Megalo Box 2: Unforgettable Finale – Reflections on the Series

Impressions of the ending

Upon initially watching the ending of Megalo Box 2, I had certain immediate impressions that I will share. However, with some distance and time to reflect, it seems to me that this finale will continue to evolve in my mind long after it has aired. Unfortunately, my schedule does not allow for me to take a day or two to fully digest it. Nevertheless, I can offer these preliminary impressions while acknowledging that Nomad will have its chance to leave a lasting impact when the end of the year arrives.

Highest standards met

To begin, I must address the criticisms I have, which are typically reserved for shows that set themselves the highest of standards. Undoubtedly, Megalo Box 2 was the best series of the season and will likely be considered one of the best of the year. It operated on a level that few anime even aspire to. However, when it comes to the ending, my initial reaction was that it fell slightly flat. That being said, the postscript was the most emotionally resonant part, and even that triggered a few minor quibbles in my mind.

The question of consequence

One aspect that I want to address is the question of consequence. Megalo Box already deviated from the mold set by Ashita no Joe at the end of Season 1, so it should come as no surprise that the final episode didn’t involve major life-altering events for the characters. I didn’t necessarily want anyone to die, as I have genuine fondness for all these characters, especially Joe and Sachio. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if the fact that everyone walked away from this match happier and healthier than they started slightly undermines the themes of the series. Additionally, even the wolf, a symbol of impending doom, walked away unscathed, leaving me perplexed about the significance of the stony grave in the opening sequence.

Perhaps the only character who faced some consequences was Sakuma, although they were relatively light considering his offenses. Yukiko effectively blackmailed him, but her willingness to also bring herself down surprised him. In a way, she did step down, presumably to avoid being pushed out, as president of Shirato. Additionally, Yoshimura sold Sakuma out, though she eventually did the right thing. Nonetheless, one could argue that apart from a guilty conscience, she faced no significant consequences, which could be considered a large reprieve in itself.

The anticlimactic fight

Now, let’s explore the fight itself, which is an interesting topic. I have felt for some time that the series didn’t do enough to justify why this particular fight should happen. And in the end, it turned out to be quite anticlimactic in its own right. From Mac’s perspective, it’s easier to defend than it is from Joe’s standpoint. I still struggle to understand what Joe gained from it that was worth risking his life for. Mac’s goal was to prove that he could be a champion without relying on performance-enhancing techniques, which he achieved – albeit perhaps a bit too easily. But what about Joe? What did he have to prove at this point, and what did he owe to Mac?

Sacchio’s decision and a false climax

Undoubtedly, the crucial narrative moment of the fight was Sacchio’s decision to throw in the towel. Joe’s choice to leave that decision in Sacchio’s hands was undeniably significant. While I can’t blame Sacchio for what he did, I have one concern. The fight was only in the second round and was fairly evenly matched. Joe and Mac were landing significant blows on each other, but that’s what happens in boxing. Joe wasn’t on the verge of being knocked out, nor did he display signs of severe injury. Sacchio throwing in the towel, and Joe accepting it, implies to me that the fight was ultimately unnecessary. In a sense, Nomad acknowledged that this climax was false.

I commend Sacchio for prioritizing Joe’s life over machismo and the fight itself. Sacchio loves Joe like a father, so it’s only natural for him to feel that way. However, Joe entered the ring showing signs of CTE, while Mac’s chip caused random redlining. Yet, miraculously, both of them came out of it just fine. While I am relieved that they are unscathed, it does feel somewhat like a cop-out, especially with the inclusion of the mutt in the scene. The conclusion was peculiar, poetically satisfying on some level, but it diverged from the ending that the series seemed to be building towards throughout its run.

The preference for Nomad

I must reiterate that I preferred the show when it was Nomad rather than when it became Megalo Box 2. Realistically, it probably wasn’t feasible to expect it to maintain the same course as its first half throughout its entire run. A conventional plot was likely inevitable. Nevertheless, when this transition occurred, it felt like the journey shifted from poetry to prose, losing some of its unique qualities along the way. Personally, I would have preferred to see a show focused on Joe’s life outside of boxing as he tried to rebuild and repair his relationship with Sacchio. None of the developments after Episode 6 – including Mac, BES, and the ROSCO subplot – were as emotionally impactful as that would have been.

However, it is essential to reiterate that Megalo Box 2 only falls short if we judge it by exceptionally high standards with only a few anime in the same class. On an absolute level, it remains an elite-tier anime. The outstanding aspects of this series far outweigh any leveling off that occurred in the second half. As an exploration of the immigrant experience, it stands among the best I have ever witnessed in anime. While it served as a metaphor for the struggle of immigrants in Japan, which is indeed a tougher sell, the writing never compromised on authenticity. Interestingly, the epilogue even included a cameo featuring South African barbecue known as Braai.

All things considered, this series was undeniably great. Its subtle and nuanced character writing, phenomenal music, and top-notch performances by the cast contribute to its excellence. In my opinion, it surpasses anything that came before it in the franchise. Regardless, Megalo Box expertly balanced between honoring tradition and carving its own unique path. Anime as a medium benefits greatly when it ventures beyond the typical templates of writers, styles, and themes. Far too often, the medium becomes overly formulaic, which isn’t conducive to its long-term health. Shows like Nomad may not fit the typical anime mold, but they challenge and transcend the artificial creative limits imposed upon the medium.


In conclusion, Megalo Box 2 left a lasting impact by setting ambitious standards and achieving them admirably. While the ending may have been slightly anticlimactic and deviated from the expectations built over its run, it remains a remarkable series. Nomad excelled in exploring the immigrant experience, delivering exceptional character writing and showcasing the potential of anime to break free from formulaic storytelling. As viewers, we are fortunate to witness such compelling narratives that go beyond the usual boundaries, challenging our perspectives and enriching the medium as a whole.


1. Are there any consequences for the characters in Megalo Box 2?

While consequences are not as severe as one might expect, some characters do face repercussions for their actions. Sakuma, for example, experiences relatively light consequences for his offenses. Yukiko blackmails him, resulting in her stepping down as president of Shirato. Additionally, Yoshimura sells him out, despite eventually rectifying her actions. However, it can be argued that the lack of significant consequences diminishes the impact of the series’ themes.

2. Was the fight in Megalo Box 2 justified?

The justification for the fight is a matter of debate. Many viewers, including myself, felt that the series didn’t do enough to establish why this particular fight was necessary. Ultimately, it proved to be somewhat anticlimactic, with Mac achieving his goal of becoming a champion without resorting to doping. However, it remains unclear what Joe gained from this fight and why he was willing to risk his life for it.

3. What was the significance of Sacchio throwing in the towel?

Sacchio’s decision to throw in the towel during the fight was undoubtedly a pivotal moment. It demonstrated his concern for Joe’s well-being and his role as a father figure in Joe’s life. While the fight was evenly matched and neither boxer showed severe injury, Sacchio prioritized Joe’s life over the fight and its associated pride. However, the necessity of the fight itself was called into question by this decision.

4. Why was the ending of Megalo Box 2 different from expectations?

The ending of Megalo Box 2 diverged from expectations because the series underwent a transition from Nomad to Megalo Box 2. This shift introduced a more conventional plot and focused on developments such as Joe’s involvement with Mac, BES, and the ROSCO subplot. While these elements were interesting, they lacked the emotional resonance of a story centered on Joe’s life and his relationship with Sacchio, which many viewers, including myself, preferred.