Fist of the North Star
Fist of the North Star (Japanese: 北斗の拳 Hepburn: Hokuto no Ken) is a Japanese manga series written by Buronson and illustrated by Tetsuo Hara.
Fist of the North Star was adapted into two anime television series produced by Toei Animation, which both aired on Fuji TV and its affiliates from 1984 through 1988, comprising a combined total of 152 episodes. It has since expanded into a media franchise.
This article will cover the adaptation of the first half of the Fist of the North Star manga.
A worldwide nuclear war sometime in the 1990s has resulted in the destruction of most of civilization, turning the world into a barren wasteland. The remnants of mankind fight over whatever supply of food and uncontaminated water still remaining as the strong prey on the weak. Kenshiro is the successor to Hokuto Shinken, an ancient art of assassination that trains its practitioners to kill from within an opponent's body through the use of hidden pressure points. Kenshiro wishes to live his life in peace, but after he is separated from his fiancée Yuria by a jealous rival, he begins his journey to become the savior of the post-apocalyptic world, defending the weak and innocent from the many gangs and organizations that threaten their survival. Along the way, Kenshiro meets a young thief named Bat and an orphaned girl named Lin, who join him as his traveling companions and bear witness to Ken's many battles.
Kenshiro ends up encountering numerous rival martial artists, including the six grand masters of Nanto Seiken, a rival assassin's art, as well as his own adoptive brothers who competed with him for the Hokuto Shinken succession. Kenshiro's ultimate nemesis ends up becoming his eldest brother-in-training, Raoh, a warrior who broke the law of Hokuto Shinken by slaying his master Ryuken and refusing to surrender the succession to Kenshiro. Raoh seeks to conquer the post-apocalyptic world as a warlord under the mantle of Ken-oh, the "King of Fists", by challenging every martial artist he sees as a threat. After a long series of battles, Kenshiro emerges victorious over Raoh and peace finally returns to the post-apocalyptic world.
Why It Rocks
- Marked the beginning of the action-packed "adult" anime industry, thanks to its extreme violence (which was unique in its era, where most anime's targeted audiences were kids). It would inspire several famous franchises such as Berserk and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
- Features a balanced amount of action, drama and comedy.
- Unlike most anime, the filler episodes are very entertaining, such as the episode where Kenshiro demolishes a tank with his bare hands.
- Great voice acting and soundtrack, especially the OP (Ai Wo Torimodose!, AKA You Wa Shock!).
- Featured a good amount of likeable characters such as Kenshiro, Rei, Mamiya, Toki, Shu and Fudoh the Mountain.
- Awesome villains such as Shin, Holy Emperor Souther and Raoh.
- Great finales for each arc (save for Ryuga's arc).
- Handful amount of memorable quotes, such as Kenshiro's catchphrase "You are already dead" and Raoh's "Of this life, I have not a single regret!".
- The show is infamous for having TONS of recap episodes. Out of its 109 episodes, there are 12 recap episodes, including the final (109th) episode.
- The infamous "Tales of the Nanto Seiken Generals" episodes was a series of a recap episodes starting from episode 76 to episode 81, five consecutive episodes.
- As mentioned in WIR No.1, the show featured a heavy amount of extreme violence that had never been seen before in its era. Aside from the brutal deaths that Kenshiro inflicts upon villains, there is also child abuse, implied rape, human trafficking, etc., which may turns some viewers off.
- The animation quality is inconsistent. In some episodes, some animations are reused over and over again.