The Little Guy in a Big World
- Episodes: 12
- Genre: Action, Martial Arts
- Airing Date: July 31, 2019
- Studio: Larx Entertainment
Kengan Ashura Preview (No Spoilers)
Kazuo Yamashita was pretty much a loser in life. He’s been stuck at the same job for the past 34 years in the same position, and even gets bullied by younger supervisors who get their positions due to nepotism. Not only that, 10 years prior to the start of the series, his wife abandoned him and his two sons want nothing to do with him with one being a shut-in (his story develops more later), and another involved in gang activity. All of that changes when the CEO of his company appoints him to be the manager of their designated fighter for the Kengan Bouts, Ouma Tokita. Thankfully, Kazuo and Ouma were acquainted before this arrangement. Kazuo accidentally caught Ouma in a street fight and it left him an unusual impression (to the point that it made him go get a hooker!). Together, they hope to take over not only the fighting world, but the corporate world as well!
Kazuo Yamashita Highlights
1. He Has an Eye for Fighting
While Kazuo is obviously not physically capable of fighting, he’s observant and knows what a fighter’s thinking in the middle of a fight. This is first highly demonstrated during the preliminaries on a battered ship. He correctly guessed who was going to win and the lousy part about that is that he didn’t even bet on them when he had a chance! Throughout the duration of the series, he’s able to point out something weird within a fight before anyone else in the audience or the combatant himself can ever notice! There is a reason for this keen sense, but due to this feature having yet to be revealed in the anime, we’ll leave it here for now.
2. He’s Unassuming
Thanks to being around Ouma, the character changes in many unusual and yet positive ways. In one instance, due to his keen eye and the success of Ouma’s fighting career, some people assume that he might be an elite fighter himself. Towards the third act of the series, a group of 3 fighters try to attack him, but due to coincidence, he manages to avoid their assaults and it gives those would be assassins the impression that he’s a great fighter himself. However, the reasons to making him unassuming in regards to being a martial arts expert is also a quality that is a spoiler that has yet to be revealed in the anime.
3. His Reactions
If you thought Onizuka’s (from GTO) or Senkuu’s (from Dr. Stone) facial reactions were something, wait until you see Kazuo’s. While it isn’t as frequent or as emphasized compared to the manga, Kazuo’s facial reactions are also a sight to behold in the anime version as well. When you consider he’s a meek and shy man in his late-50s, put him in a world where the rich and strong survive, and you have a recipe for comedy. If anything, Kazuo drives the comedic portions of this series due to his facial reactions. It’s as if he’s reacting to a Chris Farley joke. Not only that, sometimes his over the top screaming equally compliments his reactions to the absurdity of his predicaments.
4. His Relationship with Ouma
What is definitely the heart of Kazuo’s journey is his relationship with Ouma. At first, he’s just there as more of an entourage member as opposed to being a manager. As their time together deepens throughout the duration of the first season, Kazuo starts to see Ouma as the sons he lost. Though Ouma initially rejects the notion, Kazuo understands based on experience that Ouma needs a paternal figure in his life. Granted it wouldn’t make any difference to Ouma who his manager was, he doesn’t realize the impact he makes on Kazuo. Thankfully, this relationship is going to be further developed once the series continues.
5. He’s the Most Developed Character in Season 1
The final reason to why he’s a great HCW is because he’s the most developed character from season 1. He was just a guy who was content with where he was in his life regardless of people pushing him around. Though he’s riding off the coattails of Ouma’s success like LaVar Ball is with Lonzo, it has made him a more confident person (thankfully, he’s not selling $400 shoes). By the end of the series, he’s able to get drunk and party with the elite as equals, and stand up to people who bully him! Plus, he even won a bet against Panasonic (or Penasonic in the series)!
In a series that centers around hardcore fighting, Kazuo is certainly a distinguishing lead. Though Ouma drives the action, if anyone can be the heart of the series, it’s without a doubt Kazuo. He’s kind of the Everyman who’s going through a midlife crisis, and is content with it until a sudden change happens in his life. Crazy things can happen, but they happen for a reason and if it manages to bring you some form of success, might as well run with it. At the end of the day, Kazuo’s relationship with Ouma makes you realize it’s not about the conquest or the money, it’s about the bonds you make that can never break.