Makunouchi Ippo has been bullied his entire life. Constantly running errands and being beaten up by his classmates, Ippo has always dreamed of changing himself, but never has the passion to act upon it. One day, in the midst of yet another bullying, Ippo is saved by Takamura Mamoru, who happens to be a boxer. Ippo faints from his injuries and is brought to the Kamogawa boxing gym to recover. As he regains consciousness, he is awed and amazed at his new surroundings in the gym, though lacks confidence to attempt anything. Takamura places a photo of Ippo's classmate on a punching bag and forces him to punch it. It is only then that Ippo feels something stir inside him and eventually asks Takamura to train him in boxing. Thinking that Ippo does not have what it takes, Takamura gives him a task deemed impossible and gives him a one week time limit. With a sudden desire to get stronger, for himself and his hard working mother, Ippo trains relentlessly to accomplish the task within the time limit. Thus Ippo's journey to the top of the boxing world begins. [Written by MAL Rewrite]
Hajime no Ippo (Fighting Spirit) is a fantastic Shounen, Sports, Comedy, Action anime produced by one of the greatest studios ever (Madhouse). Even though it doesn’t tell the entire story, the story it does tell is truly amazing, with all its manliness.
It’s about your classic teenage underdog (Ippo Makunoichi) who’s pretty shy and gets bullied and looked down upon, by some of his peers. Then one fateful day he comes across a boxing gym, with a great pro boxer, and soon attains the desire to become a boxer. Sure this set-up sounds very typical for a shounen sports drama but I personally enjoyed this story about the underdog overcoming continual obstacles. This formula does get pretty repetitive after a while but the flow during and between matches; helps set the steady pace of the developing story. Shame it had to end though.
Ippo is the character that this entire series revolves around and that is good because he’s a very likable character for the average viewer. It is easy for some viewers including myself to relate to his desire to be reborn and what’s more is that viewers can watch him develop and struggle to achieve his goal. What’s also great is that plenty of time is spent introducing and giving some back-story behind Ippo’s opponent, before the match, which makes things more interesting when his opponent also has a valid reason to win. Furthermore there are quite a few supporting characters to enjoy as well, because some are just truly hilarious.
The quality of the animation may be dated but thanks to Madhouse’s expert animators, it suits this anime adaptation perfectly. There’s even quite a fair bit of detail put into the surroundings. Sure the character designs are very unappealing but what matters in this manly show is the actual boxing, which is animated perfectly. The characters move fluidly but sadly there are quite a few corners cut, especially when it comes to recycling scenes.
The quality of the sound is awesome; above all when it comes to the fighting with powerful SFX for the punches and a thumping soundtrack to go with it. There are also quite a few mellow tunes to go with the everyday goings on but some of them are inferior compared to others.
Overall Hajime no Ippo is a highly entertaining anime series that is able to capture the pure essence of boxing, with some truly memorable bouts. Even though the whole “overcome any obstacle with hard work” thing is getting a bit played out in the shounen genre, it still proved to be an effective plot device in this series. Some may be daunted by the sheer length of this series (76 episodes); nevertheless if you the type of person who enjoys this type of combat shounen anime, then without a doubt you’ll enjoy the experience.