Original Title: Fighting Spirit - The First Step (Vol. 1). Format: DVD. Runtime: 115 Mins. Language: English. Subtitle: English Subtitles. Region code: Region 1 (United States, Canada, Bermuda, U.S. territories). Discs: 1. Rating: Unrated. Genre: Japanimation. Release Year: 2004.
Based on a manga by Jyoji Morikawa, Fighting Spirit
is an upbeat Rocky
story that follows a high school nerd from cowardice to pugilistic stardom. Clumsy, maladroit Ippo Makunouchi helps his widowed mother with the family fishing boat business--when he's not being pounded into paste by bullies. After years of abuse, he lacks the will to defend himself against their taunts and fists. A chance meeting with rising boxing star Takamura convinces Ippo to reinvent himself. Under the guidance of Takamura and crusty gym owner Kamogawa, Ippo applies himself with a mixture of stalwart dedication and puppy-like enthusiasm. The story may be a cliché, but the filmmakers manage to make Ippo so likable that viewers who would never dream of watching a real boxing match may find themselves rooting for the irrepressible kid when he steps into the ring. (Rated 13 and older: violence, nudity, risqué humor) --Charles Solomon