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aka: Ashita No Joe

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    Joe Yabuki

Voiced by: Teruhiko Aoi (Anime, movies), Kei Tomiyama (pilot film), Yoshito Yasuhara (Radio Dramas)

  • Accidental Pervert: Once he ended up calling by Noriko for entering her room. She happened to be changing clothes, so she hit him away with a sandal.
  • Animal Motifs: He is compared to that of a stray dog and bulls, to a lesser extent.
  • Anti-Hero: Joe is rude and quick to fight, but he can also be very frivolous at times. Because of his rough upbringing he is a delinquent who likes his solitude, but he later grows to appreciate his new friends and rivals.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Despite his brash and aggressive approach, Joe is an expert at finding counterattacks to his opponents' best techniques. His trademark Triple Cross is in fact a counter attack to a counter.
  • Blood Knight: His speech towards Noriko when the latter tries to talk him out of boxing cements him as one.
  • Book Dumb: Grew up on the streets and has very little book learning, though he knows how to read and write. This becomes a major problem when he tries to qualify for a boxing license, and he completely flunks the theoretical portion of the test, which mostly consists of different boxing rules and techniques. He knows the answers themselves, but not their technical names.
  • Break the Haughty: It's hard not to feel even a little bit bad for him during the Juvenile arc, when it looks like Danpei has abandoned him (it's actually a Secret Test of Character).
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Calling Mendoza Cthulhu might be a bit of a stretch, but taking enough of a beating to probably die right after a fight with the World Champion (and not even win, at least not technically) has got to count for something.
  • Broken Ace: He completely falls to pieces after Rikiishi's death and cannot hit people in the temple, but he later overcomes this.
  • Casualty in the Ring: He caused one and in the end is implied to be a victim of this in the second anime.
  • Character Development: Yes, he's a jerk. Nope, he's not evil. And yup, he softens up a bit as the series advances and he finds a purpose in life.
  • Chick Magnet: A minor example, and mostly in the anime where it's shown to have female fans because of his looks.
  • Cry Cute: After the welcome back party, Joe cries Tears of Joy while in bed.
  • Determinator: One of the earlier Shonen examples, Joe will keep standing up after falling no matter what. Arguably Deconstructed, since this makes him punch-drunk.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Two times Joe picked up a car, two times a poor vehicle got irreparable damage. The second one, however, is Foreshadowing his Punch Drunk Syndrome.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Develops advanced Punch Drunk Syndrome late in the story. He's fully aware of it yet intends to fight Mendoza anyways.
  • Handicapped Badass: Suffers this after Rikishi's death, first with PTSD preventing him from fighting seriously then later from Punch Drunk Syndrome. Despite being so handicapped by his fight with with Mendoza that he becomes almost completely blind in one fight, he still almost wins the championship title.
  • Hero Killer: Inverted since he is a protagonist. At one point in the series nobody wants to take him on because he took down Rikiishi, Wolf and, by technicality, Carlos. Fitting for someone known as "The Grim Reaper" and "Killer Joe".
  • The Hero Dies: Implied in the second anime.
  • Heroic BSoD: After Rikiishi's death he temporarily suffers from yips and cannot hit people in the temple.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: He softens up somewhat during the Juvenile arc. Also, he seems to genuinely care for the kids from the San'ya slums.
    • Even in his delinquent days, his ultimate goal was to raise money to provide jobs and healthcare to the residents of San'ya and instruction to their kids. The only ones who ever knew were the kids helping him, to whom Joe told what the scam that nailed Yoko was about.
  • Hot-Blooded: This is likely his biggest flaw, and constantly gets him into trouble. He can't handle even the slightest insult without attempting to fight the offender.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Rikiishi's death traumatizes him harder than expected; his aversion to hitting opponents in the head causes him to lose a lot of matches afterwards. This results in him deciding to fight up in the boonies, despite the fact that they fix the outcome of their matches.
  • Irony: Despite his nickname, Joe had only won against one person that he was said to have "killed". Although Rikiishi dies, he had beaten Joe in the match via KO. While Carlos receives brain damage from Joe's fight the match was officially called a draw, and devastating part was inflicted by Mendoza, not Joe.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Joe fits in the delinquent stereotype, but he's a subversion though. He starts the story as a homeless Street Urchin and has never even been in a school (which bites him in the ass later).
  • Jerkass: He mellows into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold eventually.
  • Made of Iron: You seriously cannot tank punches that could knock down a BULL without being this trope.
  • Mega Manning: Can and has replicated multiple of the best techniques of his opponents, such as Carlos' elbow strike during their exhibition match. In the final round against Mendoza, he starts using Aoyama's defensive techniques. And in the third round he uses Rikiishi's technique for dealing with the triple cross counter. He also starts using Jose's own corkscrew punches.
  • Nice Hat: His newsboy red cap.
  • Not Good with People: Summed with his poor writting skills, this is the reason he hates public signing sessions.
  • Oblivious to Love: Anime Only in regard to Noriko's crush on him. Noriko even directly hints it to him and he doesn't seem to grasp. Averted in the manga, where he's made aware, but just doesn't care.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: He is known for his long bangs.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Calls out Kim Yongbi on being completely full of himself, using his childhood trauma during the Korean War as if it's a badge to be proud of. He finishes off by saying that his actions don't make him superior, but in fact, inferior to men like Rikiishi, who didn't even have water to drink like Kin did and was willing to put himself under such conditions for the sake of having a match with a long-time friend. And this is all while he is beating the hell out of Kin in the match.
  • Strong and Skilled: Eventually acquires the skills necessary to take on such monsters as Carlos Rivera, Kim Yongbi and Jose Mendoza.
  • Tareme Eyes: A major part of his characterisation. His permanently round, drooping, heavy-lidded eyes give him a wistful, world-weary expression that makes it clear he's more than just a loutish jerk.
  • Uncertain Doom:It's never exactly mentioned if he died or simply fainted after his final fight at the end.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Early on he's relatively unskilled, but remains incredibly powerful.
  • Weight Woe: A late growth spurt pushes him far past the weight limit from a bantamweight note  This becomes a problem when he jumps the gun and challenges Kim Yongbi, especially when the latter devastates someone who went down from the lightweight class to challenge him.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: After Rikiishi has passed away, Joe is afraid to hit his opponents in the head since that's what finished his rival.
  • Worthy Opponent: Considers most of his opponents as one, and in most cases they consider him one.

