Ashita no Joe

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Ashita no Joe
Ashita no Joe Volume 1.jpg
Cover of the first volume of Ashita no Joe, as published in Japan by Kodansha
あしたのジョー
(Ashita no Jō)
Genre Drama, Sports (Boxing)
Manga
Written by Asao Takamori
Illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Magazine
Original run January 1, 1968May 13, 1973
Volumes 20
Anime television series
Directed by Osamu Dezaki
Written by Osamu Dezaki
Music by Yagi Masao
Studio Mushi Production
Original network Fuji Television
Original run April 1, 1970September 29, 1971
Episodes 79
Anime film
Ashita no Joe
Directed by Yōichirō Fukuda
Osamu Dezaki
Written by Yōichirō Fukuda
Music by Kunihiko Suzuki
Studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Licensed by
Released March 8, 1980
Runtime 150 minutes
Anime television series
Ashita no Joe 2
Directed by Osamu Dezaki
Written by Tadaaki Yamazaki
Music by Ichiro Araki
Studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Original network Nippon Television
Original run October 13, 1980August 31, 1981
Episodes 47
Anime film
Ashita no Joe 2
Directed by Osamu Dezaki
Music by Ichiro Araki
Studio Tokyo Movie Shinsha
Released July 4, 1981
Runtime 152 minutes
Manga
Megalo Box - Shukumei no Sōken
Written by Chikara Sakuma
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Shōnen Magazine Edge
Original run February 17, 2018 – present
Anime television series
Megalo Box
Directed by Yō Moriyama
Written by Katsuhiko Manabe
Kensaku Kojima
Music by mabanua
Studio TMS Entertainment
Licensed by
Original network TBS, BS-TBS
Original run April 5, 2018 – present
Episodes 13
Live action films
  • Ashita no Joe (1970)
  • Ashita no Joe (2011)
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Ashita no Joe (Japanese: あしたのジョー, Hepburn: Ashita no Jō, "Tomorrow's Joe") is a boxing manga written by Asao Takamori (aka Ikki Kajiwara) and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba in 1968 that was later adapted into an anime series and movie. Outside Japan it is also referred to as Champion Joe, Rocky Joe or Joe.

Story[edit]

Joe Yabuki is a troubled young man who runs away from an orphanage. Wandering through the Tokyo slums, he meets former boxing trainer Danpei. Joe is later arrested and goes to a temporary jail where he fights Nishi, leader of a group of hooligans. He and Nishi then go to the Tōkō High-Security Juvenile Prison (東光特等少年院, Tōkō Tokutō Shōnen'in) miles away from Tokyo. There Joe meets Rikiishi, a former boxing prodigy, and a rivalry develops between them. They face each other in a match in which Rikiishi dominates Joe until the latter hits him with a cross-counter, resulting in both being knocked out. Joe and Rikiishi vow to fight again. As Rikiishi learns he is meant to leave the prison, he challenges Joe to a fight in the future, and the two promise to meet again, this time as professional boxers.

Upon his release from prison, Joe initially has trouble gaining a boxing license due to his lack of formal education but succeeds in his second attempt with the help of Danpei and Nishi. Joe manages to go up to Bantamweight, after provoking a champion boxer named Wolf Kanagushi. Joe quickly rises in the ranks and gains popularity for his brawling style, and trademark cross-counter KO wins. Joe manages to perform a triple-cross counter on Wolf. Joe then earns the right to fight Rikiishi in the professional ring. Although Rikiishi is assured a promising career, he is intent in settling his score with Joe, whom he feels stands in his path. Because Rikiishi is three weight classes above Joe, he has to cut down a massive amount of weight and undergoes an incredibly taxing weight loss program which includes severe dehydration. Rikiishi defeats Joe in the 8th round with but collapses as he is about to shake Joe's hand due to an extremely hard blow to the temple two rounds before and his landing his head on the ropes. Rikiishi dies from the combined effects of the extreme weight loss on his body and brain hemorrage suffered during the fight. Joe is still shaken up from that match, both mentally and physically. Soon after, during matches, his trainer Danpei realises that Joe is having a serious problem with boxing: he's unable to give headshots to his opponents, Rikiishi's accidental death having traumatized him. It takes Joe quite some time to get over it and costs him three straight losses. But then he finally conquers his fears when he faces the globally #6 ranked Carlos Rivera. The fight ends with a draw, yet it gives Joe tremendous fame and respect around the world, especially since Rivera was going to face the World Champion Jose Mendoza in his next match.

