Hajime no Ippo

Title:Hajime no Ippo
Fighting Spirit
はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! (Japanese)
Keywords: , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Madhouse
Original Concept - Kodansha Manga Award Winner
R1 License - Geneon (Defunct)
Ippo Makunouchi, a 16 year-old high school student who's mother is a single mother and is his only family. He helps with his mother's rental boat business early in the morning and late at night. He's a very compassionate and friendly young man. Unfortunately, he also has problems with making friends at school and is constantly picked on by a set of bullies. One day, Ippo finds himself getting beaten up by those same bullies, but a stranger who saw this ended up saving Ippo. His name was Mamoru Takamura and Ippo learned that Takamura was a professional boxer. Ippo, being grateful to Takamura and inspired by his strength, decides from that day forward, he wanted to be a boxer. From that day, his life took a dramatic turn...

75 TV episodes
[edit] The ↗Hajime no Ippo franchise:
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Buy 7 6 6 8 9 9 Ggultra2764 [series:1676#1552]
A different series for me to look into, Hajime no Ippo is the first sports-themed anime I've ever been hooked on. This series has enough elements to it to keep you watching the series from start to finish as you see the journey of Ippo Makunouchi from a teenager of little confidence and socially isolated to a popular pro boxer. Enough authenticity is given to the methods, training, and mindsets of boxers. All the punches and boxing styles seen throughout the series by different boxers are based on legendary boxers and would be believable enough to see. The boxers and trainers involved in matches have their own mindsets and methods to prepare for matches. The injuries sustained in matches are even shown in realistic fashion as well. Be it swollen eyes, a bloody nose, cracked ribs, concussions. Such painful situations are a reality in the world of pro boxing and Hajime no Ippo doesn't hold back with this side to the sport.

Other aspects to the series that are explored even include the opponents. Many of the boxers we see throughout the series are given a great deal of depth and background to their character so we get a good enough sense of who they are and know what they are thinking. The humor in the series is also worth seeing and laughing at. From the arguments of Coach Kamogawa and Takamura to the older boxers playing pranks on Ippo, the comedy of Hajime no Ippo is hilarious and doesn't detract from the boxing theme of the series or the depth focused on the characters.

Hajime no Ippo does have its problems though. The series resorts to reused animation frames on a number of occasions, which is especially obvious during boxing matches. Since this seems to be mostly due to the long episode length of the series, this problem is forgivable. However, the biggest issue in the artwork would have to be the facial designs of the characters. A number of the characters had some ugly designs for their faces, especially the female characters. No offense to fans of the series, but Hajime no Ippo has the ugliest female character facial designs I've ever seen in an anime title. There are also some characters who lack a good amount of depth compared to others, especially in the case of Takamura.

Despite these problems, Hajime no Ippo is an addicting sports title that is well worth your time to watch and even buy, if you can get your hands on all the DVDs to this long series.

Last updated Friday, October 10 2008. Created Friday, October 10 2008.
Buy 7 7 6 9 KBanger1 [series:1676#1694]
After 75 long episodes, I'm finally done with this series. From start to finish (well at least to episode 71) everything was worth the wait. I've plundered through this series for a whole month and each disc was 5 episodes long. The story is about a high school "nobody" named Ippo Makanouchi. Just an ordinary student who seems to get bullied by the same people. One day, his bullying was seen by a stranger who was jogging by. Not even touching them, the stranger was able to beat those bullies and save Ippo from another beating. Later on it's revealed that the jogger is actually a professional boxer and his strength inspires Ippo to want to become stronger. In fact, this is where the story really begins.

From the get go, Ippo was a weak, unlucky, and a very low-esteemed teenager. He has no friends and people think that he's self-centered. In reality, Ippo is a very caring person. He helps his mom run the family fishing business before and after school. He dedicates his time to his mom and unfortunately suffers socially. After that chance encounter with the boxer, Mamoru Takamura, he starts his change by asking Mamoru, "What's it like to be strong?". That's where he develops from a weak kid to a professional boxer. His whole attitude changes about life and most importantly he gets stronger with every passing day. It's kind of a typical "zero to hero" plot where you take a loser like Ippo and then change him to this awesome character in which people could admire. This is more like a feel good series because it's nice to see that when you make a life altering decision and turns out to be the best decision of your life, everything is great.

Now, let's break it down. Story-wise, it's pretty typical. Loser wants to become a boxer and goes through so much after and all the hard work and dedication pays off in the end. Nothing spectacular but since it was 75 episodes long, I was really impressed with 95% of the episodes. All the episodes (give or take a few) really kept the story going. The little side humor was more than enough to make me laugh my butt off. The only downfall I put up with was the actual character artwork. It's like looking at mongoloids talk. Kind of interesting, but not really. Some of the characters are truly ugly to look at. All the women have this butch faces and look almost like everyone else. It's like one character has been cloned a hundred times and we see the same face. It really isn't completely horrid but then again I never did read the manga of Hajime No Ippo so I couldn't get used to it. The music was kind of corny considering it was a boxing series so some of the music can be reminiscent of "Rocky". There is one song that really got me into some of Ippo's matches which was called "Inner Light" by Shocking Lemon. It's the second theme to this series and really got my adrenaline pumping. The characters in the anime are memorable. All of them have some story behind them which gave me a much better understanding when I watched the series unfold.

Overall, for a sport series, this really is something to add to your collection. Of course, good luck in getting the whole thing since it is 15 discs long. I swear, though, this is a must if you like the "zero to hero" plot. I was really skeptical after the first episode because of the butt ugly characters, but after giving it a try, it was well worth it.

Last updated Saturday, October 27 2007. Created Monday, September 03 2007.

Other Sites
Fighting Spirit (US Website) http://www.fightingspiritdvd.com/ipo1_content.html
Geneon's Fighting Spirit homepage
Fighting Spirit (Japanese) http://www.vap.co.jp/ippo/
Official Japanese Fighting Spirit homepage
Wiki entry on the manga & anime series http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajime_No_Ippo

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