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YMMV / Hajime no Ippo

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  • Arc Fatigue: The match between Ippo and Woli is 30 chapters long, not counting Woli's introduction, and a good half of it is Ippo getting one-sidedly demolished by his opponent. Now try to read it one chapter a week (the publication rhythm in the Shonen Magazine). And suffer.
  • Archive Panic: Simply put, it's been running since 1989 and has more than 1,000 chapters, and the count is still rising.
  • Ass Pull: There's a few fights that end like this, but the absolute worst offender is Miyata during his fight against Randy Boy Jr. Miyata comes up with not only a brand new counter on the spot, but it was after his ribs were broken, his stamina entirely spent, and spent a few rounds of getting pounded on. It's a unique counter he came up with on his own, and surpasses what his Father could do in his prime.
    • The ass pull comes from Miyata's victory over ridiculous circumstances. The perfect counter had been a part of his storyline for ages, and really didn't come from nowhere.
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    • In the Takamura vs. Eagle fight, Takamura is apparently able to close a bleeding eye cut with sheer will. A wound which bleeding Kamogawa couldn't stop. A wound that would've stopped the match right then and there. He then goes on to win the match while being completely blind.
      • Note that Takamura didn't will the cut closed, merely stopped the bleeding long enough to prolong the match. The bleeding resumed shortly thereafter, and a doctor stop was narrowly avoided in the process, simply due to both fighters' refusal to accept a match that wasn't seen through until the end.
    • Particularly bad in the fight with Woli. Somehow, all those tap goals Ippo was shooting for (literally drawn as him tapping Woli with a little puff of air) somehow all turn into a Tekken Punch that went COMPLETELY UNNOTICED and Woli is drawn as being magically held down by an Ippo spirit. Of course, this is combined with Ippo's usual invincibility to knockdowns, even after taking 50+ head punches that he himself called 'extremely sharp' - on top of this, his right eye is also COMPLETELY swollen shut and affects his vision... oh wait, no it doesn't, he still sees perfectly fine and has no issues at all. He then goes on to win, because we can't have Ippo losing, can we? Even his finally punch is an Ass Pull, because he swings his arm to parry Woli's hit, then the artist draws Ippo rearing back with his left... and then he somehow throws a right cross counter that Woli cannot dodge instead.
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    • Itagaki's fight with Saeki was a particularly big example. Itagaki spent the first 4 rounds getting the utter shit beat out of him. There seemed to be no way he could possible make a come back, which some saw as comeuppance for his arrogant behavior before the match. Then in the 5th round, he suddenly got a second wind and somehow managed to make his perception of time slow down. He preceded to wipe the floor with Saeki and get a new nickname in the process.
  • Awesome Ego: Takamura spends just about every waking moment outside the ring boasting about his own prowess and mocking other boxers, but his antics are often the funniest parts of the series, and when he does get in the ring you're reminded of just why he's allowed to get away with such braggart grandstanding.
  • Broken Base: Ippo’s retirement due to fears of brain damage and being fundamentally broken to the point he loses his comeback fight. Some applaud it as unexpected, realistic, and a natural end to an arc for Ippo who seemed increasingly reluctant to fight. Others see it as everything from a cop out ensuring the Martinez and Miyata fights never occur as they couldn’t possibly live up to the literal decades of hype in and out of universe, to Mori attempting to Torch the Franchise and Run ensuring there’s never a way to revive the series. A third group wonders if it will stick or if Mori will be forced to press the Reset Button.
  • Cry for the Devil: Mashiba is a fearsome boxer in the ring, shown as someone who would do anything to win. He gains infamy by stepping on Ichiro Miyata's foot to win in one of his very first fights. When he becomes the Junior Lightweight champion, he is nicknamed The Executioner due to his mercilessness in the ring. There's also the fact that Mashiba practically raised his sister Kumi ever since their parents died in an accident, so only she and one of his bosses know how hard Mashiba has worked to take care of her. The scene where this softer side of his' was shown as quite the Tear Jerker in the anime.
