Saturday, October 5, 2013

Hajime no Ippo Rising Episode 1 "The Strongest Challenger" Teaser Episodes and First Impressions

Once again, I made these this time. I ran a better quality video, but I still apologize for any lacking quality in the images.

Welcome to the new season of Ippo!

Here's the introductory pamphlet for anyone not caught up.

Yes. One of the characters running in this group is the bear Takamura boxed so long ago.

As I talked about before, Hajime no Ippo was my first sports anime. I've stuck with it for a long time, which can be a bumpy road. One of the odder bumps is the infrequency of anime adaptations. An anime, the longest adaptation to date, in 2000, then a movie and OVA in 2003, then another series in 2009, and now here we are again in 2013.

The manga is very slightly older than me, it'll turn 24 years old this month, and this new anime shows it. Ippo vs. Shimabukuro would have been the first fight I ever read in the manga as I caught up with the series in the middle of New Challenger's original run, and this differs from the source material in a beautiful way. One of the series' weaknesses is how it tends to drag it's feet, being shonen and all, but when this says "anime adaptation," it more means "anime compression." Shimabukuro's match had far more pre-fight build up in the manga, and parts of the fight itself felt sluggish at times, but this anime took all that, jammed it into some side commentary, and got through half the fight and some of Ippo's backstory in a single episode. It's really nice, as a manga reader, because they seem to be aware of what can stand to be trimmed.

I say, "as a manga reader," because I could see this being slightly off-putting for someone who's coming into this without the manga background. Not problems with no familiarity because it's not like all that other animation is supplementary material, and they start the show off with a Ippo victory montage that tells you the basics of the show: "Ippo punches dude in a boxing ring," but this definitely feels like it was made for the manga fans. It makes sense. The last series was in 2009. The amount of people in the audience who've been waiting since four years ago for new material probably isn't very high, so I'm pretty on-board with this fast pace. I could just see someone who's checking out this show at a glance thinking that it needs to slow down a bit.

Also punching dudes is cool. The fighting animation looks smooth and has the sense of impact that sorely lacks in most other shows I've watched. With that combined with the animation style, it feels like it could have just been New Challenger season two if it wasn't for the pace shifting to high gear. If you like to see great fist fights, appreciate that shonen fight commentary can take place while the fighting is happening, and love Takamura, I would give this is a shot. Also, ridiculous names for fights. I believe this one was called Submarine Wars. This is boxing anime.
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