11
Mar
09

Hajime no Ippo New Challenger Ep 9

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Summary:

After visiting Date, Ippo is at river bank discussing the matter with  Takamura, Kimura, and Aoki. Ippo feels like he won’t be able to take Date’s place leading younger boxers and Aoki and Kimura agree with him and Kimura says he wouldn’t want to follow him. After talking about how Ippo is at his 2nd title defense against an unknown boxer called “Hammer Nao”, Ippo realizes that he just has to take things one match at a time. At the gym the next day, Ippo is practicing with the coach when a young man comes in. He says he came in after hearing the good sounds Ippo was making on the mitts and informs them he will be joining the gym; Aoki and Kimura come up to him and are immediately infuriated when he doesn’t know who they are. Before things escalate from there, Yagi comes in and introduces the young man as Itagaki Manabu a new member of the gym who was an elite amateur boxer and he wanted to join the gym of the boxer he admired.  Takamura comes in at this point and commends Itagaki for choosing him as his hero and tells him to enjoy watching him; Yagi stops him and tells Takamura that Itagaki is in feather class, so the man Itagaki admires is Ippo. Takamura and Aoki are surprised and comment that for feather weight Sendo or Sanada would be better. Kimura reminds them though that Ippo beat them both; Ippo decides to do some road work right now and Itagaki comes along, though Aoki and Kimura come along to show Itagaki the harshness of a pro boxer’s training. During the run, Itagaki is barely keeping up with Ippo and Kimura and Aoki comment that this is the harshness of a pro boxer’s training, but Takamura tells them that they’re behind Ippo and Itagaki. The scene reminds them of the last guy that used to follow Ippo around who was Ippo’s previous Kohai who left because he had to move.

Back at the gym Yagi shows Ippo some videos on his next opponent “Hammer Nao”; Ippo notices something and the coach remarks that Ippo’s finally realized it, his head and eyebrows are shaved, and his ribs are showing from the dropping a couple of weight classes and his face is a little deformed from taking so many blows to the face, but his next oppent is someone he knows quite well. He used to be a member of their gym, and his name was Yamada Naomichi. Aoki, Kimura, and Takamura immediately startled yell out “Geromichi!!?!?!?” (Gero=puking); Takamura comments that he looks like a completely different person, and Aoki comments that he looks scary now like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.Takamura refuses to believe that it’s Geromichi stating that a human can’t possibly change that much. Itagaki asks “What’s a Geromichi” and Yagi tells him he wouldn’t know who he was as he was a former member of the gym; Takamura responds to Itagaki’s question stating that he Puked on the first day and he puked on his last day so he became Geromichi. Itagaki comments that that’s a horrible nickname and asks who gave him it; Takamura wonders himself stating that he was Geromichi long before they met, but everyone silently remarks that it was Takamura that gave him that horrible nickname. After Ippo leaves the room Takamura comments that what Ippo is missing to take Date’s place is stability; he normally takes hits early in his fights and comes back in later rounds, but on the work stage you won’t have the time to do that. Takamura continues stating that what Ippo needs is the ability to be merciless and take out his opponents from the begining. Aoki suddenly loses color in his face and says he just realized something, in Ippo’s upcoming match he would be starting for Ippo and Nao; meaning he would be the opening act for two kohai.

At the Hachinohe Gym the next day Nao is praticing his body hooks; after leaving the gym, his coach comes out and asks him why he wants to challenge Makunochi Ippo. His coach comments that Ippo is strong, and they used to have a talented and hard-working boxer named Jason Ozuma and even he lost to Ippo. He also questions if he’ll be able to beat Ippo since Nao has been at the same gym and admires Ippo, but Nao comments that because he knows Ippo he can beat him. Later that day at the Kamogawa gym Ippo is practicing on the mitts again, but is having a hard time hitting them as he is imagining hitting Nao. The coach gets frustrated and tells Ippo to go run, after Ippo leaves Mari shows up and informs everyone that Nao is currently in Tokyo practicing for his upcoming match. Aoki and Kimura decide to go see him, they arrive in time to see Nao’s devastating body blow and Aoki and Kimura comment that Nao was able to take out 3 guys consecutively and hitting all hard enough have all 3 puke. When Nao leaves the gym Aoki and Kimura greet him, but Nao acts rather coldly to them. He first pisses Aoki off by asking that he give a decent show before his match, but Kimura tries to calm things down and tells Nao that he knows how he feels since he was scared too when fighting Mashiba, so he may need to act tough. Nao though comments that if Kimura was scared then that was the reason he lost. He asks Kimura and Aoki to tell Ippo that he is seriously coming at him with the intention to take the belt.

Opinions:
A pretty light episode, I personally was only amused by how surprised Takamura was in Nao’s change. This fight of Ippo vs Nao, isn’t exciting as other fights, but it is a necessary fight that Ippo needs to mature. In any case next episode seems to start the fight so we’ll see what happens, hopefully they’ll pack a lot in so we can get to the next big fight which is Takamura’s first World title match.

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