Megalo Box Episode 4
Alright episode 4!
The show dives immediately into Gearless Joe just before he enters the ring against Samejima. When Nanbu first discusses his plan about the five matches, the first three being “popularity” matches, I was on board. Seems doable. But doing them gearless? I know they don’t have the funds to get a good gear for Joe, but throwing him in the ring against geared opponents is almost a death sentence!
Everyone knows that, and the episode really emphasizes how the crowd is adamantly against Joe for not taking Megalo Boxing seriously. They think he’s either stupid or overconfident, and honestly, if I didn’t know any better, I’d think that too. I had no idea how the fight would progress, and I was debating with myself between the “easy” victory to wow the crowd, or a hard fought battle.
Thankfully, Megalo Box chose to use this episode to develop Joe, Nanbu, and Sachio a bit more. Joe is a confident guy, but when facing a professional Megalo Boxer like Samejima without gear, it definitely has to knock you down a notch. I loved the touch of Joe’s arm shaking with uncertainty after Samejima glared at him. I was hoping for some form of moral support from Nanbu, but instead Nanbu hit Joe with the sarcastic, “If you wanna run, now’s your chance.”
The fight starts off alright, with Joe managing to get in some solid hits onto Samejima. However, evading Samejima’s “helicopter blade” propelled punches tires him out, eventually leading up to a powerful punch that almost knocks Joe unconscious. I mean, c’mon Joe, what’d you expect. Samejima has whirling blades on his arms! How is that even allowed.
The piano score when Joe drops is an interesting track that I don’t think we’ve heard before. But what was even more awesome was the voices of the people around Joe. As soon as Joe goes down, you hear Sachio and Nanbu yelling for Joe to get up, but Joe perceives it as this blurry whirring of a sound. Even the episode’s edges are made blurry to reflect his state of mind. It isn’t until he returns to consciousness at around 8 seconds, that Joe’s vision clears up and he can hear the cries of Sachio and Nanbu.
After that, Joe is a mess. He can’t fight, his feet are slow, and Nanbu’s yells sure as hell ain’t helping him. It was at this vulnerable moment that Samejima decides to embrace his reputation as the “foul” boxer. Surprisingly, this would be Samejima’s only foul throughout the fight, but it’d be enough to instill a sense of fear into Joe. Combine that human fear with the physical exhaustion from the match, and Joe is toast.
It isn’t until Sachio yells at both Nanbu and Joe that the situation clears up. Nanbu is really the one under pressure, and hasn’t been able to understand Joe as second. Joe on the other hand is trying to win this fight alone and ignoring Nanbu. Joe is being stubborn, and lies that he’s just warming up, he is a crazy confident guy after all.
Luckily, Nanbu hits him with the solid advice about conquering fear as a boxer. The OST starts blasting in the background, Joe begins to understand and their partnership emerges to the surface once again. Joe is listening, and Nanbu is understanding Joe. Nanbu reveals that he knows what Joe is feeling exactly, and being the second he is, he teaches Joe how to punch fear in the butt.
Joe conquers his fear and destroys Samejima with a huge punch to the face, wowing the entire crowd. He flips the crowd’s attitude towards the Gearless Joe with that single knockout, and rather than being overconfident or stupid, he’s worthy of respect.
The show then has a small timeskip and training montage. It goes through all the characters we’ve met so far, each one of them of course being surprised by Joe’s ascent on the leaderboards. Joe continues to beat foes gearless, and even Shirato catches wind of him.
However, the hype moment of this episode was not during the big fight, or during the montage, but rather at the end. Nanbu meets a former student of his, who boasts a massive scar on his head. I am almost 100% sure that scar has something to do with his history with Nanbu, and I’m sure it’ll be revealed that Nanbu did something to mess that guy up. I’m not sure, but I’m both excited for the upcoming fight against head scar man and of course, the development of Nanbu’s character.