One Pound Gospel
Hatanaka Kousaku is an up-and-coming boxer who would be really good, except that he's an incorrigible glutton, and therefore, when he's in the ring, and gets hit in the stomach, well ... what do you think is going to happen? Right.
When he passes out (ostensibly from not eating!), he lands at the doorstep of the church where young Sister Angela is studying to be a nun. Now she must nurture his spirit so he can fight once more.
See anything wrong here?
Sometimes I wonder why Shogakukan is so ready to animate anything Takahashi Rumiko writes as a manga. Sure, she's done wonderful work, as Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku readily attest.
And then there's One Pound Gospel, or Sister Act does Rocky. Man, what were the animators thinking? This is not the best of Takahashi's material to begin with, and despite the voice talent they brought in for this, One Pound Gospel is too hollow to be of any use.
For starters, there's the whole problem of Kousaku's weight. Anyone who's ever trained in any sport knows that you can actually gain a little weight by exercise as the muscles build in mass. Strength does not start with starvation - but apparently, this coach thinks so. And so of course Kousaku is going to sneak out and eat mass quantities when left unattended - the man needs calories to live, much less box. Of course, NO professional boxer is so undisciplined as to gorge on food before a match - much less the coach joke around that he should eat a cheeseburger as a pre-match reward! So immediately, the KEY POINT of One Pound Gospel goes straight down the drain of unrealistic nonsense. (At least we're sparing seeing Kousaku puke.)
In comes Sister Angela. Why, oh why, would a nun, of all people, support pugilism?!? Not to mention that, but the whole aspect of Sister Angela being a nun at all seems totally unrealistic and contrived. Really, how many Catholic nuns do you see every day in modern-day Japan? Either the show's set in a Christian district of Nagasaki, or they just don't know what they're talking about here. (My vote's for the latter.) What's worse is that they even attempt a romance with this premise. (She's a nun, Kousaku, a nun!!!)
Finding out the voice cast consists of Furuya Tohru (Kousaku) and Tsuru Hiromi (Angela) doesn't help, either - it's like Shogakukan tried to replicate Kimagure Orange Road in a Tomorrow's Joe backdrop. Hard enough to do in fifty-five minutes - but impossible to do if the material's this flimsy.
One Pound Gospel is very disappointing fare, whether or not you like Takahashi Rumiko's work. Though the voice acting is decent, and the characters are somewhat likable, bad plotting and substandard animation knock this title clean out of the ring even before it has a fighting chance. If you're a Rumiko completist, though, it's watchable. But only once. And then you'll probably forget you ever saw this in about a week.
Despite a few funny scenes, this isn't as likable as Takahashi's other manga-turned-anime. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Well, there's boxing. There's implied puking. And flirting with nuns! Okay, okay, so it's really not that exciting, but there is a little bit of violence in the ring, though the throw-ups are off-screen. Sister Angela, by the way, is about as unrealistic a nun as Whoopi Goldberg, without even really trying. (She also slaps Kousaku once, but he deserves it.) So devout Christians might find this title a tad touchy. Otherwise, older children and up.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, Japanese with English subtitles
Review Status: Full (1/1)
One Pound Gospel © 1988 Shogakukan
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