After a braggart (played with quirky aplomb by Tokio Emoto) is trounced by a teenage upstart, he takes up boxing and surprisingly shows a natural talent for it, giving his life new direction. Meanwhile, his kind and pensive coach is not able to break out of his no-win rut, while the coach’s best friend is becoming a rising star in the ring. Adding to the drama, the latter’s girlfriend presents a classic love-triangle conundrum. The fighting trio form an odd triumvirate that illustrates life’s travails through the lens of this most brutal yet scientific martial art, in a standout film that exceeds the time-honored genre’s usual tropes. Director Keisuke Yoshida, a longtime boxing enthusiast in his own right, delivers a fantastic homage to the sport where individual transcendence results from the most grueling of consummate personal challenges.