Hajime No Ippo – Rising
Episode 11 – Fearless Challenger
If you’ve been following my Hajime No Ippo – Rising Anime Impressions than you’ll probably recall me describing exactly how I believe the series is structured, for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about: Hajime No Ippo seems to have three episode types with a rare fourth one thrown in every once in a while, there’s the pre-fight episode, the fight episode and the post-fight episode with a gag episode thrown in occasionally. Episode 11 is absolutely the fight episode and it’s actually the episode a lot of us have been waiting for since the first episode considering the challenger that Ippo is going up against has appeared in the opening sequences since the very start of the season, not to mention this fight has had at least three episodes of build-up so it’s safe to say this will be a memorable battle for the series…at least…I’m hoping.
The match begins between Ryuuhei, the man who will do anything to devour Ippo, and the champ himself. The fight actually starts off really odd, Ippo spends the first half of the match and the first half of the episode beating on Ryuuhei pretty fiercely and I’ll just go out and say that I think Ryuuhei really felt those hits because the way his facial expressions were animated really pushed that point as forward as possible and even though it ended up being a fairly big ruse I still think at that very moment he feared a loss at the hands of Ippo. Turns out that Ryuuhei is more of a trickster in the ring than I had though, obviously I was aware of his past as a fighter and he constantly took advantage of situations that were a little blue like the “elbowing a fighter in the face” debacle but I just never expected him to physically trip Ippo in the match, it seems like something Aoki would do but I just didn’t expect it from such a stern character, it’s an odd conflict of those I have going on up here in my head.
Between Ryuuhei’s silly tactics and his overall nonchalant vibe towards the match it seems as though Ippo stayed above water because he seemed like a man possessed, he was relentless but he had plenty of reason to go all out on this guy as soon as possible, there was no time to wait, there was no time to relax, this isn’t a fight that Ippo could glide through and the same actually goes for Ryuuhei. After another little example of Ryuuhei “shenanigans” the match ultimately changed, Ryuuhei came to the realisation that Ippo isn’t a fighter to be taken lightly and what I really enjoyed about this realisation was that it didn’t come out of nowhere, Ryuuhei’s inner dialogue throughout the match continued to go something like “I still don’t find him appetizing”. Those lines originally started as something that you would take to be a “smart-arse” comment, as if he was insinuating that he needed to beat on him more before he could truly feast but it started to become a reality mid-way through the fight and Ryuuhei finally realised he needs to “sack up” and stop toying with the man who could take him down.
The second half of the episode pretty much revolved around Ryuuhei’s odd style of fighting which he busts out when he realises Ippo may be too much for him to play around with. he has an odd stance that has him extend his left arm out in front of him until it is almost entirely straight while his right hand stays close to his face so that he can both guard his right cheek and quickly transition into a stance to allow him to land a devastating right hook or something equally as devastating. He begins jabbing at Ippo with his left arm, turns out his little fighting “quirk” is that he can throw a corkscrew shot with his left arm without and actually lead up or twisting from the rest of his body, it is something that apparently “cannot be taught” and it’s now another thing that Ippo has to overcome alongside Ryuuhei’s incredible counters…if only real boxing was like this.
Ippo guards against the flurry of left-hand jabs and inches closer to Ryuuhei’s body in the hopes that he can get another nice body shot in but it’s ultimately useless, that is exactly what Ryuuhei wants him to do and at the first possible chance the challenger throws his lightning-fast and highly-destructive right punch and just about knocks Ippo out. Despite having taken two hits by Ryuuhei’s right punches Ippo seems to still be able to fight, he’s slowely loosing stamina and it looks like Ryuuhei is now getting his revenge for the beginning of the match. I would like to say I know Hajime No Ippo enough to be able to tell you that this fight will end in the next episode but, knowing my luck, they’ll throw into some sort of flashback that will lead into the episode after where it will really come to a close, either way I suggest you keep watching…it’s getting good!
The next time I’ll be able to speak to you all indirectly through these articles will hopefully be next week when episode 12, as long as they don’t go on another little break, is released but by that time we’ll already be in the new year so I hope that you all have a brilliant start to the new year and a fantastic year ahead. Check out more Hajime No Ippo – Rising Impressions HERE.