First Impression – Hajime no Ippo: Rising

Ippo’s back to defend his title!

spring13-jrow4 years ago, New Challenger ended with Ippo successfully defending his Featherweight title, Takamura winning the WBC Middleweight belt and a man in a magazine carrying a fish over his shoulder proclaiming that he would destroy the Dempsey Roll, Ippo’s major technique. The series ended there leaving anime fans wanting more, and thankfully there is a time for more Ippo, and that time is now. Round 1, start!

HnIR01 - KazuoHnIR01 - Ippo

The montage of Ippo walloping his opponents goes back to the end of the 1st series where he won the Featherweight belt from Sendou and his title defenses after that. It reminds us of how hard-hitting the action can be, especially the sound effect that accompanies the Dempsey Roll as though the boxers just got hit by a train. After an opening in which my initial visual comparison to it was Street Fighter IV, the story goes back to Ippo’s childhood and the tragic passing of his father. It provides a layer for Ippo’s character and his motivation to continue defending his title for fans both new and old.

HNIR01 - Kamogawa Gym

Kamogawa Gym, a hotbed of boxing talent… and Aoki

Hajime no Ippo’s main event are indeed the matches, and Rising’s first episode felt as if I was watching the series just yesterday, seeing and remembering all the elements of an Ippo boxing match that illustrates the fights so well, though at a quicker pace than usual to start. Madhouse solidly animates these fights to where you can feel the weight of how physically strong the boxers are and how hard these punches are being thrown when they land. The announcers provide verbal emphasis to the action in the ring, Genji in Ippo’s corner and the other boxers from the Kamogawa gym discussing the strategy. I say quicker pace because we didn’t see Kamogawa Gym strategize against Shimabukuro Iwao and Ippo training for days on end in preparation for another title defense. It’s only episode 1, and it’s been 4 years, so I’m glad they didn’t leave me waiting for the excitement of the fight; we have 24 more to bring take us through the process of “The Sweet Science” in anime form that is Hajime no Ippo.

HnIR01 - IppovIwao05HnIR01 - IppovIwao01HnIR01 - IppovIwao02

In discussion of the fight so far, Ippo’s extra height over Iwao provides the challenger something he can use to his advantage; Ippo’s never been the shorter guy in a match before. Iwao’s short, stupid-muscular frame makes it seem like Ippo is fighting a rock that has the ability to punch back, which the challenger uses to force the champ into the corner for a part of the fight, and by episode’s end Ippo starts showing signs of cyanosis as “the water gets deeper”, the metaphorical visual theme for this fight. The tactic of in-fighting worked very well for Ippo, but it doesn’t surprise me that he thought he could get a wide-swinging blow in; Ippo has a tendency to be anxious at times and go for the big blow instead of, as Genji says, chipping away and “going to work” against his opponents.

HnIR01 - IppovIwao06

Ippo’s in trouble as Shimabukuro’s plan has gotten the champion “deeper in the water”

HnIR01 - Takamura and Aoki

Missing mostly from the premiere episode was the humor that I’ve enjoyed from the Kamogawa Gym guys, though Takamura got in a nice one though by telling Ippo to ignore minor crap like Aoki’s title fight. There was little room for the comedy to operate with a sad backstory and the direct jump into the ring for a championship bout, so stay tuned for Aoki and Takamura providing most of the laughs; Kimura gets in on that too from time to time.

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I generally appreciated the way the first episode was handled from the standpoint of bringing familiar fans like me back into this 3rd series and potential new fans. Hajime no Ippo hasn’t been around for a little while, and certainly not on a streaming anime site until this season, so Ippo is bound to attract new fans that have not seen the previous 100+ episodes and the OVAs but are maybe fans of sports anime. If you’re a shonen fan, I’m telling you it is absolutely worth it to watch the previous two series or to start progress on one of the lengthiest manga any of us will ever read (currently scanlated up to Chapter 1033). The first time I saw the Ippo anime was via a friend who brought over some subs and showed the first few episodes with a sparring match when Ippo was just getting started with boxing, and I was addicted from that moment forward. The boxing matches are well done and exciting and the series humor is a plus.

HnIR01 - Ep2 Preview

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Produces the MetaVerse podcast. Also plays games and watches sports of all sorts. Is an actual Pirate King.
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6 Responses to “First Impression – Hajime no Ippo: Rising”

  1. belatkuro says:

    The episode really felt a bit rushed with how we jumped already to the title fight. This whole fight, including the buildup, is kind of critical to Ippo and the Dempsey Roll.

    Otherwise, it was still good. The animation is still as great as before, with the punches having a lot of weight behind them. And that flashback with Ippo’s father was kind of touching. I nearly choked when Ippo returned with the hat.
    The seiyuu of Kamogawa fits well but I still miss Utsumi Kenji. And I hope the commentator for this fight is only for this. The usual commentator is hilarious and makes the fights even more enjoyable.

    Looking forward to the continuation of the fight and the other fights in the OP.

    • animefan says:

      I agree with you belatkuro

    • Jrow says:

      Oh good, at least with you commenting, me doing this post wasn’t a complete waste of my time. This is why I “retired” from writing for the site.

  2. Kyokai says:

    I was thinking this was a reboot but oh noes, a continuation! Please give me motivation to catch up to this! ><

    • Jrow says:

      Yup to continuation. Had it been like a Hunter x Hunter situation or FMA where the anime had to take its own route, a remake would’ve been appropriate, but since the series has been done right from the start and not necessarily so long ago, no need to reset the series. And we’re currently into the mid 400’s of the manga, still got 600+ to get to.

      I know a good way to tempt you is via seiyuu listing, so here’s that.

      In the post I mentioned a sparring match which takes place around episode 6-7 of the series between Ippo and former Kamogawa boxer Ichiro Miyata. That’s what got my eyes glued to the screen, rooting for Ippo to pull through even though he literally just came off the street to Kamogawa. I’d recommend those episodes as an appetizer to what could end up being all the eps.

      There is romance, but its significance is minimal. The comedy is what has kept things really light in the series. Takamura’s nicknames are “Bear Slayer, Japanese Hawk and Lord of Perverts”; what a great summation of that guy.

      • Kyokai says:

        Hmm! You have convinced me somewhat to sample this during one of my vacations. Will definitely be putting this on my watch list. :)

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