Heartwarming / Ashita no Joe

  • Danpei's sheer determination to help Joe become a boxer and have a honest job (even before Joe decides to become a boxer), even risking what remains of his health to train him.
  • Anime only: for Joe's first match with Rikiishi, Danpei brings him his old gloves from when he was a professional, and one of his cellmates has gone out of his way to procure him a head protector. The latter is slightly ruined when the cellmate remarks that Rikiishi is still going to take him down, but at least he tried.
  • The juvie inmates spontaneously establishing a boxing tournament and following the rules after seeing Joe and Rikiishi's first match.
    • Yoko keeping the guards from stopping the tournament-and helping them and Danpei setting up a full-scale one. Up until then, all her good deeds had at least the doubt of being born out of a selfish wish to bolster her ego, but this time she's doing it completely selfless while putting herself down, as she's pretty much acknowledging all she did before was shallow and useless on the long run.
  • Joe reconciliating with Danpei after the latter faked abandoning him to train Aoyama, and making friends with Aoyama himself-even admitting Aoyama came very close to win their match.
  • In the anime, when Rikiishi goes to Joe to have their fight before he has to leave their initial bout is interrupted by a guard. So, how do they have it without other interruptions? The other inmates set up a fake giant rumble to keep all the guards too busy to interfere. Had it not been for Joe knocking out the guard that interrupted him and Rikiishi first, they would have succeeded.
  • Anime only: when Rikiishi leaves juvenile prison, everyone, guards and inmates, shows up to send him off... And the inmates take the time to playfully tease him over his new clothes and Yoko's attentions. Even Joe joins in.
    • Yoko coming personally to pick Rikiishi up, and being sincerely worried of Joe possibly insane from being locked up in jail.
    • From manga and anime both: Rikiishi and Joe exchanging a friendly talk (after Joe tried and failed to punch Rikiishi in the face, of course).
  • When Rikiishi makes his return to the ring, everyone in juvie goes to watch it in tv, with the director leading the cheer squad.
  • When Joe was sent to juvie, he quickly made enemies of everyone, guards and inmates, with only Nishi and Aoyama as the exceptions. By the time they let go Nishi (who had a lesser term due not having tried to escape), Joe had made friends with everyone, and could even make small jokes as the director's expense. And by the time Joe leaves, the mud-flinging context he gets as send-off from his cellmates involves even the guards and the director, and is completely friendly-
  • After he returns from juvenile prison, Joe is met with a welcome back party and a newly built gym just for him and Nishi. He doesn't even know how to react, only staring as everybody laughs and dances in front of him. Later that night, while everyone else is asleep, he's crying quietly under the sheets.
    "This was the first time in his life he had ever felt loved by other people. That was the reason for his tears".
  • When Joe leaves juvenile prison, he'll need a day job until he becomes a famous boxer. Nishi has already found him one at the store he works at, with the store owner being willing to tolerate his early incompetente until he learns the job even knowing he's dealing with a former convict.
  • How Mikinosuke Shiraki, Yoko's grandfather, reacted to finding out about Danpei being unable to get back his licence and having been arrested for drunken violence:
    • Upon hearing of Danpei's plight, he pays the bail and offers him a job at his gym... And Joe and Nishi to enroll them there and make them become pro. It seems like Yoko's usual attitude, as he'd gain a lot from it... But when the deal falls through because Joe wants a proper fight with Rikiishi and wouldn't be able to have it if they were from the same gym, Shiraki doesn't take back the bail money or the vouching that got him released.
    • Shiraki is on the scene when Joe achieves a double KO with Wolf Kanagushi as part of his plan to get Danpei reinstated. What does he do? He calmly tells the journalists that Joe is from the Tange Boxing Club and cannot become a professional boxer because the Japanese Boxing Commission, led by Wolf's manager Otaka, refuses to reinstate Danpei's licence, thus helping Joe to force the JBC to reinstate that licence... And proving he was trying to help.
  • The celebrations at the slums after Joe passes the boxing licence exam. Especially because of how hated Joe was when he was arrested.
  • The good luck telegram from their old juvenile prison Joe and Nishi got right before their first match.
  • The end of episode 33, with Joe for once not putting the foot in the mouth and telling Noriko he decorated the whole gym with her violets.
  • After their long-awaited pro match and losing, Joe goes to Rikiishi to shake his hand and congratulate him. Then Rikiishi collapses and dies from his starvation and Joe's fists soon after...
    • In the anime, Joe seeked Rikiishi out after the weigh-in just to shake his hand and wish him luck.
  • Several during the final match against Mendoza:
    • Among the public, we see Aoyama with Joe's cellmates from juvenile prison, Gondo and his gangsters, Inaba and the travelling troupe, Wolf Kanagushi, and (in a sadder note) Carlos Rivera, all cheering for Joe. And members from the police are playing the national anthems.
      • Aoyama and the others from juvie being there makes a previous one much better: those boxing tournaments back at the start of the series did help them getting out of a life of crime, as they can now afford tickets for a title match thanks to their own jobs.
      • Particularly sweet is the presence of the former boss of Dorm 6: when he appeared in episode 25 of the first series, he was wanted as a thief again because he had no goal in life to push him toward a honest life, but after he had a heartfelt talk with Joe he left swearing he'd look for a goal, like Rikiishi was for Joe... And he apparently found one.
    • Yoko deciding she won't run away anymore (as a Call-Back to Joe and Rikiishi's first match) and ordering her driver to return to the stadium. And when everyone keeps telling Joe to give up the match (and with good reason), Yoko, showing how much she has come to understand him in these last minutes (possibly even better than anyone else alive), is the only one to cheer him on and tell him to fight without regrets... And he does. Which might have played a big part in what made him decide to give his gloves to her, even if it's taken as a Dying Declaration of Love. (Maybe it's a mix of both reasons?).
    • At the end, Danpei trying to comfort Joe after Mendoza is declared as the victor. "You did good. I have nothing more to say. You did... good..." Too bad Joe couldn't hear anymore.