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Megalo Box Season 2 release date predictions: Megalobox 2 sequel is based on the Ashita no Joe manga’s ending?

Megalo Box key art
Junk Dog is returning for Megalo Box Season 2! The question is how animation studio TMS Entertainment will offer a new twist on the ending of the original story. Pic credit: TMS Entertainment

Megalo Box Season 2 was confirmed to be in production during Anime NYC 2019! What’s more, Netflix’s Megalo Box release in June 2020 fueled interest in the anime series.

But when will the Megalobox Season 2 anime come out?

The anime series shows how much the anime industry has changed in recent years. Google Search traffic for Megalo Box’s first season rivaled other popular anime of the time. Reviews were solid, with the Megalo Box anime maintaining a higher-than-average score on MyAnimeList. The problem is that the first season’s Blu-Ray sales were literally the bottom of the barrel for the spring 2018 anime season.

But the anime industry has shifted toward online streaming revenue being the overriding factor determining the financial success of a series. So, even though the anime failed to sell discs it must have been popular enough worldwide on anime streaming sites to justify a sequel.

It’s quite notable that the announcement was made in New York City and not Japan, which just goes to show how worldwide audiences have impacted the Japanese anime industry in recent years. During Anime Expo 2019, there were several major anime news announcements and they even went out of their way to highlight how Americans were receiving the news first before Japan.

Still, it’s not surprising that Megalo Box 2 is being produced based on the way the Champion Joe 50th Anniversary Project was handled by anime studio TMS Entertainment. (The company is also producing the Dr. STONE Season 2 anime and the Fruits Basket Season 3 anime, while TMS subsidiary produced the Tower of God anime).

The initial announcement of Megalo Box Season 2 did not specify the returning anime studio staff at TMS Entertainment. For the first season, director You Moriyama (Attack On Titan, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress concept designer) helmed the project, while Katsuhiko Manabe and Kensaku Kojima wrote the scripts together. Mabanua was the music composer.

The Megalo Box Season 2 opening (OP) and ending (ED) theme song music have not yet been announced.

  • Updated July 14, 2020: Revised release date predictions.
  • Updated November 25, 2019: Revised statement by AnimeTV on Megalo Box 2 release date.

This article provides everything that is known about Megalo Box Season 2 (Megalo Box 2) and all related news. As such, this article will be updated over time with news, rumors, and analysis. Meanwhile, let’s delve down into what is known for certain.

How Megalo Box changed the Ashita no Joe manga

The ending of Megalo Box Episode 13 stayed true to the Ashita no Joe manga series that the anime is loosely based on and left an opening for a sequel. Ashita no Joe is iconic enough that most anime fans will recognize the name even if they have not watched any of the episodes.

At its peak popularity in Japan, the tragic hero Joe Yabuki represented the struggle of the Japanese lower class, so it has influenced many a modern-day animator. The Ashita no Joe anime has been referenced by many other popular modern anime including Dragon Ball Z, Berserk, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Kill la Kill, and Gurren Lagann.

The Ashita no Joe anime was based on a 20-volume manga series by writer Asao Takamori and illustrated by Tetsuya Chiba that was serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazine from 1968 to 1973. The 70’s anime adaptation ran for 79 episodes and received a 1980 anime movie that acted as a bridge to the second season, Ashita no Joe 2. There have also been two live-action films, including a 2011 remake.

The Megalo Box anime is more of a reimagining of the story rather than a modern remake. Joe Yabuki is replaced by Junk Dog, who lives in a dystopian future where the gap between the social classes is actually higher. Junk Dog’s foe, Megalo boxing champion Yuri, is already on the top of his game in comparison to the original’s Toru Rikiishi, who actually met Joe while serving time in prison.

Regardless, the basic premise is about the same since the beginning has Yuri/Rikiishi challenging a beaten Junk Dog/Joe to a future fight as a professional boxer. Similarly, Junk Dog lacked the citizenship credentials necessary to fight in the Megalonia tournament while Joe had trouble gaining a boxing license. Junk Dog took on the name Joe largely because he wanted to take a swipe at the upper class, whom Yuri definitely represents since his exoskeleton-like integrated Gear is the pinnacle of boxing technology produced by the Megalonia sponsor Shirato Group.

“If there is human drama that continues to be vivid even with the changes in times, it might also be able to evoke empathy. I heard that a variety of projects are being prepared on the occasion of the 50th anniversary,” Tetsuya Chiba wrote about the Megalo Box anime. “I am very proud to be a part of a series that has been loved for such a long time and at the same time I am very thankful to the fans who keep loving Joe, even after such a long time. The new anime Megalo Box is being produced by such people, who love Ashita no Joe. I am looking forward to this work, that will fit the current generation. It will be a completely new thing but will also has a core of ubiquity.”

