Hajime no Ippo

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Hajime no Ippo
HajimenoIppo vol1 Cover.jpg
Cover of Hajime no Ippo volume 1 as published by Kodansha
GenreAction, comedy, sports[1]
Written byGeorge Morikawa
Published byKodansha
MagazineWeekly Shōnen Magazine
Original runOctober 1989 – present
Volumes126 (List of volumes)
Anime television series
The Fighting!
Directed bySatoshi Nishimura
Kenichi Kawamura (assistant)
Produced by
Written byTatsuhiko Urahata
Music byTsuneo Imahori
Licensed by
Original networkNippon TV
Original run October 3, 2000 March 26, 2002
Episodes76 (List of episodes)
Anime television film
Champion Road
Directed bySatoshi Nishimura
Produced by
  • Hiroshi Yamashita
  • Manabu Tamura
  • Masao Maruyama
Written byKazuyuki Fudeyasu
Music byTsuneo Imahori
Licensed by
Original networkNippon TV
ReleasedApril 18, 2003
Runtime90 minutes
Original video animation
Mashiba vs. Kimura
Directed byHitoshi Nanba
Produced by
  • Hiroshi Yamashita
  • Manabu Tamura
  • Masao Maruyama
Written byTatsuhiko Urahata
Music byTsuneo Imahori
Licensed by
ReleasedSeptember 5, 2003
Runtime60 minutes
Anime television series
New Challenger
Directed byJun Shishido
Produced by
  • Toshio Nakatani
  • Manabu Tamura
Written byKazuyuki Fudeyasu
Music by
Original networkNippon TV
Original run January 6, 2009 June 30, 2009
Episodes26 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Directed byJun Shishido
Produced by
  • Toshio Nakatani
  • Manabu Tamura
  • Tomohiro Shindo
Written byKazuyuki Fudeyasu
Music by
  • Yoshihisa Hirano
  • Tsuneo Imahori
Original networkNippon TV
Original run October 5, 2013 March 29, 2014
Episodes25 (List of episodes)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and manga portal

Hajime no Ippo (はじめの一歩, lit. "The First Step") is a Japanese boxing manga series written and illustrated by George Morikawa. It has been serialized by Kodansha in Weekly Shōnen Magazine since 1989 and collected in over 126 tankōbon to date. It follows the story of high school student Makunouchi Ippo, as he begins his career in boxing and over time obtains many titles and defeats various opponents.

A 76-episode anime adaptation titled Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! was produced by Madhouse, Nippon Television and VAP, directed by Satoshi Nishimura and ran on the Nippon Television Network from October 2000 to March 2002. A TV film and an OVA were also produced. On September 15, 2008 it was announced in Weekly Shōnen Magazine that a second season of Hajime no Ippo would begin airing on January 6, 2009. The second season is called Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger and concluded on June 30, 2009. At the end of 2003, the first season of the anime was licensed in North America by Geneon,[2] which released it under the name Fighting Spirit.


Ippo Makunouchi was an extremely shy high school student, unable to make friends due to always being busy helping his mother run their family fishing charter business. Because he kept to himself, a group of bullies led by Umezawa got into the habit of picking on him. One day, when these bullies gave him a rather serious beating, a middleweight professional boxer who was passing by stopped them and took the injured Ippo to the Kamogawa Gym (鴨川ボクシングジム, Kamogawa Bokushingu Jimu), owned by retired boxer Genji Kamogawa, to treat his wounds. After Ippo awoke to the sounds of boxers training, the boxer who saved him, Mamoru Takamura, tried to cheer Ippo up by letting him vent his frustrations on a sandbag. It was then that they had their first glimpse into Ippo's talent for boxing. After that incident, Ippo gave the situation a lot of thought and decided that he would like to begin a career as a professional boxer. When he conveys this message to Mamoru Takamura, he gets verbally reprimanded: Takamura thought Ippo was taking professional boxing too lightly. However, Takamura felt that he couldn't outright refuse Ippo, especially since his feat of punching the sandbag much harder than anybody else in the gym (except for Takamura). Therefore, he challenges Ippo to catch 10 falling leaves from a tree simultaneously after a week of training, fully convinced that Ippo would fail, Takamura jogs away as he continues his roadwork.

However, after a week of tough training, involving nightly hours, Ippo manages the technique in the nick of time. He waits for the jogging Takamura to come by his usual path and surprises him by catching all 10 of the falling leaves and only doing so with his left hand. This impresses Takamura greatly, and he informs Ippo that the action required to catch all 10 leaves is called a boxing jab. Takamura invites Ippo back to the boxing gym for introductions.

