Hajime No Ippo – Rising
Episode 3 – A Woman’s Battle
Ippo’s fight against Shimabukuro is now over and the episode begins with his recovery after the fight in the last episode. For the first five minutes of the episode Ippo is asleep and the audience is introduced/reintroduced to three lovely ladies who all have “a thing” for Ippo and that’s where we get the title of the episode “A Woman’s Battle”. They fight amongst themselves for a little bit until Ippo’s mum intervenes and proves to the audience that, no matter what, SHE is the true woman in his life. Although she hates watching his fights because “why would I pay money to watch my son get hurt”, she continues to help him recover and to enjoy his time out of the ring. Ippo’s mum, somewhat, keeps him grounded and in a state of peacefully recovery when not fighting and you can really see it makes a big impact on his life considering he’s up and running within no time.
In true Hajime No Ippo-style this episode is both a post-match/pre-match episode. Ippo’s fight is over and Aoki’s fight is about to begin. Aoki is another boxer that trains in the same gym as Ippo and is one of Ippo’s close friends. His match is coming up soon so a majority of this episode is set-up and preparation for that. We see the more comedic side of Hajime No Ippo in this episode too, which I thought fit well. Aoki’s preparations are incredibly drastic which complements his personality quite well and we also get a nice look into his past as well as the reason why he MUST win this fight. I found it to be great how, even though Aoki is a comedic character, he feels like he is falling behind and that this fight is really the be all and end all for him, he jokes about that throughout the episode but by the end of it you get the feeling that this really is it for him.
His hero, Takamura, has hit the big leagues and his junior Ippo has done the same which, in turn, has broken a great deal of Aoki’s spirit. While, of course, he loves that his best friends are celebreties in the boxing world as well as actual great boxers his goal now is to reach their level, not for the fame but for the satisfaction of knowing that he has what it takes to fight at their level and, once again, be on an even playing field. The emotions portrayed in this episode were great because, essentially, they are real feelings that someone would feel about their friends; elated yet conflicted, he wants to feel overjoyed about his friend’s success yet he can’t help but feel left behind and, in some ways, jealous. We’re also introduced to his opponent, Imae, who is said to be a very straight forward fighter whereas Aoki is an extremely odd and unorthodox one.
Imae has been studying Aoki’s fighting techniques and believes he can, not only crush him, but humiliate him in the process. The use of higher-level conflict is so great in Hajime No Ippo. There’s obviously the physical conflict of two fighters in the ring but then there’s also conflicting ideals and goals: One wants to prove his worth while his opponent is doing everything to make sure that he is humiliated in front of a large audience. it gives the characters more of a reason to win, it’s not only satisfaction and pride in Hajime No Ippo, while they are the fundamental reasons why the characters fight, there’s always more layers and we as the audience have to notice ourselves. The episode finishes with Imae walking into the gym for the pre-fight conference but instead walks into Aoki’s naked body as he’s just coming off the scales, you can’t get a comparison thicker than that and I’m anticipating the start to a brutal fight in the next episode. As far as Anime impressions go, episode 3 did make a good one. Check out more Hajime No Ippo – Rising Impressions HERE.