Director You Moriyama (concept designer for Attack On Titan, Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress) also had this to say about the new anime:

“I was always longing for the hero of my favorite story. I want to understand their world, which I will never be able to visit or cross, and their thoughts. It would be great if this work could not only make you feel empathy but rather grip your heart. Joe Yabuki was this kind of character. I hope the main character of Megalo Box will embody this as well. Selfish people fight for themselves, struggle and live together. These people come together for the best team in this story. ‘What am I doing right now?’ Those who think like that will for sure be touched by this work.”

Fittingly, the celebration of the Ashita no Joe anime goes even further by going back to the roots: manga.

Megalo Box Manga Series Finishes In 2018

The 50th anniversary of the Ashita no Joe manga was also celebrated by launching a new Megalo Box manga series called Megalobox: Shukumei no Sōken (Megalobox – The Twin Fists of Fate).

Mangaka Sakuma Chikara began serializing the tale in Kodansha’s Shonen Magazine Edge on February 17, 2018. It finished on August 17, 2018. The manga was released as two volumes.

Unfortunately, an English translation has not yet been announced and there are currently no fan translation projects available online.

Megalo Box Manga Junk Dog Joe And Yuri
The manga version depicts Joe and Yuri confronting each other for the first time. Pic credit: Sakuma Chikara

Presumably, the Megalo Box manga follows the story of Junk Dog, but it’s possible the manga version’s story will forge its own path. After all, take just one look at the manga cover and it’s quite evident that the manga artist is going in a different direction since Junk Dog looks decidedly Japanese in comparison to the anime character.

However, if you check out the raw scans of the manga, the other characters like Yuri look about the same and as of Chapter 2, the Megalo Box manga was following the anime’s story closely.

Megalo Box OVA Episode Coming Out With The Blu-Ray/DVD

The official website for Megalo Box revealed that the Blu-Ray disx box sets will include several “completely new short anime” episodes. The release will be divided up into three volumes, each coming with one Megalo Box OVA episode.

The first Megalo Box Blu-Ray volume came with an OVA episode called “Before the Round 1” and released on July 27, 2018. Volume 2’s episode is called “After the Round Final” and the box set released on September 26, 2018. The third OVA episode was left unnamed, but Volume 3 came out on November 22, 2018.

Megalobox Manga Junk Dog
Junk Dog looks very different in the manga adaptation of the new anime. Pic credit: Sakuma Chikara

Megalo Box Season 2 Release Date Predictions

As of the last update, TMS Entertainment or any company related to the production of the anime has not officially confirmed the exact Megalo Box Season 2 release date. The production of a sequel been announced, but not the premiere time frame.

Once the news is officially confirmed this article will be updated with the relevant information. In the meantime, it’s possible to speculate about when the Megalobox Season 2 premiere date will occur in the future.

In November 2019, AnimeTV claimed that the Megalo Box Season 2 release date “is expected to be released late 2020 to early 2021!” Based on the way this information was being conveyed by AnimeTV, it was likely an educated guess, not a confirmed time frame.

AnimeTV’s tweet has since been deleted. Their guess was also made well before the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus pandemic slowed down the entire anime industry and caused many TV shows to be delayed by an entire season.

By mid-July 2020 the Megalo Box Season 2 release time frame still hadn’t been announced, which should rule out an October 2020 premiere. That means the second season will come out in 2021 at the earliest.

Megalo Box Season 2 Netflix Release Date Predictions

Netflix did not license for the original Megalo Box Season 1 as a Netflix exclusive. It’s possible that this could change for the second season.

If Megalo Box Season 2 becomes a Netflix Original series then new episodes will be streaming on Netflix Japan as they premiere on Japanese TV stations. However, Netflix U.S. and other international Netflix versions will delay the episodes for several months so they can be binge-watched.

If Netflix does not license the series, it’s likely that the Megalo Box 2 Netflix release date will be scheduled for many months after all the episodes have premiered on other streaming platforms.

Note: This story will be updated once Netflix’s Megalo Box Season 2 release is confirmed.

Megalo Box Anime Not Your Average Joe
Junk Dog is inspired to take on the name Joe by this billboard. Pic credit: TMS Entertainment

Megalo Box Ending Analysis

Note: This section of the article was originally written before Megalo Box Episode 13 released and has since been updated.

Death is unavoidable in the Megalo Box anime. The titles of episodes are always referencing death or dying and the end of each episode blatantly states, “Not dead yet…” However, even though characters are always mentioning being killed in the ring, no one has actually been really dying.

