Alright, I was 100% expecting Joe to lose, or atleast have to come back later to fight Aragaki. But at this point it’s sorta comical how Joe stands up with such confidence after gasping for air literally three seconds ago. It’s almost like he’s acting like it never happened, or that it was way less serious than everyone thought.
Not only does he do it once in the first ten minutes, he does it twice! “This is a one way train with no stops.” Really Joe? I mean I get that you’re a very confident guy who’s set on fighting Yuri at the highest rung of this tournament, but this is borderline suicidal. I guess you do have to be a bit insane to be fighting gearless anyway, but c’mon it’s like Joe doesn’t remember that he almost died! Unfortunately for Aragaki, Joe is the protagonist of a sports anime, and if there’s one thing that a sports anime protagonist doesn’t do, it is go down easily.
But honestly, what a beautiful fight. Aragaki’s memories interweaving with his fight with Joe, Nanbu’s realization from the sidelines as he watches his students duke it out, the desire to win from both Aragaki and Joe, everything is there! I especially loved how much of a slugfest it was as the soundtrack blasted in the background. The camera pans in a 360 degree angle around the contestants as they trade blow for blow, blood is spilling all over the ground! Sweat beads flying everywhere, almost looking like confetti. Everything’s on the line here. Aragaki needs this match to move on from his past, Joe needs it to move forward into Megalonia, and Nanbu’s in the same boat as Aragaki.
This is way more important than any of the fights we had previously because it’s more than a simple tournament win, it’s something attached to Nanbu and Aragaki’s pasts, along with Joe’s future. Furthermore, Aragaki risked his ability to walk forever for this fight. In the end, his knee stumps are bleeding and he ends it, but for Aragaki, literally everything was on the line for this fight.
Afterwards, Nanbu and Aragaki’s makeup scene was extremely cathartic, and Aragaki asking Nanbu, “That’s enough isn’t it?” was incredibly sobering. Years of trauma from the war and coping with the loss of everything, but Aragaki is ready to move on to tomorrow. Aragaki goes as far as to tell Nanbu that he believes in Joe, and I think it’s huge to have Nanbu’s former student backing you. It also feels great knowing that Aragaki has a new coach at the Veteran Affairs office who he can rely on as well. You’re not alone buddy! Nanbu unknowingly saving Aragaki’s life with a failed gambling ticket is something I’m not surprised he did. It was incredibly touching to see that Aragaki had held onto it, and it being passed onto Joe is similar to a torch of Nanbu’s students.
The episode ends with a huge reveal of the third Megalonia contestant, and boy is he scary. A heavy weight? Named Glen? I have no idea how Joe is supposed to fight against someone who looks 1.5 times his height, and double his weight. Glen probably sports an insane gear as well since he has the body mass to be able to hold and withstand one.
Overall, this is my favorite episode of the series so far and I think the Aragaki and Joe fight goes into the books as amazing.