    Toru Rikiishi

  • The Ace: To an almost ridiculous extent, he outpaces everyone, even Joe, by a mile.
  • Charles Atlas Super Power: Beating down pigs and bulls with your bare fists isn't something the average boxer, let alone human, is able to do
  • Cultured Badass: A minor case, but outside of the ring he's outright gentlemanly.
  • Determinator: Especially notable when he has to lose weight. This ends up being what kills him.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: A lot of hype is built up between the professional fight between him and Joe, both being regarded as up and coming talents. The match does not disappoint, but his untimely death afterwards does.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His first action onscreen? Punching down pigs to stop Joe's escapade from Juvies, and beating Joe in a single punch when he tries to fight him.
  • Face of a Thug: Moreso after his weight loss.
  • Foil: To Joe, obviously. While both are delinquents who take up boxing, Rikiishi is good-natured and looked up to by rest of the delinquents, while Joe is a Jerkass who is hated by many at first.
    • Also, Riikishi is sponsored and essentially taken care of by Shiraki Gym, a top class facility run by a wealthy family. Joe is sponsored by Danpei Tange, a trainer who's fallen out of graces with most of the boxing world and has no money to his name.
  • Iconic Item: His wheat stalk.
  • Japanese Delinquents: Even though it's eventually subverted, Rikiishi is introduced in the Juvies after all.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice
  • Lightning Bruiser: Is able to win a fight using only uppercuts, despite them being easily the slowest punch in boxing (Joe had to train specially to keep distance because his uppercuts were that fast). On top of that he's strong enough he can punch down BULLS.
  • Megaton Punch: In all his fights seen, the only opponent that did not end out of the ring was Joe.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Gives a downed Joe words of encouragement during his fight against Wolf Kanagushi for this very reason.
  • Rated M for Manly: To this day, Rikiishi is one of the best examples of the positive side of classic masculinity in Japanese Media
  • The Rival: To Joe.
  • The Stoic: In strong contrast to Joe.
  • Strong and Skilled: Strong enough to punch out pigs and bulls, and skilled enough to dodge a charging bull-and that was when he was rusty from his time in jail. There's a reason everyone expected him to become the featherweight world champion before his death cut his dream short.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: On the day of his release from prison, a guard muses that he and Joe are, in a sense, each other's closest friend. Joe himself realizes this after Rikiishi's death. It almost destroys him
  • Weight Woe: Played for Drama. Since he's a Featherweight and Joe's a Bantamweight, he goes through great strains to keep himself two weight classes under his normal size in order for the two to have their fight. This results in the Shiraki Gym resorting to methods such as locking him behind a chained door (which he manages to break down) and tying up all the pipes in the facility. This hellish method also leads to his undoing as the effects from the extreme weight loss as well as the hard blow to the temple from Joe cause his death.
  • Worf Had the Flu: The only reason Joe could pose a threat to him back in juvie was that Rikiishi was rusty and weakened from the lack of proper training and good opponents. As soon as he got to the Shiraki Boxing Club and resumed training properly he became much stronger in a very short time.
  • Worthy Opponent: Spends the beginning of his time in the story as a source of motivation for Joe to be a better boxer, and later on, it's revealed that he views Joe in the same way. All the more tragic when he dies.

