A manga and OVA series by Rumiko Takahashi, One Pound Gospel is one of her shorter and less-known works. It was published sporadically from 1987 to 2006 in Weekly Young Sunday and collected into four volumes from 1989 to 2007.
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.
The series received an OVA adaptation in 1988 by Studio Gallop, and a nine-episodes live action adaptation in 2008.
This series contains examples of:
- Adaptational Nice Guy: In the live action adaptation the Mother Superior is much more understanding of Angela's plight, with her role as a strict disciplinarian being pushed on Sister Milly. She still tries to keep her as a nun.
- Adaptational Villainy: As a result of Mizue being Adapted Out, in the live action Ryusei Kurenai himself lures Angela at the host club and gets her indebted, and later informs the other nuns of the whole incident and Kosaku's bet. He also acts as a jerk in general, when his manga counterpart is simply a professional who happens to be Angela's creditor and whose only questionable action, getting her indebted by lying about having a huge debt to pay, being explained by him (and Angela) originally expecting her aunt to pay it and his debt being double of what he says.
- Adapted Out: Angela's entire family doesn't appear in the live-action adaptation.
- 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: In Chapter 7 of Volume 2, Kosaku tearfully eats lots of instant ramen after Angela tells him to stop liking her for more than a friend.Coach: I'm the one who should be crying, you idiot!!
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Kosaku has a typically Japanese set of values, and just doesn't get that nuns could have different ones; most notably, he doesn't understand that Angela, being a nun, will eventually take vows to become celibate and thus he can't pursue her romantically. Kosaku runs headfirst during the Christmas episode, as he has no idea why the Mother Abbess has forbidden him to strike Tacos Hachiro on the tattoo of the Virgin Mary that covers most of his torso on pain of keeping him from meeting with Angela on Christmas.note In the end he wins the match and explains that he didn't strike the tattoo but his opponent's torso under it, they accept his explanation and allow him to meet Angela... and take part in a religious procession rather than take her to a date, much to his surprised bemusement.
- 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.
- The two leads resemble those of Maison Ikkoku quite uncannily. Kosaku is actually very similarly drawn, disregarding the rounded style Takahashi uses for her characters. Also, Taro Matsuzaka resembles Shun Mitaka when not wearing his 'work face'.
- Kurusu's friend resembles Kodachi.
- Aunt Mizue comes across as an older, less likable version of Nabiki Tendo.
- Foreshadowing: Kappei Onimaru is an experienced boxer who is still stuck at four rounds bouts (the lowest level) because he never won a match, but is so proud of his opponents to the point of hanging their portraits in his home because they all became champions, prompting Kosaku, who has been tempted into fighting him in spite of the weight difference, to quip beating him is good luck. Kosaku wins and ends the series as the OPBF champion.
- Hate Sink: While Angela's aunt Mizue isn't technically evil, she's still an obnoxious, manipulative pain in the ass. She frequently lies to Angela and the Mother Abbess in an effort to trick Angela into attending matchmaking dates. At one point Mizue even lied that Angela's dad was hospitalized so Angela would spend a week working with Chef Wakoji. When Angela tried to leave, Mizue threatened to rat Angela out to the Mother Abbess about the previous unofficial date. She also once promised to settle Angela's debt with a host club (which happened accidentally), then went on an overseas trip before she paid it off and even gleefully told the Mother Abbess about it.
- Hot for Preacher: Played with, 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
PriestBoxer 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.
- Nice Guy: Kosaku, at his heart, is an incredibly nice man-who also happens to be an utter moron.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: While calling Kurenai a villain is a bit of a stretch, at first sight he's just a host, if a handsome one even for his job. He's also the undefeated featherweight Asian-Pacific Champion, and has never needed to go the distance, been knocked down, or even struck in the face until his match with Kosaku.
- 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).
- Running Gag: At least one per arc:
- In Amakusa Jiro's arc, Amakusa getting angry at Kosaku and then they never met before and Kosaku didn't knock him down by accident while they were jogging.
- In his arc, Matsuzaka Taro playing with his dentures and keeping Kosaku from overeating.
- During Onimaru's arc, people just assuming he's gonna lose.
- During Kurusu Masayoshi's arc, people being surprised at him being timid and never having fought a pro match or a street fight in spite of his face.
- In Yoshihiko's arc, him trying to punch Kosaku in the face and either hitting Mukoda or failing completely.
- In his arc, Tacos Hachiro's horrible cooking (children even use it as a Masochist's Meal dare) and the reactions to it.
- In Yashamaru Hiroshi's arc, his terrible taste in everything and the messes caused by his fiancee.
- In his arc, Wakaoji cooking something personally but always using the wrong thing as a sauce.
- In Sakura Manabu's arc, people talking of him as a poor boxer due his poor punching power and thus being "boring" and "not flashy", getting him angry.
- In the final arc, Kurenai Ryusei saying he's working at a host club to pay a gigantic debt left by his parents and then admitting it's a lie. Played for Drama with the last use, as he explains that it's a lie because the debt is twice of what he says.
- Simple Solution Won't Work: The source of all of Kosaku's problems is that he needs to stay in his weight class, but he can't stop eating. The simple solution? Go up a few weight classes, and he won't need to stop eating. The problem is that weight classes are supposed to account for muscle, not fat; Kosaku slows down considerably due to his excess fat, against an opponent with more muscle.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Repeatedly:
- Kosuke is a good boxer, but his diet problems gave him repeated poor results and a poor reputation.
- In particular, in one occasion he ate too much right after the weigh-in and ended up puking during the match, and after that debacle nobody wanted to fight him. The only reason his career didn't tank was that he had accidentally punched and knocked Amakusa Jiro down during footwork, and Amakusa held a grudge and wanted to fight him.
- In another occasion he took the challenge of a welterweight who had never won a fight, and for once he didn't have to slim down but instead could fatten up a bit because his opponent was from a higher weight class. He almost lost because the excess fat slowed him down and sapped his stamina against an opponent that outmuscled him.
- Sakura Manabu is a skilled boxer, enough to get the upper hand against Kosuke during most of their fight... But has poor punching power, a weak chin, and isn't showy, and depends entirely from a boring if effective style. Since boxing is a spectator sport he never got a chance for an important fight, and Kosuke's first good hit was an instant knock out.
- Kurenai, the OPBF champion, never needed to go the distance or was hit in the face in the entire career, as his punching power and technique allowed him to take down his opponents early. Against Kosaku, who could take his punches and is good enough to strike him in the face, he found himself in a much harder fight than expected, and lost by knock out after one punch in the face too many.
- Kosuke is a good boxer, but his diet problems gave him repeated poor results and a poor reputation.
- Underestimating Badassery: Kosaku's diet problems mean that many opponents expect an easy victory, and get caught by surprise when he gets serious. It starts with his opponent at the professional test, already a professional himself and a rising star, losing consciousness and all his teeth to a single punch (something he holds an enormous grudge for), though in his case it was because he was a professional facing an amateur, and eventually results in him winning the Asian-Pacific championship due his opponent's manager wishing to give his boxer a spectacular victory before they tried for the world championship and not expecting Kosaku to actually be that good.
- Weight Woe: Kosaku's diet problems are the main obstacle to his career, as his troubles slimming down made him lose more than a few matches. On the other hand, more than a few opponents failed to realize his actual strength until too late.