    • In the manga, Sawamura is also depicted as merciless and uncaring. In fact, he and Mashiba later meet in one of the dirtiest fights in the manga. It is later revealed that he had a violent childhood and was rejected by almost everyone while growing up.
  • Faux Symbolism: Mashiba growing a horn-like bump? Hell, yes! Malcolm Gedo's face also looks a lot like a skull when he is smiling in the ring.
  • Foe Yay: Ippo and Miyata. Ippo looks up to Miyata and knows virtually all his fight records and details. Poor Kumi has never inspired such devotion. Lampshaded by Ippo's gymmates, who often joke that Ippo is "gay for Miyata."
    • The fact that Ippo never retorts anything when other characters talk about his "lover", his "boyfriend" or how he "fell for him" doesn't help either.
    • Some Yaoi Fangirls also consider this applicable to Ippo and Volg, who become good friends outside the ring. When Volg had to go back to Russia after losing two fights in a row, Ippo rushes to the airport to see him before he leaves. Volg gives his boxing gloves to Ippo, while Ippo cries as Volg is walking away. Then, later on, they live together for a few days, while Ippo helps set him up for his comeback in America, and they act almost like life long friends with each other. It's so bad for Volg he knows he has to leave soon or he'll never want to leave.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Has a bit of this and Fandom Rivalry with Ashita no Joe, both being boxing series published on the same magazine (albeit at different time periods). Still, the rivalry side is mostly civil, as most people enjoy both series for different reasons.
  • Game-Breaker: Heartbreak Shot. Here you have a punch that basically stops time for the opponent. It's no wonder Date was undefeated during his reign as champion.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The first series of the anime was aired dubbed in Spanish in Mexico, and its fandom is RABID. Not surprising, since boxing is considered one of Mexico's "national" sports (second only to soccer, and just barely).
  • Informed Attribute: A very, very, very Downplayed version of the trope, but it's there alright. So, nobody is going to argue against the fact that Takamura is one of the best boxers in the series. That's plain as day. But, Word of God claims that Takamura is even better than Ricardo Martinez. Now, Martinez is a 68-0-0 "super champion" who says his fight with Date was the "biggest challenge he's ever had"- which is incredibly telling because he basically destroyed Date effortlessly without getting so much as a scratch. This means that Martinez coasted to that 68-0 record and has had literally no problems with world class fighters. Now, Takamura may be amazing, but he's clearly been pushed to his limit on the world stage before. With this in mind, it's really hard to actually think of Takamura as being flat out better than Martinez no matter how you look at it.
    • Although, some of the difficulty Takamura has can be explained in a number of ways. Ricardo doesn't have to handle severe weight management and unlike Takamura can fight in his best condition every fight whereas Takamura is usually seriously under-weight when he fights and isn't as strong as he could be at his natural weight. Also, Ricardo is far more composed than Takamura. Anytime Takamura had serious trouble was because his ego and pride made him do dumb mistakes not to mention how his temper constantly gets the better of him. meanwhile, Ricardo always takes his fights seriously and at the first sign an opponent might prove to be a challenge, will cut loose without holding back and focus on beating them into submission. No showing off or grandstanding. Ricardo will simply end his opponents.
  • Iron Woobie: Volg. His backstory is just sad, and he struggles with his boxing career. In the latest chapters, he was only given his title shot on short notice, but he took it because he feels it's the only chance he has at making it big. Currently, it doesn't look hopeful, but hopefully he'll pull through in the end.
    • Sure enough, after probably one of the most uphill battles in the series, where it takes multiple rounds for Volg to land just one punch with any serious meat to it, he narrowly and decisively comes out victorious over Mike Elliot, just as everyone else had given up on him winning.
      • ...Except in Chapter 1004, the victory might be short-lived thanks to a corrupt ref.
      • Despite this interference, Volg manages to fight his way through to victory. That is what it means to be made of iron!