    Wolf Kanagushi

  • Career-Ending Injury: Joe's triple cross-counter does irreparable damage to his jaw.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Takes a long time for it to happen, but at the end of the manga he supports Joe for his last match, actively cheering for him in the stands.
  • Heroic BSoD: Is implied to go through one after receiving Joe's Cross Counter, obsessing over it. He snaps out of it the moment the president of his boxing club announces he'll teach him how to counter it, though.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Wolf beating the kids up lets Joe figure out his strategy because he used the same one while hitting them, due to being in the middle of training
  • Kavorka Man: Anime-Only. He's engaged somehow.
  • Not So Different: With Joe. Both are cross-counter specialists and have very short tempers.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His defeat is what allows the fight where Rikiishi dies to happen in the first place.
  • Weak, but Skilled: He's quite the skilled fighter, but is relatively weak in punching power. That is directly responsible for his defeat against Joe, as he could tank a few Double Counters to find the right time for the Triple Counter precisely because they weren't powerful enough.
  • Worthy Opponent: In their match, Joe silently recognizes him as this by taking a guard position for the first time in his professional career.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Beats up Joe's kid friends after he catches them spying on his training. And we mean beat up, as in had to go to the hospital.
  • Yakuza: Becomes one for a short period of time. It ends once he finds out the hard way why a person with a glass jaw doesn't make for a good fighter.

    Tiger Ozaki

  • Bring My Brown Pants: Carlos beat him up so hard he lost bladder control and wet himself as he was being carried out on a stretcher.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: While Joe is a Jerkass and was intentionally trying to provoke him, it certainly didn't take much to rile him up before the match.
  • Jerkass Victim: Carlos annihilated him in fifteen seconds, adding the further humiliation of making him lose bladder control. Considering his part in the plot to force Joe to retire, he deserved it.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: He's a legitimately good boxer, and gained the JBC bantamweight championship legitimately. It's just that Joe and Carlos are much better.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Is the first Japanese boxer unfortunate enough to taste Carlos' real strength.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Twice.
    • First time,his actions lay out a blueprint for many of the other boxers on how to beat a reinvigorated Joe, and the losses that Joe picks up destroys nearly all of his reputation in the boxing world.
    • Second time, his overconfidence brings out the real Carlos in their match and he's literally beaten before he realizes it. Everyone else that was willing to fight Carlos under the thought that he wasn't very good realizes that they are completely screwed because they can't back out. Carlos was more than happy to prove them correct, brutalizing all of them.

    Carlos Rivera

Voiced by: Ryusei Nakao (Second series)

  • Anti-Villain: He's very laid-back and friendly outside the ring. When he took some time off from boxing one day he spends most of it singing and hanging out with the Doya Kids.
  • Beware the Nice Ones/Beware the Silly Ones: Has a tendency to play around with opponents to make the matches more exciting, luring them into a false sense of confidence that they can beat him. Then, he shows them why he's called the "Venezuelan Terror".
    • Actually enforced in-story by his trainer Harry Robert. When asked by the media, Robert says that the reason Carlos plays around with his opponents is because when he gets serious, no other gym (understandably) wants their boxers to challenge him.
  • Came Back Wrong: When he returns after being "retired" by Mendoza, he is pretty much a shell of his former self.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Carlos isn't afraid of committing fouls if the situation demands it. One of his trademark techniques involves slipping an elbow strike after throwing a hook. Joe is one of the few ones to catch on this.
  • The Determinator: Deconstructed: Jose Mendoza gave him the terrifying punch that turned him demented because he wouldn't stay down after the lesser hits he had given him previously.
  • The Dreaded: In any country he goes as soon as he starts fighting seriously.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • On his departure from Japan, he suddenly falls down while saying his goodbyes to the Japanese people. After his disastrous fight against Jose Mendoza, Robert reveals to the press that Carlos was having difficulty doing simple tasks such as ascending the stairs, something that usually happens to boxers that suffer from Punch-Drunk Syndrome.
    • At the end of the 4th round in his match against Joe, Robert talks to him, only for him to be ignored. Then he starts to blatantly fight wild and dirty until he's knocked down by Joe, who also starts to fight dirty. His shocked expression when Joe knocks him down indicates that Carlos may not have been completely there when committing all of those fouls, signifying the start of his brain damage.
  • Freak Out: Pretty much loses his shit and starts to fight dirty against Joe after the fourth round in their bout at Korakuen Hall, going from simple fouls such as elbow strikes and head-butts to attempting to attack an already downed Joe, knocking the referee out of his way to do so.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Fights Jose and pays the price through acquiring severe brain damage.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Regardless of necessary reasons why, his method of baiting opponents into getting the living daylights beaten out of them tend to rub some readers the wrong way. Apart from that he shows no jerkish tendencies and for the most part, is a good guy.
  • Latin Lover: Is Venezuelan, and frequently flirts with beautiful women when he's first introduced. He stops doing this after Yoko calls him out on it.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: As noted above. He may be a charismatic playboy but don't ever think that his ranking in the world is for show.
  • Oh, Crap!: In his bout against Joe at Korakuen Hall.
    • When at the beginning of the match, he realizes that Joe isn't the same person he fought during their spar and exhibition match.
    • When Joe manages to make it to his feet and continue fighting after Carlos brutally counters the rope trick that Joe used to surprise him in their exhibition match.
    • Finally, when Joe knocks him down even after he's countered Joe's rope techniques. It completely changes the complexion of the fight as Carlos becomes noticeably sloppier in his movements.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Carlos is an awesome boxer, with all the formidable strength and awesome skills one would expect from a contender to the world championship. Yet he lost against Jose Mendoza in one round because the world champion is even better. He gets even more overshadowed in the anime, as it features the fight to unify the WBC and WBA championships (with Mendoza holding the former before the fight) and the WBA champion manages to hold against Mendoza all the way to the third round.
  • Put on a Bus: After his disastrous fight against Mendoza he retires and was seen wandering the streets of Venezuela.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Is one of the more taller characters (at least in the second anime), and is a dark-haired Bishōnen.
  • You No Take Candle: Carlos speaks broken English throughout the English Scanlation created by Hox, probably due to his excessive use of English in the original Japanese manga.

