Win or lose, Joe and Nanbu can’t escape their troubled pasts.
— For some reason, the mob boss doesn’t want Joe to continue any further. He only wanted the kid to reach Megalonia. I hope we find out why soon.
— Nanbu’s forehead looks really weird. He’s just got a bump that protrudes out from the rest of his skull.
— Oh, Fujimaki wants Joe to throw another match. Of course, this is supposed to be the “biggest fixed match ever,” but I’m kinda disappointed nonetheless. It makes sense that a mob boss would only care about money, but I was hoping for something a little more compelling than just rigging a match.
— Joe has a lot of fans, but are people actually betting on him to beat Burroughs? I guess they must be if this fixed match is supposed be super profitable. But why not think bigger? Joe is a superstar now. Even if he doesn’t win Megalonia, people love rooting for the underdog. They could continue marketing Joe and reaping the benefits. Why risk it all with a match-fixing scandal?
— Of course, there’s still a super good chance that Joe ends up dying at the end of this series like the other Joe. I mean, he’s pissing blood for Christ’s sake.
— Haha, that dumb earpiece again. Nanbu has to know that Joe would never listen. The kid’s gone too far to turn back. Also, I didn’t mention it back then, but you know it’s super dangerous to box with an earpiece, right?
— I want to say that Nanbu doesn’t believe what he’s saying. I want to say that he’s just scared for his life, so he’s doing his damndest to tear Joe down. We’re frauds, we can’t be real deals, blah blah blah. That’s what I hope, anyways. I hope he’s just putting on a show, because Fujimaki is standing right there. It’s always about appearances. There’s a certain intonation to Nanbu’s words that makes me think he’s just lying, but maybe I’m just being naive.
— Again, Fujimaki tells Nanbu that Sachio’s life is at stake as well. Guess I can’t expect mob bosses to have a heart.
— Well, there you go. He is mad.
— What a character. Does Pepe really need that entire get-up? I guess it’s part of his brand.
— Damn, Burroughs’ English is pretty good. I usually expect some Engrish out of any foreign character.
— The team is fragmented. Joe has returned to one of his previous haunts, and Sachio is sadly all on his own. I guess we can’t expect Joe to care for the kid as if Sachio was his own little brother. Nevertheless, since Nanbu destroyed the team, he’ll have to put it back together. I’m surprised, though. I’m surprised that Megalonia officials haven’t dragged Joe kicking and screaming to every single promotional event. Him not being there hurts their image, and I can’t imagine the Shirato Group being happy about that.
— Nanbu tells Sachio that the kid was using Joe as well. I hate this false equivalency nonsense. Hey, look, when I hang out with my girlfriend, it makes me happy. Guess I am just using her! But in all seriousness, yeah, sure, Sachio was getting something out of his working relationship with Joe, but he sure as hell never told the guy to be a sellout.
— But it turns out Sachio’s dad used to be an engineer for Shirato. It’s not a very extensive backstory. It almost feels like an afterthought, honestly.
— Nanbu ends up dragging the kid to a garden party at Yukiko’s joint. He tells the kid to go get his revenge, but the kid’s not a killer. He just wants to bet on Joe. So Nanbu reveals what he’s really after: he wants Yukiko to protect Sachio. He just keeps asking her for favors, but maybe she’ll be sympathetic for once since a child is involved.
— In any case, Nanbu already knows that Joe won’t throw the match. He wouldn’t be arranging for Sachio’s protection if this wasn’t the case. He may very well end up dying, though. Nanbu’s got no one to protect him.
— Yukiko brings up the idea of having Joe withdraw from Megalonia, but that sounds terrible. Either they move forward without one of the big matches, or they have to quickly look for a replacement. And I doubt they’d ask Mikio to be the fill-in.
— More glimpses of Yukiko meeting with military leaders. It looks like a potential contract with the military will hinge completely on Yuri’s victory. I guess that’s what Yukiko meant back in the first episode. I still find it a bit silly, though. What the military brass should really concern themselves about are data. Data from tests and data of the Gear’s performance in the field. You want to know how soldiers would cope with it in actual combat situations… not a goddamn boxing match.
— We also see Yukiko looking into Sachio’s past. Her secretary finds evidence that Shirato was responsible for the death of the kid’s father. As a result, Yukiko intends to enact justice, but punishing the wrongdoers won’t be enough. Someone needs to take care of Sachio. A kid shouldn’t be sleeping in the streets. I’m still not sure what to think of Yukiko. So far, she seems cold and business-like. Whether or not she has strong morals or not, who knows? Whether or not she’s got a heart or not, who knows? Even the slightest hint of a romance between her and Yuri has pretty much been shelved ever since he indirectly rejected her weeks ago.
— Why is the 1st seed going up against the 2nd seed?
— Well, the guy certainly has style.
— Meanwhile, Yuri is nowhere near as flashy as his opponent. He walks out alone in a straightforward robe. He won’t waste his time with unnecessary flourishes.
— The fight between them begins, and at first, it plays out much like their introductions. Pepe likes to dance around the ring. Yuri only throws punches that he feels are necessary. Pepe manages to land the first hit. Unfortunately, it is the only hit he’ll ever land. As if a switch had been flipped, Yuri suddenly gets serious and before you know it, Pepe is down for the count. All it took was two shots. An uppercut and a left hook. The audience definitely did not get their money’s worth.
— Yuri’s dog runs into Joe, which starts up a conversation between Shirato’s top man and the people’s hero. This metaphor is a bit on-the-nose, though. Yuri’s the kept dog while Joe is the stray dog. They’re both two sides of the same coin. Yuri’s dog is friendly with Joe, because the animal is just like its master. Yuri himself is oddly very friendly with Joe. On the other hand, he seems to feel nothing but apathy towards the other fighters.
— Joe gets a kick out of fighting Gearless. It’s the best way that he can prove himself, so he’s going to try and go as far with it as he can. It sounds like he won’t even regret dying as long as he gets to give it his all.
— Meanwhile, Yuri wants to fulfill a dream. Unlike Joe, someone believed in Yuri. That someone sounds like Yukiko. This appears to be a reversal of the original series. The Yukiko here has absolutely no regard for this Joe at all. In any case, Yuri feels indebted to Yukiko even if he knows that she’s “using” him. But we all have transactional relationships.
— Oh look, Nanbu is just being a drunk bastard. He’s back to lying again. I think he knows Joe won’t throw the match. Sure, he still wants Joe to throw it for both of their sake, but he knows the kid won’t do it. But for now, he needs to keep Fujimaki off their backs, so he tells the mob boss that everything is proceeding smoothly. Both he and Joe have spent the last few days getting themselves mentally prepared with the possibility that they’ll soon lose their lives.