One Pound Gospel
Rumiko Takahashi (Ranma, Lum, Maison Ikkoku) stories all have many similarities in style and feel...but you can't accuse her of not trying new things. In this, very strange, story we get to follow a `sort of' romance between a `sort of' professional boxer and a young nun. The boxer having reached a crisis point because, while he's extremely talented and skilled he simply can't control his burning desire....for food. As a result he's famous for failing weigh-ins (since boxing bouts are weight restricted) and, most recently, vomiting in the ring. The nun feels a little responsible, she was the one who fed him just before the match, but gets drawn into the story more when she discovers that the boxer's career is nearly finished due to his weakness. Through a lucky accident it seems our young star has one chance to fight his weakness and redeem himself, but the path will not be easy.
I have a standard rule of thumb that says that RT manga are generally superior to their anime versions, and I have little doubt the same applies here. Even so, it is a tribute to RT's skill that this story is still eminently watchable despite the unlikely foundation. There's a strong sense of personality in the characters, a believability to the scenes and some very nice dialog and interaction. There's even the hints that the nun and the boxer do have some affection for one another. Of course being an RT story sister Angela is, I suspect, a little bit more active that your average nun. I'll be interested to know how devout christians deal with some of her scenes. Still, this is RT, so there's surely nothing too offensive here. In the final conclusion, while it's watchable, the fact remains that the basis doesn't excite and this is unlikely to be something i'll re-watch. Certainly, like all single OAV's, it is limited by running time (despite being 45+ minutes).
The animation for this one is clean, but fairly simple. Those who have seen other RT anime will probably see similarities in style. Still, this is enough to bring out a sense of place and character so it really doesn't matter. What may be more important is that there's a reasonable serving of `boxing action'. I, and I suspect many people drawn to RT's romantic / human stories, might find this pretty uninteresting. Likewise serious boxers are unlikely to be interested either. This is because while the animation gives a good feeling of boxing it's not that detailed and (like boxing) gets fairly repetitive. The endless profusion of scenes showing the boxers weakness, whether in the ring or outside, may also reduce his likeability and interest as a character. Voices were good, especially the coach, and the music was fairly minimal.