Wiki Ippo
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Wiki Ippo

Masahiko Umezawa (梅沢正彦, Umezawa Masahiko) is a professional assistant manga artist and Ippo Makunouchi's best friend outside of the Kamogawa gym.

History

Part I

Early Days Arc

Umezawa's gang beating Ippo.

After a day of school, Umezawa, along with his friends, Takemura and Matsuda catch up to fellow student, Makunouchi Ippo, and began insulting and beating him underneath a bridge. Trying to provoke a reaction from the submissive high-schooler, they are stopped by a jogging Takamura Mamoru, who scared them away by dodging their punches and stealing the buttons off their school uniforms with his impressive footwork.

Then one day, as Ippo was going to the Kamogawa Boxing Gym, Umezawa and his friends messed with Ippo, taking his boxing licence. Umezawa was surprised as Ippo defended himself and took his boxing licence back from him. After Ippo's match with Oda Yūsuke, Umezawa and his friends approached Ippo and asked how he won. Umezawa then asked about Ippo's next match. The group then ran away, originally wanting to apologise for picking on him.

Umezawa introducing Ippo to his gang.

On the day of Ippo's match against Fujiwara Yoshio, Umezawa and his friends watched as Ippo won the match, with Umezawa coming to the conclusion that Ippo is strong. The next day, Umezawa forced Ippo to meet his gang, calling Ippo his friend as he introduced him.

First Rounder Arc

Umezawa watched Ippo's match against Jason Ozuma.

Rocky of Naniwa Arc

Umezawa watching Ippo and Sendō's match.

After Ippo's match against Mashiba Ryō, Umezawa and his gang congratulated him. They then became disappointed when they hear that he was withdrawing from the All Japan Rookie King Tournament because his right hand was broken.

Eventually, Ippo got his right hand drugged in order to fight Sendō Takeshi. Umezawa and his gang attended Ippo's match against Sendō in Osaka, where they were greatly outnumbered by the home crowd's cheers.

Two Rookie Kings Arc

Umezawa posing with Ippo in the graduation picture.

On graduation day, Umezawa forced Ippo to take pictures with the gang and several other students to keep memories of their friendship. On the way home, they come across the bridge where Umezawa used to beat Ippo. Umezawa tried again to apologise to Ippo but before he could, Ippo innocently assumed he was trying to ask when the next match will be. Umezawa realised that Ippo views him as a friend, and decided to let the past go. When Ippo and Okita Keigo had a match scheduled, Umezawa arrived to the Kōrakuen Hall to watch the match. When he cheered for Ippo that fifth place was stupid, Aoki Masaru, who was in fifth place, threw a plastic cup at him.

Speed Star Arc

Umezawa working at the fishing boat.

After school, he found employment as a salary man but soon quit his job in order to be a mangaka and write a boxing manga about Ippo. He later learned that Ippo could not continue to box because his mother was hospitalised, ultimately forcing him into an early retirement. Knowing that he would not be able to write the manga if Ippo retired soon, he asked to work at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat. After the first day he almost reluctantly quit on Ippo, but after he saw Ippo practising his jabs, he decided to go through with it for his friend (he would later be thanked personally by Kamogawa Genji for this). Before Ippo's match against Saeki Takuma, he received a pair of boxing trunks that was designed by Umezawa, who told him not to fall, as it would be bad advertising. Umezawa then gave Ippo a new pair of boxing shoes. Before the match against Saeki begins, Umezawa visited Ippo's room and attempted to take a photo of him, however the camera roll flies out. After watching the match against Saeki, Umezawa attempted to take a photo again, however the camera roll flew out again.

White Fang Arc

While he and Ippo load ice boxes to the boat, Umezawa told Ippo that he could load the boxes by himself since it was the day of Date Eiji's title defence.

Challenge for the Throne Arc

After Ippo's match against Alexander Volg Zangief, Ippo passed out for three days, with Hiroko worried, Umezawa promised himself to work hard at the fishing boat to make Hiroko not worry about it. After watching a tape of a preview of the Champion Carnival that showed Ippo's and Date's interview, Umezawa realised how stressful it must be at the gym during a title match and told Ippo that he and the fishing boat customers are pulling for him. When Ippo's match against the champion Date arrived, Umezawa brought Ippo's teacher to watch the match. Umezawa then watched and cheered for Ippo. However, he became saddened when Ippo lost.

Road Back Arc

Umezawa watches Ippo go against Ponchai.

