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  • "Hokuto no Ken" ("Fist of the North Star," 1984) took its cue from the Australian movies, MAD MAX (1979) and THE ROAD WARRIOR (aka MAD MAX 2, 1981), and pioneered a new style of violent animated action on Japanese television. It presented a more exaggerated version of the movies' post-apocalyptic landscape and its roving bands of savage bikers with Mohawk haircuts, spiked leather and bulging muscles who ravage the budding communities trying to rebuild society in a bleak and devastated terrain. Into the role of defender of the weak steps Ken, master of Hoto Shin Ken, or Fist of the North star, an intricate martial arts system that wreaks havoc on his opponents' nervous systems and causes all kinds of fatal disfigurements, usually an exploding decapitation. The stoic, deadpan Ken brooks no argument with those who offend him and spends most of the series ridding the landscape of these musclebound cretins. To balance out the constant violence with regular doses of sentiment, Ken's empathetic qualities are drawn out by the presence of two children, an adolescent harmonica-playing boy and a young girl saddled with a puppy, who become Ken's companions for much of the series.

    While the violence is quite gruesome, the gore is muted by depicting the exploding heads in silhouette or shadow and having the spurting body fluids colored neutral hues. The carnage is, nevertheless, particularly satisfying because we get to watch dozens of murderous thugs get wasted, one by one, in colorful and imaginative ways. (The 1986 animated feature version of this series, also called FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, was much more explicit in its bloodshed.)

    The first series lasted for 109 episodes, from 1984 to 1987, while a second series (1987-88) lasted 43 episodes. A number of episodes from the first season have been released in the U.S. and include the first story arc (22 episodes), which involves Ken's quest for vengeance against Shin, his one-time buddy and master of the Fist of the Southern Cross, who took Ken's girl away from him--by force--and left him with a seven-mark scar in the form of Ursa Major, the Big Dipper (or Great Bear) constellation. The second story arc gave Ken a new and equally formidable opponent in Raoh, master of Nanto Suichoken, a technique which literally slices opponents into pieces.

    The animation does an expert job of recreating the stark imagery of the original manga (comic book), which was written by "Buronson" and drawn by Tetsuo Hara, capturing the near-desert landscape and spectacular urban ruins in evocative detail. The character design is equally well-etched, with great linework applied to even the most transient characters. Color is used well in both the parched quality of the arid landscape and the flamboyant nature of the rampaging biker gangs with their clown makeup and playing card gang motifs. There's a wash quality, suggesting water colors, in some of the background art. It should be pointed out that the hard-edged look and tone of the series is something traditional pen-and-ink animation could do so well but is much harder to achieve in the overly slick digital animation era in which anime finds itself today. A series like FIST is more to be valued because of the near impossibility of duplicating such an effort today.
  • "Fist of the North Star", originally called "Hokuto no Ken", is an Action/Fighting-Anime which aired on Japanese TV from 1984 to 1987. This anime is based on the popular Manga series with the same name, and was produced by Toei Animation and Fuji Television Network.

    Basic plot: In the year 199X a nuclear war has wiped out most of the humanity, and there seems to be no life on Earth. The surviving people, fighting over the remaining amount of food and water, are either killed or becoming slaves for punk-like people and villainous giants.

    The series follows our hero Kenshiro, the successor of the Hokuto Shinken, a secret martial arts style which can literally make his enemies explode from the inside. Kenshiro, who's fiancée Yuria has been taken away by Nanto Seiken master Shin, wanders around the wasteland with seven scars on his chest. And together with two kids (Bat and Lin), he goes around and saves the weak and innocent people from the gruesome acts of the said enemies, while he sets out to save Yuria from his rival Shin.

    The animation style is good, even though it seems to be dated as the anime was made during the 80s. Many of the scenes with heads and bodies exploding has been toned down probably in order to avoid eventually censorship, but still this anime has loads of action scenes and some scenes of humor and dramatic to make the fans of 80s action-filled anime entertained. This is a classic fighting anime after all.

    The soundtrack is also good, and fits very well with many of the dramatic and battle scenes taking place. The theme song "Ai Wo Torimodose" by Crystal King is catchy as well.

    Because of all of the things I've mentioned here in this review: By all of the fighting anime I've seen, like "Bleach", "Naruto" and "Dragonball", this one has to be the best fighting anime series I've watched so far, if not the best anime TV-series of all time.

    The Malay DVD box I've got as a Christmas gift, as bought through eBay before Christmas 2013, contains as follows: The original 109-episode series and it's 43-episode long sequel, and six movies which also includes the 1986 movie remake.

