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Manga / All Rounder Meguru

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All Rounder Meguru is a sports manga by Endo Hiroki (author of Eden: It's an Endless World!), which ran in the seinen magazine Evening from 2008 to 2016. It is the story of a young Shooto fighter in the amateur circuit, his relationships with his gym and school friends, and his ambitions to reach pro level.

It's also the story of a young man trying to avenge the death of his father and keep himself out of the family business while trying to make a place for himself in the world of professional martial arts.

Much lighter than the author's previous work, the story is highly realistic, both with regards to the mixed martial arts and the character relationships.

This work provides examples of:

  • Awesomeness by Analysis: While many fighters display this, particularly the more experienced veterans, this is shown to be Meguru's real specialty late in the manga.
  • Badass Adorable: Momoko is short for her age, a little bit weird, and cute as a pebble. Doesn't stop her from grappling other fighters almost twice her size, and sometimes win.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Maria, the Fighters Brew trainer, is an incredibly sweet and caring woman. She's also a champion-level kickboxer from Holland. Later on she even brutally chews out Maki for using an illegal elbow strike that got her disqualified in an amateur match.
    • Aya, Maki's rival from Osaka, is a nice and ditzy girl. She's also Maki's rival in MMA and the only one who defeated her in a kick-boxing match, and during the All Japan Amateur Shooto Championship she blocks Maki from behind and repeatedly punches her from behind, the single most brutal technique allowed in amateur rules - and when Maki comes back, she does it again. Even her trainer was slightly disturbed... And he had taught her that in the first place.
  • Boring Yet Practical: Many a fight is decided by one or more "boring" techniques trained through endless repetitions. In particular, Meguru and Yudai benefit a lot from Maria having them spend hours doing nothing but the basic one-two boxing combo, as the jab and cross have a range advantage over the more powerful hook preferred by most MMA practitioners, with the added advantage that most amateur MMA practitioners won't see those punches coming precisely due how rarely used they are.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: "But I'm the star of this manga!" Also, see Say It with Hearts below.
  • Buxom Beauty Standard: Kaoru Nobeoka has a well-endowed figure, which makes Maki very envious not only because of her own A-Cup Angst, but because Meguru shows to be attracted to Kaoru's figure.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: The referees are very observant, and whenever someone executes a foul they're promptly punished by them... With the single exception of the one who pulled a thumbing on Mitsuya and got punched out faster than the referee could stop the match.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: They're not in a relationship (yet), but Maki tends to get really irritated whenever other females show an interest in Meguru.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Skilled fighters will take shamelessly advantage of any weakness of their opponents, be it fixation on a certain technique, being too muscular for the sport, or not having the adequate physical conditioning just to mention three. Downplayed due the presence of rules and very strict referees, but if it's not forbidden the athletes will do it.
    • In the same vein, if a competitor in a MMA match has a clear point advantage they're supposed to just waste time and let the fight end rather than go for the knock-out and expose themselves to a possible comeback or even long-term injuries. Meguru gets chewed out by Watanabe precisely because, in a match where he had gained a decisive point lead, he went for the knock-out to give his opponent a meaningful end to his MMA career rather than play defensively.
    • When facing four knife-wielding thugs, Takashi has been shown to use techniques that start with kicks in the crotch and get progressively more painful and potentially lethal. By the time he was finished, his yakuza boss uncle had to have someone else take the fall as he had hurt them so badly he would get jailed for excess of self defense and he wanted Takashi clean.
    • During the Openweight division of a Jiu-Jitsu tournament, Momoko opponent in the semifinal was less skilled... And also 180 cm tall, massive, and informed that Momoko had neglected body conditioning for years. Said opponent shamelessly used her size and conditioning advantage to try and win by exhaustion, and while Momoko's skills carried the day she was too tired to give her best in the finals and lost relatively quickly.
  • Cowardly Lion: Ayako, the MMA practicing competitor in an amateur women's kickboxing event.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Takashi. The establishing prologue mostly shows his story, and his plots are much heavier and more dramatic, but Meguru's the one with his name in the title.
  • Deuteragonist: Takashi at first, though he begins to get less and less focus, with Maki fitting the role better.
  • Expy: Maki is a red haired, skilled kickboxing high school-aged girl of unusual size. Does that name sound familiar from somewhere?
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Maki is straight, but since she goes to an all-girls school, it's only inevitable that she receives this kind of attention from certain types, much to her chagrin.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Maria, which further highlights her sweet attitude—until she gets serious or dangerous.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Between Meguru and Takashi, explicitly pointed out by Maki. It's rather one-sided though.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: In the prologue, and again with Takashi against Samyong Cho, the ex-boxer bodyguard. Averted when Takashi takes down multiple armed opponents with his traditional karate techniques.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Takashi confronts a gang of thugs alone, he enters their den by walking directly through the front door instead of ambushing or sneaking. His reasoning? "I'm a Karateka."
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Maki at 179 cm and growing qualifies-enough that when she's first seen in school uniform at the gym she's asked why she's wearing a disguise. She's actually quite taller than her Love Interest, Meguru.
