That’s right, we’re now living in a world where “All-Rounder Meguru” comes out at such a pace (quarterly) that I can wait to review two volumes at once. Of course, that approach presents its own problems as we progress deeper into the current tournament arc. Meguru has a shot at making it to the finals, but first he has to get past Mitsuya. This former wrestler almost made it to the olympics and now he’s turned to MMA for a fresh start. He’s built like a tank and prepared to steamroll all over the title character. Even if Meguru can take him out, his opponent in the finals is Muroi the aging (He’s 36!) amateur who’s looking to turn pro before it’s too late. In the fights leading up to the finals, Muroi shows that he still has it even with his bum knee. In order to win, Meguru is going to have to show he can get past the narrative surrounding the man. Oh, and beat him up in front of his family as well.
The problem I created for myself by deciding to review both of these volumes at once is the realization that they’re both pretty much the same in terms of structure. Meguru has a fight near the start of the volume, Muroi gets one in the middle, and then the volume ends with Meguru in the middle of a big fight. While I guess you could chalk this up to the fact that the character is in the middle of a tournament, I don’t think it would hurt the series any if mangaka Hiroki Endo decided to end the next volume right after or even before a big fight. That aside, the series is entertaining as ever with its strategic focus on how MMA fighting works. There’s always plenty of good give-and-take in the action and even if it sometimes feels like Meguru is destined to win, Endo knows how to make him struggle enough so that his victories always feel earned. With vol. 10 ending on the Meguru/Muroi matchup in the finals, however, I wouldn’t say his victory is assured just yet. So the cliffhanger to that volume leaves me more than a little eager for the arrival of vol. 11.