    Kim Yongbi

  • Afraid of Blood: Can't stand the sight of blood due to mistakenly killing his father.
  • The Dreaded: To begin with, his nickname was "The Boxing Computer" because of the perfection of his technique. Had a perfect win and KO record, and (Anime Only) had killed two of his opponents before fighting Joe. He's one of the few contenders Tange decided to actively avoid have Joe fighting.
  • Foil: To Joe. Kim's boxing style is methodical, while Joe's style is flashy and often unpredictable.
    • He also acts as a foil to Joe's other major opponents. Riikiishi and Carlos may have had radically different personalities outside of the ring, but once in the ring they fought with passion and treated the ring like if it were a life and death situation. Kim is stoic and dispassionate both in the ring and out of it, viewing boxing as "just a game".
  • Genius Bruiser: His boxing style is compared to that of a trained physician, as if he's dissecting them methodically.
  • Harmful to Minors: During the Korean War, he got to watch his mother be killed by a firebomb and the body burn to a crisp in front of him. He was around the same age as the current slum kids when this happened. And that's not even describing what happened to his dad...
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: His phobia of blood makes him scream like a madman...and nothing else. Once one of his punches cuts Joe, he just stands there screaming, allowing Joe to shut him up for good by knocking him over the ropes.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown:
    • His special technique for stubborn opponents, the Chom-Chom, is just this: push the victim on the ropes and hit them until they start fall, then uppercut them back up and continue until the referee realizes he's witnessing an attempted murder and stops him. Everyone who suffered it before Joe went out in a stretcher, and in the anime two guys died.
  • Not So Stoic: Has a panic attack during Joe's No-Holds-Barred Beatdown of Danpei after he sees the latter on the ground bleeding profusely. His freak out manages to frighten everyone in the room, including Joe.
    • Also loses his cool while Joe calls him out on his assholish behavior during their match, swinging wildly and unpredictably which allows Joe to hit him with ease.
  • Out, Damned Spot!: In a similar vein to the Trope Namer, he causes a stir during his stay at the Asian Boxing Club by washing his hands and mumbling about them being bloody. All night, in fact. Quoth his trainer.
    He sees blood on his hands that he can't wash away no matter how hard he tries.
  • Self-Made Orphan: After days of starving in the War, he found an ill man covered in mud with rations. When he tried to steal them, said man defended them with all he had, so Kim desperately killed him crushing his head with a rock. Turns out was his father trying to reach him and her mother to feed them, but neither recognized each other, one because of the mud and the other because his features were changed out of the starvation.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": His name has been given as Kim Yongpi, Kim Yongbi and even Kin Ryuhi.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Joe, mocking him for not being able to control his weight like he can and is disgusted by how he builds himself up like a hungry champion, while he experienced real hunger and hardship starving in the streets of South Korea during the Korean War. Joe returns the favor during their match.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: A particularly dark example(and subversion), he's unable to gain any weight out of a mental block regarding eating, since he mistakenly killed his father for food. The "upside" to this is that it keeps him consistently in the bantamweight division.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His Chom-Chom is the most likely reason for Joe's advanced punch drunk syndrome, as the technique is that devastating and he didn't show serious symptoms until after their match.


