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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ring ni Kakero "102": An Overview of Volume 2

So after giving an overview of Volume 1 we can already see that Ring ni Kakero 1's beginning is pretty different from where the anime starts adapting. It's definitely more character, story, and drama-driven than what the title would turn into. Trust me, there's a lot of talking and boxing explanation in these early chapters; stuff that I can't fully translate nor would I do so if I could. Again, this is an overview.  With that in mind, let's continue.

*WARNING: There's a lot of story and character introduction in this volume, so the chapter overviews here might be very long*

-Chapter 9: Hajimete no Shouri [The First Victory]
The first round is over and Ryuji is flat on the ground. Kiku brings Ryuji into his corner and both sides take the time between rounds to strategize.  Ryuji is able to come around, but Kiku feels that Ryuji only has one chance to win and Ryuji has to wait for the right moment to take it. Round 2 starts and Kenzaki returns to beating up and knocking down Ryuji, even launching him out of the ring at one point. Ryuji crawls back into the ring and Kiku sees that the club members just want Ryuji to stop, feeling that it's useless to continue. Kenzaki continues his assault and focres Ryuji against the ropes. Kiku sees that this is the chance and tells Ryuji to counter, who hits Kenzaki with a last-chance left straight that brings him to the mat. Kenzaki, though, is launched over the ropes and crashes into some of the club members, and the heap of bodies crash into a giant mirror on the wall, shattering it [Ep 1 & OP]. Kiku is ecstatic to see that Ryuji's counter worked and explains to the confused club members that Ryuji's left straight was a perfect counter to Kenzaki's right hook. Kiku picks up her bloodied and bruised little brother and takes him home while Kenzaki remembers something: "He who rules his left rules the world." [OP]

-Chapter 10: Mattero!  Ka-chan [Wait! Mother]
Revitalized after beating Kenzaki, Ryuji and Kiku give even more effort into training. Ryuji decides to do some roadwork alone while Kiku heads back to Kana's place. Kiku sees a crowd by the living room, so she takes a peek inside... Only to see Tomizou and her mother, who were able to track the children to Kana's home. Kiku, not wanting to head back, gathers her and Ryuji's things, writes a letter for Kana's family, and runs off. Tomizou and Kana's family find the letter, and after being disgusted with Tomizou Kana's mother tells the two to leave. Kiku finds Ryuji training, puts his jacket on him and tells him they're leaving. When he asks why she mentions how their mother is around. Ryuji wants to see her but Kiku slaps him, telling him that they can't see her while crying herself. The man who had helped Ryuji train for the past month is taking a walk and sees the two, noticing the bag by them. The man, named Zoroku Omura, decides to put them on his shoulders [OP] and takes them away to his home... Which is also a small boxing gym. When the gym members ask him who the kids are he replies that they're his kids, and Ryuji and Kiku realize that they're now in their dream home. At the train station Chiyo Takane and Tomizou are waiting for the train to take them back home. Chiyo looks out the window and sees Ryuji looking at her from behind a pillar. She simply lets her tears flow but doesn't tell Tomizou what she sees, realizing that her children aren't ready to head home yet.

-Chapter 11: Dai ni no Punch [The Second Punch]
Kiku comes home to the Omura Gym to see Ryuji training his punches. She has Ryuji try to hit her, but she keeps dodging his simple left straights. She has Ryuji imagine that she's Tomizou and Kenzaki, and Ryuji's anger helps him in hitting her right in the nose with a left straight. Kiku decides that it's time to teach Ryuji how to do a "One-Two Punch", the combination of a left jab followed by a right straight. As a gift for learning the combo, Kiku gives Ryuji a couple of weighted wrist straps she calls the Dragon Wrist [Ep 1 & OP] and tells him to continually train with the straps on.

[The chapter ends with a two-page spread showing scattered manga pages showcasing Ryuji's training]

-Chapter 12: Chuugaku Ichi-nen Takane Ryuji [Middle School First Year Ryuji Takane]
Ryuji does some training by the riverfront when Omura, lovingly called "Tocchan" by Ryuji, tosses him his new middle school hat. Since Ryuji and Kiku now live with Tocchan, Ryuji has to go to a new school. Kiku, in a nurse outfit, gives Ryuji a rough physical and the two had breakfast.The gym members come in and give Ryuji a good meal, a new jacket, and a bag to hold his books in. Ryuji heads off to school, but quickly see that it's a delinquent-filled school. A girl hits on Ryuji and they see a tough boy show off his toughness by using a baseball bat and punching a piece of wood... Hitting the person holding it as well. The girl teases the boy, who is about to hit her until Ryuji gets between the two. Ryuji punches the boy, launching him into the blackboard. Ryuji brings him to the nurse's office and realizes how strong he is thanks to the Dragon Wrist. The girl starts to hit on Ryuji again when the boy wakes up. Ryuji is thankful that he's not hurt badly and the boy acts like he doesn't care that Ryuji helped him in the end. The three return to class and meet Ms. Asaoka, their teacher who talks nicely to them, slaps the boy and Ryuji, and then tells the three to stand out in the hallway. After class Ryuji sees a poster for the school's boxing club, and runs into the girl and boy again. A student is then carried away on a stretcher, bloodied and bruised. The three go into the boxing club and see that it's run by delinquents who love nothing but beating up people and cutting up all of the boxing gear. One of them challenges the boy, who easily gets beaten. Ryuji then straps up and fights, having an easy time avoiding his opponent, finishing it off with a one-two combo that launches his opponent into the wooden wall. The rest of the delinquents start to charge Ryuji with weapons, but one of them tells them to stop and hits Ryuji with a headbutt. He continues the headbutts and even thumbs Ryuji's eye, mixing boxing with dirty fighting. But when Ryuji sees an opening his hits the guy with a right cross, beating him. The rest then pounce on Ryuji, beting him down and ripping the Dragon Wrist off. One of them punches Ryuji while wearing the Dragon Wrist, but Ryuji blocks and tries a counter...