Joe starts to climb up the boxing ladder, but struggles with maintaining bantamweight due to a late growth spurt, forcing him to undergo strenuous training similar to what Rikiishi had to. He defeats the Asian–Pacific Champion, Kim Yong-bi, a South Korean boxer and survivor of the Korean War, dedicating the win to Rikiishi. After winning the title match, Joe defends his title. He wins all defenses, ultimately defending it against the Malaysian fighter Harimau. His unorthodox fighting style is unpredictable but Joe manages to successfully defend his title. He is now given the chance to face the World Champion Jose Mendoza, who defeated Carlos Rivera with a KO punch in the first round, ending his boxing career. It is later revealed that Carlos had developed permanent brain damage from his fight.

The fight is held in a packed stadium, and is attended by many of Joe's friends and former rivals, including Wolf and the-now sickly and haggard Carlos. Joe faces Mendoza, even though he is at a disadvantage since it was revealed he was punch-drunk, and has lost vision in one eye. The match is a brutal back-and-forth with Joe able to knock down the Champion more than once. Though originally composed, Mendoza starts losing his mind as Joe keeps getting up no matter how much damage he takes, to the point that he wonders if he's trapped in a nightmare. The match goes all of its fifteen rounds, with Mendoza barely gaining a win by points, but much to the shock of the audience, Mendoza has seemingly aged decades in minutes from the toll the fight has taken on his body, with his hair turned snow white from the trauma he has suffered. Danpei turns to console him only to find him unresponsive, but with a smile on his face; it is implied at this point that Joe has died from his injuries. It has been debated among fans whether Joe really died or not and Chiba even said that he drew the ending scene last minute.[1]

Concept[edit]

The series debuted as a manga in Weekly Shōnen Magazine at a time when considerable economic and social upheaval was transforming Japanese culture in the late 1960s. Joe was essentially the tragic hero representing the struggle of the lower class. His trial and sacrifice to the sport was a semi-reflection of the will of the people he was representing. By the 1970s, manga readers and college students across Japan would turn the character into an icon.

Characters[edit]

Tange Gym[edit]

Joe Yabuki
Voiced by: Teruhiko Aoi, Kei Tomiyama (Pilot Film), Yoshito Yasuhara (Radio Drama)
Live-Action Film: Shōji Ishibashi (1970), Tomohisa Yamashita (2011)
Jō Yabuki (矢吹 丈, Yabuki Jō), nicknamed Joe (ジョー, ), is the protagonist of the story and an OPBF Champion and 4th in the World Ranking. He is known for his long bangs and for always wearing a worn-out beige coat and a red flat cap. Not long after birth he found himself in many orphanages and facilities. However, he quickly grew tired of the boring life and frequently escaped, eventually finding his way to the Doya Town the story takes place in.
Joe is rude and quick to fight, but he can also be very frivolous at times. Because of his rough upbringing he is a delinquent who likes his solitude, but he later grows to appreciate his new friends and rivals. He is not very good at understanding women, and essentially only treats them nice out of giri. As a result of Rikiishi's death, he temporarily suffers from yips and cannot hit people in the temple, but he later overcomes this. This allows him to move past the loss of Rikiishi.
He is a bantamweight and his specialties include the cross counter and the No Guard stance. He has extraordinary punching strength, fortitude, and fighting spirit, often standing up after taking killer blows and has been known to counter cross-counters (a double-cross), possessing a raw, natural talent for the sport. He has even countered double crosses with a triple-cross, implying he has high-level technical abilities. Following his fight with Rikiishi, he begins to better develop his guarding. During his fight with Jose, he even unconsciously uses Jose's own corkscrew punch against him. Near the end of the manga, more and more hints build up implying that he is becoming punch-drunk, a condition that is confirmed right before his fight with Jose. On several occasions it is hinted that he is aiming for the world championship not for his own sake, but for Rikiishi's, since he died fighting Joe and was considered a future world contender.
Danpei Tange
Voiced by: Jūkei Fujioka, Takeshi Aono (Boxing Mania Video Game), Akira Nagoya (Pilot Film), Haruhiko Saitō (Radio Drama)
Live-Action Film: Ryūtarō Tatsumi (1970), Teruyuki Kagawa (2011)
Danpei Tange (丹下 段平, Tange Danpei) is Joe's boxing coach. He was formerly a boxer as well, but retired after losing his left eye. Afterwards he becomes a coach, but as shown in a flashback in episode 2, he was a harsh trainer who fell from grace after his last student threw a fight for money. He then becomes an unemployed drunkard who only changes his ways after meeting Joe. After seeing Joe's potential, he decides to bet everything on him, believing that Joe can become an extraordinary boxer. He teaches him in the form of individual tips called "For the Sake of Tomorrow" (明日のために ashita no tame ni). After Joe and Nishi are released from the juvenile detention center he takes them on as his only two trainees, he also allows them to live with him in his small shack under a bridge, which he converts into the Tange Boxing Club (丹下拳闘クラブ, Tange Kentō Kurabu). After Joe becomes a success, many other rookie boxers sign with Danpei, allowing him to start a proper gym, but keeps the old schack intact due to nostalgia.
Kanichi Nishi
Voiced by: Toku Nishio, Jirō Daruma (Ashita no Joe 2), Shiro Kishibe (Film), Daisuke Gōri (Boxing Mania Video Game)
Live-Action Film: Masaaki Yamamoto (1970), Katsuya (2011)
Kanichi Nishi (西寛一, Nishi Kan'ichi), referred to as Mammoth Nishi (マンモス西, Manmosu Nishi), is Joe's sparring partner. Joe initially meets him in the retention center where he is first introduced as the ruthless leader of his cell and commands the other inmates to pin down Joe, stuff a wet rag in his mouth and take turns jumping on him from the top of the bunkbeds. He and Joe meet again on the boat ride to the juvenile detention center, but this time Nishi is scared of what will happen to the two of them, and is shown to be terrified of the other inmates at first unlike Joe, who is not intimidated by them even as they are both attacked on their first night. Nishi's softer side is shown in the juvenile detention center as he and Joe become friends and he takes up boxing during the juvenile detention centre tournament, after he and Joe are released they both become training partners coached by Danpei and they live in his shack under a bridge, which is converted into a humble boxing club, they also both work together at the Hayashi family grocery store. Despite initially being portrayed as a thug, he is revealed to have a soft personality and is known for often crying at things, but overall he is friendly and polite to everyone. Unlike Joe, Nishi has only mediocre success as a boxer, not helped by him being a heavyweight, which there are few of on the Asian boxing circuit. While he briefly has more success as a Middleweight, he has trouble keeping his weight down, and is eventually forced to retire after a hand injury. He soon finds far more success co-coaching Joe, and also discovers that he has a talent for retail work helping with the Hayashi's store. This eventually leads to him marrying their daughter Noriko, and settling down as a conventional family man.

