It is hard to catch up to a long-running manga, especially when it has been running as long as Hajime No Ippo.
However, with almost three decades of runtime and 131 volumes published to date, the manga is about to get more accessible than ever before.
The mangaka, George Morikawa, had teased fans about a big announcement at the beginning of June 2021. The announcement was due in Kodansha’s Weekly Shonen Magazine Issue 30.
While the fans of the franchise were expecting a movie or an anime, this one comes as a pleasant surprise.
Hajime No Ippo’s manga will be available in digital format from July 1st, 2021. This will include all the current chapters and the future chapters, and all 131 volumes of the manga.
This will be the first time the manga will be officially available in the digital format during its 33 year run.
The franchise had gained a massive fanbase worldwide after the anime adaptations. Most of them wanted to follow the story through its manga, but unfortunately, it was difficult to do so because of a lack of digitization.
The decision comes as a blessing for the international fans of the manga whose only way for legally accessing the manga was to buy a physical copy.
This also opens up the way for the official English translation of the manga which was previously impossible.
The announcement was entirely unexpected given Morikawa’s anti-digital stance.
However, it seems that he has come around to the idea of reading manga on a screen, or his issues regarding mangaka compensation from digital sources have been resolved.
This is certainly a step in the right direction for the franchise. With this, the series’ popularity will surely skyrocket once again.
About Hajime no Ippo
The anime centres around an under-confident Ippo Makunouchi – a victim of bullying. Unable to stand up to his bullies, Ippo builds a weak sense of self. During one of the incidents, he encounters a pro-boxer Takamura who brings him to the gym to heal. After much reflection and obstacles, Ippo takes up Boxing as a career and a way to strengthen himself.
The anime focuses on perseverance – something that applies not only to the sport but to life as a whole. It brings forth characters – even opponents – with depth, motivations and drives of their own and therefore, does not only center itself around Ippo’s perspective. The world is too big for that.
Source: Weekly Shonen Magazine Issue 30