  • Insufferable Genius: Mitsuya is a former freestyle wrestler that used to be a candidate for the Olympic Games, and has the awesome strength and skills one would expect from such an athlete. He also has a horrible attitude that got him kicked out of the Olympic Games training.
  • Jack of All Stats: Meguru. It's pointed out by many characters that he does not seem to possess any specialized techniques like dynamite punches or unique holds, instead being average in all categories. This fact is even lampshaded by the title and Meguru himself. Subverted later on when an experienced opponent realizes that his true strength lies in being able to take advantage of transitions between move phases and using them to create openings in his opponent's guard.
  • Lady of War: Maria. Spectacularly displayed when she hands Yudai's ass to him in a sparring match.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Takashi, most prominently. Though there's plenty more, which isn't surprising seeing as this is a series about MMA.
  • Martial Pacifist: What Takashi's grandfather tries to teach his students to be, ever since his son fell in with the yakuza.
  • Modesty Shorts: Kamiya explains that all girls wear gym shorts under their skirts these days. Cue Big "NO!" from Tamiya and Ura.
    Meguru: That's the sound of their lecherous dreams being shattered.
  • Naked First Impression: Done twice, with two sets of characters. The first time (Meguru and Maki) ends exactly how you'd expect it to. The second one (Yudai and Momoko), on the other hand...
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: This being a manga on MMA, there's some limited instances as allowed by the rules:
    • Pro rules allows for "ground and pound" (getting on top of an opponent and punching them in the face), something that can quickly get in this territory if the fighter on the bottom can't defend efficiently, at which point the referee will stop the fight. Watanabe even has a reputation for this, being a former freestyle wrestler with the relative overwhelming strength and thus having a rather easy time to get in this position.
    • As the Shooto promotion doesn't allow ground and pound for amateur fights, Meguru, Maki and the others are safe... Up until the All Japan Amateur Shooto Championship, when Maki gets at the receiving end of Aya's dirty boxing - that is, being grabbed (in this case from behind) and repeatedly punched in the face and the body without being able to properly defend. This is the single most brutal technique allowed under amateur rules, and even Aya's trainer was slightly disturbed by seeing it happen.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Meguru practicing his ground grappling techniques on a cloth doll in his bedroom.
  • Oblivious to Love: Poor Maki just can't seem to get through that dense skull of Meguru's...
  • Power Copying: Meguru's specialty, although in a more low-key fashion than usual. Justified in that he wanted to be able to master the techniques that were used to defeat him before.
  • Pragmatic Evil: The Yakuza don't want to cause too much obvious trouble, otherwise the police will come after them. Thus they punish an affiliate thug who went too far with his antics, and when they have to kill him even have a small-time affiliate take the fall to avoid investigations and protect Takashi, who had inflicted a truly savage beating on the criminal and would have risked being arrested if his Yakuza uncle hadn't set up the fall guy.
  • Punny Name: "Meguru" is a Japanese verb that means "to go around."
  • Strong and Skilled: All professional MMA fighters and those who plan to go pro, as they need much greater strength than the average amateur and the skills to properly apply it. In fact, Furuya (who actually challenged the Pacific Rim Champion) cannot say if strength or technique is more important, and states that lacking one means certain defeat.
  • Sore Loser: Kiyoshi Ogasawara can really hold a grudge to the point where he won't let go of it till he beats you in a rematch.
  • Talent vs. Training: Hard Work Hardly Works is brutally defied. While talent is an important factor, it takes a lot of training and dedication to learn advanced techniques.
    • Meguru has a talent for analyzing his opponents' techniques, strengths and weaknesses, and can easily learn techniques used on him. However, he had to train intensely before he could put this talent to proper use and his tutelage involved learning the basics of MMA. He also needs more work than average to keep his physical strength, which is why, in spite of being a lightweight (up to 65 kg) coming from karate, his usual trainer is Nabe, a middleweight (up to 77 kg) wrestler who works him to the bone.
    • Momoko is a genius judoka who quickly learns ju-jitsu, but always skips reinforcement training. Because of that, whenever she takes part in a tournament she always loses in the semifinals or finals due to being too tired.
    • Mitsuya is well known for his talent, even having been a candidate for the Olympic Games and was expected to win the All Japan Amateur Shooto Tournament — but due to his exceptional talent he failed to take things seriously, and that cost him both his chance for the Olympic Games and the qualification for the national tournament, in the latter case losing (barely) to Meguru in the finals of the Kansai tournament. He has learned from his defeat, and at the Kanto Open Tournament he mops the floor with Yudai (noted to be almost Meguru's better in grappling and his overall equal).
  • Training from Hell: Becoming a professional fighter involves this. Meguru's first day of pro training leaves him completely floored.
  • Tsundere: Maki's attitude towards Meguru slowly develops into this. Her (ineffectual) attempts to get closer to him become something of a Running Gag later on, such as responding to his kindness with an embarrassed swift kick in the ass, or attacking him for being all "chummy-chummy" with another girl.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Momoko: her skills in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu are excellent, but she neglected physical conditioning for years and is easily outlasted in tournaments because of it.
  • Yakuza: Takashi has relatives in it: his father was a low-ranked one who provoked the wrong guy, and his uncle is a boss who is trying to groom him as his successor. Other Yakuzas and affiliates appear from time to time.
  • You Killed My Father: Averted. Takashi finds out the man responsible for his father's death was already killed in prison.