  • Ax-Crazy: Attacks people without abandon, regardless of if he's in a boxing match or not, and with little to no provocation whatsoever.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Comes with his um, different kind of boxing style.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Portrayed as this. When he comes out to fight, literally nobody cheers for him. Notable in that even jerkasses like Kim Yongbi had fans in the stands; whenever Harimau's involved in a fight everyone wants to see him get beaten.
  • Freak Out: starts headbutting and biting Joe after getting knocked down one too many times.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Of course that would imply that he needs something to get angry at.
  • Insane Troll Logic/Loophole Abuse: Lives off of it. Complain about him standing on the ropes? The rules state that he can't step outside of them but there's nothing about them that says he can't step on them. Complain about him jumping up in the air? Ref states that there's no rule against that either. Basically, whenever the crowd complains about his antics in the ring, expect them to be met with the ref saying that there Ain't No Rule.
  • Meaningful Name/Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Harimau means 'Tiger' in Malay. Given his style it's not hard to see why.
  • Never Learned to Read
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He originally went by his real name, which was much longer and harder to pronounce. After a certain incident they just called him Harimau.
  • Raised by Wolves: Was raised in the deepest parts of a Malaysian jungle by beasts of the wild before being found by villagers.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Joe. He's basically an extreme version of what Joe would have been if Danpei hadn't found him.
  • The Unintelligible: Sort of. It's only made clear that he can't speak Japanese, implying that he can speak his native tongue. But with his roars and grunts you really have to wonder.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chocolate is the only thing that makes Harimau settle down. Even then it sometimes fails.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Hoo boy. It's debatable if what he practices is even boxing.Deconstructed hard: after his strength made him appear a devastating opponent, his lack of skills leads to him getting the stuff beaten out of him by Takigawa, even getting his first gimmick technique turned against him and only winning when he surprises him with a second gimmick technique, and Joe just plain annihilates him with a combination of strength almost as great as his, much better skills, and the wild genius to counter every trick he comes up with, reducing him to a terrified and sobbing wreck.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Once Joe counters his corkscrew backflip punch with an even wilder technique he becomes terrified, realizing that he has met his match in Joe. As the announcer puts it, to him Joe is "a foe even wilder than himself existing in civilization".
  • Wild Child: Quickly proves that Shiraki was not joking when she said she had found an animal of a boxer.

    Jose Mendoza

  • The Ace: Strongly established then subverted once he fights Joe.
  • Achilles' Heel/Fatal Flaw: A very big one, as Joe points out in their match. Jose is great at dishing out damage, but not good at taking it.
  • Badass Mustache: As possibly the most badass opponent of Joe in the entire series after Rikishi, he sports one.
  • Berserk Button: Joe is warned by the Hawaiian press that Mendoza hates loud-mouthed people and that they are one of the few things that make him upset. Joe, being Joe, only learns this fact the hard way when he mouths off to Mendoza and is dropped by a single punch.
  • Carpet of Virility: Jose is one of the most badass characters in the series and has a hairy chest.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Realizes that Joe can't see out of the left side of his eye during their match, no doubt due to injury taking a toll on his body. He doesn't hesitate to exploit that.
  • Curbstomp Battle: His fight against Carlos Rivera turns out like this.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: He is introduced in the series via knocking out Carlos in Round 1. And he's not afraid to show off the fact that he is this; when the series actually shows one of his fights, he allows his opponent, a guy nicknamed "The Hawaiian Bull", to hit him at point-blank range in order to show off that nobody's punches can leave a mark on him before effortlessly KOing his opponent. But later, we find out that he's not quite this trope.
  • Establishing Character Moment: When he first appears in the series proper he grabs Joe's shoulders and wishing him good luck. This was enough to leave bruises on Joe. That's how powerful he was.
  • Freak Out: Not even Mendoza can keep his composure against Joe. He loses all inhibitions and goes crazy when no matter what he throws at Joe, Joe just won't go down.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite treating Joe like crap (though to be fair like every other situation where he pisses someone off, Joe was asking for it), Mendoza respects him a great deal. That's why he's disappointed in their fight when Joe comes out with only one goal in mind.
  • Locked into Strangeness: His hair turns white after the fatal fight with Joe.
  • Magnificent Moustaches of Mexico: Is a Mexican guy with a pencil-thin mustache.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Seems to be a combination of the nationality, career, and punch power of Ruben "Puas" Olivares, and the looks of Nicaraguan boxer Alexis Arguello.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Joe finds out that his display against the Hawaiian Bull was nothing more than an elaborate bluff: by recreating the situation in their match, Joe shows that holding a boxer's shoulder greatly reduces a boxer's upper body strength.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Calls Joe names such as "yellow brute" and "yellow sheep", but for the most part is respectful to the other Japanese characters in the story.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Beats Joe, but at the cost of his youth.
  • Strong and Skilled: As expected from the world champion, he has enough skills to dance around Carlos' attacks and catch the exact moment he's vulnerable and the strength to knock him down, brutally, without the devastating Corkscrew Punch. With it... When Carlos shows up after taking one at the temple, he can barely remember his name and has lost all of his strength and skill.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Starts getting very philosophical (and not in the good way) when Joe takes enough damage to cripple, if not outright kill someone —but Joe just keeps coming back off the mat no matter how many times he knocks him down.
    Joe Yabuki... must have already died long ago... but then... who am I fighting with on the ring...? Am I fighting with his phantom...? Or am I trapped in a nightmare...?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Using the fact he "retired" Carlos for PR reasons. Justified as the rumors that Carlos had gone in their fight already brain damaged by Joe were damaging his reputation.
  • Why Won't You Stay Down: Joe refusing to go down confuses him greatly.
  • Worthy Opponent: Considers Joe as one; in fact he considers him to be a better man than he is when despite taking inhumane amounts of damage, Joe continues to fight. Mendoza admits that at that point he would give up, thinking more about returning home to his family.

