The fifth episode of Nomad Megalo Box 2 is filled with emotional trauma and reality checks. After healing through some of his past trauma over the course of previous episodes, Joe returns back to his home only to find it to be long abandoned.
The people who were once his friends and family have looked down on him, whether out of pity or anger. This is juxtaposed with flashbacks which explains why the story of the second season is more personal than the first. Readers are warned of minor spoilers.
It is revealed that Joe returned to megalo boxing in order to receive money for his coach, Nanbu, who is suffering from some kind of disease? With the possibility of recovery, Joe is determined to fight against Liu, the prized successor to his former rival Yuri.
However, this causes strain to everyone in the Team Nowhere. Characters such as Sachio and Aragaki are opposed to Joe’s choice, as they believe that it would better for him to stay by Nanbu’s side. He wanted to live the rest of his days with his family instead of being dragged into one more fight.
With the context of the previous episodes combined with these flashbacks, it paints the picture of what led Joe towards the path of pain and suffering, becoming the Nomad.
With the context of the flashbacks, viewers get to see Joe returning home, where no one greets him. The kids that once admired Joe don’t want anything to do with him anymore. Aragaki, who once fought and helped Joe, wishes to beat him up for running away and abandoning his family.
Sachio, the kid who once admired Joe, beats him up with his own fists. Despite not being fit for megalo boxing, he goes to fight in the underground ring anyway. Although this doesn’t stop Joe on his path of recovery, the fact that the world has moved on without him is a brutal reality.
Joe is determined to make amends for what he has done, as he visits Sachio following his match. Although the latter doesn’t want anything to do with him, it is clear that Joe isn’t the type to give up easily.
TMS Entertainment delivers in the art direction of the show. The episode doesn’t offer intense action scenes like previous entries, focusing more on the emotional beats of the story. The flashbacks are done in black and white, allowing it to contrast the present day in a simple way. Each line spoken by the cast in the past echoes in color with the present.
What’s more, the writing of this episode is arguably its biggest strength. Everyone’s perspectives regarding Nanbu and his health illustrate that no one was in the wrong. Nomad Megalo Box 2 offers characterization that shows the strengths and weaknesses of everyone. With the trauma and recovery being different for everyone in that painful moment.
It’s those moments that makes the series feel more human and less stereotypical.
Nomad Megalo Box 2 episode 5 is a heartfelt episode that doesn’t hold back its punches. Every character is fully realized with the guilt and pain weighing on everyone’s shoulders. The flaws of Joe during this moment in his life gave him a reality check that is stronger than any punch from a megalo boxer. Only time will tell whether the rest of the season will continue its momentum. As it reaches closer and closer to the last round.