Recent turn of events in Hajime no Ippo

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Okay, so after 20 years of serialization we’ve come to a point where… our main character is broken. This doesn’t really come as a complete shock, a) because the possibility of getting hit by too many punches has been in the room for a very long while and b) Hajime no Ippo is obviously inspired by Ashita no Joe, who also suffered brain damage (and eventually died).

m018Still, I always expected this manga to end on a more positive note, maybe because it has been very happy-go-lucky in it’s early stages with many dirty jokes and the classic hard working shounen type of sportsmanga. You don’t see it very often in sportsmanga that human limitations and illnesses are addressed, especially in shounen manga where the sport is usually glorified and all’s good, if it’s a semi realistic manga. Then there’s manga like Kuroko no Basket that we don’t even need to start talking about, because it’s so far away from anything realistic.

Ippo has always been on the more realistic side and the possibility of brain damage is nothing new, like I said. I actually really like how this topic has been slowly made more and more prominent. Ippo noticed himself he has problems, but he brushed it off and therefore the reader also brushed it off. Now that the cast is openly talking about Ippo being broken and Punch Drunk, it still fells like this manga has suddenly turned into a very dark direction. It’s not like this hasn’t been foreshadowed, it’s more like until now it hasn’t been a real threat to Ippos career and at least I didn’t expect it to affect him this badly before his shot at a world title match.

Takamura is fully aware of Ippos state. He straight up told both Ippo and the coach. What b004else is he supposed to do? Beat Ippo to a crap so he can’t lift a finger anymore? I think this situation is very complicated for Ippo, Takamura and the coaches. Ippo may have managed to draw a straight line in front of them, but he’s well aware that he was damn lucky, because the last time he tried at home, he horribly failed. And I’m pretty sure Kamogawa doesn’t trust the line Ippo drew, he has a bad feeling himself and he also trusts Takamura. The odds are simply against Ippo.

It looks to me as if Ippo is crumbling under the high expectations he set upon himself and is loosing his grab on reality. On the one hand he’s telling himself he’ll stop before it gets bad, so he can still take over his family business, on the other hand he’s straight up lying to Kamogawa so he can step into the b013ring again. As things are right now, I think if he wants to avoid being unable to take over his family business, he needs to retire RIGHT NOW.

We are heading into the direction that Ippo will step into the ring again and he will take punches again. His condition will gradually worsen, the only question is how long can Ippo fool his coaches and go on. The happy-go-lucky manga from 20 years ago is long gone, this is about Ippos health and his brain is already damaged, maybe even permanent. To continue with boxing equals self destuction at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ippo ending up in a vegetative state, instead of taking over a fishing boat.

Do I think Ippo might die, like Joe? No. I don’t think this will happen, but I really welcome this turn of events in this manga. It’s finally interesting again and actually ending with your main character broken and severely ill after 20 years of serialization is a brave move – inspired by Ashita no Joe or not.

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G (Yamada Hitotsuki)

Today I stumbled across a new car racing manga. Interesting, because I’m not really into racing in real life, but then again, I’m not into boxing either and have read 1100+ chapters of Hajime no Ippo. I’m done trying to figure out how my brain works, I just accept it in all it’s weird ways.

Either way, there’s just one chapter available in English so far, I guess a scanlation group has just picked it up or something. I haven’t even found it on MAL yet. Either way, the first chapter was a pretty standart introduction of the main characters, but the set up gives me some very strong Capeta vibes and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Capeta does many things very right. It takes a lot of time to build it’s characters from a very young age and even though Capeta himself is some sort of genius, he’s working extreamly hard and suffers through his circumstances in order to come closer to his goals. Like Mao in G, both are from a poor financial background and maybe I’m too early to judge, because it’s just been one chapter, but the first chapter of G was really rushed.

I’m not really that much into manga with these crazy geniuses and usually prefer stories with the hard working type (*cough* Ippo *cough*), which is one of the main reasons why I dislike Prince of Tennis and can’t get the Kuroko no Basket hype – it just drifts off too much into supernatural territory at one point. Capeta and Mao are both exceptionally talanted, but Mao’s natural gifts are surpassing those of a normal human being right off the bat in the first chapters.