Shiraki Gym[edit]

Yōko Shiraki
Voiced by: Kazuko Nishizawa, Masako Ebisu (ep. 34~44), Emi Tanaka (Ashita no Joe 2), Fumi Dan (Film), Hiroko Ushida (Aoi Honō)
Live-Action Film: Yōko Takagi (1970), Karina (2011)
Yōko Shiraki (白木 葉子, Shiraki Yōko) is the head of the Shiraki Gym. Originally introduced as a wealthy girl from outside the slums, Joe first meets her when he and the slumtown kids scam her. She is eventually revealed to be the daughter of a wealthy former boxer and gym owner, and becomes heavily involved in the affairs of the Shiraki Gym. By the end of the series, she realizes she has fallen in love with Joe, and begs him not to risk his life fighting Jose Mendoza, to no avail. Just before his death, Joe gives her his boxing gloves as a keepsake.
Tōru Rikiishi
Voiced by: Shūsei Nakamura, Toshiyuki Hosokawa (Film), Hideyuki Hori (Boxing Mania Video Game), Kōji Shimizu (Radio Drama)
Live-Action Film: Seiichirō Kameishi (1970), Yūsuke Iseya (2011)
Tōru Rikiishi (力石 徹, Rikiishi Tōru) is Joe's most personal and significant boxing rival. The two first meet in the juvenile detention center, he was a boxer but was sentenced to the juvenile detention center because he punched an audience member half to death after they said that the match was rigged in Rikiishi's favor, enraging him. Joe challenges Rikiishi without knowing he was once a professional boxer and manages to punch him in the face once before Rikiishi knocks him out in one punch. He is quintessential in motivating Joe to start taking boxing seriously, even if his only reason is to beat Rikiishi in a rematch. Rikiishi is widely considered to be one of the most promising rookie boxers in the world, but his career is tragically cut short, as he dies immediately after his and Joe's rematch from his injuries and the toll his extreme weight loss training took on his body.
Mikinosuke Shiraki
Voiced by: Kei Wada, Tamio Ōki (Ashita no Joe 2)
Live-Action Film: Bontarō Miake (1970), Masahiko Tsugawa (2011)
Mikinosuke Shiraki (白木 幹之介, Shiraki Mikinosuke) is a former boxer who is now a wealthy businessman and founder of the Shiraki Gym. He immediately spots the pure talent of Rikiishi while observing him fighting in a boxing tournament in the juvenile detention center, and recruits him once Rikiishi is released, building the entire gym around Rikiishi's career. After Rikiishi's untimely death, he intends to shut the gym down but instead leaves it to his daughter at her request.

