8 Books/Manga Like Hajime No Ippo | TheReviewGeek Recommends

8 Books/Manga Like Hajime No Ippo

Hajime No Ippo is a boxing manga written by George Morikawa. This manga contains charming characters, hilarious dialogue, and intense fights. Hajime No Ippo is currently ongoing and has been serialized by Kodansha’s shonen manga magazine Weekly Shonen Magazine since October 1989. The series spawned over 130+ volumes as of July 2022 and a solid anime adaptation.

If you’re in the mood for more sports manga that offers a similar vibe, fear not! We’ve gathered together 8 books/manga to check out when you’ve caught up with Hajime No Ippo. Of course, if you feel we’ve missed any of your favorites, do comment below and let us know!

Ashita no Joe – Ikki Kajiwara

Similarities – Life of a Boxer

Ashita No Joe paved the way for many martial arts and boxing manga to follow. This manga gives off similar vibes to the Rocky series. It contains many unpredictable outcomes, great views on life, and zooms into the dark nature of the boxing world. It follows Joe, a troubled boy that likes solving matters with his fists.

Joe likes fighting gangs and genuinely escapes each bout victorious. He’ll soon cross paths with a former boxing coach named Danpei Tange. He offers Joe a chance to become a boxer. Although Joe struggles to throw away his old habits, he accepts Danpei’s offer. Thus, Joe’s journey to becoming a professional fighter begins.

Ashita No Joe is shorter than Ippo length-wise and shares a darker aesthetic. Both series contain some wonderful comedic and emotional elements that’ll get under your skin and cause you to tear up. If you’re a fan of coming-of-age narratives that center around the boxing sport, you’re in for a phenomenal time with Ashita No Joe.

Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple – Syun Matsuena

Similarities – Martial Arts & Characters

Although Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple looks like a generic manga series, it promises to entertain audiences with its grander narrative. With its well-drawn fights, charming cast, and heartwarming elements, this is an action-centric manga you shouldn’t overlook. It follows a bullied boy named Kenichi Shirahama.

He’s tired of feeling like a punching bag. After he sees a skilled female martial artist named Miu Furiniji defeat several thugs, he vows to become stronger. He meets with Miu, who directs him to a dojo that’ll help him sharpen his martial arts skills. Kenichi will encounter a slew of difficult opponents that’ll help him grow over time.

Like Ippo, Kenichi doesn’t give up easily. He’ll do whatever it takes to push himself and break his limits. The side characters play a pivotal role in helping both protagonists grow. Their opponents harbor unique goals and personalities too. If you’re looking for a fun action series with well-drawn fights that emphasize personal growth, check out Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple.

Slam Dunk – Takehiko Inoue

Similarities – Realistic Take On Sports

Slam Dunk is a grounded sports manga about Basketball. Like Ippo, it has a charming art style, and a wonderful cast, and will get you in the mood for the sport regardless of whether you’re not of fan of it. Unlike most basketball anime, this offers a more authentic experience and shows our characters’ lives outside of the court.

This basketball manga revolves around a hot-headed boy named Hanamichi. He enrolls in Shohoku High and dreams of getting a girlfriend. His weak reputation makes many people shun him. Everyone except for a girl named Haruko. Haruko approaches Hanamichi and asks him if he adores basketball. Although he doesn’t like the sport anymore, he yields.

Haruko takes him to the gym and asks Hanamichi to perform a slam dunk. Hanamichi performs said action but fails miserably. Impressed by his physique, Haruko informs the basketball team’s captain about his abilities, leading Hanamichi to return to the spot he once resented. Unlike its anime adaptation, Slam Dunk never fails to deliver visually appealing experiences for readers.

These games can go on for a long time, but Takehiko Inoue finds a way to keep you invested in each game. If you’re looking for another deep sports manga with similar character dynamics to Hajime No Ippo, check out Slam Dunk.

The Breaker – Geuk-jin Jeon

Similarities – Characters & Themes

The Breaker tells a wonderful story about a student named Yi “Shioon” Shi-Woon. His life consists of receiving beatings from a fellow student named Ho Chang and his gang. One day, a man named Han Chun Woo notices him receiving a beating but chooses to ridicule Shioon for his cowardly antics. To Shioon’s surprise, Chun Woo is his new substitute English teacher.

Shioon finally enrolls in a martial arts academy to develop skills to help him defend himself against bullies. On his way there, he meets Chun Woo dispatching several men with his martial arts techniques. Shioon uses his recordings to blackmail Chun Woo into teaching him the ways of martial arts. Therefore, we follow Shioon’s new journey to becoming a skilled martial artist at Murim.