The ending of Megalo Box Episode 13 was apparently not intended to capture the feeling of the entire Ashita no Joe manga in one anime season. Instead, the new series’ story ran parallel to the manga’s major events. In the original story, Rikiishi was multiple weight classes above Joe, so this rival was forced to undertake extreme measures to lose weight at the expense of his health.

This article won’t say who won the final fight, but Rikiishi dies in the ring because of his poor health and a hard blow landed by Joe. The death of Rikiishi was such a big deal that Japanese fans actually held a real-life funeral for the character.

Similarly, Yuri wished to bring himself down to the “weight class” of “Gearless” Joe so he surgically removed his Gear for the big fight. Yuri’s actions fit the anime’s theme of fighting ability being based more on the boxer rather than the Gear. Stripping Yuri of his integrated Gear was very dangerous, but unlike with Rikiishi, Yuri’s death was not the final culmination of the first season.

Warning: The following potentially has major spoilers related to Megalo Box Season 2 assuming that the anime follows the final ending of the Ashita no Joe manga.

Assuming that a second season is produced, Junk Dog’s fate will likely mirror that of the main Ashita no Joe anime character, which ended in an unexpected manner. Audiences and readers were stunned by this ending and it’s still debated to this day what really happened in the final scene.

In a 2015 interview, Chiba explained how the ending came to be.

“I didn’t exactly plan it that way… At the very last minute, I was panicking because I didn’t know what I should do for the last scene. My editor brought an earlier volume and said, ‘Read this episode one more time.’ I had started to forget about all the things I’d drawn before because I didn’t go back and re-read them. The part he wanted me to read was the scene where Joe and Noriko have a date in the park [and Joe tells Noriko, ‘I’m going to burn so bright and so red I’ll dazzle everyone. All that will be left is pure white ash.’] When I read that again, a scene with a pure white Joe sitting on a stool in the corner of the ring popped into my head. My editor had given me a great hint at the last minute, just before the deadline! There was hardly enough time left to draw it!”

Needless to say, if the new anime recreates that final scene with a new twist then Megalo Box Season 2 may end in a stunning manner. Check out the below video if you want to know what happens.

Megalo Box Season 2 Story Predictions Based On The Ashita no Joe Anime [Spoilers]

If you’re familiar with the original story, then it’s pretty obvious where Junk Dog’s path is taking him, although it’s very likely that TMS Entertainment will figure out a great way to reimagine the story. But will audiences want to watch Joe replace Yuri as the Megaloboxing champion? After all, Rocky Balboa was less interesting when he replaced Apollo Creed as the reigning champion.

The biggest difference between the old manga and new anime is that Megalonia was implied to be an international event held in an unnamed fictional district, whereas Joe of the original manga still had to fight his way up through the international ranks to face World Champion Jose Mendoza. Junk Dog has already climbed the ranks in an amazing amount of time. So, what’s left for him to do?

In the original story, Joe was traumatized by Rikiishi’s accidental death and he began to develop serious problems with his boxing. Joe experienced a late growth spurt and he was forced to maintain his weight class by undergoing training similar to Rikiishi. All of these experiences result in a brutal championship match with Mendoza that stretches to the point where the champ feels like he’s trapped in a nightmare.

Similarly, Junk Dog could face a physical trauma of his own. The story for Megalo Box 2 is set seven years after the first season so it’s possible something bad has happened in the intervening years.

At the end of the first season, a second Megalonia tournament was announced a year after Junk Dog’s fateful match with Yuri, but being on top of the Megaloboxing world may not be exactly what he’d hoped it would be. It’s also possible that “Gearless” Joe came under pressure to create Gear of his own to defend the title.

Junk Dog could also experience problems with the ladies since Yukiko Shirato was inspired by Youko Shiraki, who was the closest thing to a girlfriend to Joe. Both women share the same appearance and personality. Youko was also the one to convince Joe to go back to boxing after Rikiishi’s death, so Yukiko could do the same for Junk Dog.

In the second season of the original anime, Youko “toys with his fate like a demon” in the way she organizes Joe’s fights. Despite Joe’s medical condition being bad, she also encourages him to push himself to the limit in the fight against Mendoza. The thing is, everyone realizes they’re attracted to each other, and they’re proven right when she realizes she’s in love with Joe.

However, the biggest opportunity for creating a new twist is the fact that the new anime never delves into the Junk Dog’s backstory. Let’s just hope TMS Entertainment figures out a way to make Megalo Box Season 2 seem fresh. Stay tuned!

Patrick Frye is Monsters and Critics' Anime Editor. He considers himself a "woke-taku" and he enjoys covering all the latest news related to Japanese entertainment.... read more

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