- Episodes :76
- Genre :Sports, Drama, Boxing, Action
- Airing Date :October 2000 – March 2002
- Producers :Madhouse
Miyata Ichiro Preview (No Spoilers)
Based on Morikawa Jyoji’s long-running hit manga (which has been in publication since September 1989), Hajime no Ippo tells the journey of Makunouchi Ippo to championship glory. Originally a bullied and timid teenager, after being saved and encouraged by Takamura Mamoru, a then rising boxing prospect, Ippo takes up boxing just to see what he’s made of and to see what it means to be strong. Touched by his determination, Kamogawa Genji, Takamura’s chief trainer, sees that Ippo has what it takes to make it to the top and decides to train him.
However, Ippo’s next challenge comes in the form of two sparring sessions against an opponent his age, Miyata Ichiro. Miyata wins the first spar with some relative ease, and a few months later after hard training, Ippo wins the re-match by a thread. Since then, Miyata chooses to leave the Kamogawa Gym in hopes of ending his feud with Ippo in the pro ring as Ippo continues to dominate the competition in Japan and become a national hero.
Miyata Ichiro Bio
Voice Actor: Seki Tomokazu (Japanese)
Miyata Ichiro (the main rival of Ippo) is the protégé of his father (and despite the manga being in publication for over 25 years, his father’s first name has never been given so fans just call him Miyata-san), an accomplished world ranked contender whose career fell short due to an unfortunate knockout loss that also shattered his jaw. Devastated by the loss, Miyata’s father chooses to retire and train his son in order to surpass him. Like his father, Miyata is a boxer who specializes in using speed with both his legs and a killer jab and is also a counter specialist. Shortly before he was legally licensed as a professional fighter (mostly due to age restrictions), Miyata easily destroyed low-level pro fighters in sparring sessions.
Shortly before his seventeenth birthday (the age fighters in Japan are legally allowed to be professionally licensed), Miyata had two sparring sessions with a new prospect, Makunouchi Ippo. The first sparring session was meant to test Ippo’s will and determination. Even though Ippo could not land a clean hit on Miyata, Miyata’s arms were bruised (from blocking Ippo’s punches) and tired after the first sparring session and knew that Ippo in his own ways was the real deal. Then in the rematch three months later after strict training under Kamogawa, Ippo was able to fight evenly with Miyata and barely pull a knockout victory.
After the loss, Miyata and his father leave the Kamogawa gym with the intentions of settling the score in the pro ring. However, during the semi-finals of the Eastern Japan rookie tournament, Mashiba, Miyata’s opponent resorts to cheating by stepping on his foot. After the loss, Miyata and his father decide to tour around other neighboring countries in hopes of improving himself and to reclaim the Oriental Pacific Boxing Federation title, the title that his father once held.
Miyata Ichiro Highlights
1. He is Not an Ego Maniac
While some fighters like to brag about their skills, their fit bodies, and all the cash, clothes and fancy bling and cars they got, Miyata is not all about that. Even though legions of female fans scream in his presence (Ippo is probably his biggest fangirl), while some fighters would embrace such cheers as encouragement and maybe take them to a party after a fight, Miyata just simply doesn’t care. He is solely driven by his goals to the best, and not for the fame or money. Yes, success in boxing can lead to such rewards but sometimes they can be a downfall. Due to his upbringing and how everybody almost abandoned his father after his loss, he doesn’t let his achievements get to his head. He knows he has to work hard to get to where he does and puts it in and shows it in his performances in the ring.
2. His Incredible Technique
If anything defines Miyata, it is his amazing technical prowess. Despite not competing in the amateurs in his early years whether it would be in high school boxing, the Japanese equivalent to the Golden Gloves or the Olympics, Miyata has a masterful grasp on initiating the pace with his stick and move tactics with that efficiency. Even though he may not have the knockout power of Ippo or Sendo, his lightning jab, and his foot speed allows him to wear down his opponents and fall victim to his counters, which uses not only his own power but the power of his opponents against them.
His first step in mastering his father’s counter-centric style was in his second fight in Thailand against Jimmy Sisphar, a Muay Thai champion turned boxer and considered the top prospect in his country. Like his rival Ippo, Jimmy hits like a mule. Despite being battered by Jimmy for four rounds, Miyata was able to exploit an opening against Jimmy’s right hand and throw his right over Jimmy’s while slightly slipping it making the most devastating counter of all time. In addition to his foot speed and his counters, Miyata is also capable of utilizing Mashiba’s flicker jab, which he used against Kimura in their sparring sessions to get Kimura ready for Mashiba.
