Hajime No Ippo – Rising
Episode 10 – The Face Of Determination
What a fantastic and suiting name for an episode like this, Episode 10 “The Face of Determination” is the episode that finally kicks off the highly-anticipated bout between Ryuuhei and Ippo, and I couldn’t honestly have created a layout for an episode better than that of this one. Hajime No Ippo has a real knack for contrast and conflict between characters and their ideals, I can’t honestly say I’ve seen any as tension-filled and at such lengths apart as the ones between Ippo and Ryuuhei but I’m glad it is the way it is because we as the audience are getting geared up for one hell of a death-match.
The episode begins with Ryuuhei getting into a fight with a mob of angry men and those men inevitably beeing beaten half to death by Ryuuhei, if it wasn’t for the killer’s old teacher turning up to witness the fight he may have also killed a few of them, slowly but surely we’re seeing more and more of the demon that is laying at rest inside of Ryuuhei and I think it plans to fully awaken in the bettle between him and Ippo.
After a weigh-in between the two fighters, with Ryuuhei shaking Ippo up quite a bit, our champion goes to hang out with an old friend of his; Kumi, who’s older brother also happens to be a boxer and, in quite the “douchey” move, slid in as the third wheel on her and Ippo’s “date”. Ippo left the weigh-in very tense and extremely upset over the way Ryuuhei did his best to obviously intimidate him in front of the crowd, he thought that meeting with Kumi would calm him down and allow him to get his head straight but, in true Anime fashion, that was NEVER going to happen.
The trio encounter Ryuuhei on the street and, after an altercation where punches were thrown and Kumi was unfortunately grazed by one, Ippo promises that he will take Ryuuhei down in the ring, that he will use the new body-threatening technique that came up in the last episode despite the fact that his massage therapist told him to only use it at a maximum of two times.
The rest of the episode revolves around the post-fight setup where we’re not only shown how the two men prepare for a fight but we also see Ryuuhei’s origins. I do love how the fighters are polar opposites, event of the final minutes before the fight we’re shown just how different they are and not just them personally but the environments they’re in and the people that surround them. The Russian words of Volg (shown in the last episode) were repeated to Ippo by a friend; “I pray for your success, my son” with Ippo’s reply being “Thank you, Mother”, those words must have resonated with the audience in an extreme way considering the next scene showed Ryuuhei’s tragic and blood-filled past.
Ryuuhei lies still in his dressing room with nobody but his former teacher by his side possibly praying that he doesn’t kill Ippo in the ring, the camera zooms in on Ryuuhei’s face, his eyes are closed as he remembers his childhood: Dark images show him killing his father as his mother watched, his father was an abusive man and one day Ryuuhei snapped and decided to end it all, THAT’S where his obsession with the destruction of flesh came from. His mother began to not trust her own child as she takes him out for dinner and all he can do is explain the joys of cutting into meat, she eventually leaves him at an orphanage when she began fearing for her own life.
Ryuuhei’s eyes open and, like some sort of 70s vampire film, he rises stiffly from his bench with blood-shot eyes and an aura of murder. The two men make their way into the ring, they walk down their individual halls with the blinding lights and the awesome crowd ahead of them. This is where the episode ends but the true fight begins. Like every single week my excitement levels for the next episode of Hajime No Ippo are absolutely off the charts, I cannot wait to see this bout and I’m hoping we see Ryuuhei go down. Gear up for Episode 11 coming next week! Check out more Hajime No Ippo – Rising Impressions HERE.