Megalobox 2: Nomad’s premiere is a dark return to Joe’s story

Megalobox 2: NOMAD re-introduces fans to “Gearless” Joe, who is now overwhelmed with grief.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Megalobox 2: NOMAD Episode 1, “Ghosts Hum a Requiem,” now airing on Funimation, as well as a discussion of alcohol and substance addiction.

The long awaited return of Megalobox – which in turn was a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Ashita no Joe – offers a look at what has happened to “Gearless” Joe since his win against Yuri during the final Megalonia fight. The Joe we found ourselves in Megalobox 2, now going through Nomad, he’s in a much darker place than fans might have expected.

Now struggling with addiction problems and a long way from professional fights, Joe wanders from place to place, winning virtually every fight he gets into. While Joe / Nomad was a loner for the early parts of Season 1, he always had Nanbu, and then Sachio, by his side. With Nanbu’s apparent death as a reality, it is clear that Nomadic will tell a much more personal story about pain and recovery.

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5 years after Megalonia

Time and pain have weathered Joe, and both have affected his overall well-being. Although he left Megalonia as the victor, and things seemed to be looking up for Team Nowhere, the events of the five years between then and now have shaken Joe. With a thick beard and extra scars, Joe spends his time making money in underground fights, making it very clear to promoters that he will never throw a fight.

Joe doesn’t seem to have missed a beat in terms of skill, at least for the most part, but from the use of pills and Nanbu’s hallucinations, he’s far from okay. His choice to use a new name stems from a desire to be anonymous (and escape his past), with no one reporting on Megalo-boxing having new information on former champion Gearless Joe. From a short TV report, we see that another Megalonia title fight is about to happen, with one of the fighters being Yuri’s protégé.

Related: Jujutsu Kaisen: The 6 Best Fights Of Season 1, Ranked

Fighting like “Nomad”

Joe spends his time outside of fights, whether in run-down motel rooms or a bar, mixing his two vices: alcohol and pills. On the advice of a musician performing at the bar, Joe dumps his drugs on the bathroom floor, only to be picked up a few moments later. She is constantly vomiting and shaking as a side effect of even the shortest withdrawal. One night, when Joe is riding his motorcycle in the snow, he crashes to avoid colliding with a lone wolf who refuses to get out of his way. The wolf seems to represent Joe: they both have scars under their eyes, which are also the same color.

Later, Joe overhears a team of fight promoters discuss their frustration at not finding anyone willing to fight their wrestler Chief, the musician he spoke to at the bar. Joe volunteers and the two trade blows for several rounds. Unfortunately, Joe begins to lose concentration as his drugs wear off and a hallucination from Nanbu asks him what’s wrong.

Addressing Gearless Joe’s past

Joe is shot down after being surprised by the Chief calling him Gearless Joe. While he’s able to get up and land a solid punch at Chief, he can tell he’s been duped. The blow Joe threw was dodged for the most part by the Chief, who is still going to the ground, launching the fight. The timing is reversed from how season 1 started, where Joe was the one who threw fights, even though he hated doing it.

After the fight, Joe confronts the Chief in the parking lot and asks if he’s ashamed of himself. The boss answers the question, annoying Joe, who tries to throw a punch. However, due to the side effects of the pills, his head is too blurry and the Boss is the only one capable of delivering the blow.

The episode ends after Joe encounters the same wolf he saw earlier, who is now dead on the side of the road. He starts off, digging a grave before camping in the middle of the desert next to an old, broken-down bus. Nanbu’s ghost approaches Joe and asks where they are going next.

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