Boy, I hope we don’t have to see anyone die in the ring today.
— Nanbu used to motivate his former pupil by saying that it was “all for a brighter tomorrow.” Those words must have stuck with Aragaki, ’cause shortly after the war, he must have felt as though there was no tomorrow.
— We’re getting the slow countdown again. In fact, we’ll get it multiple times throughout this episode. We can expect this every time Joe goes up against an impressive performance, but it’ll get diminishing returns with each subsequent use.
— According to Nanbu, Aragaki has learned to use his prosthetic limbs to his advantage. Still, you can only imagine how different this fight might go if Joe wasn’t deprived of his Gear. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if he’ll ever fight with one again.
— Joe grabs onto Aragaki to slow the fight down. This is clinching, and it’s a legitimate survival strategy. Every boxer clinches, but people seem to think that Mayweather is the biggest offender. Viewers can get as mad as they want about how clinching is boring to watch, but if your goal is to win at all costs (and make it into Megalonia), then you gotta do what you gotta do. Plus, it all depends on what the refs will allow. Some refs will break it up quickly. Some won’t. The audience should really get mad at the refs instead.
— It looks like the refs here don’t give a shit about clinching. Aragaki had to shove Joe off by himself. Joe ends up being saved at the bell. Had that clinch lasted any shorter, he would’ve lost.
— Nanbu wants Joe to retire, but the kid’s pride won’t let him do so: “This is a one-way train with no stops.” Sure sounds like this Joe might end up the same way as the original Joe.
— Still, I almost want to see Joe lose because of his arrogance. Thankfully, he swallows his pride a teensy, tiny bit by finally taking Nanbu’s instructions to heart. Even still, however, I don’t think Yuri managed to humble this kid enough. I just want to see Joe develop into a more well-rounded character, but maybe he’ll live and die by his recklessness.
— Oh my, Joe simply chanting Nanbu’s instructions is enough to set Aragaki off. I wonder if this is how our war veteran loses his composure.
— Nanbu wants Joe to switch up his strategy on the fly, but our hero insists otherwise. Hmm.
— Joe doesn’t think that Aragaki is out for revenge, but he doesn’t quite say what his theory is. Why are you holdin’ out on us, Joe? As a result, Nanbu gets to stew in his thoughts. He ends up blaming himself even more for failing his former student. We’re already in the third round, but it still doesn’t look like Joe has found any solution to his Aragaki problem.
— Our hero continues to stand and take his punishment. His chanting continues to piss Aragaki off even more. Then all of a sudden, an opening reveals itself. Aragaki suddenly finds himself reliving a painful memory, so his concentration lapses for just a brief second. As a result, Joe finally gets to punch back, and this sends Aragaki to the mat. Now it’s his turn to go through the slow countdown.
— Joe has almost no past to speak of. Well, he must have a past. We all do. But what I mean is that we have no knowledge of it. The story hasn’t indulged us on that front whatsoever. All the guy ever does is look to the horizon in front of him. Meanwhile, Aragaki can try all he wants to delude himself into thinking that he’s fighting for tomorrow, but the man remains forever trapped in the past. It’s almost as if he fights in order to hold onto his hate for Nanbu — to blame all his problems on a coach who had failed him. Megalo boxing might’ve initially given him a reason to keep living, but every time he puts on those gloves, he’s reminded that his former coach abandoned him. As a result, megalo boxing is also keeping him from living the rest of his life to the fullest. This is thus a fight between two men facing in opposite directions.
— Luckily for our hero, he’s managed to overcome his biggest mental hurdle: Nanbu is finally solidly in his corner. His coach finally truly wants him to win this. Before now, the old man just wanted to run away from his past, and that would’ve been best accomplished by having Joe forfeit. Now, win or lose, Nanbu is willing to accept the consequences.
— Aragaki’s coach tells him to break Joe’s spirit, but whose spirit is already broken?
— Joe is like a machine as he continues to chant Nanbu’s instructions. How ironic considering that his opponent is more machine than man (not really, but you know what I mean).
— As our hero continues to push his advantage, Aragaki continues to lose himself in his past more and more. What is he even living for these days?
— Both men sportingly grin at each other at the ring of the latest bell, though. So there’s that.
— All of a sudden, Aragaki’s coach gives him a knowing nod, and the war veteran has decided to forfeit. Wow… that was anticlimactic.
— In fact, Aragaki is retiring.
— I’m glad Aragaki didn’t decide to fight until one of them died — and maybe… just maybe he’s realized that he needs to look to the future instead of the past all the time — but man, I wish they could’ve just finished the fight out legitimately.
— Nanbu does the right thing by paying Aragaki a visit after the match. The latter reveals that if he had kept fighting, he would’ve ended up bedridden for the rest of his life. This match helped him realize, however, that not all of Nanbu’s lessons need to be bitter pills. Joe’s steadfast adherence to Nanbu’s instructions forced Aragaki to admit that the old man did actually teach him some valuable life lessons. Namely, he needs to fight for tomorrow, and this time, it meant giving up the fight in the ring. As the old adage goes, you need to live to fight another day.
— Aragaki wanted to end everything once and for all. Win or lose, he’d no longer have to fight. He wanted to opt out of his life. This is what Joe sensed in his opponent.
— We finally learn what that all-important slip of paper meant.
— We suddenly cut to Yukiko introducing the third Megalonia combatant. I don’t care too much about him. Rather, I want the story to explain at some point why the future of her company rests on Yuri’s victory.
— It looks as though Yuri hasn’t kept up on Joe at all. Awww, and here I thought they were chingus.