No Ani-Column today. Instead, I’m going to do a short post convince you guys to get off your lazy asses and not miss some good anime for weak reasons.
I’ve seen a lot of season previews state that they haven’t seen Hajime no Ippo yet and thus they aren’t ready to jump into the third season. I myself have said the very same thing and how I wasn’t up for it because the first and second seasons combined are around 102 episodes long, a length that I haven’t even finished in regards to Urusei Yatsura yet. However, I really think you guys should at least just watch the second season, New Challenger, as that’s practically the only preparation you need in order to get into S3. And let me tell you right now, if the same team brings the energy they brought in this, then my hype for Hajime no Ippo S3 can only increase.
Even psgels agrees with me that you can watch New Challenger on its own. It’s still a big length at 26 episodes and all that, but it’s still perfectly doable before the next season hits and you don’t actually need to have seen the first season to enjoy it. The premise is pretty simple: “boy gets bullied and learns boxing to deal with those bullies”. You also don’t have to worry about not knowing the characters either because this season quickly establishes them and their roles and development during the first season without much of a fuss, mostly helped by the fact that from what I heard, the majority of the first season focused on Ippo, who has one of the most cliche predictable stories I’ve ever seen. In fact, the season is mostly focused on developing these other characters whilst only giving Ippo a small part. So yeah, there’s not much you’ll miss by skipping the first season here, especially due to the change in studio and all from the first to the second season.
As for the second season itself, it’s great stuff. The boxing matches are intense and like Kaiji and One Outs, it has a great attention to detail whilst being a little slow-paced. I guess it’s a Madhouse sports thing or something. Like psgels, I agree that Ippo is the least interesting character of the cast, similar to Harry Potter in his own series, so I don’t mind too much what New Challenger does by focusing on these other characters. I like how they’re loosely related to Ippo and his journey, yet they have their own goals and aspirations that come naturally. And most of all, I like how they have different boxing styles and strategies to implement in order to keep things fresh. Couple that with awesome Madhouse animation and you’ve got yourself one hell of a series. If the same team brings that sort of energy to the third season, it’ll easily be one of my favorite series of the year.
In short, just watch the second season if you don’t have the time to do the first one. If you don’t have the time to do either, that’s fine too. If you have no interest in Hajime no Ippo, that’s cool. But the fact that so few people aren’t actually going to watch the third season of one of the most critically acclaimed sports anime ever this Fall because they haven’t seen the previous incarnations is something I just can’t ignore. More people need to see Hajime no Ippo!
PS: Personally, I think you can also jump into the third season of this show too without having seen the others due to the four-year gap and all. But that might just be me talking out my ass.
PPS: Read psgels’ review (link above) for a better detailed explanation regarding why you should watch New Challenger.