So I watched Megalo Box, which can essentially be described as a boxing anime set in a futurustic, Japanese-speaking country. It is a dystopian society with access to technology and a better living essentially limited to citizens -- anyone who's not just gets by, living in slums and surviving, somewhat. Synopsis here. It was also created to celebrate Ashita no Joe's 50th anniversary.
Joe is one of those non-citizens, a man who makes a living by fighting in the underground with gear that's essentially made up of junkyard scraps. His life changes though when he meets Yuri, the champion of the Megalo boxing ring. Wanting to prove that he is the real thing, he makes it his aim to enter the Megalo boxing tournament, no matter the obstacles.
I don't know what to say about this anime without sounding like an overzealous fangirl, but it's fantastic. The animation is beautiful, with homage paid to Ashita no Joe in wonderfully subtle ways. I like how the style harks back to anime of the 90s with the digital art being rendered so that it appears old (I don't want to say flawed or rugged, because the backgrounds are striking, the attention to detail, when it comes to facial expressions and pretty much everything else, perfect).
Animation alone would not draw me to this anime, though. I think what made this show for me was that it uses its 13 episode run to the utmost, telling a poignant and touching story of never giving up in order to live out your dreams. What is more, too, is that this anime shows rather than tells, using symbolism, clever little details and sparsely told backstory in order to flesh out its characters and plot.
The characters are another win for me. I ended up liking mostly everyone, because they all turned out to be very honourable in their own ways. Even the characters I thought shady at first turned out to have some sort of redeeming quality or at least motive that made you understand them better.
And the music? Judge for yourself.
I don't think this review will pull anyone in, but if you like stylish, tightly woven plots, then this might just be the show for you.