Ring ni Kakero (リングにかけろ Ringu ni Kakero?), or Put It All in the Ring
, is a manga created by Masami Kurumada
. A total of 25 volumes were published in Weekly Shonen Jump
between 1977 and 1981. It is one of the magazine's best-selling manga series of all time, with over 13 million copies sold, as well as one of Kurumada's personal favorites.
The sequel, Ring ni Kakero 2
, was published as a seinen
in Super Jump
, between 2000 and 2009. It had 26 volumes. The anime is actually pretty recent, its four seasons running from 2004 to 2011.
The story centers around the life of a young boxer named Ryuuji Takane and his sister Kiku, who is also his coach. Their father had been a famous boxer but is now deceased. Ryuuji and his sister both inherited their father's talent for boxing: Ryuuji inherited his strength and techniques, while Kiku picked up his talent for analysis and strategy. Ryuuji and Kiku leave home to train and become famous in order to help their lonely mother, Chiyo. On the way to stardom, they have to defeat the strongest challengers all over the world...
Ring ni Kakero has the following tropes:
- Abusive Parents: The Takane siblings's stepfather is an irresponsible drunkard who abuses the HELL out of Chiyo and the children.
- The Ace: Jun Kenzaki and Takeshi Kawai are portrayed as more naturally talented than Ryuuji.
- Break the Cutie: The Takane's past. They go to Tokyo pretty much to run away from their stepdad, in addition to fulfill their dad's dreams.
- Brother-Sister Team: Ryuji and Kiku, with him as a prospect boxer an Kiku as The Strategist.
- Also the Kawai siblings, Takeshi and Takako.
- Coming-of-Age Story: For both Ryuuji and Kiku, who must grow not just as a Brother-Sister Team but also as persons.
- Crapsaccharine World: The Tokyo of The Seventies is described as this in the beginning.
- Delinquents: The Black Shaft team hires a bunch of these. They kidnap Kiku and Ryuuji has to fight to get her back
- Disappeared Dad: Ryuuji and Kiku's dad was a promising boxer who died of illness.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Roku, one of the boxers in the gym Kiku and Ryuuji live in, has a massive crush on the waitress Setsuko. Ryuuji ships them.
- Drugs Are Bad: In his way to his first day of junior high, Ryuuji walks on a bunch of school kids lazing around. One of them is a girl named Sachiko Kimura, and she's clearly seen sniffing glue from a bag.
- Girlish Pigtails: Kiku wears her hair like that.
- Hot Teacher: Asaoka-sensei, Ryuuji's unflappable and sexy junior high teacher. Very much so.
- Badass Teacher: She also slaps Ryuuji and the local bully for beating each other up, without any fear or hesitation.
- Heroic RROD: Happens to Jun after the initial fight with Ryuuji. From then on, Ryuuji fights for both of their dreams for a time.
- How We Got Here: At some point, we see one of Ryuuji and Kenzaki's most important matches. From then on, the narrative switches to Kiku explaining how this came to be.
- Innocently Insensitive: As a kid, Kiku truly wanted Ryuuji to toughen up and train so he'd become a good boxer like their dad. Bad thing, this was so hard at fist that poor Ryuuji was traumatised.
- Japanese Delinquents: Some of Ryuuji's junior high classmates, specially Akira Tajima. Ryuuji ends up befriending Tajima after the deal with the bixing club.
- Japanese School Club: When Ryuuji gets into junior high, he decides to check on the boxing club. Where the new students (including the bully who beat him up at the start of the day) are totally curbstomped by the sempais. Ryuuji then fights all of them... and wins.
- Official Couple: Roku and Setsuko. Later, Kenzaki and Kiku. Their son, Rindou, is the protagonist of the sequel.
- The Ojou: Kanako Sanjou, a young girl from a rich family who befriends Ryuuji and Kiku.
- Only Six Faces: It's Ryuuji, not Seiya! And it's Kenzaki, not Ikki!
- Please Don't Leave Me -> I Will Wait for You: The Takane children decide to run away from their abusive household, but their mother Chiyo catches them in the train station and begs them to stay. They refuse, but promise to come back for her when Ryuuji becomes a proper boxer; as she watches them go Chiyo promises to wait for their return.
- Plucky Girl: Kiku utterly refuses to let go of her and Ryuuji's dreams. As a proof, when her and Ryuuji's stepfather refuses to give them food and even beats their mother Chiyo for saving some for them, Kiku SNAPS and beats him with her bare fists, using her father's fechniques, and then force feeds him rice while loudly calling him out on his bullshit.
- Princely Young Man: Kenzaki, the Ice King type.
- Promotion to Parent: In practice, Kiku gets this when she and Ryuuji escape from Yamaguchi to Tokyo. They later get pretty much Happily Adopted by a local doctor.
- The Rival: Several, but the biggest one is Jun Kenzaki.
- Shown Their Work: It brings rather interesting tips and info on boxing, Japanese boxers and their lifestyles, etc.