Ashita no Joe (English title: Tomorrow's Joe) a critically acclaimed boxing manga created by Asao Takamori and Tetsuya Chiba in 1968 that was later adapted into an anime series and movie. While absurdly popular in its home country, it's almost completely unknown outside of it. Outside Japan, it is also referred to as Rocky Joe or Joe. Masami Kurumada, author of Saint Seiya, has also stated that he actually created his first famous manga (Ring Ni Kakero) as a tribute to this one.Joe Yabuki is a troubled orphan who runs away from the orphanage, wandering the slums of Tokyo until he meets up with former boxing trainer Danpei Tange, who teaches Joe how to box while the latter is in prison. While in prison, Joe develops rivalries and friendships with the other inmates (and these two groups often overlap) while developing his skills at boxing and trying to become the best in the world.Ashita no Joe has been made into several video games, including a Punch Out-like arcade game by Taito, the infamous Neo Geo game Legend Of Success Joe, Ashita no Joe: Masseki ni Moe Agare! for the Game Boy Advance, and Sunday VS Magazine Shuuketsu Choujou Daikessen for PSP.
Anti-Villain : Youko. She antagonises Joe mostly during the first half of the series, then organizes most of Joe's fights, and, as he puts it, toys with his fate like a demon. She is however a good person, and grows to fall in love with Joe, who likes her back in his own way.
All Joe's rivals, exept for Harimao, are honorable fighters that he respect in some way, despite being his opponents.
Downer Ending: Mendoza wins the final fight of the manga, and Joe dies on the ring. Somewhat of a Bitter Sweet Ending since Joe achieved glory despite his loss, managed to tell Youko his feelings, and ultimately dies with a smile because he had the fight he dreamt of, and chose his fate.
Famous Last Words: Joe Yabuki's are: "Take these gloves and keep them for me... I hope you'll keep them for me...", and they go to Youko Shiraki. Some dubs (like the Italian one) take it further to a Dying Declaration of Love. ("I hope you'll keep them as a proof of my love for you...").
Game-Breaking Injury: Joe's triple cross-counter fractures Wolf's jaw so badly that he has to retire.
Japanese Pronouns: Joe was the first shounen hero to use the manly and aggressive ore pronoun, rather than the boyish and "non-threatening" boku. Ater him, shounen main dudes started to use ore too.
Jerkass: Joe, through and through. His Jerk Ass tendencies rise to the point where you have to wonder why Nishi continues to put up with him. After the Juvenile prison arc, he is more of a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
Late Arrival Spoiler: A really infamous one at that, it seems no other medium can make a Shout Out to this series without choosing the greatest spoiler moment it has, Joe dying in the match of his life, smiling on the corner of the ring.
Moral Guardians: They claimed that the manga was "teaching young children to be rebellious and anti-social towards Japanese family values" back when it first came out. They soon changed their mind, however.
Not only in Japan, actually. When the anime was aired in Spain in The Eighties, people complained about exactly the same thing.
My Greatest Failure: Danpei Tange became a drunkard after the boxer who he spent years training for the championship threw the fight for money.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Not so much as stupidity as an act: Carlos Mendoza purposely struggled against his first Japanese opponents because no matter what country he goes to, nobody is willing to fight him once they see how powerful he is.
Self-Made Orphan: Asian-Pacific Champion Ryuhi Kin once killed a man over a misunderstanding. He then realised that said man was his father. The incident scarred him so much that he was left with a phobia of blood.
Stock Shout Out: The final shot of the series, a slumped-over Joe, passing away with a smile on his face at the end of his final match, is culturally ingrained enough to be called to in all forms of Japanese media.