Miss my review last week? You can find it here!
Following last week’s shocking conclusion, with Mikio essentially blackmailing Joe and Nanbu into forfeiting the final match needed to enter Megalonia, things were looking bleak for Team Nowhere.
The episode opens with Mr. Fujimaki asking Nanbu if he’s ready to give up following Mikio’s threats, to which Nanbu responds with renewed determination that it’s not over yet.
Fujimaki tells Nanbu that someone was sniffing around in the underground looking for info on Joe, and that while they determined that something fishy was up with his ID, Mikio was unable to secure any solid evidence. Essentially, he had made a bold bluff, and Nanbu fell for it.
Seeking more answers as to why Mikio was so determined to get Joe to drop out, Fujimaki points Nanbu towards a former Gear developer who had fallen from grace and now regularly bet in the underground matches. Through their conversations, a major revelation is made: Mikio’s impressive AI-powered Gear depends on the other fighter’s Gear in order to work properly. It detects electric signals from the Gear in order to deploy counter-measures, so on a fighter like Joe who has no Gear, it would be rendered useless!
This, combined with the reinforced rumors surrounding Mikio’s ongoing feud with Yukiko, provide Nanbu and the team with enough information to go to Yukiko in order to request an official rematch before the Final One is officially announced.
Yukiko is unimpressed, and rejects Nanbu’s pleas, even after he makes an impassioned argument that they’ve worked hard to get where they are, and even comes clean about Joe’s ID and background. Threatening to take Mikio’s “fixed fight” to the press, Yukiko locks him in the meeting room as she leaves for the ceremony.
It seems as though Mikio is a breath away from achieving his official status as The Final One, when Joe comes barreling in on his motorcycle. Restrained by security, he calls out that it isn’t over yet, and he asks Yukiko if she’s okay with Megalonia being represented like this.
Yukiko reflects on Nanbu’s earlier statements, and Yuri’s own sentiments of only having room for “the genuine article” in the Megalo Boxing ring. In a surprise move, she splits the final ticket to Megalonia in half, and presents each of them with a piece.
Joe is thrilled at the opportunity, but Mikio is understandably upset, as he tells her flat-out that he plans on focusing his energies on unseating and destroying her going forward.
With that, the rematch is officially set, and Joe has one more chance to fight his way onto Yuri’s stage!
I have to say, this episode was both expected and unexpected at the same time. Much like the conclusion of the Aragaki arc, there are elements that I (and am sure many other fans) predicted, though maybe not in the exact same way that it played out in the episode.
First, I am surprised that it took the whole episode to clean things up. I was thinking it would be a half-episode deal so that the fight could begin/get set up in the latter half. However, in the time that it took to craft the story we got some great insight on Nanbu’s character, Fujimaki made another appearance, and we get more insight on Mikio’s motivations. Unfortunately, they’re still not very compelling. Of all the fighters that Joe has battled so far, Mikio seems to be the most predictable.
The “investigation” takes the lions share of the first half of the episode, with Nanbu’s appeal and the ceremony in the latter half. Speaking of predictions that went slightly off base, I would imagine that Nanbu’s secondary speech would have been convincing enough in most other series. The fact that Yukiko still rejects him outright following his speech was a refreshing turn, though I was never really concerned for Joe’s chance at fighting Mikio again.
Joe’s arrival and challenge of Mikio was well-executed, and Yukiko’s framing of his rematch as something “bold and unexpected” and something “characteristic of Gearless Joe” was a masterful re-framing that helped her maintain control of the Megalonia show. Yukiko was impressive in this scene, and despite the fact that she often comes off as a fairly flat character, I appreciated seeing a bit more of her strategic side.
I was a bit bummed that the slower pace of the episode appeared to reflect a bit in the animation choices. Lots of filler screens and lower-quality shots when compared to the more dynamic fight episodes. Megalo Box is at its best when offering glimpses into the city of poverty that it occupies, and there wasn’t too much of that scene-setting in this episode. I still love the fact that it looks like a mid-late 90s anime, the rough aesthetic still has me won over 100%. I just know we’ve seen it look more polished in the past, and hope to see more of that quality in next week’s episode.
Overall, an interesting and engaging episode that helps to set up the climactic battle to ensure that Joe makes it to Megalonia. How will Mikio handle the Gearless boxer? Surely it won’t be a walk in the park for Joe…we’ve got a week to build the hype! See you then!
Megalo Box (Episode 8)
- Story followed a logical path as opposed to a dramatic "disqualification" or other deus ex machina mechanic
- Surprised they took the whole episode cleaning up the "Final Entry" arc
- Low-action episode is reflected in the animation - still preserves the aesthetic but more "filler" screens