Rivals[edit]

Wolf Kanagushi
Voiced by: Osamu Katō, Rokurō Naya (Ashita no Joe 2)
Live-Action Film: Speedy Hayase (1970), Mitsuki Koga (2011)
Wolf Kanagushi (ウルフ 金串, Urufu Kanagushi) was an up-and-coming bantamweight boxer. In order to get recognition quickly, Joe targeted the bantamweight rookie champion. Wolf was a confident and brash fighter who was easily provoked by Joe into a fist fight, ending in a double knockout. This news eventually led to the public demanding a match between them, which Wolf lost. He eventually became a thug who got defeated due to his weak jaw, and later borrowed money from Joe after rekindling their friendship. By the end of the series he finally pays it back and supports Joe for his last match, actively cheering.
Goromaki Gondō
Voiced by: Chikao Ōtsuka, Takeshi Watabe (Ashita no Joe 2)
Goromaki Gondō (ゴロマキ 権藤) is a smartly-dressed bodyguard often hired by the Yakuza. Joe meets him while wandering around after his fight with Rikiishi, where he sees him getting into a fight with Wolf where he easily overpowers the former boxer. Joe breaks up the fight and later has a conversation with Gondo which encourages him to return to boxing. When Wolf asks him what "Goromaki" means he says it means "brawl" in the Yakuza underworld.
Tiger Ozaki
Voiced by: Shōzō Iizuka, Hiroya Ishimaru (Ashita no Joe 2)
Tiger Ozaki (タイガー尾崎, Taigā Ozaki) was the bantamweight champion. Called a 'lidardlike' man by Joe, he rarely spoke, but was very cunning in diagnosing Joe's weakpoint after the fight against Rikiishi. Tiger made sure to fight Joe early in the latter's career after his traumatizing fight with Rikiishi so that he could take him on when he had the highest chance to win. Though he did using these tactics, he was eventually knocked out in seconds by Carlos.
Carlos Rivera
Voiced by: Taichirō Hirokawa, Ryūsei Nakao (Ashita no Joe 2), Joe Yamanaka (Film)
Carlos Rivera (カーロス・リベラ, Kārosu Ribera) is the former 6th Rank WBC Bantamweight fighter. He became known as the "beltless champion" due to having incredible skill at boxing but not actually holding a world title, it was believed that the world champion was too scared of losing their title to challenge him. He is shown to have great instinct when it comes to boxing, as he identifies Joe as an excellent boxer despite Joe not holding a title, his punches are so fast that he is able to hit his opponent in the face with his elbow without anyone seeing. He is very energetic and theatrical, often shamelessly hitting on women in the audience after the fight is due to start, which only endears him to the crowd as a womanizer. He was born in the slums of Venezuela and had a similar childhood to Joe, he is also shown dressing up as Santa Claus and giving presents to the children in the slums while he was in Japan, where he and Joe become friends. He and Joe fight to a draw in a match in which he was forced to use a technique where he tenses up all the muscles in his body at once in order to deliver punches faster than the eye can see, after this he returned to America where he finally had his chance to challenge the world champion, Jose Mendoza. He lost the fight due to the strain on his body from his fight with Joe, he was then hospitalized where it became clear that he had suffered serious motor neuron damage and brain damage and would not be able to fight again, Joe becomes consumed by even more guilt when he hears of this.
Kim Yong-bi
Voiced by: Norio Wakamoto (Ashita no Joe 2)
Kim Yong-bi (金 竜飛, Kin Ryūhi) is the Former OPBF champion. He is a South Korean boxer and a member of the military who fought in the Vietnam War in the merciless "Tiger Squad", his manager is also his superior in the army and mentor, Colonel Hyun. When he was 5 years old, the Korean War broke out and his father went off to fight, he and his mother soon became homeless and starving and one day she was killed by an incendiary bomb as Kim looked on in horror. Kim wandered alone for the next few days until he came upon an unconscious soldier lying in a pool of mud, he stole the soldier's rations but the soldier woke up and reached out to him, Kim picked up a large rock and killed the soldier in fear, before eating all of the rations. When he returned to his village a group of soldiers lead by Hyun started to interrogate the villagers over who had killed the soldier, when Kim heard the soldier's name was Kim Chung-ryun he realised that the man he had killed was his father, and vomited up the rations he had stolen. Since then he has suffered from a permanent loss of appetite and also seems to suffer from PTSD as he is shown to have a habit of washing his hands for hours at a time to get "blood" off of them, in addition to this he becomes extremely distressed at the sight of blood and has a tendency to start attacking the bleeding person in front of him. He has a reputation as the "human computer" due to his cold demeanour and calculated methods of boxing, which includes his "Chom-Chom" (舞々 (チョムチョム), Chomuchomu, written with the character for "dance") technique where he knocks down his opponent but stops them from falling to the ground by keeping them standing up with a flurry of punches, this technique is said to have killed two of his opponents in the past. During his fight with Joe he gets distressed from the way Joe keeps getting up no matter how many times he knocks him down even after using his Chom-Chom, calling Joe a "monster", in the 6th round he is knocked out of the ring by Joe and loses his title to him, after which he retires from boxing.
Harimau
Voiced by: Takashi Taguchi (Ashita no Joe 2)
Harimau (ハリマオ, Harimao) is a wild, illiterate Malaysian tribesman who was only interested in exciting fights and chocolate, and challenged Joe for his OPBF belt. The match was orchestrated by Yōko to rekindle Joe's wild spirit. Harimaru relies on a very unorthodox style that skirts close to being outright illegal, utilizing jumps and agility far more than traditional boxing. Most of his techniques only avoid disqualification because there are no specific rules against them.
Jose Mendoza
Voiced by: Yoshito Miyamura (Ashita no Joe 2), Masami Okada (film)
Jose Mendoza (ホセ・メンドーサ, Hose Mendōsa) is the perfect champion who had never lost, fought beautifully and was admired by all. He takes great care of his health and family, and is constantly calm and confident, giving an aura of being truly unbeatable. A recurring theme is his immense physical strength, to the point of leaving big bruises on Joe's body by gripping him, easily forcing him into a handshake, and even bending coins with his fingers. However, Joe eventually discovers that Jose has one weakness; despite his speed, strength and stamina, he can't take hits nearly as well, and relies on avoiding getting hit as much as possible. He begins to breaks down from this during the later stages of his fight with Joe, where he loses his cool and fears for his life against Joe's unrelenting spirit. Mendoza was knocked down for the first time in his career during the fight, and even fouled Joe violently in a moment of terror. He would win the decision, but the trauma his body suffers from the fight ages him prematurely.

