Original title: Ashita no Joe
Characters: Jo Yabuki / Joe, Danpei Tange, Yoko Shiraki, Mammuth Nishi, Tohru Rikiishi, Noriko, Wolf, Carlos Rivera, Carlos's agent-manager
Author: Asao Takamori
Directed by: Osamu Dezaki, Yoshiyuki Tomino, Noboru Ishiguro, Soji Yoshikawa, Hideo Nishimaki, Kazunori Tanahashi, Norio Kitashima
Year: 1st April 1970
Broadcast in Italy: April
Episodes: 79 mm
Duration: 24 minutes
Recommended age: Teenagers aged 13 to 19
The Japanese cartoon of Rocky Joe (original title Ashita no Joe) was produced in 1970 by Mushi Productions under the direction of Osamu Dezaki, which in Italy was broadcast for the first time in 1982 on Rete 4 and renamed Rocky Joe, to recall public attention to Sylvester Stallone's cinematic success. The story of Rocky Joe was taken from the manga comic written by Asao Takamori and drawn by Tetsuya Chiba, published between 1968 and 1973 in the Japanese magazine Shonen Magazine, which was a huge success. In Italy the comic was published in 2002 by Star Comics.Rocky Joe (Joe Yabuki his real name) is a 15 year old boy who lives in one of Tokyo's most deprived and slum neighborhoods. The straggler, homeless and homeless boy lives by means of petty thefts and daily struggles for survival, but one day while walking down the street, he stumbles upon the body of a drunkard lying on the ground; this is Danbei Tange, a former alcoholic boxer, who observed him during a fight against a gang of his peers, sees in him the makings of a champion and decides to train him to redeem himself from the failures of his own life. Unaccustomed to discipline and a sense of sacrifice, Rocky Joe doesn't like the teachings of old Danbei Tange and follows him only to have a hot meal and some company.
But one day due to a scam against Ms. Yoko Shiraki, he is locked up in a reformatory and from that moment on, the rebellious boy's change begins. Even at that juncture Dambei will represent the only point of reference for Rocky Joe, as he will continue to give him boxing lessons in the form of correspondence, which the boy will begin to follow. His training ground will be the challenges and fights with his schoolmates and in particular with Toro Riki (Tooru Riikishi in the original manga), also with the ambition of boxing and with a "forbidden punch". After a series of vicissitudes, after leaving the reformatory the two will really end up meeting in the ring and giving rise to a violent and dramatic clash. Here Toro Riki, who to face Rocky Joe has undergone a very hard diet to climb the category, will lose his life, not before throwing a devastating punch that will knock Rocky Joe to the mat, making him lose the match by knockout
After this dramatic encounter, Rocky Joe feels sad and bitter for causing the death of his friend-enemy Toro Riki, so he decides not to fight anymore. But soon, with the passage of time, Rocky Joe realizes that it is impossible to give up an activity that has marked his life since he was a child and that has characterized his personality. He then returns to be trained by Danbei Tange and to prepare for boxing matches with various and dangerous opponents including Tiger Osaky, Arajima and Nango. During the fights with these unscrupulous boxers, Rocky Joe will initially be blocked by the fear of killing, which will lead him to not express his full potential. In 1980 the second series was produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha, also directed by Osamu Dezakidi entitled "Rocky Joe - The last fight"and consists of 47 episodes.
by Gianluigi Piludu
Rocky Joe and all names, images and registered trademarks are copyright 1968 Asao Takamori / Tetsuya Chiba 2002 Star Comics and those entitled to it and are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.