MEGALOBOX Ep. 2: The Joe Schmo Show

Junk Dog may have lost the battle, but he won a will to live… as well as a new name. 

— It looks like these “1080p” feeds on Crunchyroll continue to be nothing but lies.

— Gansaku, Junk Dog’s promoter, wants him to surrender as soon as he starts losing. That’s probably wise, but you gotta wonder if he actually cares about the protagonist. Maybe Gansaku just doesn’t want to see his meal ticket kill himself out of pride.

— We all know how this is supposed to go, right? There’s no way our underdog — our Junk Dog — can stand a chance against the champion. And right off the bat, Yuri is dodging every single punch that comes his way.

— It’s worth nothing that these fighters’ Gears are only attached to their upper bodies. They will still need to move their feet on their own. You still need to be agile. You still need to position yourself absolutely correctly.

— Yuri takes one jab and instantly drives Junk Dog back. Our hero’s right cheek also starts bleeding? On the one hand, I like that Yuri is efficient and economical. It’s predictable, but it makes perfect sense. He’s too skilled to just fight wildly like Junk Dog. On the other hand, how the hell did his jab manage to cut Junk Dog like that? Yes, you get bruised in the ring, but you don’t get finely cut as if your opponent is wielding a knife. That’s a bit too anime for my tastes.

— But of course, Junk Dog smiles at the fact that his life is on the line. Stupid or just psychotic? Hell, why not both? At one point, Junk Dog nearly catches Yuri off-guard, but he’s just outclassed through and through. Nevertheless, he’s having the time of his life.

— Even with just one hand, Yuri is winning easily. This is not a good look for Junk Dog. I mean, Yuri literally becomes a one-trick-pony with just one hand, but the protagonist still can’t keep up.

— The OP doesn’t do it for me, but that’s fine. I’ve never cared much about them anyway. Yes, I’m one of those dirty OP skippers.

— He lands a punch and the crowd goes wild?! No, he almost lands a punch. Yuri blocked it with his right hand, though. Dude, I’m getting blue balls over here.

— I wonder… do weight classes even matter in Megalo Boxing?

— Unfortunately, one right hook is all Yuri needs. Our boy didn’t even last a round.

— Junk Dog eventually gets up to talk more shit… but he does it after the match has already been called. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like Yuri by any means. But c’mon, it looks pretty pathetic to mouth off when you just got your ass handed to you.

— “YOU COULDN’T EVEN KILL ME.” This guy…

— I can’t disagree with Yuri. Why would he waste his time any further here? Junk Dog acts tough, but he doesn’t act smart. More than that, he has a death wish. Our protagonist has a long way to go before he’s a hero. I mean, it’s a bit refreshing that he’s not just cool and powerful right off the bat. But at the same time, he’s cowardly and suicidal. He talks big, but he can’t back it up. No, contrary to what you might think, getting into the ring with the champion is not backing it up. Backing it up is actually putting in the hard work to stand toe-to-toe with the champion. Right now, Junk Dog just wants to die. His life is so miserable that he’s trying to find every which way to self-destruct. It’s like when you want to break up with your SO, but you’re too chickenshit to do it. As a result, you pick fights to make them break up with you instead. That’s how Junk Dog is approaching his life. He’s just too scared to do it himself.

— Not surprisingly, the guy goes on yet another reckless ride on his motorcycle that night. At some point, he almost flies off the edge of a cliff. Look, this isn’t accidental. This is a guy who wants to die, but just doesn’t have the balls to pull the trigger.

— Luckily, Yuri may have beaten some sense into our stray dog. The guy admits that he can’t go back to the underground boxing ring. He can’t bring himself to end his life, but at the same time, fighting amateurs doesn’t give him a high anymore. He needs the thrill of facing a real opponent. Once you go Yuri, you just can’t go back.

— Elsewhere, Yukiko tears into Yuri. Eh, I’m sure he expected this.

