Miss my review last week? You can find it here!
Following Joe’s surprise win over 17th-ranked Aragaki, he has quickly become the talk of the town! Men and women from the slums are all fascinated with his skyrocketing fame in the Megalo Box arena, and it’s this wave of popularity that Nanbu is hoping to ride straight into Megalonia.
However, a high-profile match elsewhere is threatening to take the final Megalonia spot! Shirato Mikio (yes, that Shirato) and his AI-driven gear vs. an exceedingly talented boxer named Suger Hill. Commentators and the executives among the Megalonia competition believe that this fight will determine the final spot, but since Shirato Mikio is Yukiko’s brother, there are more than a few murmurs regarding favoritism/nepotism. The mob cries out for Joe to get a chance to enter too!
The day of the fight arrives, and to the surprise of many, Mikio absolutely dominates the otherwise formidable boxer with his AI gear.
However, rather than just taking his ticket to Megalonia, Mikio challenges Joe live from the ring!
Nanbu is ecstatic, but also realizes that Joe is still badly injured from his slugfest with Aragaki. The two agree that this is a tremendous opportunity, and Joe begins his healing and training process anew.
Meanwhile, we get to see some behind-the-scenes political drama surrounding Yukiko and Mikio. Apparently snubbed of the chance to run the Megalo Box organization, Mikio is on a personal mission to unseat his sister. Looking to get ahead of any possible shenanigans in placing Joe in the 4th spot, he decides to challenge him directly, so that if he is deemed the winner, there will be no other viable alternative for the last Megalonia slot.
We also see some of the competing Gear technologies – namely Mikio’s AI gear in action, as well as a better look at Yuri’s “integrated gear”.
Joe trains hard with Nanbu, with Sachio and his motley crew encouraging his progress. The crew feels optimistic, reflecting on how far they’ve come, and how close the ultimate prize of Megalonia appears to be.
The day of the fight finally arrives, and just as Joe and the crew are heading to the ring, Mikio stops them in the hall. Joe tells him to save it for the ring, but Mikio reveals that he knows about his fake ID and past life before Megalonia. He threatens to expose them all if they enter the ring.
Joe attempts to lash out at Mikio when he’s stopped by…Nanbu?! Punching his student in the gut, Joe doubles over and Nanbu concedes to Mikio’s demand.
The episode ends with the doors to the hallway closing, their dreams of Megalonia disappearing in the distance, as Mikio stands victorious in the empty ring.
I gotta say, this week’s episode took an interesting turn, and I’m not 100% sure I liked it.
Admittedly, it’s hard to follow up the last two episodes when it comes to hype and quality story-telling. If we’re sensing any sort of pattern, it’s that this was an introductory episode to the “Mikio” arc, and the relevant backstory is supposed to help us understand his methods and motivations for boxing. On that front it…didn’t really succeed. We’ve seen some familiar character histories here, but “snubbed sibling hungry for the family business” is an archetype that isn’t particularly engaging in this dynamic.
Diving into the political battles between Yukiko and her executive committee, as well as Mikio’s maneuvers, did add some weight to the larger Megalo Box organization, but when compared with the drama and struggle of the boxers themselves, it’s a bit boring.
We did get a bit more insight on Yuri and his work with the integrated Gear, and I have to say that as a looming threat and “final bad guy”, he continues to grow on me as a man thoroughly committed to the sport, and likely has a compelling history of his own, which I’m excited to see.
The real bummer was the end of the episode, where Mikio essentially plays the “smug douchebag” card, and gets away with it. Now, Megalo Box has done a great job of taking a seemingly predictable turn of events and turning it into an enjoyable narrative journey with the last arc, so I’m going to reserve judgment for now. However, the finale just smacked of a cheap obstacle to trip over when Joe could have struggled just as much with overcoming Mikio’s top-notch Gear.
We’ll see how things shake out next week! In the words of the beloved Matthew Mercer: “Is it Thursday yet?”
Megalo Box - Episode 7
- Megalo Box organization is fleshed out - becomes more than just Yukiko
- Cool look at various Gear types/approaches
- Mikio (so far) is a predictable and boring archetype
- Ending feels like a cheap obstacle
- Political/corporate tension is no match for compelling personal narratives