The debut match with Oda proceeds with an incessant barrage of power punches. Ippo’s destructive force overwhelms Oda, but the unforeseen “accident” puts Ippo in danger of losing the match by TKO. Then Ippo remembers what Takamura taught him when the first met….Following the debut match the Eastern Japan Rookie Championship Tournament starts. Ippo’s first opponent is Jason Ozma, an American KO artist with a powerful hoook. As the brutal match progresses the fierce exchange of punches wear out both fighters. Can Ippo survive this match and advance to the final with his eternal rival Miyata?

Based on the best-selling sports manga in Japan, Hajime no Ippo, Fighting Spirit was animated by Madhouse (Trigun, Chobits, and Texhnolyze) and directed by Satoshi Nishimura (Trigun, Street Fighter Alpha)!

The third DVD contains 5 episodes:

Episode 11: Obsession for Victory – Ippo’s first professional match as begun, with the ring of the first bell Oda comes out swinging hard, Ippo dodges and reacts. As the rounds continue both fighters throw volleys of punches, it’s only a matter of time before some on falls to the mat.

Episode 12: Becoming a Bully’s Buddy – Ippo still has high spirits from his first victory is full of energy, and is busy answering questions for a disbelieving class. Ippo’s next opponent has been decided, and is eagerly awaiting this match as a way to build up experience before the big Rookie Championship Tournament. Will his fighting spirit impress his classmates or will he face constant head butting from the competition?

Episode 13: The Eastern Japan Rookie Championship Tournament Begins – One year has passed since Ippo has joined Kamogawa’s gym, he has been entered into the Rookie Tournament, his first match is against an American Solider by the name of Jason Ozma, a gentle giant with a powerful hook that can take a head clean off……….will Ippo be able to duck in order to stand a chance in the ring.

Episode 14: Powerful Arms! Hook vs. Uppercut! – The Tournament has begun and for the first time, Ippo and Jason have met face to face, and Ippo isn’t quite sure what to think of his opponent. Of course looks can be deceiving; as you can only judge a boxer by his Fighting Spirit.

Episode 15: Test of Endurance – The bout between Ippo and Jason continues, punch for punch, blow for blow, each boxer is punishing one another to survive onto the next round, how long can they continue for……’s only a matter of time before someone is Knocked Out!!!

The animation for the series was amazing crisp clean. Every character seemed to have unique level of detail to them. In the training and fighting scenes the animation seems to have a raw, captivating feel to it, which helps to draw the viewer in. The style of animation reminds me of Great Teacher Onizuka. The audio just plain amazing, with trilingual Audio featuring English 2.0, Japanese 2.0 and Spanish 2.0. With two English subtitle streams dialog and signs or signs only.

What are some of the additional features this disc has to offer? First, are the previews for upcoming releases by Geneon, credits for the voice actors in the Spanish version, staff credits and finally the DVD credits. I would have to say the DVD extra’s were very disappointing, especially due to the lack of features from this disc compared to the previous discs. I was hoping there would be additional bonus features, such as a photo gallery or character biographies. Hopefully in the next disc we’ll see additional features.

Fighting Spirit is a series with tons of potential, after watching the third disc and becoming more familiar with Ippo and the characters that surround him, I’ve been drawn into the story. Fighting Spirit is a raw series, showing the punishment one must endure to achieve their dreams. In the third disc, Ippo continues to persevere through the challenges thrown at him, all in the effort to develop his fighting spirit and for that distant opportunity at another fight with Miyata. For those that enjoy watching a gritty, tough anime series, with a good sense of humor thrown in, then fight your way into your wallet and buy this disc and enjoy the Fighting Spirit series. For those looking to watch something new that will sure to entertain, then this would be a definite good rental.

Animation: 7 / 10
Story: 8 / 10
Audio: 8 / 10
Video: 9 / 10
Extras: 6 / 10
Impact Rating: 7 / 10

Overall Rating 75%

By Matt Capranos

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