This Hard-Hitting Anime Blends Rocky With Cyberpunk

Now and again, a narrative comes alongside that manages to mix two disparate genres in a means that by some means makes good sense. Alien did it with sci-fi and horror, Sizzling Fuzz did it with motion and comedy — even the unique Star Wars fused traditional house opera tropes with fantasy, western, and samurai stylings.

Because it occurs, certainly one of this 12 months’s most fun anime continues this custom of sudden style mashups. Megalo Field, animated by TMS Leisure — the studio behind Lupin the Third, Dr. Stone, and the classic anime film Akira — initially premiered with its first season again in 2018. However with its second season just lately concluded earlier this 12 months, this really distinctive sequence deserves a more in-depth look.

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Megalo Field was initially envisioned as a remake of the traditional boxing manga Ashita no Joe (translated as Tomorrow’s Joe), launched to commemorate the manga’s fiftieth anniversary. However as a substitute of being an easy retelling of Ashita no Joe, it might be extra correct to name Megalo Field a reinvention of its manga predecessor. However moreover sharing the identical fundamental premise and some comparable characters, Megalo Field could be very a lot a totally totally different animal to Ashita no Joe.

Megalo Box Junk Dog Narrowly Dodging A Punch In The Middle Of A fight

One of the crucial putting issues about Megalo Field — and its largest distinction from Ashita no Joe — is its futuristic cyberpunk setting. Moderately than being grounded in the true world, Megalo Field takes place within the Japan of the not-too-distant future. On this future, conventional boxing has been changed by Megaloboxing: a brand new type of the game wherein the boxers struggle sporting high-tech exoskeletons known as “gear” that increase their power. 

The sequence protagonist Joe — named after the title character of Ashita no Joe — is a fighter in an underground Megaloboxing ring till he has an opportunity encounter with the world champion Megaloboxer, Yuri. Yuri invitations Joe to problem him within the upcoming Megalonia event, inspiring Joe to defeat Yuri and become the new champion. Over the course of the primary season, Joe bands along with a ragtag group of fellow outsiders to struggle his strategy to the title bout. On his strategy to face Yuri, Joe should overcome not solely a sequence of rival boxers, but in addition his personal social standing as a slum-dwelling outcast. However regardless of the seemingly unimaginable odds, Joe’s dedication drives him to maintain combating it doesn’t matter what.

The present’s second season, Megalo Field 2: Nomad, takes place several years after the primary season, and tells a really totally different story. When Joe first reappears, he’s a lonely and depressed drifter with none combating spirit left — a mere shell of the person he was in season one. Whereas the occasions that led Joe to this sorry state are a thriller at first, it’s clear that issues have gone very, very mistaken. Nomad follows Joe’s journey to seek out which means in his life as soon as once more, connecting with pals previous and new as he rediscovers his ardour for boxing.

If the premises of the 2 seasons of Megalo Field sound acquainted, it’s no coincidence. The sequence follows a really comparable construction to pop culture’s most iconic boxing story: the Rocky films. Joe himself arguably resembles Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa as a lot as he does Joe Yabuki from Ashita no Joe — in any case, each Joe and Rocky are down-on-their-luck nobodies who grow to be decided to tackle a world champion boxer by means of ardour and grit alone. In some ways, Megalo Field is a sci-fi twist on the traditional underdog boxing story.

Rocky 4 Director's Cut Ivan Drago Sylvester Stallone

But when season 1 of Megalo Field is a parallel to the unique Rocky, then Nomad is the sequence’ reply to the Creed movies. Simply as Creed presents viewers with a washed-up Rocky who regains his spark by training Adonis Creed, Nomad focuses on Joe’s personal character growth as he helps a number of up-and-coming boxers on their journeys. Season 2 of Megalo Field is a extra somber, character-driven affair than the primary, however that simply makes it all of the extra compelling.

After all, the boxing aspect of issues is just one a part of what makes Megalo Field so distinctive — the present’s cyberpunk setting is equally vital to the identification of the sequence. Giving the present a futuristic setting isn’t only a strategy to make it stand out from Ashita no Joe, it additionally carries main thematic weight. Science fiction, particularly within the cyberpunk subgenre, has at all times been concerned with social and political themes, and Megalo Field isn’t any exception. Like many cyberpunk tales, the sequence examines the divide between the wealthy and poor, and the way that divide has an influence on the lives of harmless individuals. Joe is an underdog not simply due to his inexperience, however due to his decrease class standing. Whereas most of Joe’s opponents are wealthy and well-known celebrities with one of the best gear cash should purchase, Joe is a lower-class no person who fights with out gear for almost all of the sequence, as a substitute relying solely on conventional boxing strategies. 

Nomad: Megalo Box 2

Nomad widens the scope of the story and its themes by dealing not simply with points of sophistication, but in addition race and psychological well being. However in each case, one factor stays constant — the sequence is pushed by battle between the marginalized and people who would exploit them. The story of Megalo Field is the story of the underprivileged taking up the privileged, the haves vs. the have-nots. In different phrases, the sequence combines the high-tech aesthetic and sociopolitical themes of the cyberpunk style with the tropes and story construction of traditional boxing narratives to create the last word underdog story.

Out of all the anime released this year, Megalo Field is for sure one of the crucial distinctive. Not solely is it a particular fusion of two distinct genres, its characters, story, artwork model, and music all come collectively to create a really unforgettable expertise. For many who love boxing films, cyberpunk, or simply emotional underdog tales, then Megalo Field is the anime to observe.

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