    Nishi "Mammoth" Kanishi

  • Always Second Best: Joe's spot-free record after going pro causes him to develop an inferiority complex. He gets over it thanks to the Doya Kids and Noriko.
  • Beta Couple: With Noriko.
  • Big Eater: This becomes a problem eventually, he can't subsist on the diet needed to keep him a middleweight.
  • The Big Guy
  • The Bully / Fat Bastard: At first.
  • Character Development: It comes really suddenly, but he was scared straight off-screen by rumors about the juvenile prison.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Becomes this with Joe in prison after their... awkward first encounter.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Is forced to retire from the world of boxing after getting permanent damage on one of his hands.
  • Gentle Giant: This actually works AGAINST him, he's a natural heavyweight, but there are few heavyweight fighters in Asia, and he has trouble keeping his weight down to qualify for middleweight.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: When he was first introduced he was a Fat Bastard. Come around the time after Joe's match with Kim Yongbi and Nishi actually looks reasonably handsome.
  • Japanese Delinquents
  • Nice Guy
  • Perma-Stubble: Later on.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: He gets a rude awakening once he's taken to the juvenile prison on account of not being the biggest and meanest kid he knows anymore, once he and Joe get into the pros it's shown that he's not very good at boxing and unlike Joe he can't handle the strenuous weight training that Danpei makes him go through due to his size and is ridiculed for it. However, he's shown to be very reliable to the Hayashi family market while Joe struggled to help at all, and eventually Noriko's parents trust him with the business and trust him with Noriko herself.


Gym Leaders/Trainers

    Danpei Tange

  • 0% Approval Rating: Initially. He was disbarred from the Japanese Boxing Commission because of his abusive behavior with his trainees and his alcoholic tendencies. He ends earning back his respect as a proficient trainer thanks to Joe.
  • The Alcoholic: Initially he starts drinking to forget the pain of his broken dreams. He briefly relapses after his first attempt at getting boxing licenses for Nishi and Joe fails, due to the Boxing Commission hating him, but sobers up again.
  • Bald of Awesome: Is completely bald.
  • Cool Old Guy: Do not underestimate him, he is still able to give strong punches.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Wear this because of losing his eye in a match.
  • Gamebreaking Injury: Permanent damage to his ocular nerve was the reason he stopped being a boxer. He instead started a gym afterwards.
  • Gonk: So ugly that Yoko once had him play Quasimodo at the theatre, and the only difference from his usual looks were the clothes and a wig.
  • Gratuitous English: Played for Laughs. His nervousness when he first meets Jose Mendoza, the Bantamweight World Champion, has him awkwardly try to communicate by using random boxing terms such as "Cross-counter".
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Similar to the above, Played for Laughs. When they celebrate Joe's contract with Fuji TV after becoming the Pacific Champion, Danpei comes with a pretty old fashioned suit. People are quick to lampshade it.
    Japanese reporter: Talk about garish.
  • The Lancer and The Mentor: To Joe.
  • My Greatest Failure: Became a drunkard after the boxer who he spent years training for the championship threw the fight for money. He snaps out of it shortly after meeting Joe.
  • Nice Hat: Occasionally wears one.
  • Secret Test of Character: He makes it look like he has betrayed Joe for Aoyama, another prisoner. This is to get Joe to play defensively as well.