    Worth checking out if you're into action-packed anime, regardless if it was made in 1984 or 2014. A true classic after all. My overall rating: A well deserved 10/10.
  • The characters aren't mutated warriors like that other fellow said (at least not in the original japanese version). These people are extremely gifted martial artists. Kenshirô, the main character, is a master assassin and the next in line to take over the Hokuto shin ken art. As Ken is chosen to be the master of the art by his teacher, his older school brothers (mainly the menacing Rao) are outraged by this and choose to violently leave the order, killing their teacher in the process. Keep in mind that only one master can be chosen and the rest of the students must either have their memories erased or their ken (fists) destroyed. Apparently the art is only meant for the best warrior and no internal struggle must persist. The character, Shin is a master of the Nanto sei ken (south fist or something like that). He is the first of four other nanto masters who will confront Ken.

    Anywho, one can describe Kenshirô as a mix of Mad Max and Bruce Lee with a Road Warrior/kung fu/samurai flick backdrop. The series goes on as Ken battles his brothers, the nanto masters, and a bunch of other freaks with some flash backs here and there to help explain the story. The great thing about this series are the characters. They're not just evil dudes who kill kill and kill. Not only are they extremely colorful, they all have their reasons for their actions. You'll find that most of the major villains are regarded as heroes by the end.

    Because this series is based on a comic book, you can expect to find some glitchy plot holes. But don't worry, the characters and the action are enough to make you forget about these plot holes.
  • For me Fist of the North Star will and always be the "BEST" that Manga's ever produced.

    Violence and humor were here. I'm amazed to just realize that this was made in 1984 as I first viewed this back in 1993 assuming it that it came out then?

    Brilliant artwork excellent voice-over characterization really help give this film a convincing approach as to how well you immerse yourself with both plot and character details.

    Don't let this one pass you by, Fist of the North Star rules. . ..
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A while back I bought the Chinese box set of Fist of the North Star which came with all of Fist of the North Star, Fist of the North Star 2, New Fist of the North Star, and the Fist of the North Star movie. While there is an American Version and a few European Versions, they end half way through Fist of the North Star which is about as far as the movie goes.

    The series is about the successor of an ancient martial art called Hokuto Shin Ken (Fist of the North Star) named Kenshiro, or Ken for short. There is only one successor each generation. It takes place in a post apocalyptic future where martial arts is the most powerful weapon. The two most powerful arts are Hokuto Shin Ken and Nanto Divine Ken as my version calls it. Nanto is really multiple styles but they are all the same since they allow a person to chop someone to pieces. There are six Nanto masters and each has their own star. Hokuto is an art that allows someone to damage/kill or heal someone by hitting a point on their body. Each art has their own constellation. Hokuto - Big Dipper, Nanto - Gemini. Kenshiro goes around saving the world from evil consisting of going after his two brothers and three of the Nanto masters and their armies. Each army captain has their own way of fighting which makes each episode different and the number of soldiers bloody. Also, Kenshiro is looking for his girlfriend Yuria who was stolen by the Nanto master Shin. Along the journey Kenshiro is joined by his brother Toki after rescuing him from his brother Rao who calls himself Kenou or Boxing King. He is also joined by two Nanto masters Rei, who is looking for his sister who was taken by Ken's brother Jagi, and Shu. Both of them and Toki die along the way. Other characters that join Ken are two kids Rin and Batto who don't do much. That's about as much as I can say for story since its so long and full of details. The series is also divided into four parts.

    What makes this show great is the fighting. Ken normally goes up against a group of people that think they are tough and then get killed in one hit. Which is funny and badass, but makes for quick fights. Another great part is comedy/badassness. Ken hits someone, and they think its nothing. Ken says they are already dead. Then they die. Other parts are when he'll hit them and tell them they have a few seconds to live. Then a counter will pop up. Or when he tells them they are not worthy of knowing his name. Then there is when he does a rapid fire kick or punch and goes wa da da da da da da etc. Eventually you might find yourself doing it with him. One great part was when a bad guy thought he knew Hokuto. He went up to Ken and hit him. Ken stood there said he was dead in a few seconds. The bad guy counted off then died. It isn't limited to Ken everyone else kills just as quick. There has never been a character as awesome as Ken and their probably never will.

    There are a few problems though. One is the repetitive nature. Some flashbacks mainly the one with Yuria being taken are played too much, and there are also too many recap episodes especially in part four of the series. In fact, the last episode is a recap of the whole thing. Another problem is the ending. The final battle with Rao wasn't that impressive. Ken and Rao fought then talked, etc, until Rao came to some realization and kills himself instead of Ken killing him. But it is better than the American and European versions that just cut off halfway.

