I’m digging it. So far, the anime strikes the exact sort of tone that I was hoping for. The art direction is actually pretty fun and interesting to look at. It’s just too bad that the picture quality almost looks too low-res. Backgrounds can look a little too blurry at times. Anyways, what’s megalo boxing, you ask? Well, in this alternate universe, man has taken the combat sport of boxing even further with the assistance of technology. Upon entering the ring, every fighter dons their Gear, a sort of mechanical exoskeleton for their upper torso that allows them to throw their punches with even deadlier force. Of course, referees will scan your equipment beforehand to make sure that everything that enters the ring is totally kosher. Nevertheless, it would appear at first glance that technology has only served to exacerbate the differences between the haves and the have-nots.
One of the many reasons why we’re so enthralled by sporting competitions is because we like to put our faith in hard work and perseverance. Look, it’s just a fact of life that some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. It’s not fair, but life ain’t fair. In sports, however, we like to think that the playing field has been leveled. We like to think that anyone can make it to the top with enough smarts, work ethic, and grit. Even Lebron James, an athletic freak in his own right, didn’t start winning championships until he joined a superteam. You need to actually earn your victories. Well, megalo boxing kinda ruins that dream, doesn’t it? Some guys can just afford better equipment, and as a result, they have a distinct advantage. Pure skill isn’t enough… or is it?
Our hero goes by Junk Dog, his ring name. Does he have a real name? Probably, but he’s not divulging it anytime soon. ‘Cause why bother? In this dog-eat-dog world, you have the haves and have-nots. Our boy Junk Dog is definitely one of the have-nots, which means he doesn’t even have the privilege of calling himself a citizen. As a result, he ekes out a meager existence as an underground megalo boxer. He doesn’t have the best equipment by any means, but he more than makes up for it with his natural instinct for the sport. In fact, he’s too good. And when so much money is on the line, you know shady, underhanded stuff will be carried out behind closed doors. Neither Junk Dog nor his promoter can earn enough money just by fighting honorably. Our hero hates it, but sometimes, he has to throw matches.
Still, a person’s pride can only take so many hits. Junk Dog’s promoter thinks his boy will never quit because this is easy money, but it sure doesn’t look very easy from here. After yet another humiliating “defeat,” Junk Dog takes out his frustration by going on a dangerous joy ride. We now know why he had wrecked his bike at the start of the episode. Our hero is currently trapped in a self-destructive cycle. To make money, he throws matches. To quell his anger, he rides his bike recklessly. Rinse and repeat. How much longer can he live like this? Does he want to be a worm for the rest of his life? Or will he at least try to fight back against this brutish existence? Well, everything changed when he nearly runs over Yukiko, the CEO of the powerful Shirato Group.
Following in her grandfather’s footsteps, Yukiko wants to turn the bloody, sadistic sport of megalo boxing into something legitimate. As a result, she’s gone and organized Megalonia, a massive tournament to crown a world champion. She’s even constructing a massive stadium to make a worldwide spectacle out of it. But of course, Yukiko intends for her guy to win. Fighting under her company’s name is none other than Yuri, a megalo boxing champion himself. Well, when Junk Dog nearly runs into the woman, she tries to reimburse him for the crash. Thanks to his pride, however, he rejects her offering. Instead, he insults Megalonia, calling it nothing more than a brawl. This rankles Yuri, so we get our first hype moment of the story. Two men staring each other down in the rain. The tension is so high strung that the raindrops freeze in midair as the thumping soundtrack slowly reaches a crescendo. Unfortunately, Yukiko calls Yuri back.
But the next day, just when Junk Dog is asked by his promoter to throw yet another match, he sees a familiar face enter the ring. Yuri also comes equipped with the best that technology has to offer. Whereas Junk Dog’s Gear is stiff and industrial-like in appearance, his opponent’s gear is sleek and futuristic. It’s the haves versus the have-nots. And usually, the haves will come out on top. Nevertheless, this is Junk Dog’s perfect chance to stand up for himself. Even if Junk Dog loses — and he more than likely will — he’ll still turn heads if he can put up a respectable performance especially when you consider the huge disparity between their Gear. No more throwing matches. No more acting. No more humiliation. If he’s not going to take his life serious now, then when will he? Besides, there’s no turning back. He lost that chance when he insulted Yukiko the night before. This is a one-way road.