Boxing is a sport that demands determination, skill, and an unyielding spirit, and these qualities are brilliantly captured in boxing-themed anime. Over the years, multiple boxing anime series have delved into the world of this combat sport, showcasing the intense training, personal growth, and character-driven storytelling of boxers.
Whether you’re a fan of classic tales of underdog heroes or futuristic boxing adventures, these anime have something to offer for all boxing enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll step into the ring and explore the best boxing anime that are out there. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
10. One-pound Gospel
From one of the eminent female manga writers Rumiko Takahashi, One-pound Gospel is a refreshing boxing anime from the late 80s that’s praised for its situational comedy and realistic approach towards sports. The anime stretches over a single 50-minute episode that adapts only a portion of the original story.
The story follows Kosaku Hatanaka who tries to control his gluttonous urges in order to make it to the top of the boxing world. As he tries to grapple with his weak will, Kosaku meets Sister Angela, a devout nun who supports him in getting back on track.
9. Ring ni Kakero
Better known by its English title “Put It All in the Ring”, Ring ni Kakero was ahead of its time when it was first released in 2004. The 36-episode anime by Toei Animation enacts a modern animation style and narrates the life of young boxer Ryuji Takane who aims to become the world champion in honor of his deceased dad.
Under his sister Kiku, Ryuji tirelessly trains to master boxing’s formidable Boomerang blow as the duo siblings put everything on the line. Together, they overcome many challenges and face many powerful rivals as Ryuji climbs the ranks of the boxing world.
8. Slow Step
Slow Step is a sports rom-com anime presenting a combination of both boxing and softball. Featuring the generic trope of a love triangle, the story revolves around Minatsu Nakazato, a popular high school girl and softball player who is forced to disguise herself as a boy.
She takes on the identity of “Maria” and enrolls in a new school, where she stumbles upon Shu Akiba, a schoolmate; and Naoto Kadomatsu, an up-and-coming boxer, resulting in a three-way relationship which gets more complicated as time passes.
Unlike other boxing anime genres, Levius steps above the stereotypical theme by introducing cybernetically augmented arena fighters in age-old combat sports. The story is set in an alternate cyberpunk 19th century where “Metalboxing” has become Imperial City’s greatest form of entertainment.
Levius Cromwell, an orphan with bold dreams for his future, begins to emerge as a young fighter as he trains under his uncle to become Imperial City’s Metalboxing champion. The heavy CGI use in the anime may not interest the viewers, but the peculiar concept makes Levius worth a try.
6. Nozomi Witches
“Love drags you to places you never wanted to be in the first place” – Nozomi Witches’ central theme can be understood in a similar context where the main character Ryoutaro Shiba is coerced into joining his school’s boxing club after meeting the bewitching Nozomi Egawa.
With no lofty ambitions or a solid source of inspiration, Ryoutaro soon finds out that he may have a boxing talent that he has never known about before. Nozomi Witches offers great character development with its engaging romantic storyline and sudden plot twists.
Rainbow is an underrated delinquent anime that shows the honest side of the ruffians through boxing as its medium. Produced by renowned Studio Madhouse, the series is set in 1950s Japan and tells the story of six junior delinquents who get captured for committing minor crimes.
Afterwards, they’re sent to a disciplinary school where they meet their mentor who is a former boxer, and locked up with them in the same cell. In the cruel facility, the group must learn to work together if they want to survive amid the harsh and unforgiving environment.
4. Ashita no Joe
Ashita no Joe, also known as “Tomorrow’s Joe”, is a groundbreaking boxing anime that started airing way back in the 60s and has influenced many series that came afterward. The anime deals with Joe Yabuki, a troubled youth who has a knack for boxing but lacks discipline.
He is discovered by Danpei Tange, a washed-up boxing coach who takes Joe under his wing and trains him to channel his raw emotions into learning the art of boxing. Often clinging to his old habits, Joe must scrap with pitfalls that will test his mettle in becoming a professional boxer.
Netflix’s original martial arts anime, Baki is based on Keisuke Itagaki’s manga and has spawned multiple sequels over the years. Lauded for its pure and brutal take on combat, the original story follows Baki Hanma who sets off to defeat his father, Yuujirou, the strongest man in the world.
To surpass his father, Baki enters into a fighting tournament where esteemed martial artists from around the world face each other in a deadly matchup. The introduction of a wide variety of martial arts techniques like karate, boxing, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu adds diversity to Baki’s over-the-top violent world.
2. Hajime no Ippo
Hajime no Ippo is a critically acclaimed boxing-themed sports anime by Madhouse. The series follows high school student, Ippo Makunoichi’s journey from a victim of bullying to a professional boxing champion. Along the way, he faces a variety of challenges, both in the ring and out.
Following brief training under a rising boxer, Ippo takes his first steps in the boxing ring facing a series of challenging opponents, each more powerful than the last. With his resilient body and ferocious fighting spirit, the kind young man seeks to take on the world to become the greatest of all time.
1. Megalo Box
Megalo Box is a Netflix original boxing anime that pays homage to the Ashita no Joe franchise as it was released in commemoration to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the series. In a futuristic setting, Megalo Box makes use of steampunk-like elements and retro art style as a form of tribute to its classic predecessor.
Set in the late 21st century where boxers wear exoskeletons to fight, the narrative focuses on a promising underground fighter Junk Dog who was used to throwing matches for cash. However, after being effortlessly defeated by the Megalo Box champion, Junk Dog resolves to seriously climb up the boxing ranks.
Which one of the following boxing anime is your favorite? Feel free to comment down your thoughts and make sure to recommend some other anime like the ones listed above, also don’t forget to share this article with your fellow otaku friends.