Anime original by TMS Entertainment
Seven years have passed since “Gearless” Joe stunned the world with his big win at the first Megalonia tournament. Scarred up, addicted to drugs, and fighting meaningless battles in the underground as “Nomad”, Joe’s life has taken a serious fall since then.
Gee’s verdict: Return to the Ring
Like SSSS.Dynazenon, the other big awaited sequel of a well liked anime from 2018, Nomad’s immediate strength is in its ability to capture the many elements of the original Megalobox that worked so well the first time around. The stunning art direction, fantastic music, and a general sense of confidence in its sparing but effective storytelling. We’ll probably get a more fleshed out backstory down the line, but for now all we need to know is that Joe’s been on hard times since the events of the first season. If this debut was meant to make us feel bad for Joe, it most certainly succeeded. I’ll admit it was painful seeing Joe angrily toss away the drugs he’s grown dependent on, only to pathetically pick the pills off a dirty bathroom floor seconds later. The whole episode does a magnificent job of emphasizing just how hollow Joe’s life has become, without feeling needlessly gratuitous.
In many ways, NOMAD is doing what the first Megalobox did so well, which was present a familiar tale of man’s self destructive rise to glory with a great sense of style. That’s not a problem for me, as someone who fell deeply in love with the anime’s aesthetics and sensibilities, but for anyone looking for something revolutionary, I’m not sure you’ll get it here.
Nonetheless, NOMAD’s debut is strong on multiple levels. It flawlessly executes on the type of story it’s trying to tell and I’m totally here for it.
Iro’s verdict: Round Two
The biggest strength of 2018’s Megalobox was its unified identity, where the direction, writing, music, and aesthetic all coiled together into an immensely entertaining product. Whether or not NOMAD can reach the same heights remains to be seen, but the premiere makes an honest shot. The grime and filth of the first season’s early episodes remains, but takes on a different texture alongside everything else. The addition of various sad guitar tracks; cold, wintry set dressing; and heavy Mexican / Latin aesthetics (the episode titles and ED appear to be in Spanish this time) all reinforce the mood, which has shifted from self-destructive scraping to the top to fully downtrodden rock-bottom living. Season 1 will be a hard act to follow, but I’m willing to see this one through.