Pop Culture

The Best Boxing Anime, Ranked by How Many Rounds You’d Survive in the Ring

josuke in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable

In this corner, weighing in a a collective 50,428lbs of pure BEEF, we’ve got the very best boxers that anime has to offer! They’ve got the brains! They’ve got the brawn! They’ll drop you faster than a bleach injection to the main vein! And no, I don’t mean Bleach of the anime persuasion!

And in this corner, weighing the average height and weight for the average reader, we’ve got YOU! Judging by the fact that you’re reading this article, you are really into anime and probably DON’T spend 6 days a week hitting slabs of raw meat in the walk-in freezer! Well, too late to get a boxing gym membership now! That ship has sailed and you weren’t on it!

Now, ladies and gentleman and all genders in between, we’re ranking these anime based on how throughly they’re gonna kick this Mary Sue reader’s ass! Better lace those gloves up tight, kid! And try not to get blood all over the ring.

*DING*

10. Megalobox

Junk Dog from Megalobox in the ring
(TMS Entertainment)

Starting the fight we’ve got Megalobox! It’s an anime set in the distant future where fighters augment their already highly trained prize fighter bodies with advanced robotic machinery so they can really wallop each other! Stepping into the ring is Junk Dog! A boy from the slums with something to prove to the wealthy elite who run the boxing matches! He’s registered for a megacorp-sponsored boxing tournament to bring home the heavyweight title! And ooooo! He just laid you out! One round! That’s all you got!

9. Baki The Grappler

Baki and his mom standing in a hallway
(TMS Entertainment)

Next up we’ve got the big, the brutal BAKIIIIII! Baki is a boy raised by his rich mom to become a prizefighting machine just like his dad! He goes through regular martial arts training, and beats the tar out of everyone in all the disciplines before moving on to boxing! He’s an a journey to beat the only man who can consistently kick his ass: his own father! Ooooo and you’re down! You lasted 10 seconds of sustained eye contact with Baki before the bell even rang!

8. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure

Jojo drinking a cocktail in Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
(A.P.P.P.)

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure doesn’t feature boxers in a traditional boxing ring. It’s way cooler than that! And to demonstrate, we’ve got the fabulous Jojo stepping into the ring! Which one? I dunno! It’s hard to tell them apart! Jojo comes from a long line of men named Jojos, and the son always takes after his father in the looks department! Jojo doesn’t fight regular opponents, though! He fights vampires! Using his magical breathing ability, he—holy mother of god! You dropped on the word “vampires”! Out cold.

7. Nozomi Witches

Ryotaro Shiba in the ring
(Group TAC)

Next up we have a little blast from the past! Stepping into the ring is Ryōtarō Shiba of Nozomi Witches, who joined the boxing club because his hot neighbor told him to! Nozomi is a beautiful young actress who has just returned from New Zealand, and the girl seems to want nothing more than to watch her boy next door kick the crap outta people! And he’s just the guy to do it, too. She’s watching the match right now! You can see h—wow! You’re down! I knew she was a knockout, but you didn’t have to be so literal about it!

6. Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple

Kenichi looking determined like any self respecting shonen
(TMS Entertainment)

Kenichi Shirahama’s life is basically the plot of karate kid in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple! He’s a bullied outcast who runs afoul of a group of thugs in his town, but unlike Danny Zuko, who was saved by an old man using martial arts, Kenichi turns the tables and saves an old guy using martial arts of his own! The thugs who were bullying the geezer ain’t too happy about that. So, they’re gonna come back to town in order to kick his ass. So be careful! If you kick this guy’s ass (unlikely), no one will be around to save you from the criminal element. What’s that? You forfeit? Thought so.

5. Slow Step

The Slow Step love triangle
(Youmex)

Slow Step is less of an ass-kicking boxing anime where two guys beat each other within an inch of life, and more of a sweet love triangle anime where boxing is involved. Shu Akiba is your average high school boy. He’s got the hots for his classmate Minatsu Nakazato, but Minatsu only has eyes for Naoto Kadomatsu, a young boxer with quite a bit of promise. But Naoto has a crush on a girl named Maria, who is actually just Minatsu in disguise! The girl is on the run from a criminal organization who threatened her after she witnessed some of their nefarious deeds! No one has any super powered boxing abilities in this one, so you might actually—oh, you’re still freaked out by the criminal element? Yeah you might as well just stay down.

4. Levius

Levius about to crack open a can of whoop ass
(polygon pictures)

More mechanical boxing! Levius is similar to Megalobox, except it’s more steampunk than cyberpunk. Entering the ring now is Levius himself, a veteran of a brutal war that cost him his arm! Never fear, though! He’s got a sexy steam-powered number that was hand made for popping you right in the kisser! Fair warning: This anime is definitely gonna get a little ugly! After all, they use their own blood to power the steam-run boxing augmentations. Plus, given the fact that Levius was a soldier who’s seen all sorts of horrors that would keep anyone up at night, this is match is probably gonna be—what’s that? You’re a conscientious objector? That tracks.

3. Kengan Ashura

Oma with his dukes up about to hurt somebody
(Larx Entertainment)

Since the Edo period, wealthy members of Japanese society have sponsored young fighters in order to settle corporate disputes. Whoever’s fighter wins the match wins the market. How very Hunger Games, am I right? Except it’s Kengan Ashura, and entering the ring now is Oma Tokita, a fighter sponsored by Nogi Group CEO, Nogi Hidek. Unlike the other fighters in this series (and on this list), Ome doesn’t fight for justice or honor or glory. No, he loves fighting just because he really gets off on hurting people. Aaaaaand you’re down. That’s a shame, because the fighting in this series is highly realistic and totally brutal. It has some of the most devastatingly entertaining matches on this list. Maybe some other time you’ll be ready? Unlikely.

2. Ashita No Joe

Joe in a fierce boxing match
(Fuji TV)

Now put your hands together for an anime classic from the ’70s! Yes, Ashita No Joe debuted in 1970 and ran for over a decade! You probably can’t even run for five minutes, can you? Unless it’s “away”! Entering the ring is now Joe Yabuki, a young man who has spent most of his life in orphanages. After escaping from the care of the state, he spent his days slumming it on the streets of Toyko. Luckily for him, he met a retired boxing coach named Danpei! Unluckily for him, the guy is also a homeless drunk! Danpei sees talent in the kid, and decides to train him as a boxer in order to climb out of poverty! Who trained you? YouTube? Yeah, you might wanna see yourself out.

1. Hajime No Ippo

Our hero Ippo sweating bullets in the ring
(Madhouse)

And here he comes! The defending champ! Lets give a big round of applause for Ippo Makunouchi! Ippo started out like many character on this list in Hajime No Ippo, a bullied young man. After taking a beating from some neighborhood thugs, a passing pro boxer fends off the bullies and takes Ippo to his boxing gym to treat his wounds. Where you would probably see a smelly place with no snacks or TV, Ippo sees an opportunity to become stronger. He starts training as a boxer and realizes that he wants to go all the way to the top. And boy does he! This anime features the finest boxing bouts of any series brave enough to step into the ring! So do you think you’re ready to? Wait? Where’d you go? Huh. Guess you went home.

(featured image: Viz Media)

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