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YMMV / Ashita no Joe

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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": To an infamous degree (at least for Western audiences), the ending of the series applies, where Joe dies in his last match. This is due to other works almost always referencing/parodying the series by using this particular scene. To a lot of people, it's only known as "that series with the boxer who dies".
  • 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.
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  • Ear Worm: The second anime's opening.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • 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 Yong-bi Kim has his admirers despite being a complete asshole, mostly due to his tragic backstory. Same goes for Jose, which fight in the anime got both the Mexican flag and the national anthem correctly, with the manga showcasing the type of dominance Mexican boxers had on the weightclass at the time.
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  • Fridge Brilliance: Nishi's abrupt personality change wasn't because of characterization marching on; it was because the juvenile prison scared him straight. Considering how juvie can be, it's perfectly understandable.
  • Friendly Fandoms / Fandom Rivalry: Has a bit of both with Hajime no Ippo, both being boxing series. Still, the rivalry side is mostly civil, as most people enjoy both series for different reasons.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Believe it or not, but when the manga had been completed, Joe's fate was actually hotly contested as the readers didn't know whether he was alive or if he had died. It even took Word of God to confirm Joe's death at the end of the volume.
  • 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: Yong-bi Kim. On one hand he was a survivor of the horrifying Korean War at quite the young age, saw his mother die in front of his very eyes, and later killed his father due to a terrible mistake. 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 and who, until meeting Danpei and his True Companions, had never really experienced any real kindness.
  • 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 Jerkass to him, it's not like the kids had a lot to do with that.
  • Narm:
    • Yoko's hilarious looking reactions when shocked.
    • The voices of the Mexican characters when they speak English.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Legend of Success Joe.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Norio Wakamoto as Yong-bi Kim.
  • 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.
  • Signature Scene: Rikiishi's and Joe's deaths.
  • 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.
  • Woolseyism: While it had a few adaptation problems, the Italian dub of the anime had two instances of this trope:
    • In both the manga and the Japanese version of the anime, Mendoza and his staff often spoke in English. In the Italian dub, all their English phrases were translated in the Spanish expected from a Mexican man.
    • In the original, the gloves Mendoza had custom-ordered in Mexico specifically for the match so they would have less padding were of the Winning brand, a Japanese brand with the reputation of making the best boxing gloves in the world. The Italian dub altered the visuals to make them made by Cleto Reyes, a Mexican brand that is also well known for making every single glove by hand and with less padding than others-precisely the ones who a Mexican champion would custom order boxing gloves to.

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