Manga / One Pound Gospel

A manga and OVA series by Rumiko Takahashi, One Pound Gospel is one of her shorter and less-known works, often overlooked in favor of the classic Maison Ikkoku.

The plot concerns Kosaku Hatanaka, a 19-year-old boxer who used to be a rising star that started boxing straight out of high school, but by the beginning has deteriorated into a lost case by anyone's opinion, due to his uncontrollable eating habits. Only his coach believes he might yet turn out well, though even he doesn't consider the chance large. However, Kosaku gets new motivation in the form of Sister Angela, a Christian nun to whom he went for confession and keeps doing so just for the chance to see her. Angela is a novice, not yet a full nun, having given up her privileged birth for the veil. However, she finds herself not entirely unsympathetic towards Kosaku, who doesn't fully understand the vows she is to take. He often desperately tries to impress her with a victory so that she would consent to be his girlfriend - much to the irritation of the Mother Superior of Angela's convent.

Most fans of Takahashi's work tend to overlook this charming entirely realistic (a rarity for the mangaka) comedy in favor of Maison Ikkoku, which is both longer and contains stronger distinct personalities among its protagonists. Also, as boxing and the Christian faith is an integral part of the series, this isn't to everyone's taste. However, the result is a pleasing mix of near-shonen fights and the traditional romance, this time - another rarity - with an actual resolution to the couple's UST.

This series contains examples of:

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: It would hardly be a Rumiko Takahashi's series without it. Kosaku is an Innocently Insensitive Unlucky Everydude, very similar to Yusaku Godai, but Angela is less likely to explode than a traditional Tsundere. This is most likely her faith and training talking.
  • Big Eater: Kousaku to a freakin' T.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Thoroughly averted with Kosaku. Played straight with Angela, though subverted in the fact that she's not choosing between two men or dislikes Kosaku - she doesn't know if she should give up her calling for the sake of a single person or not.
  • Comfort Food: Kosaku does this with ramen after Angela tells him to stop liking her for more than a friend.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The Mother Abbess could be seen as the counterpart to Coach Mukoda, as she is responsible for Angela keeping true to her decision to be a nun, as Mukoda is responsible for Kosaku's boxing career.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Kosaku's quite vocal about his affection for Angela and his wish to live with her. This often causes trouble with the other nuns.
  • Expy:
  • Hot for Preacher: Somewhat subverted, in that Kosaku doesn't really understand Angela's situation and doesn't see her as Forbidden Fruit—just a very attractive young lady he'd like to go out with, but everybody else (including Angela herself) doesn't want to encourage the relationship, as Angela would eventually have to decide between Kosaku or Jesus.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In Japanese, "Priest" and "Boxer" sound alike. "Bokushi" (牧師), is the first three syllables in the Japanese pronunciation of the word "boxing" (ボクシング/bokushingu). Thus the entire premise of the series being a Priest Boxer and a Nun together.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Kousaku may come off as a jerkwad, but it seems thoroughly unintentional. He's just oblivious to the thoughts and feelings of others and it's not on purpose... he's just a really big kid.
  • The Matchmaker: Angela's aunt Mizue.
  • Nuns Are Funny: Kosaku not understanding what being a nun would mean for Angela is a Running Gag, and the very straight-laced nuns having to deal with the chaos typical of Takahashi works is also repeatedly Played for Laughs.
  • Ojou: Sister Angela actually comes from a quite wealthy family. Although the only one who has a problem with Angela's decision to become a nun is her aunt Mizue, who doesn't really understand Angela's decision to give up so much extravagance and go without men.
  • The Rival: Every arc has at least a boxing rival for Kosaku, and Kosaku considers Jesus a romantic rival for Angela (a misunderstanding not helped by nuns being called "Brides of Jesus" and the ritual for taking the veil resembling a marriage ceremony).
  • Un-Cancelled: The manga originally left the situation rather unresolved but eventually got an ending almost twenty years after the series stopped serializing.