Geuk-jin Jeon does a phenomenal job of chronicling Shioon’s journey. Like Ippo, Shioon will encounter numerous foes who’ll drive him toward wanting to quit. However, they’ll also provide him with the push he needs to surpass his limits and grow. The student-mentor relationship between Shioon and Chun Woo is similar to Ippo’s bond with Takamura and the others. With a hint of comedy and a strong emphasis on action, you’ll adore this beloved world Geuk-jin Jeon created.

Eyeshield 21 – Riichiro Inugaki

Similarities – Sports, Characters, Story Structure

Eyeshield 21 is the Hajime No Ippo of American football. It doesn’t offer the most complex storytelling, but it touches base on valuable subjects that will emotionally move you. From its colorful characters to its charming plot structure, this is an American-football manga you shouldn’t gloss over.

It revolves around Sena, a bullied boy with a shy personality. Despite his petite build, Sena is an incredibly agile human being who can dodge his way past multiple people. Hiruma, Sena’s high school football captain notices his skills and influences him to join their team. Hiruma forces Sena to wear a visored helmet and gives him the name Eyeshield 21.

He does this to avoid people learning about Sena’s recruitment. Therefore, we follow Sena’s journey to helping his school’s football team claim several victories in secret. As one can tell, Sena and Ippo are of the same mold. They start off as Average Joe but gradually gain the respect of the people around them. Readers searching for another emotionally-driven manga should look no further than Eyeshield 21.

Holyland – Kouji Mori

Similarities – Martial Arts & Characters

Holy Land is a gritty boxing manga that follows a delinquent named Yuu Kamishiro. Like Ippo, he doesn’t feel like he fits in with anyone. This causes Yuu to drop out of school and take a stroll around his place. He becomes infatuated with fighting and trains effortlessly in the art of boxing.

After honing his skills, Yuu flees to the streets. He fights many thugs, gangsters, and crude people who mess with him. He develops the moniker, Thug Hunter. We follow Yuu’s soul-seeking journey to reach the “holy land” of his wildest dreams. Like Hajime No Ippo, this manga contains some brutal fights and imagery.

You’ll find yourself cringing at how much our characters suffer in this manga. Over time, Yuu becomes more mature and develops more care for the people around him. This manga contains a variety of martial arts, unlike Hajime No Ippo. You can expect fighters to fight each other with skills revolving around kickboxing, judo, and karate.

If you’re searching for a gritty martial arts manga with characters you’d find in Hajime No Ippo, check this one out.

The Boxer – Ji-Hoon Jeon

Similarities – Boxing

The Boxer is an interesting webtoon created by Ji-Hoon Jeon. It’s a boxing story like Hajime No Ippo but goes into more depth about the protagonist’s growth to become a formidable fighter. Furthermore, the series’s protagonist Yu starts off as a professional boxer, unlike Ippo. You’ll enjoy the variety of mental and physical hurdles Yu must overcome to be the best fighter in his universe. ‘

Our story revolves around Yu, an emotionally numb 17-year-old whose been bullied all his life. This has led to Yu acting less human and more broken over time. While he has phenomenal dodging skills, he allows his opponents to beat him up as he doesn’t care about survival. Eventually, he meets an old trainer named K.

K’s raised five champions and feels Yu can become another fighter in his collection. Although Yuu lacks interest in becoming K’s student, a bright memory of his past, entices him to reconsider. Therefore, we follow Yu’s journey full of menacing opponents whom he’ll have no choice but to fight back. This manga does a fabulous job of portraying human struggle through Yu’s eyes. He’ll not only grow as a fighter but as a person. This is what’ll drives readers to continue following his journey from start to finish.

Kengan Ashura – Yaboko Sandrovich

Similarities – Jaw-Dropping Artwork & Fun Cast

Kengan Ashura offers a simple narrative backed up by some entertaining fights. The characters receive wonderful development in this work. This work knows how to build up its side characters alongside its protagonist. Like Hajime No Ippo, you’ll learn why these characters choose to fight, giving you a reason to cheer or despise them.

Kengan Ashura’s artwork looks immaculate. Every punch carries weight and the series’s artist Daromeon captures that perfectly from panel to panel. It’s an action-packed page-turner of epic proportions. It promises to boost your adrenaline with its well-drawn fights while also helping you grow attached to its characters with its storytelling.

If you adored Morikawa’s art style and storytelling, you’ll adore Kengan Ashura’s world a lot. Give this series a read in your spare time. You won’t regret it one bit.

So there we have it, our 8 books/manga to read after you’ve caught up with Hajime No Ippo.

What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!

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