3. His Weight Control
While Takamura himself has to cut massive amounts of weight to make it down to 160 or 154 when he fought Brian Hawk (with a walking weight of nearly 200 pounds), ever since his first bout in Thailand, Miyata also has his own weight control issues. However, the science behind Miyata’s weight control to make 126 is different from Takamura’s. Though Takamura on average has to lose around 40 pounds and Miyata probably cuts between 10-20 pounds, the issue comes down to differences in body composure and how much the body can take in regards to their frame and genetic makeup. Takamura’s weight control is mostly cutting water and fat, as is weight control for athletes in combat sports in general (most real life fighters whether boxing or MMA tend to cut 20-40 pounds). However, due to Miyata’s growth spurt and his bone density that lead to his weight gain (keep in mind he started professional boxing right after he turned 17 while he was still growing), Miyata’s weight control has his own unique set of difficulties that is not caused by fat and water weight.
Yes, he can get down to 126, but eventually, all the weight cutting can take a toll on him (which is not uncommon for real life smaller fighters who yo-yo diet) but he has managed to make the weight with no issues as of yet. But sometimes at weigh-ins, he can look nothing more like a bag of bones. Thankfully, weigh-ins are 24 hours before fight time and fighters are allowed to rehydrate (as in just eating healthy foods, or carbo-loading). But eventually, that entire weight cutting throughout his career will be difficult in supporting his respective frame. Due to his active career, he manages to stay close to fighting weight. Miyata does not see his weight cut as a handicap and compares it to sharpening a pencil, however, it has been noted in the series that a pencil eventually runs out. Maybe in the future, there can be an appropriate nutritionist that can help him make the weight safely and maintain a healthy career.
4. He Has a Great Relationship with his Father
Despite the devastating circumstances that led to the end of his father’s career, his father has always been encouraging and supporting his boxing career. While some real life fighters would discourage their children from taking up boxing and/or any other combat sport, Miyata’s father without any hesitation has been training him sometime after his retirement. Miyata’s father sees that his son has the potential to not only succeed but to also surpass him. Miyata himself sees his own career as a comeback for his father, but his father encourages him to fight his own way and to find his own path in his boxing career feeling he has nothing to prove.
The greatest advice his father gives him is in his fight with Arnie Gregory for the OPBF title when he Miyata says he will go for a lucky punch, and his father tells him that in boxing there are no such thing as lucky punches and only those who work hard and really want it. This speech also allowed viewers and Miyata himself know that his father has come to terms with his own loss that led to the end of his career and despite that, there is still hope for the future. Thanks to this encouragement, Miyata wins!
5. Winning the OPBF Title
After nearly three years away from Japan due to fighting opponents in other neighboring countries such as Thailand and Korea, Miyata is given his shot at fighting for the OPBF title against the champion, Arnie Gregory of Australia. Initially, Miyata is able to get his rhythm down and even score a few knockdowns against the champion. Eventually for a few brief moments, Arnie is able to stop Miyata’s counters. However, thanks to encouragement from his father as earlier stated, Miyata re-discovers his drive and manages to land one last shot and permanently end the rule of Arnie Gregory and bring back honor to his family’s lost legacy. Plus, due to winning a title that ranks higher than Ippo’s national title, Miyata has higher priority in the world rankings over Ippo and hopes that their victories and successes will eventually put them in the ring together.
Of course for readers of the manga, there are some other cool things he has done since the anime. However, this list is limited to what has been shown in anime form and for fellow manga readers, we appreciate your understanding (and as a fan of the manga, let us hope that one day some of his other fights such as his fight against Randy Boy, Jr gets animated). But to conclude, according to Morikawa-sensei, he based Miyata off Takahashi Naoto, a famous Japanese boxer during the 1980s for his counters. But in recent days, he compared former flyweight champion Nonito Donaire (who also happens to be a big fan of Hajime no Ippo) to Miyata for being a counter based out boxer himself. Both fans of Hajime no Ippo and boxing enthusiasts compare Juan Manuel Marquez’s devastating knockout of the sensational Manny Pacquiao with a punch exactly like the jolt. So it is nice to see that Hajime no Ippo whether it would be Miyata or any other character, takes the sport it portrays with such realism and not to such exaggerated lengths demonstrated in other sports anime like Kuroko no Basuke or Prince of Tennis. As for when he will settle his rivalry with Ippo, even with the manga being over 110 volumes, it is still on the horizon but hopefully, fans will see Ippo and Miyata finish their rivalry on a grand scale like the legendary Thrilla in Manila.