— It’s like a dad forbidding his daughter from seeing that wild kid on the wrong side of the tracks, though: “I understand. I’ll never see him again.”

— You’d think Yuri would have more leverage if the fate of Yukiko’s damn company rests solely on his ability to punch people, but he’s surprisingly passive around her. Judging by the way she touches his arm tenderly, I wonder if these two have a deeper relationship. Maybe they’ll have a romance subplot.

— Ah, the shitty resolution is killing me. These scenes look terrible. Such wasted potential. I know I can probably get a better image whenever the blu-rays come out, but those are exorbitantly expensive.

— I’m digging the hip hop track.

Meal ticket, it is.

— Junk Dog tells Gansaku that he now wants to enter Megalonia. I hope our hero has a plan, though. Is he going to upgrade his Gear? How will he prepare for the upcoming fights? What’s his training regimen? Is he going to watch film and study his opponents?

— Of course, his promoter tries to discourage him, but for all the wrong reasons. Gansaku doesn’t care about Junk Dog, and he has no obligation to. Junk Dog eventually realizes this, so he screws his promoter over by defeating his opponent in one punch. The match is supposed to last five rounds. Whoops.

— Who doesn’t like intimidating soup metaphors? Better than Campbell!

— The big bad boss wants Gansaku’s remaining eye as payback for screwing up the fixed match. As a last ditch effort, the latter claims that he’ll pay back all his debts and more when Junk Dog wins Megalonia. Welp, there’s no getting out of it now.

— Junk Dog promises Gansaku that he won’t lose again. But of course, he still has to put in the work. At his current level, he’s not even close to Yuri. Junk Dog is barely held together by his ego and his ego alone.

— Later that night, Junk Dog and Gansaku get a little assistance from the boss. Using a little techno know-how, Junk Dog now has a fake ID and a new name… bet you can’t guess what he ends up picking for himself: Joe. Yeah, he looks like a good Joe. Now all he needs is a giant, holographic naked girlfriend.

— But on a serious note, this series really doesn’t need a tacked-on romance, and this is coming from a guy who likes romance in his stories. I don’t mind one between Yuri and Yukiko, but I just find it hard to imagine Junk Dog getting into a relationship with anyone right now. He’s too unstable.

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13 Replies to “MEGALOBOX Ep. 2: The Joe Schmo Show”

  1. I like Junk Dog. He has talent, but he’s not allowed to fulfill it. He’s not a citizen, and the organizers just use him for cash. He’s frustrated by how little control he has over his life, so he flirts with death by going on reckless joy rides.

    When he mocks Yuri, he feels like he’s in control. When he sneers at his “real” megalo-boxing, he’s pissing on the privileged enclave that denies him opportunity. When he talks big, his ego soars at the idea of being on equal footing with the champion.

    Deep down, Junk Dog knows he doesn’t stand a chance against Yuri. He’s too raw, too wild, too untested. In the ring, it becomes obvious to him. But he relishes the opportunity to fight him anyway, even though he might die. At this stage, Junk Dog would rather die than have others waste his life away. And fighting Yuri allows him to dream.

    Humbled by the fight, Junk Dog aims to reach the very ring he had ridiculed, because it’s Yuri’s ring. He accepts his status as challenger, and confidently proclaims he won’t lose, not until he meets the champion again. I hope the story has different ideas.

    I’m digging this show a lot, it’s reminding me of the French movie La Haine. It’s about a day in the lives of three frustrated youth from the suburbs of Paris. I highly recommend it.

    Going back to Megalo Box, the exact nature of the relationship between Yuri & Yukiko intrigues me. I have a feeling they kind of like each other, but Yuri resents being loved as a tool for the ambitions Yukiko inherited. Just speculating off 3 seconds, I guess we’ll see later.