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Capeta with his F1 toy car

Also, in G, Mao is 5 years old and meets a Formula racer who acknowledges his talend and gives him a GoKart to train in, so he can become a Formula 1 driver one day. That’s cute, because a GoKart is the only thing you need in order to become a racer. Fast forward 8 years and you see Mao driving in a GoKart in the snow (great idea) receiving a letter from said Formula dirver to come to Tokyo if he wants to become a F1 driver.

This is what bugs me so much: the initial set up is so extreamly similar to Capeta (which

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Mao with his F1 toy car

was still being published for 2 more years until 2013 when the first chapter of G was released in 2011) with a gifted car-crazy-boy with an F1-toy who likes watching cars pretending to drive one from humble surroundings entering the racing world, but we haven’t seen any struggle at all from Mao’s front so far, while Capeta had serious financial problems standing in his way.

Mao was basically sponsored off the spot and even though Capeta could have joined Autohouse, he would’ve just been no. 2 all the time, so it was probably better for him not to. Furthermore Capeta shows in great detal just how expensive racing sport really is and having one GoKart is really not enough. Mao’s father wasn’t even able to buy him a proper toy in 5 years, chapter 2 really needs to confirm how he was able to pay for his races, tires, fuel, spare parts and travel costs. Was he sponsored the entire time? If not, how was he able to pull it off? What happend in these 8 years?

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Capeta watching cars

I don’t think it’s a good idea to start off a manga this similar to another one with the same topic. Going the same route with financial probelms and all is not a good idea either, so I can imagine them not going there on purpose. If so, don’t set up your story this way! Make it at least a bit more different. The first part of the chapter literally reads like Capeta and (un)fortunately Capeta did a great job with the surrounding problems occuring in the racing world when you’ve got no money.

Since chapter 1 ends with claiming “This is the beginning oif his stroy”, I guess it’s a save

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Mao watching cars

bet we’re done with the introductions, unfortunately. We will probably get to know our main hero in his teens and we will probably see him getting sponsored right off the bat. I don’t like this, I want to see him work for his achievements.

Even if we move on so fast, G has some serious explaining to do what happend during the past 8 years and I give it to the manga, at the end of the first chapter it really does look like it will take a different path than Capeta, but I don’t appreciate the extreme similarities at the beginning – including the annoying blonde girl jumping around the main character (except, it’s now his sister, not his childhood friend).

I’m impressed they didn’t get sued for this. When talking about Capeta first, I said how much Capeta remembered me of Initial D. That’s a joke compared to Capeta ch1 vs G ch1.

Fall Season 2015

Fall season has begun! 😀 And since I have no freaking clue what I’ll be watching, I felt the need to finish Haiykuu Season 1, so I can watch at least Haikyuu Season 2. I mean, seriously, I have no clue what to watch, besides the obvious sequels.

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In my desperation I watched Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry and Comet Lucifer. Both were ok, but nothing that had me on my toes. I like Tsundere, so that’s what Rakudai has it going for me, I just hope it won’t turn into harem – that’s an immediate drop. I can’t say much about Comet Lucifer, right now it could become anthing. My prediction is, it might just turn out to be an average mecha anime and that’s it.

I guess I’ll use this season to finsh up some anime I still need to complete. Haikyuu has brought me back onto track with my beloved sports anime, so after I finish up that one and tumblr_novw1uQtB91sgmjk9o1_500start with Haiykuu S2, I’ll marathon through Hajime no Ippo Rising. After reading 1100+ manga chapters, there’s no way I let a 25 episode anime beat me. I love Ippo, but it’s just a bit sad my personal favorite part of the story has been long over: the japanese featherweight title match between Sendo Takeshi and Makunouichi Ippo. Still the best animated fight in any shounen to date.

I also have a few Initial D Fifth Stage eps left, the problem with this one is, I already disliked the Project D arc in the manga, but I could still skip over the endless talk and boring stuff. However in the anime, there’s no way around it. I just think they really overdid it with the talking and explaining and stuff towards the end of the manga and it’s not doing the anime any good. The races are amazing – if you’re allowed to see more than two cars drifting through two corners per episode, that is. My favorite season is still season 2.

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