Ryo is friendly but he considers himself a coward
Shiroi Senshi Yamato
Ryo lives with his father and sister in a small village in the Yamagata Prefecture. The village has a problem with a herd of wild dogs that have been stealing from the village.
A small puppy defended Ryō and Shige from Tetsuo and his dog, Gil. Ryō takes the puppy home, but later the puppy's father, the leader of the wild dog pack, Fubuki, comes take his puppy back from Ryō. When the villagers decide to shoot the wild dogs, Ryō is worried about the puppy and starts to follow the hunters. Fubuki is shot, but Ryō saves the puppy and becomes his owner. Tetsuo puts Gil and the puppy into a "mini-sized dog fight", but surprisingly, the puppy wins. The puppy's courage also gives courage to the bullied kids and Ryō, and they turn against their tempter. The children named the puppy after a battle ship called Yamato.
The Bond Between a Boy and his Dog
He goes with his friends to watch a dog fighting match until Yamato follows him and interrupts the match. Sometime later Ryo goes fishing but is reminded by a hunter that's bear season and return home but are attacked by wounded bear. Ryo is paralyzed with fear at first, but when more hunters appear he refuses to leave his dog.
Then, as the fighting continues he sees Bruiser and his owners Toshio and his father. Ryo is relieved that Yamato is alright but when Bruiser follows the bear to the dam he tries to prevent the akita from going to no avail. He sees Toshio, Bruiser and the bear fall off the dam and into the water with Yamato coming after them. As he and the others climbed down he wished his dog luck.
At the bottom of the dam, he sees Yamato pull Toshio out of the river and commented the akita on his bravery while he stood there and did nothing.
Turning Yamato into a Champion
He watched over Yamato while tending to his wounds and was happy that he was making a good recovery. Then, he consider turning Yamato into a fighting dog however the two came across Toshio and Kotetsu who wanted a sparring match but the akita quickly lost. With that in his mind the two returned home. Later, Ryō began to train Yamato with Sasaki's help so he could become a fighting dog. Their goal was the final championship match.
First step of training, Ryo had to have Yamato fight without barking and to do that Sasaki had the akita fight a snake. During the fight Ryo was surprised that his dog learned to fight without barking and saw his excellent fighting skill. The two appeared in the ring and witnessed Bruiser's match to discover that Yamato will be fighting Kotetsu in their debut match. Then, Ryo saw Yamato's and Bruiser's eyes locked on the boy was expecting Bruiser to attack but he didn't, Toshio took it as a sign that Yamato wasn't ready. As the days went on Ryo trained Yamato a lot complimenting that even though it was rough he was doing a good job.
During the night Ryo received a gift from Toshio a fighting show dog collar and a note saying Toshio will be waiting for them in the ring and didn't want Fubuki's Son to look seedy. But Ryo took that as an insult and went out to talk to Yamato saying that they have nothing to worry about and they'll repay Touzaburuo Sasaki by winning.
Yamato's First Match
Ryo's and Yamato's fighting debut has begun with quite an uproar of everyone figuring out who Yamato is. He unleashes Yamato into the ring and he tells Yamato not to rush the fight, when sees the akita grab a hold of Kotetsu's neck he tells him not to let go. But that was a mistake because Yamato couldn't escape Kotetsu's attack; Ryo was surprised because it was the same attack Bruiser used. When the tosa was about to use the technique a second time he was amazed that Yamato dodged it and used an attack of his own the Kaiten Jigoku until Kotetsu lets out seri winning the match with Ryo being so proud.
But then, he noticed Toshio's concern about Kotetsu and wanted to check on him but all Ryo got was a slap in the face saying enemies didn't need pity and was shocked that Toshio wanted Bruiser to challenge Yamato.
Rescued by a Collie or a Wolf?
Then, the next day Ryo's friends come to get him for outside school day. As they made it to the river Ken wanted to talk Ryo about Yamato's next match, Ryo asks if he will be coming and Ken says yes but they need to be careful because they'll be fighting Big Hunter. When the class runs out of firewood Ken and Ryo go to get more and noticed what looks to be a Japanese Wolf, so he wanted a closer look but it went away leaving an amazed Ryo behind. Just as he was about to collect firewood he falls off the log and into the river until he is rescued by the wolf or collie. During the night he receives a letter from Toshio spelling out Yamato's demise at the fangs of Big Hunter, later that night Ryo sneaks out with Yamato and his friends to find the creature saved him until they fall asleep.
When morning comes, Ryo gets woken up by Yamato and sees the creature rescued him and tells Yamato to go after it even admitting that the creature was fast. Finally catching up to the two Ryo discovers it's an old collie unknown to the boys that the elderly dog was an friend of Fubuki's. Then, he sees Yamato getting attacked by a hawk; he dives in to fight the bird but old man Hub knocks him away. They all witness the old dog use a technique similar to Big Hunter's, after the ordeal Ryo's friends wanted to run he could see that the old dog means no harm and he suspects that the old collie was a friend of Yamato.
Then, the next thing Ryo knows is that Yamato runs off with the old collie he asks his dog if he's going to become a stray again. He continues to calls out to Yamato but doesn't respond and the boys keep searching for him but no luck then began to hope Yamato found his way home but wasn't there. Ryo explains what happened and everyone continues to look up to the day of second match with Yamato nowhere to be found.
Will Yamato make it in time?
Ryo's father began to doubt that Yamato was coming back but Ryo still believed in him knowing that he'd make it in time. So Ryo decides to head for the stadium and wait for him there and if he doesn't make it Ryo will explain the situation to everyone. He makes it to the ring to tell Sasaki that Yamato hasn't returned when Toshio discovers an empty cage he thinks Ryo hid him away. Then, he hears Toshio say rumors of Yamato being a coward but Ryo says he'll be here and that Yamato is following his scent. With only ten minutes left Ryo continues to believe until he hears Yamato's voice and his overjoyed that he made it in time. But he notices that Yamato has blood on him but couldn't figure out why and yet he couldn't worry about it because the match was about to start.
Yamato Vs. Big Hunter
The battle begins with Big Hunter hitting Yamato with quick and strong aerial attacks. Ryo tells Yamato to calm down observe is a opponent. Then his friends arrive to give Ryo support and as the battle continues he begins to wonder if Yamato doesn't have the strength to dodge and why Yamato keeps looking at him with sadness in his eyes. Ryo manages to call out to Yamato and with his fighting spirit stirring the akita gains the strength to jump higher than ever amazing Ryo on the fact his dog learned how to use Big Hunter's attack against him winning the match.