed with action where you the viewer will most likely end up cheering along as the match goes on. yes, Hajime no Ippo may not be perfectly realistic as a boxing anime, but i myself do not mind when a few second turn into a few minutes of extra action, you can forgive that as it wont turn a few minutes into several episodes instead.
As Fighting Spirit goes on and Ippos character developers you will notice how the other main characters slowly begin to interact which each other more and more, mostly in quite hilarious ways, the series will also give each of them their time in the spotlight to develop their character. Ippo is of course the main character of the show, but the time on the screen is split more equal for all the character the other shows do. There is also quite a few episodes in the show that is raw comedy while others are fillers that you most likely could skip.
The animation is is quite smooth, When there is a match the punches are animated in such a way that you can almost feel how much weight is behind them. I can not stop to wonder how much research they did about how boxers move when they are fighting to be able to animate this as the punches are simple jabs to the flashy knockout punches. Do not get mislead by the simple art style, this just give the animators more freedom.
As for the music used for this series i would say it is absolutely top notch. After i was done with the series i got myself the OST to listen to it myself. The opening and closing themes are really great to, mostly because they use parts oft the anime in the background during key fight sequences which gives a great feeling when watching the openings.
In conclusion, Hajime No Ippo shows us what we can do with our lives if we just put our mind to it. whether you like boxing or not you should take some time to watch this series since it’s really worth it and a great anime at that.