The First Step
Episode 1 The First Step
Name Information
Kanji: 最初のステップ
Romaji: Saisho no suteppu
Episode Information
Season: Season 1 - The Fighting!
Episode in Season: 1
Episode in Series: 1
Manga Chapters: Round 1 (p. 1-44)
Arc: Early Days
Airdate: October 3rd, 2000
Debut: Characters:
Makunouchi Ippo
Makunouchi Hiroko
Umezawa Masahiko
Takamura Mamoru
Kamogawa Genji (photo only)
Yagi Haruhiko (photo only)
Ippo's teacher
Shiritsu Zoujirushi High School
Kamogawa Boxing Gym
Makunouchi Fishing Boat
Episode Chronology
None Fruits of Labor

"The First Step" is Round 1 of the anime adaptation of Morikawa Jouji's Hajime no Ippo series.


Makunouchi Ippo, helping his mother, Makunouchi Hiroko, with the Makunouchi Fishing Boat, carries several boxes onto the boat and sees everyone off. The next day at school, he is invited to see a movie with some classmates. He is happy to be invited but declines because he has to help with the store. He then overhears his classmates making fun of him on their way out and heads home saddened. He only gets as far as a nearby bridge when he runs into Umezawa Masahiko and his goons. They begin to beat on Ippo for "making the school stink of worms" and take him under the bridge. He implies that Ippo's mother must stink too, causing Ippo to glare at him. But when Umezawa glares back Ippo back down, infuriating Umezawa more for never showing any backbone.

As they continue, Takamura Mamoru suddenly passes by during his road work and saves Ippo. Umezawa and his group try to attack him but he easily dodges their blows and steals their uniform buttons, scaring them away. Ippo passes out from the pain after only being able to say "Incredible".

When he awakens, Ippo finds himself in the Kamogawa Boxing Gym. Takamura informs him that he brought him here to treat his wounds and then promptly tells him to get lost, saying that as much as he dislikes bullies, he finds people who don't stand up for themselves downright pathetic. As Ippo begins to leave sniffling, Takamura reluctantly decides to let him take his anger out on the punching bag. At first Ippo's punch seems average, but after a pointer from Takamura he proves to have a devastating punch.

Takamura takes Ippo to the back room to treat his now scrapped knuckles and realises that he is more muscular than he seems, which Ippo attributes to years of working for the family trade. He tries to convince Ippo to try fighting back if Umezawa ever bothers him again, but Ippo is afraid that that won't solve anything. Takamura then asks Ippo if he'd prefer it if things stayed the same. He gives him some boxing tapes before heading off to continue his road work, telling Ippo to return them whenever.

Ippo returns home and helps his mother load the boat, carrying several iceboxes at once. Before she leaves, his mother tells him to leave the work to her and be a high school student. He laments not standing up for his mother earlier and then goes inside to watch the tapes. Impressed, Ippo begins to ask himself what it means to be strong. As the days go on, Ippo begins to watch boxing and starts reading boxing magazines. In one magazine, he finds an article about Takamura's Rookie King victory.

After a few days, Ippo waits at the bridge for Takamura to give him the tapes back, mentioning the magazine article he found. As Takamura brags, Ippo asks if he should give boxing a try. Takamura is initially amused, believing that Ippo wants to just try the exercises and diets. But when Ippo clarifies that he wants to become a pro-boxer, Takamura gets angry at the idea of a weakling like him impulsively deciding to become a boxer. Ippo then says that he has thought seriously about this and wants to become a boxer no matter what. He then asks Takamura "What does it mean to be strong?".

Takamura then walks up to a nearby tree and kicks it, causing leaves to fall from the branches. He then catches several of them with his hands before they hit the ground and promises to teach Ippo boxing if he can catch 10 in one week.

Anime and Manga Differences

  • The anime adds the following:
    • The first scene of Ippo helping out at the fishing boat.
    • After school, while Ippo walks home in the anime, there's added dialog of him thinking to himself. In the manga, he says nothing.
    • The introduction of Kamogawa gym with everyone training is extended.
    • The anime adds a scene where Ippo buys a boxing magazine and reads it at school.
    • The anime adds a scene where Ippo watches another boxing video in his house.
    • The anime adds a scene while Ippo reads another boxing magazine in school, classmates comment how boxing is a "stupid sport" and Ippo defends it.
  • The anime changes the following:
    • At the high school, in the anime, Ippo's classroom is 2-B. In the manga, Ippo's classroom is 2-A.
    • In the anime, when Ippo comments about Takamura's drawing of Umezawa, Ippo gets kneed in the stomach. In the manga, Takamura hits Ippo's head.
    • When Ippo first punches the punching bag, in the anime, Takamura kicks him in the groin. In the manga, Takamura kicks him repeatedly in the side.
    • In the manga, after Ippo states he can't beat up others, Takamura mentions to Ippo that Mike Tyson was picked on too. In the anime, Takamura states that Ippo can't do anything unless he tries.
    • In the anime, Takamura gives Ippo tapes of "World Championship KOs". In the manga the tapes are "Mike Tyson KO Collection". Ippo then watches and his comments are different between the anime and manga.
    • While meeting up with Takamura after watching the videos, Ippo holds up a magazine with a different picture that shows Kamogawa and Yagi on it in the anime.
    • In the manga, Takamura dislikes all the compliments that Ippo gives him and starts jogging away until Ippo wonders if he can do boxing too. In the anime, Takamura likes the compliment, then states he can give Ippo an autograph.
  • The anime removes the following:
    • In the manga, after Takamura saves Ippo from Umezawa, Ippo passes out and Takamura tries to shake Ippo to get him up, then tosses him on the ground saying he doesn't need to know him, but later takes him to the gym. The anime shows Ippo passing out and waking up in the gym.
    • The anime makes no mention of Mike Tyson.
    • In the manga, after Takamura gives Ippo tapes and leaves the gym, Ippo tries to run after him to hear more, but couldn't catch up. The anime doesn't show this.


Characters are named as they appear in the credits.

Role English Name Japanese Rōmaji English Voice Actor
Makunouchi Ippo Kiyasu Kouhei 喜安浩平 Kiyasu Kōhei Steve Staley
Takamura Mamoru Koyama Rikiya 小山力也 Koyama Rikiya Eddie Frierson
Ippo's Mother Terauchi Yorie 寺内よりえ Terauchi Yorie J.C. Henning
Umezawa Masahiko Madono Mitsuaki 真殿光昭 Madono Mitsuaki Ron Allen
Takemura Hasebe Kouichi 長谷部浩一 Hasebe Kōichi Edward Zilla
Matsuda Namiki Shinichi 並木伸一 Namiki Shin'ichi Terry Roberts
Teacher Hirose Masashi 広瀬正志 Hirose Masashi
Aikawa Tamura Yukari 田村ゆかり Tamura Yukari
Male Students Nozomi Maruyama
Akio Suyama
Ken Sasaki
Maruyama Nozomi
Suyama Akio
Sasaki Ken
Female Students Ruri Asano
Hiroko Onaka
Sanae Kobayashi
Asano Ruri
Ōnaka Hiroko
Kobayashi Sanae
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