Six months have passed since Joe Yabuki accidentally killed his rival, Rikiishi, in the ring. With no contact since then, the members of the Shiraki gym have been worried; that is, until Joe returns - but he's not the same. Haunted by memories of his past, Joe finds himself unable to hit his opponent's face - a weakness that costs him many losses. With lost confidence, it will take one special opponent to pull Joe out of his funk and get him back on his way to becoming a champion!
Ashita no Joe 2 is not exactly a spiritual successor to the story of Ashita no Joe. But that doesn't take away much from the legacy of Anime.While the tale follows a slightly different sequence of events, the story is much faster paced with less focus on dramatics, narrative, and dialogue, and more focus on action and aesthetics. By the end of the Anime, the story slowly returns to the pace of the precursor. The ending is something which I don't know whether to feel bad or good about. It certainly does manage to carry over the depth of the original Anime by the end.Apart from that, they have really picked up on Art and Animation. Where the first one hadn't aged well, this version of events rivals the animation quality of the likes of Studio Ghibli. If anyone found the first one difficult to watch because of visual quality, this would be a treat for them. Even the sound in this version is amazingly placed.The tale remains quite tragic and touching nonetheless as Joe must now deal with the consequences of his actions and the fact that everything he touches, he destroys. The Anime also touches on many similar themes which a boxer encounters including awareness about Punch-Drunk syndrome and the accumulated brain damage over the years of Boxing. Even there, the action is a little over the top and unrealistic while within comparatively reasonable limits.This Anime, however, does focus more on the boxing aspect and for a while, the powerful story which drove it's predecessor and urged you to keep watching takes the back seat as the characters are also changed a bit. For the most part, Tange Danpei, the coach, serves as more of comic relief in this Anime instead of a supporting figure for Joe. But the Anime recovers from that towards the end.No matter what, the tale of Ashita no Joe is an amazing one which, in my eyes, has a legendary status. It is definitely worth a watch and I would highly recommend it to anybody who watches Anime.
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