When they got back to the gym, the coach, Genji Kamogawa, was not at all impressed by Makunouchi's lack of fighting spirit, and therefore, was challenged by Takamura to have a practice spar against a member of the gym. However, Kamogawa decides to give Ippo a severe challenge and tells him to spar with Miyata, who is 16, the same age as Ippo. Miyata is known as a boxing prodigy and is one of Kamogawa gym's future hopes. Takamura gets extremely worried with this prospect, as Miyata skill is way above the four-rounder pro boxer. As expected, Ippo loses by KO, but not until Miyata struggles dodging his punches and finally ends the match with his trump card: "The Counter". Coach Kamogawa decides that he has great fighting sense and spirit and decides to train him to eventually become the Japanese champion with a world ranking while Miyata became the OPBF (Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation) Champion. Both are expected to hit high in the rankings and, eventually, fight each other for the world champion's belt.

The story focuses heavily on character development—even during the matches something is learned about both fighters. Ippo has a habit of running into his opponents before matches, giving him a chance to learn more about their backgrounds and even sympathize with them. Ippo is an extremely timid and modest person who never assumes that he is strong enough. He instead draws courage from seeing the strength of his opponent and realizing that he is able to stand up to it. Ippo and his friendly rivalry with Miyata is the main draw in the early part of the series. That later changes to Ippo's path toward the Japanese Featherweight Championship and eventually the world championship. Along the way the audience is given glimpses into the other characters' pasts, motivations, relationships to others, and current boxing trials. A colorful cast of supporting characters and opponents as well as side stories concerning their paths in the boxing world rounds out the series.




First season[edit]

An anime television series based on the manga, Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting! aired on Nippon Television between October 3, 2000, and March 26, 2002.

TV film[edit]

Fighting Spirit: Champion Road TV Special (はじめの一歩 TVスペシャル -Champion Road-, Hajime no Ippo Terebi Supesharu ~Chanpion Rōdo~), aired on April 18, 2003 on NTV.


Mashiba vs. Kimura, released on September 5, 2003.

Second season[edit]

The continuation of the series—called Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger (はじめの一歩 New Challenger)—started on January 6, 2009, on Nippon Television[3] and ended on June 30, 2009.

Third season[edit]

Rikiya Koyama, the voice actor of the Mamoru Takamura character in the Hajime no Ippo boxing anime franchise, revealed in his blog in 2009 that a sequel to the Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger television series is being planned. Koyama was posting about the end of dialog recording for the series, since the cast just finished work on the 26th and final episode. (The final episode, "New Challenger", aired in Japan on June 30, 2009.) At the end of his Friday blog entry, he wrote, "Of course, a sequel is also being planned!!"[4]

On July 19, 2013, it was reported in that year's 34th issue of Kodansha's Weekly Shōnen Magazine that a third season of Hajime no Ippo will air in the fall 2013 season.

The third season, titled Hajime no Ippo: Rising, premiered October 6, 2013, and ended on March 29, 2014. It featured 25 new episodes.


The music for the first anime series was composed by Tsuneo Imahori, who also did the third opening theme song. Tracks of guitars, drums, piano, horns, and combinations of the instruments were used to help accentuate the mood and action of the scenes. The soundtrack was released in Japan on two CDs, First KO and Final Round. The music for the second series was composed by Hideki Taniuchi. In the third series, Yoshihisa Hirano and Tsuneo Imahori are credited for the music.

Anime theme songs[edit]

Opening Theme Songs
  1. "Under Star" by Shocking Lemon (Episodes 1-25)
  2. "Inner Light" by Shocking Lemon (Episodes 26-52,TV Movie)
  3. "Tumbling Dice" by Tsuneo Imahori (Episodes 53-76)
  4. "Hekireki" by Last Alliance (Second Series, Episode 1-26)[5]
  5. "Yakan Hikou" by Wasureranneyo (Third Series, Episode 1-25)
Closing Theme Songs
  1. "Yuuzora no Kamihikouki" by Mori Naoya (Episodes 1-25,TV Movie)
  2. "360°" by Mori Naoya (Episodes 26-52,75,OVA)
  3. "Eternal Loop" by Saber Tiger (Episodes 53-74, 76)
  4. "8 AM" by Coldrain (Second Series, Episode 1-26)[5]
  5. "Buchikome!!" by Shikuramen (Third Series, Episode 1-25)


Geneon distributed the Fighting Spirit series in North America on 15 DVDs with five episodes per disc. The first DVD was released on July 6, 2004 and the fifteenth released on December 19, 2006.[6] The DVDs included English and Spanish language tracks, as well as the original Japanese. The TV film Champion Road has been released in North America on DVD by Geneon. There are no plans to release the OVA, Mashiba vs. Kimura. Disc sales of the series did not break even. The first DVD was the best selling at ~5,000 units with each DVD afterwards selling ~1,000 units.[citation needed] As Geneon USA closed its doors at the end of 2007, the US rights of the series are in question.