The morning after Ippo lost to Date, Umezawa went to Ippo's room to turn off the alarm. When Ippo woke up, Umezawa accidentally mentioned how the match just ended, which made Ippo remember he lost and apologised that he lost despite Umezawa and the other's cheering. When Ippo's match was scheduled to be against Ponchai Chuwatana, he told Umezawa that he was getting back to the ring and was the main event. When Kamogawa collapsed and was sent to the hospital due to overwork, Umezawa helped Ippo train by being in a motorcycle for Ippo to push. The day before Ippo's match, Umezawa saw Ippo's training and noticed Ippo's movement looked different. Umezawa attended Ippo's match against Ponchai. and, when Ippo used the Dempsey Roll, Fujii Minoru explained the technique to Umezawa.

Hot Rod Era Arc

The morning after Ippo's match against Ponchai, Umezawa showed Ippo all the boxing magazines he bought as he was excited about his comeback and noted how Sendō's mic performance that was signalling a possible fight with Ippo was more publicised than Ippo's victory. Umezawa commented how Ippo's face was also not beaten up as bad as previous matches thanks to the Dempsey Roll.

Mountain Training Arc

Umezawa showing Ippo the article where Takamura knocked out a bear.

When Ippo came back from his trip to the mountains, as thanks for staying to help with the boat, Umezawa received a bell from Ippo as a souvenir from the mountain trip. Umezawa was confused about the bell, however he learned from Ippo that the bell is used at the mountains to keep bears away. Umezawa then showed Ippo an article asking if it was true that Takamura killed a bear as it said in the article. The next day, Umezawa heard Ippo, who was chopping wood outside. After finding out he was chopping wood for training, Umezawa asked if Ippo thinks it is working. Ippo felt no different, however Umezawa noticed Ippo's back having more volume.

Lallapallooza Arc

Umezawa and Nekota teaming up to cheer for Ippo.

While Ippo was spaced out in his room, Umezawa hoped for something to lighten his mood. When Hiroko gave Ippo the phone when Mashiba Kumi called, Umezawa and Hiroko eavesdropped on the conversation. After Ippo got off the phone, Umezawa gave Ippo a book of locations for a date. When Ippo came home with tickets for his match against Sendō, Umezawa told him that he would be able to cheer better than his previous match against Sendō in Osaka since this one is in Tokyo. Umezawa later watched and cheered with Nekota Ginpachi for Ippo during his match against Sendō, where Ippo won and became the JBC featherweight champion. Later, when Ippo woke up, Umezawa showed him magazines about his fight. He then informed Ippo that Aoki wanted him to call him when he woke up for a celebration party.

First Step Arc

A day before Ippo's first JBC featherweight title defence match against Sanada Kazuki, Umezawa and Hiroko gifted Ippo new red boxing shoes and trunks, with the trunks having twelve stars signalling the twelve knockouts Ippo achieved. The next day, before Ippo left for his match, he told Umezawa that he would win by knockout. Umezawa became excited as Ippo was in high spirits, however, Hiroko believed that the way Ippo said he would win by knockout, lead her to believe that he may lose, confusing Umezawa. Later, Umezawa watched Ippo's title defence against Sanada, which resulted in Ippo's victory. After the match, Umezawa tasked himself in declining requests from interviewers wanting to talk to Ippo, wanting to let Ippo rest as he was worried about his health.

Revenge Arc

Umezawa talking about sparring with Ricardo.

When Date was to fight the WBA featherweight champion Ricardo Martinez, Ippo was chosen as Ricardo's sparring partner. Umezawa, after learning about Ricardo's record before Ippo went to spar with him, told Ippo that Ricardo is only five times stronger due to his win record being 62 and Ippo's being 13. Umezawa explained it as if Ippo was fighting five of himself, where he would be able to land one out of five punches. Umezawa then wished for Ippo to show the world's greatest what he can do.

Battle of Hawk Arc

Umezawa selling Takamura-themed merchandise

When Ippo received a phone call from Aoki, Umezawa wondered why Ippo ran out of the house in excitement. At the Ryōgoku Kokugikan on the day of Takamura's WBC junior middleweight title match against Bryan Hawk, Umezawa was hired to sell Takamura-themed merchandise that he designed with Yagi Haruhiko.

Part II

Submarine Wars Arc

Umezawa meeting Shimabukuro.

