The writing of MEGALOBOX

In most reviews it is easy to analyze the holes in the writing. Sometimes it is harder to pinpoint what the anime does right. Usually it all starts and ends with the writing. Characters/plot/conflict I’ve noticed that MEGALOBOX has great writing so far and the last two episodes really are an opportunity for a lesson in writing.

You thought school was out huh?

If you are a writer you may have heard of something called the try-fail cycle. It is the nuts and bolts of conflict in a story you can basically break it down into four answers:

1. Yes

2. Yes, BUT

3. No

4. No, AND

In most stories you want to stick with the last three it is a pretty boring story if the character always gets what they want. This is what is making the conflict in MEGALOBOX so good the lovely episodes of the try fail cycle.

For this I’m going to focus on the end of episode 7 and then 8. There are spoilers.

Conflict: Joe needs to beat Mikio to get the last spot in Megalonia

Cycle: No, AND

This is the starting point. Joe needs to face Mikio and his body is already messed up from his last fight. The viewer is expecting a hard fight for him, but Mikio surprises us by telling Joe that he knows that his ID is fake and if he goes out to the ring he will expose it to the world. So not only does Joe fail at getting to fight Mikio he also has the new threat of getting exposed for his illegal ID. Thus No, AND

Conflict: Nanbu needs to convince the CEO Shirato to let Joe fight Mikio

Cycle: No, AND

Nanbu (Joes coach) goes in to make an appeal for Joe. Trying to explain to her why they didn’t fight. She isn’t buying his story. There is a moment of hope and usually as an anime watcher this would be the point of success. The moment Nanbu mentions that Joe is the “genuine article”. We have a moment of a flash back to Yuri and we think that this is the moment where she will let Joe fight again. However, she doesn’t still doesn’t trust them so she not only turns him down, but locks him in the room so he doesn’t have a chance to contact Joe and the team. Thus No, AND

Conflict: Joe gets detained and makes a last attempt to get into Megalonia

Cycle: Yes, BUT

So Joes goes ahead and barges in on the ceremony that announces that Mikio will be the last fighter in Megalonia. As he is being dragged away Mikio taunts him that he is not the “genuine article” and those words finally reach Yukiko. So she decides to rip the ticket in half and give half to each. So he is successful on getting closer to the big fight, but he still has one more fight left. Thus Yes, BUT.

In breaking these things down the main lesson is that you need conflict… Duh. However, these are great episodes that really let you see the try-fail cycles and it isn’t always the answer that you expect. Which also makes it great writing. In the end never give your characters what they want right away. Make them suffer… haha.

That concludes the lesson for today!

Happy Watching!

Author: kimchisama

Anime for the soul.

18 thoughts on “The writing of MEGALOBOX”

  1. I think Megalo is great at plot progression but suffers in fleshing out the characters. A lot of them are still two dimensional and we’re running out of time (I actuall don’t know if it’s a 12 or 24 pisode season so maybe it’s fine…) This comment got away from me

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Very true point there. I think the most developed character was the butterfly guy and his background with the coach. I had a truly sad moment when we found out that it was his last fight. That is the trouble sometimes with writing either the world or the characters get all the attention and it seems like this is going to be a world based story from what it looks like. Some authors find it hard to balance both. It is funny that I like this so much since I’m really a character driven watcher/reader, but the plot is very well done and unpredictable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am absolutely loving MegaloBox, ibe decided to stop watching it weekly and wait for the rest to come out so i can binge (im up to episode 7)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I would sign up for all your classes, sensei.

    I’ve mentioned this before in other places, but in addition to this solid cycle of conflict introduction/resolution, I think they’ve done a pretty good job cultivating a supporting cast of characters. I’m not gonna entirely dispute Irina on the whole “two-dimensional” thing, but I will say that just about every major character in play right now as legitimate reason to want to win the Megalonia tournament, aside from just wanting to win it.

    We know Joe as the underdog story of the skilled fighter from nothing tired of throwing matches in the underground, but the Megalonia Tournament is sort of a redemption run for Nanbu as well. Sure, he doesn’t want to get murdered by the mob boss, but you get the feeling that he genuinely believes in Team Nowhere. Even the kid has a sense of purpose resulting from the tournament.

    Same thing applies to the antagonists. Yukiko and Yuri are using this as a platform to showcase their new design/direction for Shirato Group and the Meglo Box equipment it produces. Conversely, Mikio is out to crush them with gear of his own design because he feels his sister snatched the company out from under him. Aragaki also has a nice little arc. He has legitimate reasons to both be in the tournament AND to want to fight Joe.

    Often times, minor characters end up being reduced to glorified extras or narrators, but in the case of Megalo box, they are actually supporting the narrative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! Sometimes I wish I could use anime more in my teaching lol.
      I just mentioned on Irina’s comment something like this, the butterfly army guy was probably the most well developed character and I felt a true sense of tragedy for his story and the fact that it was his last fight. It really is nice to see the side characters being a bit more. I also thing that they are focusing more on how the people exist in this time of world. Which is very interesting. I still want to know more about red candy but they hit on it just enough that is reminds me of dystopias where people need drugs like bliss to survive where they were born.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I dropped Megalo Box, not because it was bad or anything, but it was great because it just took great stuff from a bunch of other already great anime. Right now, Megalo Box doesn’t have that identity for me to associate with. It’s a great writing, great plot, great setting, but the characters just aren’t as unique and fun like Samurai Champloo or Cowboy Bebop’s main characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can def see that, for me the plot and world makes it interesting for me to keep going. I mentioned on another comment that I’m usually a character based watcher/reader so it is funny to me that I’m liking this anime so much. I do love an anime where I can’t predict all the plot points.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This makes sense, although for me it doesn’t work with romance shows. Will they get together? Dragging things out with a season worth of no, until the final episode makes me lose patience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It could but I think romances use all the same No, ANDS usually like they don’t communicate or they see them with someone else. They like to use the same tropes and it will be a nice romance if the journey was different. That is why I’m so excited to watch or read romances that have the characters together at the start. That way you finally get a different story. Gosh I get so mad at some anime where you sit through the whole thing and they just get like an indirect kiss or a cheek kiss at the end. I want to see how they are together.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Haven’t watched Megalonia, but love the lesson on writing within an anime. The storytelling does change when you go from manga to anime. Sometimes I miss the parts I loved but other times the anime handles details that are lost or belabored. Excellent post! ♥️


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