Fighting Spirit anime review

Fighting Spirit anime review
Ippo, a timid highschooler, is one day saved from being beaten up by Takamura, a boxer. Enthralled by Takamura's skills Ippo begins to learn boxing, soon finding love for the sport and a drive to challenge the boxing world.

For those who have become disillusioned with shounen action series, Fighting Spirit is a much needed shot in the arm for the genre. By avoiding the pitfalls that plague the genre, such as convenient power ups and excessive moralizing, Fighting Spirit manages to be worth watching. By adding big helpings of comedy and drama, while never losing focus on the genre’s main draw, the fighting, Fighting Spirit is arguably the greatest shounen action series of all time.

What would any action series, most of all one about boxing, be without its fighting? Thankfully, Fighting Spirit has its base covered with tense, furious, smash-mouth brawls. No ki blasts, no explosions, just one mano y mano slugfest after another, many of which will have you on the edge of your seat cheering for one or both of the fighters. The action does occasionally reuse cells, and isn’t perfectly realistic, but I’m not one to mind a little stylization or dramatic pause. Ten seconds turning into one or two minutes, is far more forgivable than, say, five minutes turning into eight episodes. (Not that that’s ever happened in a famous shounen action anime or anything.)

As much as Fighting Spirit grabs your attention during the matches, it tickles your funny bone in between them. The larger than life personalities of the main characters come to life in hilarious ways when they interact with each other. Speaking of the main characters, each character is given their time to shine, unlike many similar shows where one character gets nearly all the attention. This isn’t to say that each main character gets equal time; Ippo is still the protagonist, but the screen time is spread far more equitably than most such shows. Some entire episodes are dedicated only to the comedy. While these “filler” episodes would usually be an annoyance, I never found myself wishing they’d get back to the fighting. A lot of the laughs come from a few running gags, but they are never used so much as to ruin the humor.

If anything could be called the “black sheep” of the series, it would be the drama. I’m not so cynical as to crucify a work of fiction for not being perfectly believable, but the writers needed to find more ideas for planning the fights. I think I heard “there’s no way he can continue” a few too many times, while seeing said character taking unbelievable amounts of punishment, only to come back and win. Fighting Spirit is far more unpredictable than I ever expected (Ippo doesn’t win all his fights), but after a while it does become somewhat predictable. Also, the character relationships weren’t given as much time as I would have liked, but I suppose it’s to be expected that an action show focuses on the action first.

Don’t neglect Fighting Spirit because it’s a sports anime, or because it’s mindless entertainment. To dismiss it as such would be like hating baseball for not having enough philosophy; it ignores all the merits and only looks at the drawbacks. Fighting Spirit is a must see for anyone who likes their anime action packed, or anyone who thinks that “good shounen series” is an oxymoron.

Better than review, is a Trailer video of: Fighting Spirit. Watch it now:
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