    Yoko Shiraki

  • Anguished Declaration of Love: to Joe at the end of Volume 19, in one hell of a cliffhanger.
  • Anti-Villain: She antagonizes 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 when it counts.
  • The Atoner: Many of her actions after Rikiishi's death are motivated by the fact she blames herself and wants to atone through Joe.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: One of the first things Joe calls her out on is the hypocrisy of her "charity" at Juvenile Prison. Even when she (mostly) grows out of it, her schemes can be underhanded, such as getting the boxers who had taken part in the plot against Joe brutalized and humiliated by Carlos and tricking Takigawa Shuuhei into fighting Harimao, and getting brutalized by him, to test the latter's abilities.
  • Composite Character: In the 2011 live action movie she takes Otaka's roles of Wolf Kanaguchi's manager and "enemy" boxing manager, though in different circumstances.note 
  • Cool Shades
  • The Dreaded: The presidents of the major boxing clubs learn to fear her after she has Carlos brutalize and humiliate the two highest ranked and the bantamweight champion of Japan for getting in the way of what she was planning to do with Joe. Even Takigawa's manager was wary when she asked him to have his champion fight Harimao, only accepting when she offers enough money to pay the purse for the world championship match... And never regretting it enough when Harimao mauls Takigawa.
  • Everyone Can See It: Pretty much everyone at Danpei's Gym thinks this regarding her and Joe. They're proven right in Volume 19.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Most the guys in the work fawn over her good looks.
  • Heroic BSoD:Just like Joe, she has one when Rikiishi dies. Unlike him, she recovers quickly.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Discussed Trope. Sachi seems to think this about her when she first met Noriko. Then again Sachi has a Precocious Crush on Joe, and it was clear she was just projecting herself.
  • Iconic Outfit: Her white and red dress.
  • Irony: Despite being the one that always leaves boxing matches whenever they get ugly, and that she cares a great deal for Joe's medical condition, in Joe's fight against Mendoza, she, is the only one who encourages Joe to fight to the bitter end and leave no regrets in the ring. This is despite the fact that Joe's punch-drunk syndrome is so bad at this point that he can't even see out of one of his eyes.
  • Kid with the Leash: Multiple times:
    • To the inmates at the juvie: they love her because of her charity work (and, in Rikiishi's case, because she's his way back in the boxing world), so they'd do anything to please her. The only exception is Joe, who knows she's doing it to feel better about herself and keep Rikiishi healthy and can't tolerate it... Differently from the other inmates, who too know she has her own reasons for the charity work but only care enough to tease Rikiishi about it.
    • To the boxers at the Shiraki Boxing Club: a single word from her to either do or not do a certain thing, and they obey. Only Rikiishi has ever disobeyed her, and that was only when she tried to interfere with his health-damaging diet for the fight with Joe.
    • Eventually, to Joe himself: she's the only one who can make him reason from time to time, and once calmed him down by looking him in the eyes.
  • Love Epiphany: It's not until the matchup between Joe and Mendoza finally becomes a reality that she realizes that the only reason she sticks her nose into Joe's business is that she loves him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Three times over:
    • She blames herself for Rikiishi's death, as her actions to help him break his diet without killing himself instead restored his resolution to go through it.
    • She's plagued with guilt after Carlos hints that he might not have been fighting seriously in his exhibition match against Joe. She's noticeably not her calm and aloof self during the real match between them at Korakuen Hall, fearing that she may have set him up to be killed in the ring.
    • All the bloodshed during the match between Carlos and Joe at Korakuen Hall becomes too much for her at one point.
  • Non-Idle Rich
  • The Ojou: She's a calm, soft-spoken girl from a rich family.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Noted, and respected for being a big-time promoter in a sport considered to be strictly for men. There's mention of another female promoter having broken the gender barrier previously, but she never appears.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Joe is not very fond of her presence in the boxing world. It should however, be noted that Joe is the only one who objects to it throughout the series. While other people were skeptical at first, they pay no attention to her gender once she shows she's more than capable about being a promoter.
  • Tender Tears: When she begs Joe to cancel the match against Mendoza once it's revealed that he has punch-drunk syndrome.
  • Troll: Early on she would suddenly do silly things, such as getting Joe into a boxing outfit in Rikiishi's much larger size, just for the hell of it. She outgrows it by the time Rikiishi's preparing for his pro fight with Joe.
  • Tsundere: Her thoughts on Joe clearly are of more concern she's willing to admit. Lampshaded by Rikiishi.
    Rikiishi: Why do you send that bouquet of flowers to him?
    Yoko:(...)You want to fight Yabuki no matter what, don't you?(...)That's why I sent those flowers. Think of it as funeral flowers
    Rikiishi(smiling): A little too flashy for a funeral if you ask me.
    Yoko:That's enough.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • She knows she's responsible for allowing the fight that killed Rikiishi to happen.
    • In the anime, she believes that setting up the match between Joe and Harimau may have worsened Joe's punch drunk syndrome.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Of all people, she is the one that helps to convince Joe to get back into boxing after he accidentally kills Rikiishi. Though Joe fires back at her by saying that she's just toying with him, she makes a good point: Rikiishi definitely wouldn't have wanted him to stop boxing.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Called out by Joe when she tries to leave during his match against Rikiishi in juvenile prison, with Joe pointing out that since she's the one that allowed it to happen, she should stick with it. This gets a Call-Back during the match between Joe and Carlos, as she remembers that instance when she gets overwhelmed by how ugly the match between Joe and Carlos gets and convinces herself to stay.
    • Gets another callback when she leaves during Joe's fight with Mendoza, actually driving away, only to come back once she once again remembers Joe's match against Rikiishi.