    1. I dunno if it’s so much about control. He’s always lucky that he survives. He screws Gansaku which could’ve gotten them both killed, but he lucks out when his promoter was able to sweet talk their boss. He talks shit to Yuri after losing, but he lucks out when Yuri just walks away. He keeps going on reckless joy rides, which not only hurts him but destroys his bike. Other people would be under mountains of debt right now just trying to fix their motorcycle. But again, he lucks out when his mechanic lets payments slide. Dude is just lucky he’s alive at all. In all of these scenarios, he’s actually yielding control to other people. Had they not pulled through for him, he’d be screwed. I think he’s just a wild dog that barks at you because it can.

      1. I agree that he’s wild & lucky. The guy’s too impulsive, and clearly doesn’t think things through.

        Maybe I didn’t express myself well re: control. I just believe the non-stop barking is a way to tell himself “I exist, and I matter”. It makes him do dumb shit, no doubt. But if he didn’t bark, the trappings of his environment would just force him into fatalism & despondency. A routine of not pushing himself as he’d like & throwing games for the sake of some asshole’s bank account is existentially threatening to the kid, accepting it is what he’s most afraid of.

        So I view his rebellious attitude & reckless disregard for his own life largely as an expression of agency, something that’s probably uncommon where he’s from. Not a very smart or mature expression of agency, but probably the only one he can come up with.

    1. The relevant passage:

      “─ The blurry elephant in the room is of course their unique approach to the composite, which has proven to be both controversial and a source of misunderstandings. Ever since the early stages of the project, director Moriyama simply couldn’t envision a series like this with the crisp visuals you’d get in a new anime nowadays; sure he could ask the team to make the linework thicker than usual, but to get a result reminiscent of the cel era he barely was a part of but that he loves nonetheless, they needed something more substantial. And as he admits, the answer they arrived to was intentionally roughening up the visuals, not really to go along with the gritty art direction as has been speculated, but explicitly to make it feel like an old production. Since Moriyama thought that simply overlaying a bunch of grain effects on it would be harsh on the eye, they also intentionally downscaled the footage and then upscaled it back – hence why many people have gotten the feeling that it feels like SD material, which it technically is despite the assets originally being produced as if it were a regular high-definition title.”

      Thanks for sharing, pretty interesting to see that blog’s emphasis on art & animation. Scary how much knowledge they can drop on this or that random designer… And there’s the whole seiyuu fandom too. I barely manage to keep track of a handful of writers/directors…

    2. I’m not sure if his comment was directed particularly at the backgrounds of megalo box (which have been downscaled before post and then upscaled during). Regardless of what particular anime, the “1080p” feeds are still a lie. Not all the time do they actually give you videos in that resolution; hell, there are times their videos don’t even hit true 720, which is one of the many prominent complaints regarding crunchyroll’s services

      1. Eh… 1080p is a lie in general. It’s not CR’s fault. Most TV anime are still animated at 720p-900p – even those that are supposedly HD. I’m sorry, you’ve been fooled by the 1080p meme.

        1. yea i know that; but im referring to the upscale resolution of the videos themselves, not the resolution that the anime itself is in.

  2. He has to lose the first fight. That gives him the will and determination to overcome his humiliation, and is the start of his character arc. At the very beginning, before the title card, the show said it was based on an old boxing anime from the 60’s. They just updated it.

      1. That said I’m planning to watch this show. I rather liked it. It reminds me of Cowboy Bebop, a show out of time with ridiculously good and deep animation style, excellent voice acting. Its quite good.

  3. I’m really digging this show, I know so far is your typical underdog against champion story, but the presentation is really something else.

    I liked the part where they asked Junk dog his new name and after a pause he answered: Joe, then everyone smiled in agreement for his choice.
    Man, that was infectious, it made me smile too and I know almost nothing of Ashita no Joe.

  4. The world leaves me baffled. Is it Japan? The scenery and architecture (and cars!) do not match. Is it some other part of the world and you see Japanese signs everywhere because it’s a Japanese ghetto? Or maybe some future United States of Whatever, which Japan is a part of?

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