YMMV: Ashita no Joe

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The first TV series had a Big Lipped Alligator Character created specifically for the anime (as in, he didn't appear in the manga): the eccentric old man who acted as the doctor of Tange Gym for a few episodes before the writers removed him from the plot entirely without any explanation of what happened to him. He is never mentioned again after that.
  • Ear Worm: The second anime's opening.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Rikiishi, big time. He's just that cool, and when he's introduced he is easier to sympathize with than Joe for most people. There was also a real-life funeral for him following his death, where over 700 people wearing all black attended.
    • Carlos for his flamboyant personality and awesome boxing skills that arguably surpass even those of Rikiishi, and for being a fun-loving Nice Guy outside the ring (at one point dressing up as Santa and handing out presents to kids).
  • Fair for Its Day: Despite... pretty much everything about Harimao, it should be noted that that the manga portrays all of the other foreign boxers that Joe faces in a positive light. Carlos' style, antics and personality make him a fan favorite among the Japanese crowd, and despite some of his off-color comments to Joe, Mendoza never does so to any of the other Japanese characters and is shown to have a human side with his concerns of being around for his family. Even Ryuhi Kin has his admirers despite being a complete asshole, mostly due to his tragic backstory.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Nishi's abrupt personality change wasn't because of characterization marching on; it was because the juvenile prison scared him straight.
  • Ho Yay / Foe Yay: Joe and Carlos. Joe at one point says that Carlos has "stolen his heart all over again".
  • It Was His Sled: If you don't know by now, Rikiishi dies from injuries sustained from his match against Joe. Also, Joe dies after his match against Jose Mendoza.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ryuhi Kin. On one hand it really sucks to have your mom become a casualty of war in front of your very eyes and accidentally kill your father. But on the other hand, his sordid past clearly gives him a sense of entitlement; it makes him feel that he's better than anyone else in the sport, looks down on boxing as just a game that shouldn't be treated with any passion just because there are rules in the sport, and looks down on Joe especially for struggling with his weight, just because nobody else he knows had to go through what he did. Not a good way to win sympathy points.
    • Joe himself becomes this during the prison arc when it looks like Danpei has given up on him for Aoyama. He's pretty much all alone and surrounded by people who really want to see him get hurt at that point. Of course, it gets better when it turns out to have been a Secret Test of Character. Hell, Joe in general can be this before he (mostly) drops the Jerkass part; at the end of the day he's still a runaway orphan with trust issues.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Carlos is established as such within his first appearance in the second series where he manages to subtly hit his opponent with his elbow after a punch. This goes unnoticed by the refs and, presumably, everyone in the audience except Joe, who from that point on sees him as his new Worthy Opponent.
  • Memetic Mutation: If another series parodies Ashita no Joe, the part they will reference is most likely the Cross Counter move or the final page.
  • Moral Event Horizon: After Joe humiliates Wolf in the locker room brawl, Wolf retaliates by beating up the neighbourhood children that Joe hung out with. Yeah, while Joe was a terrible Jerk Ass to him, it's not like the kids had a lot to do with that.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The characters' faces after being hit sometimes look disturbingly messed up and devoid of life. And of course, any time they bleed from the mouth.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Legend of Success Joe.
  • The Scrappy: Harimao has been called a racist character and some feel that the stunts he pulls in the ring are outside the boundaries of the series' rules of realism (backflipping, walking on the ropes at the end of the ring, etc). It doesn't help that he communicates mostly with sounds.
    • The Slum Town kids to some, due to taking up a lot of screen time for mere comic relief characters and for screaming a lot. Others like them however.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Very much so after a certain point (namely Rikiishi's death). However, Tropes Are Not Bad: most people agree that the series is an excellent drama.
  • Values Dissonance: The first TV anime often had Noriko's parents bickering, which is fair. It gets worse when they get violent with each other at one point - and this is Played for Laughs.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Very few western anime fans have ever seen the original series. But the show has been parodied for so long, and by so many creators, if you've watched a lot of anime, you've seen Joe.