-Chapter 13: Hissatsu no Dragon Wrist [The Dragon Wrist's Death Blow]
The boy and the delinquents are in shock because the man attacking Ryuji is down on the mat, knocked out. One of the delinquents questions the boy about what he knows, but he can't say much.  While bringing the guy out on a stretcher, he mentions that he saw a dragon in front of him. Ryuji now sees how strong he truly he has become when he doesn't wear the Dragon Wrist and another delinquent comes at him with a knife... Cut to Kiku dropping some syringes while Tocchan, a doctor, is giving an examination on a little boy; Kiku is obviously worried about Ryuji, but Tocchan tries to comfort her by telling her the story of Hiroyuki Ebihara, a former World Flyweight Champion. Kiku still worries, though... Cut back to Ryuji, who was able to punch out the knife-wielding delinquent before getting stabbed. The boy tells the delinquents that they still don't get how strong Ryuji is and then tells Ryuji to run away, which he does with the delinquents following him. The boy tries stopping one of them, only to get beat up. The girl comes to the boy and tells him how cool Ryuji is. The boy finds the Dragon Wrist on the ground and is worried about Ryuji's well-being, but when they follow the path the delinquents went, the two see nothing but beaten-up delinquents until they get outside, where they see a bunch of beaten delinquents and Ryuji walking away. Ryuji heads home and tries to hide his right hand, which was wounded during the fight, from Kiku. It works until the boy and girl arrive at the gym to give Ryuji back the Dragon Wrist and mention the fight. Kiku hears this, checks Ryuji's hand, sees the blood, and knocks him down. Tocchan checks the hand but Ryuji doesn't like what he hears. He checks up with the boy and girl and Kiku comes out with grave news about Ryuji's hand, seemingly indicating that his boxing career is over. The girl cries and Ryuji is shocked... Until Kiku reveals that she's joking and that Ryuji has to be more careful next time. Kiku asks who Ryuji's friends are: The boy is Akira Tajima and the girl is Sachiko Kimura. Tocchan wonders about Ryuji's hand and how it's so tough. Back at Seika Academy Kenzaki has nothing but Ryuji on his mind.

-Chapter 14: Ryutora Futatabi [Dragon & Tiger, Once Again]
Ryuji, Akira, and Sachiko decide to rebuild the boxing club, now that the delinquents have been run out of it. The delinquents come back in, but Ryuji is called to the main office before anything happens. Ryuji has a phone call, and it's from Seika Academy's boxing club. Kenzaki wants a rematch with Ryuji, this time as a inter-promotional match between clubs. Ryuji accepts and gets some advice about Rope-A-Dope, Hit-And-Away, and clinching from Ms. Asaoka, who is the teacher in charge of the boxing club. Kenzaki has been with an machine called the Galaxian Exerciser, which has made him strong enough to punch a hole into a sandbag. At home Ryuji is unfamiliar with the terms Ms. Asaoka mentioned but gets help from Isamu Yoshida, one of the boxers from the gym, and trains these methods with Rock-san, a fellow member of the gym.

-Chapter 15: Kessen no Toki [The Time of Battle]
Ryuji heads the school early, making Kiku wonder and worry. He, Akira, Sachiko, and Ms. Asaoka head over the Seika Academy for the match. Kenzaki and Ryuji are both weighed and shake hands, with Kenzaki noticing that Ryuji's right hand is injured. Ryuji removes the Dragon Wrist and prepares for battle. Kiku asks if Rock-san knew anything about what Ryuji is doing, and after getting an answer she didn't want to hear she worries that her and Ryuji's dream will be over after this. On the way to the ring Ryuji meets Noboru Tsujimoto from the Kyosei area. Tsujimoto is a rough guy who tries fighting Ryuji right away but is tripped by another person: Shinatora, the Kansai Jr. Boxing Champion.

-Chapter 16: Ryutora Gekitotsu! [Dragon & Tiger Clash!]
The match is announced to be a three-round fight and after the bell rings Ryuji strikes first with a left cross, knocking Kenzaki down and shocking everyone. Kenzaki gets back up and is about to strike back when a towel is thrown into the ring... Kiku is the one who threw it and drags Ryuji out of the ring and away from the building. Ryuji apologizes to Kiku and punches her in the gut, leaving her to Rock-san and heads back in. The match restarts and Ryuji shocks everyone again by getting the upper hand on Kenzaki. No matter what he tries Kenzaki is unable to keep up with Ryuji's footwork and is continually getting hit. Kenzaki forces Ryuji to the ropes and pounds on him, with Tsujimoto commentating on how Kenzaki has the upper hand now. Shinatora corrects him by pointing out how Ryuji is using the Rope-A-Dope technique. Kenzaki also realizes this and walks away, telling Ryuji to come to the middle of the ring. When Ryuji refuses, Kenzaki approaches him, breaks his guard with an uppercut [OP], and launches Ryuji up and over the ropes with a second punch.

-End of Volume 2-

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