Doya Town[edit]

Neighborhood Kids[edit]

Sachi
Voiced by: Fuyumi Shiraishi
Live-Action Film: Rina Hatakeyama (2011)
Sachi (サチ) is a young girl from Doya town who hangs out with the group of children who follow after Joe. Being the only girl in the group, she often tries to act feminine but is actually the most hotheaded member of the group, usually getting very angry with the others and hitting them with her trademark geta. She also has a crush on Joe.
Kinoko
Voiced by: Keiko Ushizaki, Junko Hori (Ashita no Joe 2)
Kinoko (キノコ) is a member of the group who wears a newsboy cap similar to Joe and often makes inappropriate jokes such as greeting Joe like a Yakuza member while in the middle of a police station.
Tarō
Voiced by: Hiroshi Masuoka, Kiyonobu Suzuki (Ashita no Joe 2)
Tarō (太郎) is the most mature member of the group, making him the leader by default. He wears an unbuttoned gakuran with a white shirt underneath. He and the rest of the gang picked a fight with Joe when Joe first arrived in the slum town, they lost but ended up becoming friends with Joe and frequently hanging out with him.
Chūkichi
Voiced by: Kaneta Kimotsuki, Noriko Tsukase (Ashita no Joe 2)
Chūkichi (チュー吉), renamed Hyoromatsu (ヒョロ松) in the first anime, is a member of the group who wears a button-down collared short-sleeved shirt, has thin strands of hair and pronounced buck teeth with a taller, thinner physique than the other members of the group.
Tonkichi
Voiced by: Jōji Yanami, Hiroko Maruyama (Ashita no Joe 2)
Tonkichi (トン吉) is by far the strangest looking member of the group, with a misshaped bald head, red puffed cheeks, swollen lips and a thousand-yard cross-eyed stare, he usually wears either a tank top or a long-sleeved shirt.
Chibi
Voiced by: Mitsuko Asō
Chibi (チビ) is the smallest member of the group, he has very small eyes and hair that sticks out, he sometimes wears a straw hat. He has very few lines and stops appearing partway through the series.

Hayashi Family[edit]

Noriko Hayashi
Voiced by: Kaoru Ozawa, Kei Moriwaki (Ashita no Joe 2)
Noriko Hayashi (林 紀子, Hayashi Noriko) is the teenage daughter of the owners of the local grocery store. She has a schoolgirl crush on Joe, which develops into romantic feelings as she matures but Joe initially does not notice her feelings and is even implied to be ignoring them, she also disapproves of his boxing career, believing that Joe was on a suicidal path after bring consumed with guilt for inadvertently causing Rikiishi's death, in the end nothing ever happens between them. Instead, she becomes involved with, and eventually marries Nishi shortly before the end of the series, but is not shown to be especially happy with her choice.
Keishichi Hayashi
Voiced by: Setsuo Wakui, Minoru Yada (Ashita no Joe 2)
Keishichi Hayashi (林 敬七, Hayashi Keishichi) is the co-owner of the local grocery store that Joe and Nishi work at. He is significantly more even-tempered than his wife, he generously gives Joe and Nishi jobs at his shop after they're released from the juvenile detention center.
Tamako Hayashi
Voiced by: Teruko Abe, Shō Saitō (Ashita no Joe 2)
Tamako Hayashi (林 玉子, Hayashi Tamako) is Keishichi's wife and the co-owner of the grocery store, she scolds Joe often.