Video games[edit]

There have been some video games based on the series, first released on the PlayStation, then later the PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance, and recently to Wii. Two of the games have been released in North America and in PAL territories. There was some confusion regarding the Western title Victorious Boxers 2: Fighting Spirit before its Western release. This is generally assumed to be the same game as Hajime no Ippo 2: Victorious Road, when actually it is the next title in the series, Hajime no Ippo - The Fighting! All Stars.[7] The Japanese released Victorious Road is unique amongst the titles as it includes the option to create your own boxer and control his training, diet, weight etc. The second Western title, Fighting Spirit, gives the player a choice of over 70 fighters for VS play. Each title has its own story mode which closely follows that of the manga.

Ippo and Takamura have also appeared in the 2009 crossover video game Sunday vs Magazine: Shūketsu! Chōjō Daikessen as playable characters.

System English Title Japanese Title English Translation
PlayStation N/A はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting!
PlayStation 2 Victorious Boxers: Ippo's Road to Glory[8] はじめの一歩 VICTORIOUS BOXERS Hajime no Ippo: Victorious Boxers
N/A はじめの一歩2 VICTORIOUS ROAD Hajime no Ippo 2: Victorious Road[9]
Victorious Boxers 2: Fighting Spirit はじめの一歩 ALL☆STARS Hajime no Ippo - The Fighting! All Stars[10]
Game Boy Advance N/A はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting![11]
Nintendo DS N/A はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting!
Wii Victorious Boxers: Revolution はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! Revolution Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting Revolution[12]
PSP N/A はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! Portable Victorious Spirits Hajime no Ippo: THE FIGHTING! Portable Victorious Spirits[13]
PlayStation 3 N/A はじめの一歩 THE FIGHTING! Hajime no Ippo: The Fighting![14]


As of November 2019, Hajime no Ippo comics has sold over 96 million copies.[15] In 1991, the manga won the Kodansha Manga Award for shōnen.[16] Anime Academy gave the first anime series a glowing response; all five reviewers rated it above 90%, with one referring to the series as "the cream of the crop" of the sports genre in anime, and another stating that "fighting and character development have never tangoed so well together".[17] Fanboy.com listed the series as one of their "Top Ten Underrated Manga".[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marshall, Dallas. "Fighting Spirit". THEM Anime Reviews. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Macdonald, Christopher (November 1, 2003). "Geneon Licenses". Anime News Network. Retrieved April 4, 2007.
  3. ^ "はじめの一歩 New Challenger". ntv.co.jp. Nippon Television. Retrieved August 6, 2013.
  4. ^ Sequel to Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger Being Planned, Anime News Network website
  5. ^ a b The Official Hajime no Ippo music page on NTV's Website
  6. ^ "Fighting Spirit". Geneon. Retrieved April 23, 2007.
  7. ^ "Victorious Boxers 2: Fighting Spirit Review". PALGN. Archived from the original on September 8, 2007. Retrieved May 4, 2007.
  8. ^ "PlayStation 2 - Victorious Boxers". PlayStation Underground. Retrieved April 4, 2007.
  9. ^ "Hajime no Ippo 2: Victorious Road for PS2". GameSpot. Retrieved April 4, 2007.
  10. ^ GameSpot. "Victorious Boxers 2: Fighting Spirit for PS2". Retrieved April 4, 2007.
  11. ^ "Hajime no Ippo GAMEBOY ADVANCE". Entertainment Software Publishing. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  12. ^ "Hajime no Ippo Revolution Page". MouRa. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
  13. ^ "Hajime no Ippo Revolution Page". MouRa. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
  14. ^ "Hajime no Ippo game announced for PS3". Gematsu. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  15. ^ Sports Hochi 2019/11/18
  16. ^ Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  17. ^ "Hajime no Ippo Review". Anime Academy. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
  18. ^ "Underrated Manga: Hajime no Ippo". Fanboy.com. Retrieved 2009-01-08.

External links[edit]