While Ippo was training his Dempsey Roll, Umezawa showed him a magazine article containing a headline about how Ippo's fourth JBC featherweight title defence opponent, Shimabukuro Iwao, would destroy the Dempsey Roll. During Ippo's intense training, he had to get bigger shoes, making Umezawa think that Takamura stopped by. Umezawa asked why he needed bigger shoes, and was shocked to see Ippo's swollen big toe. Umezawa then worked on the fishing boat and was amazed of Ippo's ability to stay on the bow before throwing up with the rest of the crew. Later, Umezawa and Ippo were surprised to see Shimabukuro at their home. Umezawa called the visitor old, however, when he realised he was Shimabukuro, he became afraid and apologised and asked Ippo to apologise as well. He then left Ippo alone with Shimabukuro as he claimed that he needed to work. When Umezawa saw Ippo having trouble doing his usual duties at the fishing boat, Umezawa wondered what Ippo will be like once he has recovered.

Two days before the match, Umezawa noticed how Ippo's expression looked like that of a challenger's. After Ippo's victory, Umezawa suggested to Hiroko that she should see one of her son's matches, as a magazine is not enough to convey it, however, Hiroko disagreed on the suggestion. Itagaki Nanako then arrived to check on Ippo as he had been sleeping for two days. When Hiroko mentioned how it is rare to have females visit Ippo, Umezawa informed her that he is the champion and the hero of Kōrakuen Hall. When Mashiba Kumi and Īmura Mari arrived as well and Hiroko entered Ippo's room, Umezawa watched as Hiroko stopped an argument between the three females. He then informed Ippo about the fight when he woke up, claiming that it ended in a draw.

Comic Show Arc

After Ippo recovered from his match against Shimabukuro, Umezawa saw Ippp off as he left for the gym.

Dragon Slayer Arc

While on the Makunouchi fishing boat, Umezawa saw Ippo, who was lost in thought about the Dempsey Roll's evolution, and asked him if he was seasick. While Volg was staying at the Makunouchi's home, he was helping with the fishing boat. Umezawa was jealous that Volg wasn't throwing up on his first day and gave him orders. When Umezawa and Ippo came back from a fishing trip, they were informed by Hiroko that Volg was watching videos, however, Volg was no longer in the room when Umezawa and Ippo checked on him. Later during a fishing trip with Ippo, Umezawa learned that Volg was going to America and meet Kamogawa's friend, Hama Dankichi. When it was time for Volg to leave Japan, Umezawa drove him to the Narita Terminal 1.

Later, Umezawa rode on a scooter while Ippo did roadwork, informing Ippo that Volg said he would meet him again one day, which Umezawa wondered if he meant it as meeting as two world champions. On the day before Ippo's weigh-in with Sawamura, Umezawa noticed Ippo seemed unusually serious and tried to get Ippo into his usual spirit. However, he couldn't, and Umezawa felt that there was something different this time. The next day, Umezawa found out from Hiroko that when Ippo came home from his weigh-in, hr shut himself inside of his room, making Umezawa confirm something was different. When Ippo's match against Sawaura arrived, Umezawa went to the Kōrakuen Hall and told Ippo a good lucking saying in Russian that he learned from Volg. Umezawa watched Ippo's match against Sawamura, which ended in Ippo's victory.

A Passing Point Arc

After Umezawa wrote a one-shot manga about his experiences on the fishing boat to submit to a publisher, he announced his decision of retiring from the Mankunouchi Fishing Boat company to pursue his dream of becoming a mangaka to Ippo, who encouraged him to do so. After letting Ippo read it (and after redoing a few pages that were accidentally torn up by Takamura and Aoki when they were called to read it) Umezawa decided to get into his own ring of being a mangaka. During his farewell party, he tried to confess to Hiroko that he was the one who gave Ippo all those bruises during high school but was unable to finish because she had already figured it out, and told him to always hold his head up high without looking back with regrets.

Umezawa waving Ippo and Hiroko goodbye as he leaves their fishing boat company.

Before leaving, he asked Ippo what he should tell people when asked how they know each other, but left before he could get an answer. Ippo used the fishing boat to chase after him and tell him that they know each other as "classmates, acquaintances, co-workers... but most importantly best friends", resulting in a tearful yet joyful goodbye. Umezawa would later call Itagaki Manabu to have him work at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat in his place to help Ippo and Hiroko.

Phantom Card Arc

Umezawa being visited by Ippo and Itagaki after his manga got a reward.

