Let’s talk about a classic manga this week. I personally read this manga fairly recently but man, I have to say I was impressed. I have heard a lot of people praise this manga over the years and now I feel like I understand why. This manga is even praised in one of my beloved series, Bakuman. Yes, you guessed right; we are talking about Ashita no Joe this well.
So welcome back to another edition of our manga recommendation series. This week we are taking a look at Ashita no Joe. It is a very old and classic manga. It definitely deserves the praise it gets. With that said, let’s get started.
Ashita no Joe is written Kajiwara Ikki and illustrated by Chiba Tetsuya. It is very short at just 20 volumes or 171 chapters. You thought Akira was old? Well, this is older, Ashita no Joe was originally serialized from 1st January 1968 to 13th May 1973. Yes, Ashita no Joe is like 40 years old and we are still talking about it. It also happens to be the 14th highest-rated manga on MAL despite being 40 years old.
Ashita no Joe is obviously about boxing. It is very different from the sports manga we are used to seeing today. I think Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou was inspired quite a bit by it. Even though Rainbow doesn’t focus as much on boxing. I still like both of them and both of them feel very different despite having similar stuff. Anyway, though, let’s talk more about Joe.
Ashita no Joe has a very detailed plot for a sports manga. It takes a good while before it comes to “all sports” time like usual sports manga. Joe is an orphan and he keeps shifting between orphanages because of the trouble he causes. Tired of moving around, he adopts a delinquent lifestyle in Tokyo slums. One day, his way of fighting catches the eye of a retired boxing coach. He tries to tame and teach Joe but Joe doesn’t change.
One day, Joe is caught and thrown in prison for a petty crime. In the prison, he meets his soon-to-be friend and rival, professional boxer Tooru Rikiishi. They promise each other to fight in a professional ring one day. It is after this event that Joe starts taking boxing seriously and Ashita no Joe truly begins.
Ashita no Joe is really well-paced and the hype factor throughout the manga is insane. It feels very different from usual sports manga… I can’t put a finger on it but it is very different somehow.
Joe’s character development is insane. It is one of the major things that make Ashita no Joe so good. Seeing him go from a violent animal-like fighter to a proper grown man is really pleasing to watch. The dynamic between him and his mentor, Tange is really well written as well. Ashita no Joe doesn’t have as many important characters but, it treats its few important characters really well.
Of course, art is subjective but I personally feel like Ashita no Joe’s art style is not for everyone. There are a few character designs I personally don’t like but the fighting scenes are really well done. The art does feel aged because it is like 40 years old at this point but the technicalities in the art are still good. The fights and the motions are really well-drawn and that is where this art style really shines.
Why should you read Ashita no Joe?
Quick pointers on why you should check out this manga
- Good plot
- Awesome fights
- Great character development
- Rather short
That is all I have for now. Let me know what you think in the comments. Ashita no Joe is an awesome manga and I totally see why it is popular even today. With that said though, I will take my leave here. See ya!!