3 Episode Rule – Nomad: Megalo Box 2

3 Episode Rule is a series in which I watch the first three episodes of a new anime and decide whether to stick with it or drop it based on those three episodes alone.

Normally I don’t talk about sequels in this series. But the first Megalo box felt like such a complete package from start to end that it felt like a series that never needed a follow-up. And yet, much to my own shock, we’ve got one. A sequel whose premise feels like one I’ve seen a dozen times before already, but there was just something about the look and feel of that first series that stops me from being mad that we got a follow-up.

Megalo box 2: Nomad is set five years after the conclusion of the first series where *spoilers* Joe defied the odds and defeated Yuri to become Megalonia champion. It seems the short years have been very hard on Joe who is now going by Nomad, rocking a big beard and drifting from underground bar to seedy basement to box for money.

In case you didn’t remember, the series takes place in a alt future Japan in which a stark class divide has some people living in the mega cities while others are scraping a living together out in the dusty wastelands. The whole thing had a Latin American feel to it in terms of both it’s visuals and its soundtrack I remember.

This second series continues down this route with a vengeance. It’s a stark, gritty looking show with an anime style that looks like it was plucked right out of the the 90s. I love the way this series looks. It’s got a very stylish, cinematic look to it, doing a lot with silence and visuals.

Despite his successes, it seemed like Joe’s life went downhill fast after the end of the first series. He loses the next fight he has after becoming champion and shortly thereafter Pops dies of illness (I think anyway). The little makeshift family they had all made around him fall apart and now Joe is a scared up drifter with an addiction to cheap painkillers.

Joe is in a really low place as the series starts and it wastes no time in having him meet Chief and bringing him out of his dark hole. One of his random rights is against this big warm and fuzzy dude called chief who never seemed to be without his lazy smile. Like Joe had been forced to do early in his career, Chief takes a dive against him and gets paid off for it.

Unlike Joe though, he seems totally content with it. He boxes as a simple means to an end, where as Joe used to have a fiery passion for the sport, and for competition. Now he seems determined to find someone to kill him in the ring. If the drugs don’t get him first.

Through a twist of fate, Joe falls in with Chief’s people: a group of Mexican immigrants (or at least this world’s version of a Mexican stand in). They care for him and repair his bike while he goes around and starts to learn about community and family again.

It feels like the story lifted from so many movies I’ve seen over the years. Seven Samurai, Snatch, a whole bunch of westerns. But then again, the first series was about as cookie cutter as an underdog boxing series could possibly be, and it was fantastic. So I’m willing to give this series the benefit out of doubt.

Verdict: Besides, it looks so damn good.

I’m going to keep this one up. Like I said, there is a cinematic feel to this one that makes it stand out from all of the other anime I’m watching right now. It’s unique look and storytelling is super compelling to me and I’d be watching this regardless. Of the series or not.

It’s cool to see Chief as the main boxer in these early epiosdes and a recently detoxed Joe as his second by the skirt. But Chief looks ten years older than Joe, so Joe has to be in the ring again eventually right. It’s just a matter of time till we figure out which Rocky movie this ends up being by the end. I sure hope it’s three.

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