I think my favorite thing about the character arcs of the Marufuji Brothers is how they parallel each other.
Ryo is perfection. He’s the best. Victory, success, achievement, it all comes easily to him. Or at least it seems like it does. He’s the shining light on the horizon that everyone so greatly admires and desperately chases after, yet know that they can never reach. He doesn’t fail. Except for when he does. And when he crashes, he crashes and burns. And he sacrifices everything, LITERALLY HIS LIFE, to try and regain that perfection. That “Perfect Duel”. And when he comes back
by whatever miraculous means that nobody bothered to explainhe feels as though he’s got nothing else to chase after. He’s reached perfection. He got to the top of the mountain and now there are no more mountains to climb so what does it matter what happens to his body because what else is he going to do with his life now that he’s peaked? Perfection is a limit. Ryo is limited.
Sho, on the other hand, is potential. He fails. Hard. A lot. Over and over and over and over throughout the series. He gets discouraged, he gets disheartened, he puts himself down and relies on the strength of other, ”better” people to help him survive. But failure isn’t necessarily a BAD thing. Because failure has made him so much stronger than everyone else. Ryo’s failure destroyed him because he couldn’t handle it. As tough and smart and -perfect- as he was, he wasn’t able to bounce back from defeat after defeat after defeat because he didn’t know HOW. In this respect, he’s delicate. But Sho’s resolve becomes calloused and harder to cut into as time goes on. He learns that it’s okay to lose because it just means that we can try again. That there’s room to grow. And that we shouldn’t just strive for perfection or for acknowledgement or to become some cheap imitation of the person we admire so greatly—but to become a better version of ourselves. If we are willing to keep fighting, to keep moving forward despite all of our past failings and mistakes, to chase after our dreams, then there’s no limit to what we can do or how we can change. Sho is the limitless potential which comes from turning our weakness into strength.
In short, Ryo believes that he’s conquered the mountain.
Sho reminds him that there are always more mountains to climb.