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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Fighting Spirit Vol 8: Champion and I
Fighting Spirit Vol 8: Champion and I
Geneon // Unrated // October 25, 2005
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted December 1, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Show:

With Ippo having won the Rookie of the Year title for all of Japan, he's reached the goal that he's been working for. In the eighth volume of Fighting Spirit Ippo needs to find a reason to keep fighting, but after he spars with the current champ he becomes inspired. Ippo's rival, Miyata, gets the spotlight too. Fighting in Thailand, Miyata has been running into a string of bad luck. Only the thought of defeating Ippo keeps him going.

Series Synopsis:

Ippo Makunouchi is a high school student who is constantly harassed by a group of bullies. When a professional boxer, Takamura, saves him from a beating Ippo decides that he wants to be a boxer too. Spending just about all of his time doing manual labor at his families boat rental company Ippo is already quite strong but untrained and awkward. He's taken under Takamura's wing though, and it is soon discovered that Ippo has a good amount of natural talent and the stamina that is needed to become a great boxer.

Over the course of the last few volumes, Ippo has trained, honed his natural talent and turned pro. Entering the rookie tournament, Ippo doesn't seem like a contender, but he ends up winning not only the tournament but also wins the MVP award. He's now ranked 10th in the country, but his career has only started.

This Volume:

Ippo has lost his direction a little since becoming the Japanese Rookie of the year. He's proud of his accomplishment, but he's not sure where to go from here. The Rookie Tournament and his rivalry with Miyata have been consuming him, and kept him going. Now that it's over, he isn't as hungry to fight as he used to be.

That changes when he gets the chance to spar with the reigning champ in his weight division, Date. The champ is good, very good, and his power and technique inspire Ippo. Now he has something to shoot for: He wants to beat the champ.

But first he has to rise in the rankings. He's #10 in his division, and that's not nearly high enough to be a contender. When the #5 ranked boxer, Okita, challenges him, Ippo jumps at the chance even though he won't have time to get totally in shape. Okita was the rookie of the year last year, and has spent the intervening time training under Date. He wants to show Ippo that he's not close to being ready to take on the champ.

The last two episodes change the focus of the narrative and follow the young prodigy Ichiro Miyata. Miyata didn't make it to the finals in the Rookie Tournament, and left to gain some experience fighting in Thailand. Things haven't been going well for him there. He expected that he'd have an easy time with the fighters in his class, but that hasn't been the case. Though he should have won the first fight that he was in, the judges called it a tie since they didn't like the idea of a foreigner beating a home-town boy.

Feeling discouraged, Miyata needs a win, and when he gets a chance to fight a strong opponent, his father wants him to pass. His father realizes that Miyata just doesn't have the strength to knock out such a strong opponent. Miyata knows that he has a weakness, but he isn't going to let that stop him. He's got a fighting spirit too.

Even though there are five episodes on each of these volumes, when I get to the end of the disc I wish they had crammed on a couple more shows. It's really easy to get sucked into this series and cheer for Ippo. They manage to show Ippo's fears and insecurities in a realistic way, which makes it easy to identify with him. He's just a regular guy with a lot of drive. If you haven't been watching this series, it's one to definitely check out.

The DVD:


This volume includes an ample five episodes on a single sided DVD.

Audio:

I viewed this DVD while listening to both the English stereo dub and the original stereo Japanese soundtrack. I preferred the original track, but only slightly. The dub was very good, with the voice actors not overplaying their rolls as they often do when dubbing anime. Both audio tracks sounded a little thin, but otherwise very nice. There was limited use made of the soundstage, but when there were directional effects they were very effective. Hiss and distortion were nonexistent, making this a pleasure to listen to. There was also a Spanish dub in stereo.

Video:

The full frame image was very clean and clear. The colors were bright and varied. The picture has a good amount of detail with the lines being tight and clean. Digital defects were minimal, though there was some light aliasing. A very good-looking DVD.

Extras:

Unfortunately, this disc doesn't have any extras on it aside from a few previews. I really wish they had included a blooper reel like the first two volumes had.

Final Thoughts:

I'm a little surprised that they've been able to keep the series interesting and new over eight volumes, but it shows no signs of slowing down. Each fight is a new challenge with its own problems and difficulties to overcome. They've managed to make each step of Ippo's climb engaging and fun. These discs always get played as soon as I get them in. A very enjoyable series that is Highly Recommended.

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