  • Jerkass Woobie: Sawamura. Kawabe certainly sees him as this.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Miguel Zail shows great analytical ability during matches. He's not infallible or omniscient, but quick to catch up on the quirks of his boxers opponents. Kamogawa even calls him "sly dog" because of it.
  • Narm: It can get a tad silly how the story treats Date Eiji like he's ancient (with Takamura often mockingly calling him "old man"/"geezer" and several plotlines about how his body is breaking down with time) when he's explicitly pointed out as being 29 years old when the story arts, which isn't all that old even by boxing standards (in boxing, a fighter in his mid to late 30's is considered "old"). Sure, 29 certainly isn't young by boxing standards, but the story seems to think it's way older than it actually is. As of this writing, heavyweight champions of the world Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder are 28 and 32 (respectively), and both are still considered to be considered very much in their prime. Joshua in fact won his titles by defeating 41 year old Wladimir Klitschko, who while past his prime was still considered extremely dangerous and came close to winning that fight.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Inverted and a (obviously) non-supernatural version of the trope; Ricardo Martinez can be seen in this way if Word of God is to be believed. See, Morikawa claims that Takamura is the number one boxer in the series and Martinez is only second. So, seeing as how Takamura has been pushed to his limit plenty of times while Martinez has never been so much as mildly challenged in his fights, that logically implies that the Featherweight class is simply lacking in comparable talent and Martinez would be nowhere near as invincible if he had to fight in the higher weight classes.
  • Periphery Demographic: This is a show where half the characters are big, muscly dudes. YOU DO THE MATH!
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Two video games were released for PlayStation 2 in 2003 and 2005, the second being for the 15th anniversary of the series. Saying they were mediocre is speaking highly of them. The character designs are all but unrecognisable. The Nintendo Wii adaptation that came out in 2008 does little better. (The second game at least was a pretty solid fighter, though)
  • Rooting for the Empire: Usually inverted when Japan cheers for Takamura as Takamura's portrayed as the villain in fights. However, it's played straight in his fight against Peter Rabbitson. After 10 long rounds of Takamura swinging and missing and Peter Rabbitson dodging and avoiding without even trying to attack, the crowd gets fed up and starts to cheer for Rabbitson instead of Takamura, despite the fact that Takamura's loss means there will be no longer be an international champion from Japan. In the end, Rabbitson ends up losing to Takamura.
  • Signature Scene: The scene where Ippo defeats Sendou with the Dempsey Roll has become so iconic that any work that has a Shout Out to Ippo will include an attack just like his Dempsey Roll. Dudley from Street Fighter IV uses a Dempsey Roll shot for shot like Ippo's, as well as Tekken's Steve Fox. Both based entirely on that scene.
  • The Scrappy: With the current running arc of Ippo probably gaining brain damage from head trauma, Kamogawa has retroactively become this in some circles. Looking back, he has given Ippo some pretty bad advice, such as at one point he advises Ippo that it can be a good idea to throw your head into an opponent's punch to stop them from fully extending and reaching maximum power. However, strictly speaking that's still throwing your face into someone's fist, and Kamogawa has never seriously trained Ippo in proper defensive techniques or dodging, which has led to Ippo basically getting the crap beaten out of his face in every fight. And to top it off, after going through a brain damage scare, Kamogawa only waited a few months before signing Ippo up for a come back fight, in which after taking a beating, Ippo starts stumbling all over the place and forgetting events that happened (such as getting knocked down) showing that the brain damage probably is really there.
    • He even punches Ippo hard in the back of the head to reprimand him at one point during Ippo's training for his comeback after his brain damage scare. It's played for comedy, but this is long after the revelation that Kamogawa's best friend became punch drunk after getting punched hard in the back of the head during a fight.
  • Squick: Everyone's reaction to Takamura groping Aoki's girlfriend Tomiko while she and Aoki were making out on the beach. Takamura does apologize, but his apology is, well...
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Ippo's possible brain damage has not gone over well with fans, especially with the revelation that he plans to retire. Many fans accuse the creator of effectively giving the fans the middle finger by denying Ippo his destined fights through "realism".

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