Other characters[edit]

Mamoru Aoyama
Voiced by: Kiyoshi Komiyama, Shigeru Chiba (Ashita no Joe 2)
Live-Action Film: Masao Komatsu (1970)
Mamoru Aoyama (青山 まもる, Aoyama Mamoru) was an inmate at the juvenile detention center. Often picked on by the other inmates due to his short stature and feeble nature, he received some training from Danpei, who teaches him dodging techniques that make him a hard opponent to fight against, even managing to score a win against one of the toughest inmates during the juvie boxing tournament. He is also seen having grown up and gotten a job towards the very end of the series, attending Joe's fight against Jose along with some of the other former inmates.
Harry Robert
Voiced by: Takeshi Kuwabara, Michihiro Ikemizu (Ashita no Joe 2)
Harry Robert (ハリー・ロバート, Harī Robāto) is Carlos Rivera's manager and longtime friend. The two travel around the world looking for worthy opponents for Carlos, he is given a proposition by Yōko for Carlos to fight Joe which he accepts, subsequently travelling to Japan with Carlos. He and Carlos often find themselves having to look for opponents in different countries due to the fact that wherever Carlos goes he quickly gains a reputation as being such a good fighter that nobody wants to challenge him, forcing them to go to a country where he is less known.
Jun Shioya
Voiced by: Keiko Yokozawa (Ashita no Joe 2)
Jun Shioya (塩谷 ジュン, Shioya Jun) is Wolf's ex-fiancée, her father runs a boxing gym which Wolf comes to live at after hitting rock bottom. It is unconfirmed whether or not they reunite by the end of the series, but they remain on friendly terms.
Jirō Shioya
Voiced by: Yoku Shioya (Ashita no Joe 2)
Jirō Shioya (塩谷 ジロー, Shioya Jirō) is Jun's little brother, part of a biker gang. However Joe tells him that he sees boxing potential in him, causing him to quit the gang and pursue a boxing career.

Megalo Box characters[edit]

Joe / Junk Dog
Voiced by: Yoshimasa Hosoya[2]
Junk Dog (ジャンクドッグ) is an underground Megalo Boxer from the outskirts of town whose real name is unknown, he is forced to throw fights to earn money for his crooked manager. He fights with old Gear that is constantly in need of repair. He takes on the name "Joe" (ジョー) when he has a Citizen ID forged in order to enter the Megalonia tournament. His counterpart in the original series is Joe Yabuki.
Gansaku Nanbu
Voiced by: Shiro Saito[2]
Gansaku Nanbu (南部贋作, Nanbu Gansaku) is Junk Dog's manager and a gambler who keeps making him throw fights, even though deep down he believes in Junk Dog's abilities. His counterpart in the original series is Danpei Tange.
Yūri
Voiced by: Hiroki Yasumoto[3]
Yūri (勇利) is Yukiko's bodyguard and the former Megalo Boxing champion who has his Gear integrated into his arms. He seeks out Junk Dog after the latter insults his owner, meeting him in the underground ring he easily defeats him before telling him to work his way up in Megalonia if he wants to fight him again. His counterpart in the original series is Tōru Rikiishi.
Yukiko Shirato
Voiced by: Nanako Mori[2]
Yukiko Shirato (白都ゆき子, Shirato Yukiko) is the head of the Shirato Group who oversees the Megalonia tournament. Her counterpart in the original series is Yōko Shiraki.
Sachio
Voiced by: Michiyo Murase[2]
Sachio (サチオ) is a child from the impoverished Restricted Area whose counterpart in the original series is the neighbourhood children that Joe Yabuki was friends with, particularly based on Sachi and Kinoko.
Fujimaki
Voiced by: Hiroyuki Kinoshita[2]
Fujimaki (藤巻) is a mob boss that sets up fixed fights for Junk Dog and Nanbu. He assists the duo in acquiring a forged Citizen ID so they can enter Megalonia and pay him back with the prize money after Junk Dog refuses to throw a fight. His counterpart in the original series is Goromaki Gondō.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Ashita no Joe was originally serialized in Japan in Weekly Shōnen Magazine from 1968 to 1973, it was collected into 20 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha and sold over 20 million copies.[4] It has never received an official English release but has been published in Italy by Star Comics and in France by Glénat Editions. Chikara Sakuma will launch a manga adaptation of the Megalo Box anime titled Megalo Box - Shukumei no Sōken (メガロボクス 宿命の双拳, "Megalo Box - The Twin Fists of Fate") which is set to be serialized in Kodansha's Shōnen Magazine Edge on February 17, 2018.[5]

Anime[edit]

On March 2, 2005 the complete original 1970 anime series was released by Nippon Columbia on 2 DVD box sets covering 33 hours 55 minutes of footage across 79 episodes spanning 16 disks. It also includes an all-color explanation book in 3 volumes totaling 120 pages.