When Umezawa's one-shot debut manga, "Ma Ippo Get You!", had won the Rookie Manga Award, Umezawa was visited by Ippo and Itagaki at his house to congratulate him. When Umezawa learned that Itagaki was going to fight in the East Japan Rookie King Tournament, Umezawa remembered when Ippo was partaking in it and laughed after hearing that Itagaki's opponent, Imai Kyōsuke, is the favoured one to win since it was like that with Ippo. While Ippo went to the bathroom, Umezawa revealed to Itagaki that Ippo hasn't changed at all in that he still sees himself as the challenger despite being the champion. Umezawa noted that that is why it is hard for him to catch up with him. When Ippo got back and Itagaki left, Ippo told Umezawa how worried he is about Itagaki facing Imai. Umezawa suggested for him to give Itagaki advice since he went through the same tournament by telling Itagaki what gave him trouble before as an in-fighter. Ippo stressed that in-fighters are not all the same, making what worked on him may not work on other in-fighters. Umezawa insisted that Itagaki will win, and that he would go and cheer him on.

When Itagaki and Imai's East Japan Rookie King Tournament finals match arrived, Umezawa went to the Kōrakuen Hall. He watched the match with Kumi and the Itagaki family, giving everyone a custom made victory headband to wear as they cheer for Itagaki. Umezawa cheered as Itagaki won and became the Eastern Rookie King by decision after six rounds.

Blind Step Arc

When Umezawa read a Boxing Fan magazine that covered Ippo's opponent for his upcoming match, Kojima Hisato, he was angry about Kojima's mocking comment about Ippo's opponents. He went to the Makunouchi Fishing Boat to talk to Ippo about it. When he arrived, he was invited to have lunch with Ippo and Itagaki by Hiroko. Umezawa showed Ippo the magazine since he has not read it yet. After Ippo read it, Umezawa told Ippo that it is alright to get angry this time since Kojima made a fool of everyone Ippo has fought in a public forum, however, Umezawa figured that he isn't the type to get mad, suggesting to give him a punch that makes him see hell instead.

Speed Zone Arc

Umezawa talking abut the Class A Tournament with Ippo.

Umezawa was visited by Ippo at his house to help with his manga drafts that have a chance to be published in a one-shot in a magazine. Umezawa stressed how there are always others better when it comes to serialising manga, and only a few elite, who are born naturally gifted make it to the top. After Ippo made mistakes while editing Umezawa's drafts, Umezawa decided to end their session, as he has to work as an assistant the next day. Umezawa asked Ippo about his gym mates' chances of winning the Class A Tournament. and, out of the three, Ippo claimed that Aoki has the best chance. Umezawa hoped that one of the two veterans win the tournament, since he often hears from his assistants that once someone reaches a certain age, their prospects dry up, making it become pointless thinking they can get big. He added that boxers also have to worry about getting punch drunk, which he is sure that is something Aoki and Kimura worry about. Noticing that Ippo was worried, Umezawa reassured him that all three will win.

Battle of the Beasts Arc

Umezawa getting help from Ippo with his manga drafts after Ippo's loss against Alfredo.

After Ippo and Itagaki lost to Alfredo Gonzales and Imai respectively, Umezawa went to the Makunouchi Fishing Boat to help Hiroko with the boat. Afterwards, Umezawa went to the house to get Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki up for breakfast. During breakfast, Umezawa was worried that Ippo would quit, however, Kimura revealed that Ippo said he would go back one day. Aoki, Kimura, and Itagaki ran off after realising that Ippo was on a morning walk, which is the time that Takamura does his roadwork. Umezawa thought that Ippo has good friends after he tried to follow them, but could not keep up. Later, Umezawa was visited by Ippo at his house to help him with his manga drafts. After Ippo kept making mistakes, Umezawa had him try drawing straight lines on a piece of paper. When Ippo could not draw straight lines, Umezawa let him go home, believing that his hands are messed up after his match against Alfredo.

Seeking Heights Arc

When Ippo visited Umezawa's house and was able to draw a straight line again, Umezawa asked him why he had trouble before. Ippo answered that it must have been from the lingering damage he had from his match against Alfredo. Umezawa asked more boxing related questions to interview Ippo, as he reveals to him that he decided that his first serialised manga will be about boxing. Afterwards, before Ippo left, he accidentally knocked over one of the ink containers, causing ink to spill over one of Umezawa's finished scripts, making Umezawa stressed.

Part III

Second Step Arc

Umezawa suggesting for Ippo to go back to boxing.