  • Attention Whore: Is so desperate for reporters to pay attention to him and his player, Wolf, to the point he makes Joe fight Wolf so that if Wolf wins, he and Wolf can be sensations in the press once more.
  • Cigar Chomper: He is seen smoking a cigar in many scenes throughout the series.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: He's identified as having been the man who disbarred Danpei and is openly the one most opposed to him being reinstated, and is quite rude about it being for his past as an abusive coach and a violent drunkard who assaulted opposing boxers, referees, JBC officials (him specifically when he took away his license) and the public, even declaring Danpei's been hit in the head too many times if he thinks he'll ever be reinstated. Danpei reacts by drink himself into drunkedness and then storming the JBC building and attacking the commission members.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Otaka gets called out by Joe and Danpei in the first anime for kicking out Wolf out of his gym. The slum kids even throw food at him!
  • We Used to Be Friends: Was friends with Danpei in the past, before having to disbar him.

    Harry Robert

    Hyun Jodal

Supporting characters

    Doya Kids

  • A Day in the Limelight: The first anime series gives them some episodes focusing entirely on them, mostly in attempt of seeing their brother Joe again. By the time of the second series, however, they are Demoted to Extra.
  • Butt-Monkey: Kinoko is usually the target of Sachi's sandals. Most of the time he's asking for it, though.
  • Demoted to Extra: At one point, they stopped appearing or having important roles in the series. They had their own focus episodes in the first anime, but by the second, they hardly appear.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: They are the little kid characters that help lighten up the mood of Ashita No Joe, and give an Audience Surrogate to the younger readers and viewers. They, however, get Demoted to Extra very later in the series.
  • Nice Shoes: Sachi has the unfortunate habit of smacking anyone that pisses her off with her geta sandals. It usually is Kinoko.
  • Morality Pet: They help Joe to show his good side, as they are never treated badly by him.
  • Precocious Crush: Sachi has one on Joe. It's always Played for Laughs.
  • Shipper on Deck: Kinoko initially seems to root for Joe and Noriko., but he and the rest end rooting for Nishi and Noriko.
  • Straight Man: Taro is usually the most level-headed of the group. Relatively at least.

    Noriko Hayashi

  • Foil: To Yoko. One is a lady from a Rich Family often having a stern demeanor, the other one being the daughter of a modest marriage with a small store in the slums with a very sweet demeanor, both trying to help Joe based on their own viewpoints. Both also are in love with him.
  • Girl Next Door
  • Girlish Pigtails
  • Hopeless Suitor: It's very clear that she likes Joe, even to the point where people like Danpei notice. However, Joe's married to the world of boxing. Plus, her attempt to talk Joe into retirement makes it clear that nothing's gonna happen between them.
  • Stepford Smiler: Has heavy shades of this after she gave up on Joe. Not because of their relationship (even if it's implied she still does have lingering feelings for him), but because of Joe's health seems to be compromised on his career. Even the day of her wedding she seems afflicted. It's even worse because she's proven right at the end.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: While she was never really that homely, she looks positively stunning once she perms her hair, cuts it, and gets rid of the drab clothing.

    Goromaki Gondo

  • Anti-Villain: A very benevolent yakuza even before Joe befriends him.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: He caught on Joe's true strength without actually knowing his name(Joe was already a renowned boxer after Rikiishi's death).
  • Berserk Button: A minor one, but dislikes people that lack the will to fight.
  • Combat Pragmatist: He doesn't hesitate in attacking Wolf Kanagushi's glass jaw first.
  • Curbstomp Battle: His introduction has him at both ends. He beats Wolf Kanagushi in no time, only to be beaten to a pulp by an angered Joe.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: When he calls Wolf a disgrace of a person after beating him up, he is in turn beaten up by an enraged Joe.
  • Genre Savvy: He knows better than fighting an active boxer. One forced to retire he's willing, as they would have lost their heart (as he brutally demonstrated on Wolf Kanagushi, before later explaining it) and thus their fighting strength would be reduced, but getting in a fight with an active one he'd consider suicidal (as he once again demonstrates, this time after explaining it, when he accidentally angers Joe and gets a beating that puts him in the hospital).
  • Heel–Face Turn
  • Neighbourhood-Friendly Gangsters: Post Heel–Face Turn he shows up to help Joe prepare for his fight against Harimau.
  • Rugged Scar: Has a scar on the right cheek to show he's a tough one, even if it's not always drawn.

Alternative Title(s): Ashita No Joe


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