Previous release formats include mini-box sets on September 21, 2001 and individual disks on September 21, 2002.

Tai Seng released the first film on U.S. DVD in 2008, retitled to 'Champion Joe'. Crunchyroll is streaming the second TV series, retitled to 'Champion Joe 2', starting March 24, 2014.[6]

The Ashita no Joe movie was introduced in 1980 reusing footages from the TV series to form an identical story but much reduced in length. It was to bridge the gap for audiences who were about to see the 2nd half of the series named Ashita no Joe 2. The 2nd series featured new directors, as it synced up with the final half of the manga.

Discotek Media will release the first film on Blu-Ray with the Tai Seng dub intact.[7]

Megalo Box[edit]

A new anime television adaptation titled Megalo Box (メガロボクス, Megarobokusu) has been announced and will premiere April 6th 2018. It is based on the manga, but will be an original re-envisioned version of the story, taking place in a futuristic setting and featuring new renditions of characters from the original series. Yō Moriyama will direct the series at TMS Entertainment and serve as conceptual designer, while Katsuhiko Manabe and Kensaku Kojima are overseeing scripts, mabanua will compose the music.[8] Yoshimasa Hosoya will voice the protagonist, Junk Dog.[9] The series opening theme is "Bite" by LEO Imai[10] and the ending theme is "Come to Me" (かかってこいよ, Kakette Koi yo) by NakamuraEmi[11] with an insert song performed by rap artist COMA-CHI.[12] The series is simulcasted on Crunchyroll.[13] The series will air 13 episodes, and the Japanese Blu-ray release will contain a new short anime.[14]

No. English Title / Japanese Title[a] Direction Written by Original air date
1 "Buy or Die?" / "Don't Let the Simmering Fire Die. It'll Light the Way in the Dark."
"Kusuburu hi o Tayasu na. Sore ga Kurai Michi o Terasu Akari to Naru" (くすぶる火をたやすな。それが暗い道を照らす灯となる) 
Yō Moriyama Katsuhiko Manabe April 6, 2018
2 "The Man Only Dies Once" / "'No Man Has Ever Died Twice', Mumbled the Gambler."
"Ni-do Shinda Yatsu wa Inai, Bakuchi-uchi wa Sō Usobuita" (二度死んだヤツはいない、バクチ打ちはそう嘯いた) 
Keiya Saitō Kensaku Kojima April 13, 2018
3 "Gear is Dead" / "You're Just Crying Sour Grapes. Machines Don't Breathe to Begin With."
"Zetsubō no Hate no Makeoshimi. Kikai wa Hana Kara Iki Shicha Nai" (絶望の果ての負け惜しみ。機械はハナから息しちゃない) 
Takaaki Wada Katsuhiko Manabe April 20, 2018
4 "Let's Dance with Death"   April 27, 2018

Live-action film[edit]

A live-action film based on the manga was released in 1970 in Japan, featuring Shōji Ishibashi as Joe, Ryūtarō Tatsumi as Danpei and Seiichirō Kameishi as Rikiishi. A second live-action film adaptation premiered in Japan on February 11, 2011, starring popular actor/singer Tomohisa Yamashita as Joe, Teruyuki Kagawa as Danpei and Yūsuke Iseya as Rikiishi.

Video games[edit]

Title Alternate Titles Publisher Developer Platform Release Date
Ashita no Joe Taito Wave Corp Arcade 1990
Ashita no Joe Densetsu Legend of Success Joe SNK Wave Corp Neo Geo 1991
Ashita no Joe K Amusement Leasing Wave Corp SNES November 27, 1992
Boxing Mania: Ashita no Joe Boxing Mania Konami Arcade 2001
Ashita no Joe Touchi: Typing Namida Hashi Ashita no Joe Keyboard Pack Sunsoft Sunsoft PlayStation 2 March 29, 2001
Ashita no Joe 2: The Anime Super Remix Capcom Capcom PlayStation 2 June 20, 2002
Ashita no Joe Masshiro ni Moe Tsukiro! Konami PlayStation 2 December 4, 2003
Ashita no Joe Makkani Moeagare! Konami Game Boy Advance December 4, 2003
Ashita no Joe Masshiro ni Moe Tsukiro! Konami the Best Ashita no Joe Masshiro ni Moe Tsukiro! Greatest Hits Konami PlayStation 2 July 8, 2004

Reception and cultural impact[edit]

