(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 1/27/11)
Ring ni Kakero 1: Shadow-hen Episode 1
What this is about: I made the promise that I would review every new subtitled anime show (excluding blatant yaoi and/or porn) released during the Spring, Summer and Fall 2010 seasons, so now I am going back to review a handful of shows that I missed over the past few months for one reason or another. This time around, it’s Ring ni Kakero 1: Shadow-hen, an OVA released on April 2nd, 2010, but not subtitled until recently.
tl;dr review: Underdog Japanese boxer faces off against shadowy group that kidnaps his sister; Pure seventies designs, style and storytelling.
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Episode Summary: Ryuuji returns to training for the Japanese national boxing competition, and is surprised in the street by a girl who challenges him. He laughs her off because she’s ‘just a girl’, and later learns she was part of ‘Shadow’, a secret group of boxers with a shady past that had been officially shunned by Japanese boxers due to their deadly techniques. Ryuuji’s sister is then kidnapped by Shadow, and a messenger is sent to issue a challenge: Arriving at a seven-tiered pagoda, he must face a challenge against Shadow on each level of the building, each one getting progessively more difficult, to save his sister.
My Thoughts: It’s PURE SEVENTIES through and through, from the design of the characters to the animation style to the story itself. And for good reason, too: the anime is originally based on a long-running manga series from 1977 to 1981, and it is actually the third anime series (the first two twelve-episode chapters came out in 2004 and 2006). Very simple and straightforward story, almost like the set-up for a cheapo fighting video game instead of an animated show. And not my cuppa tea.
Final reviews for a handful of Spring, Summer and Fall 2010 shows that I haven’t covered yet: King of Thorn Movie, Honey Tokyo, Strong World: Episode 0, Nanami Madobe Windows 7, Queen’s Blade: Utsukushiki OVA, and Mazinkaiser SKL