No matter how many years pass and no matter what the current anime trends are, fighter anime always manage to stay relevant! I will admit that I am not a huge fan of fighter anime series, I usually find their repetitive nature boring. But when done right… magic happens!
This was another no brainer, when I think of fighter anime only one title comes to mind! This series inspired several popular fighting titles to date, but it’s a shame that not many people talk about it anymore. There was a little buzz about it when the live action film was released a few years ago, but that film has nothing on this anime. It’s gritty, it’s raw, and gosh darn it this series will put your heart through the ringer! I actually cried at the end of this series… I cried like a baby… so for my favorite fighter anime…
Ashita no Joe aka Rocky Joe aka Tomorrow’s Joe aka Champion Joe… Like a prize fighter, this critically acclaimed classic boxing anime has amassed a number of titles over the years. I don’t care how much time passes, Ashita no Joe will always be my all time favorite fighter anime! This show…is perfect!
Ashita no Joe is based on the critically acclaimed 20 volume manga series written by Ikki Kajiwara and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba, originally released between 1968-73. The title was adapted into two anime series, the first released between 1970-71, and the second (Ashita no Joe 2) which serves as a continuation of the first which was released between 1980-81. The series also spawned two animated feature films and a 2011 live action film.
Joe, a teenage orphan in the slums of the Doya streets, meets Danpei, a homeless, alcoholic ex-boxing coach. Danpei, seeing Joe’s boxing talent, decides to train him. When Joe is sent to a terrible juvenile home for petty crimes, he meets Rikiishi who becomes his boxing rival. Danpei arrives at the home to help Joe to train in order to defeat Rikiishi. When Joe decides to seriously pursue boxing, Danpei cannot get a coaching license because of his reputation as a drunk.
I almost don’t know where to start… This was one of the first anime series that I fell in love with from the very beginning! The protagonist Joe Yabuki is a street punk who doesn’t care much for anyone or anything, outside of himself and his own self interest. He has been on his own since he was young, so he is distrustful of others and extremely disillusioned with the idea of living a normal life. This is just as much a fighter anime as it is a coming of age story. Over the course of the series we see Joe transform from a brash street punk with no prospects or friends into a man full of purpose.
Joe’s rise from obscurity to boxing legend is one that tugs at the heartstrings of anyone who has faced adversity. He’s the underdog’s underdog, you just can’t help but root for the guy, even when he’s being a butt munch. His successes become our successes, his failures our own, Ashita no Joe is just such a relatable story, you just can’t help but get hooked! But, be warned, this anime is not all rainbows and sunshine, Joe has to fight for everything and even his victories come with a bittersweet twist… of course the Rikishi fight comes to mind *chokes up* and that ending…
Ashita no Joe is a fabulous series that laid the foundation for all of the fighting series that followed it. I still remember the tribute Hajime no Ippo did for Ashita no Joe a few years ago, now that’s how you show respect! Like I said earlier, Ashita no Joe is a series that stays with you long after you watch the final episode. So whether you’re a fan of fighter anime or not, Joe is a must watch for all anime fans!
So there you have it, my pick for my favorite fighter anime… What do you think of my pick? What’s your favorite fighter anime series? Let me know in the comments section and as always THANK YOU for reading!!