For our next choice work of beauty we're going to talk about, I decided to choose Hajime no Ippo(also known as Fighting Spirit and The First Step). Now this one is quite a trip, its be going on for an incredibly long time, starting in 1990 and continuing today! What this manga is about is that it follows the young man of Makunochi Ippo who while in high school did not amount to anything and was basically a wallflower for his entire life(sad isn't it?). After a fight that he gets dragged into he meets a man who is a boxer, this man inspires Ippo to make something of himself and to challenge the world with something he loves. This manga is the tale of Ippo as he fights through numerous rings and bouts so that he may one day be the greatest boxer there is in his own weight class, starting from scratch and growing up to be who he is now. This series has also gotten two season worth of anime, a movie, and some OVAs(special anime episodes) season 1(Hajime no Ippo) has 52 episodes while season 2(Hajime no Ippo: New Challenger) has 26 episodes. The manga has over 900 chapters, so depending on if you like reading or watching, you can choose either, but the manga goes father then the anime! The art style for the series is quite good in my opinion, while it may start out a bit sill at first, it grows into something that in my opinion certainly fits the style or story. In my opinion I think this art style focuses on muscles and body structures and tries to emphasize those, which I think it does quite well, it also shows the actions and movements of each person quite well(even more so in the anime, and even more so then that in the second season!).
Ippo starts off without knowing anything, as most people would when they try to join a new sport, Ippo is trained by his coach into a rough tough boxer who is ready to take on anyone that wants to fight him. But don't let Ippo's muscular look fool you(that's Ippo above in the picture during his boxing career), he is actually a very nice person, when he is not in school he is helping his single mother with her job who takes men fishing very early in the morning or late at night lifting heavy equipment. However Ippo is very passionate about boxing, his family, and his friends and cares for all of them dearly, Ippo knows how to fight back to protect their honor and he even gives his prize money for fights to his mother to help make things easier for her to live(shes quite old you know).
As for the other characters in this series, I would say that they're all incredibly likeable and enjoyable to read or watch about. The Kamogawa gym(Ippo's boxing gym) is home to many different boxers that are all incredibly likeable. Throughout the story we learn about them, their past, and we watch or read along with them about their future. Takamura, who is the resident toughest man of the gym helps to guide Ippo through out his boxing career and show him the way; but don't let that fool you, he is also a prankster and completely full of himself! Aoki and Kimura are the other main characters of this story, we would be the tricksters of this gym but they know when to be serious and helpful. The coach of the gym can be tough at times, but that's only because he cares deeply for all of his boxers because he views them all as sons, when he seems angry sometimes, he's just hiding his happiness!
The fights are simply amazing to read or watch about, while they can be silly sometimes as in what happens during them,such as being over dramatic with talking(which is meant to explain things to the reader), as to the very characters themselves! Some fights are simply adrenaline pumping due to sheer amazing things that happen during them because of the characters back stories or how they themselves are and some are down right anger inducing because of the characters(Personally my favorite fight is Brian Hawk vs. Takamura, for those that know this series and follow it). Above is a picture of the movie Champion Road, an excellent movie which takes place after season 1 and before season 2(for those that may want to watch it). Some of the fights can get a bit disturbing sometimes due to the violence that happens during them, cheating bones breaking, cuts, and bruises; all look incredibly painful(To myself at least, one time someone punches another man incredibly hard and he hits the other man's elbow, thus breaking his hand! Ouch!).
While Ippo is a sports manga, it also has some comedy in it, shown by the characters of course, but just as a fore-warn, some of the jokes that happen in it are a bit strange. There are a few amount of penis jokes and all that, including bodily excretion(not a lot I promise). In general however, most of the other jokes are actually very funny!
So to sum things up, Hajime no Ippo is a boxing manga that I think most people would be able to enjoy, while it may have some faults it certainly makes up for them with sheer amazing displays of fights and the loveable characters! I would think that anybody who reads it would certainly enjoy it(I know I certainly did when I watched the anime and caught up with the manga).