The series is a cult favorite in Japanese pop culture to the present day. When the fans of the series saw the death of Rikiishi, there was a special funeral for him. In March 1970, about 700 people packed the streets dressed in black, wearing black armbands and ribbons with flowers and incense, participated in the funeral. The event was called for by poet Shūji Terayama and was conducted in a full scale boxing ring watched over by a Buddhist priest.[15] On October 13, 2006, it was voted "Japanese Favorite TV Anime" placing 4 out of 100 among celebrities votes.[16] Joe Yabuki was ranked seventh in Mania Entertainment's "10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes", written by Thomas Zoth, who commented that, "Tomorrow's Joe captured the zeitgeist of 1960s Japan. The story of Joe's rise from nothing touched a chord with Japanese audiences, who were seeing their country prosper after a long period of postwar devastation."[17] According to a character designer from the video game company SNK, Ashita no Joe was an influence in designing Kyo Kusanagi.[18] Anime News Network's reviewer Justin Sevakis analyzed the series, praising its storyline but criticized some aspects about the first movie adaptation. He praised Joe's character development and his relationship with other boxers.[19] According to The Japan Times's Mark Schilling, the series "became the template for not only Fumihiko Sori's 2011 live-action film of the same title, but many Japanese sports movie and TV franchises."[20]

The live-action film also received positive response from Hollywood Reporter's Maggie Lee who gave praised the casting' work to do boxing. On the other hand, she criticized the characterization of Danpei and Yoko.[21] Russell Edwards from Variety enjoyed the director's work and, like Lee, enjoyed the work of the leading actors.[22]

One of the most popular character of the Ultra Series franchise, Ultraman Zero in fact had his outlook and traits being based around the manga's main character Joe Yabuki.[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ English translation per Crunchyroll.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.manga-audition.com/tetsuya-chiba-interview/
  2. ^ a b c d e "Megalobox Anime Reveals 4 More Cast Members in Videos". Anime News Network. February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 8, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Hiroki Yasumoto Joins Megalobox Anime's Cast". Anime News Network. February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 
  4. ^ ちばてつやさん「あしたのジョー」 力石の死…描き進めていくうちに「これはもう生きていられない」と . Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). MSN. 2013-11-25. Archived from the original on 2013-11-28. Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  5. ^ "Ashita no Joe Spinoff Anime Megalo Box's Teaser Video Streamed". Anime News Network. January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  6. ^ "Crunchyroll Adds "Champion Joe 2" Anime and "GTO Taiwan" Drama". Crunchyroll. March 22, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Discotek Licenses Cyborg 009 The Cyborg Soldier, Tomorrow's Joe, Project ARMS, NieA_7, Lupin III: The Legend of the Gold of Babylon". Anime News Network. August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 13, 2017. 
  8. ^ "Ashita no Joe Manga Inspires New TV Anime With Original Story in Spring 2018". Anime News Network. October 13, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Yoshimasa Hosoya Stars in Megalobox Boxing Anime". Anime News Network. February 1, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2018. 
  10. ^ "Megalobox Anime's Opening Theme Video Streamed". Anime News Network. March 29, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018. 
  11. ^ ""Megalo Box" Anime Casts Yoshimasa Hosoya in Lead Junk Dog Role". Crunchyroll. February 1, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018. 
  12. ^ "Megalobox Anime's Video Previews COMA-CHI's Rap". Anime News Network. February 20, 2018. Retrieved April 2, 2018. 
  13. ^ "Crunchyroll Adds "MEGALOBOX" TV Anime to the Spring 2018 Lineup". Crunchyroll. April 4, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018. 
  14. ^ "Megalobox Blu-rays to Include New Anime Shorts (Updated)". Anime News Network. April 7, 2018. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  15. ^ Gravett, Paul [2004] (2004). Manga: Sixty years of Japanese Comics. New York, NY: Harper Design International. p. 52-60. ISBN 1-85669-391-0.
  16. ^ Japanese Anime Vote. "TV Asashi Voting Archived 2009-05-05 at the Wayback Machine.. " "Japanese Anime Vote." Retrieved on 2006-11-19.
  17. ^ Zoth, Thomas (January 12, 2010). "10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 6, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  18. ^ "King of Fighters '94 – Developer Interview". Shmuplations. Retrieved March 25, 2016. 
  19. ^ Sevakis, Justin (November 13, 2008). "Buried Treasure Ashita no Joe". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  20. ^ Schilling, Mark (September 16, 2015). "Japan through the lens of its film genres". The Japan Times. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ Lee, Maggie (April 28, 2011). "Tomorrow's Joe (Ashita No Joe): Film Review". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  22. ^ Edwards, Russell (April 28, 2011). "Review: 'Tomorrow's Joe'". Variety. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  23. ^ 円谷プロ50周年記念 ウルトラ怪獣総選挙 ウルトラ怪獣のセンターと四天王を選抜 - Yahoo! JAPAN, archived from the original on 2013-10-11, retrieved 2016-08-22 

External links[edit]