Umexawa was visited by Ippo to help with his manga drafts. After Ippo completed fifteen pages, Umezawa deemed it weird how perfect Ippo's edits were with him wearing wrist weights and his hands not shaking. As Ippo was excited to do more, Umezawa told him to forget about manga, suggesting for the retired Ippo to go back to boxing, however, Ippo claimed to have already made up his mind about retiring. Learning that Ippo haven't been to the Kamogawa gym in two months, Umezawa asked if he has seen Itagaki at least. Umezawa was informed that Itagaki quit working at the Makunouchi Fishing Boat since Ippo can work full-time after retiring and that Itagaki went to his father's security job. After Ippo claimed that he needed to commit to getting used to life without boxing, Ippo left. Umezawa thought how he is having a hard time getting used to Ippo's retirement and believed that everyone around Ippo is probably having a hard to getting used to it too.

Later, Umezawa was visited by Ippo and Teru Okazaki, who Ippo was trying to get to start boxing since he was trying to scout, however, when Teru drew pictures and showed Umezawa, Umezawa deemed Teru a genius. While Teru wanted to study under Umezawa, he was reluctant until he heard his story about how Ippo saved him from being bullied in a similar fashion to how Ippo was saved from being bullied by him, gaining Umezawa a new assistant.

Taihei Arc

After Taihei, one of the delinquents who bullied Teru, apologised to Teru and had a message to send to Ippo, Umezawa drove Teru to the Makunouchi Fishing Boat so that Teru could tell Ippo about what happen. After Ippo left to find Taihei and Umezawa was invited by Hiroko for tea, Umezawa and Teru talked about Taihei apologising to him, and wondered what the reason is that he wants to learn how to box from Ippo. While Hiroko thought it was a good thing and praise worthy that the bully wants to reform his ways and find a goal, Umezawa commented that she is being too soft, and that the ones who deserve praise are people like Ippo who has never hurt anyone. When Ippo came back, Umezawa learned that he gave Taihei an impossible condition of catching five leaves before teaching him how to box. Afterwards, Umezawa drove away with Teru back to his house.

Umezawa getting ready to fight Taihei.

Later, when Taihei was called by delinquents from another school for a fight between Taihei's group and their group to see who is the strongest, Taihei went by himself since the delinquents in his group quit school. Umezawa found that out from Teru, causing him to go out and stop the brawl, not wanting to get Ippo involved and have the story in the papers since he is a former pro boxer, and because he owes Ippo a debt he can't pay back. After Teru informed Ippo about Umezawa getting drawn into Taihei's problem, Ippo and Teru arrived to the scene. Umezawa, beaten, tried to get Ippo to not confront Taihei, who defeated four out of five delinquents, however, Ippo attempted to get Taihei to stop, which ended in Ippo's mitts that were given to him by Kamogawa to be knocked out of his hands by Taihei. Umezawa told the saddened Ippo to forget about Taihei and to go home, however, he was shocked by Ippo's inhuman expression as Ippo walked to Taihei and smacked his face with an opened hand, knocking Taihei out on the ground. Umezawa urgently told the other delinquent to stay by Taihei's side until he wakes up and walked the frightened Ippo to the Chūka Soba to get him to calm down, with Teru following.

At the Chūka Soba, Ippo left after he ate to go to the police station because he felt the need to turn himself in for hitting Taihei. Takamura, Kimura, and Itagaki arrived to the Chūka Soba and learned what happened from Umezawa and Aoki. After Kimura believed that bullying is inevitable, Umezawa commented that it is unacceptable, and the person who is bullied shouldn't be left all alone when it happens, remembering how he felt like he was the king of everything when he bullied Ippo, and made him feel alone in the world, worried that he almost took Hiroko's greatest thing in the world away from her. Umezawa mentioned to Ippo's gym mates how Ippo's face looked inhuman when he was about to hit Taihei, having froze at the sight of it.

Importance of the Support Role Arc

Umezawa apologising to Ippo for bullying him in the past

When it was time for the Shiritsu Zōshirushi High School's school reunion party, Umezawa invited Ippo. Umezawa went to the Kemuri Izakaya where the party was being held, and saw his classmates from seven years ago while getting drunk and talking about Ippo. When Ippo arrived, Umezawa had to stop his classmates from pestering Ippo about going back to boxing. Umezawa brought Ippo to Aikawa's table, as she was waiting for him. After Aikawa revealed that she only saw Ippo fight in person against Date, Alfredo, and Antonio Guevara, his only three losses, Umezawa stressed to her that those matches are not a representation of him. After most of the party left, a drunk Umezawa, Takemura, and Matsuda apologised to Ippo for bullying him in the past before going for round two of drinking.

Quotes

  • (About Ippo) "He's strong."[1]

Trivia

  • In some ways, Umezawa can be viewed as Jōji Morikawa's avatar character.

References

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