    Who would I recommend this for? This is for older teenagers and adults who like action. Since the styles cause people to explode or get cut into pieces, the violence is very graphic and there is a lot of it, but they don't show much blood because they usually make the death just a silhouette that still looks like the person but less colorful. This was probably done to avoid censorship. If you don't like action rent the American Version. If you like action though, then I say go for the import since you can see all of the series, but they do not have the best English translation since it is subtitled by the Chinese. Note: My import came with everything I said at the beginning, some imported versions do not, but you still have to get an import to see all of the series and Fist of the North Star 2. If you don't think you can handle the subtitles for any reason then go get the American Version. Another note: In the version I got no subtitles were on the last disc for New Fist of the North Star; although, New Fist of the North Star isn't very good to begin with.

    I give the show an 8/10 for its high amount of action, good story, and the awesomeness of Kenshiro.

    ****UPDATE****

    Toei Animation released an English subtitled version. You can download the episodes as well as Hokuto no Ken 2 from IGN's Direct2Drive or watch it free on FUNimation's site.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    While watching the series, I was doing some reading about what other people thought about the show. I found (not particularly here though) that there is some dislike and some misconceptions about the show. So I thought I'd try to clear them up.

    The first thing to understand is that the show is over 20 years old. It was made during the rein of shows like Macross, and the evils of Dragonball. The animation quality, while still fairly high, is now seen as just crappy. The villains emit light whenever Ken kicks the crap out of them, and the plot is thin and drawn out. The truth of the matter is that 20 years ago, censorship wouldn't allow the showing of blood on TV, and Fist of the North Star is about as bloody as they come. The animation is poor-er because it is over 2 decades old.

    The plot seems thin, or non-existent, but it is actually quite good. Keeping in mind the time when it was made, most anime tended to have lighter themes (like Macross). While the plot does seem to drag at times, it is there, and the progression of story does not stop for half a season at a time like Dragonball does.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that the show was about 150 episodes. Manga Ent only released some 30 of them, and so there are many of the show's plot lines that are missing. At the end of the Manga releases, *SPOILER* we learn that Ken's brother Jagi turned Shin to evil, and that Jagi was posing as Ken to tarnish his decent name. We also learn that Raoh (also know as Kenoh), another of Ken's brothers, has hidden Ken's only good brother (Jagi and Raoh are dicks), and is going around being really, really evil, and each are trying to take the title of the Fist of the North Star *END SPOILER*. After this point, I have no idea what happens for the other possible half of the series. As you can see, there was a very lengthy and fairly rich plot, and the release of only some 30 episodes doesn't begin to crack the surface of the show.

    Now that I've cleared up some of the questions, I will go on to my generic review of the show. Very cool. Lots of stupid violence. There really is no word to describe the ridiculous amount of violence in the show, and it is amazing that it was able to get on TV, even with the toned down stuff. But the show actually has a pretty good plot (if you watch all of it).

    Points of amusement include the fact that all major villains are 9+ feet tall, and have mohawks; and how when the world gets nuke, everyone seems to become an asshole. Ken's gigantic eyebrows are also entertaining.

    As far as other viewing goes, if it is Fist of the North Star, it's good. The manga is undoubtedly great, and the Fist of Blue Sky manga is pretty cool (details Ken's uncle, who "Fisted" in China, fighting crime bosses for the good of the nation). The anime movie is pretty good, from what I recall, and retells the early show's plot. Even the live action movie, for as terrible and painful as it was, was actually pretty good. Other than a few beefs (like Shin gas peddling Ken) and the horrid special effects and stage fighting, the movie does tell the Shin-Yulia plot fairly well. Just don't watch the Korean adaptation (where all of the actors look nothing like the characters, and the opening seems to focus on their new camera filter than on the actual opening). Or if you do, try to enjoy it for what it is.
  • Fist of the north star is easily my favorite anime movie ever. The film is set in a post apocalyptic wasteland where Ken the fist of the north star searches for his kidnapped girlfriend after being brutally beaten and thrown in a chasm. There's lot's more to it than that though, He has some evil brothers that want to kill him because he is the true prophet and they want his title. Ken joins up with a couple of kids and a deadly guy named ray who slices his enemies apart in some of the most brutal violence in film history. The intensity of the action alone in this movie makes it worth seeing. You see characters screaming battle cries and destroying cities with their fists, slicing and dicing they're enemies apart graphically, and causing bad guys' heads to explode with ken's touch of death. The plot although not explained well enough sometimes, is also very good and the voice acting is also good (look for the voice of the guy who played the father in the fresh prince of bell air as the leader of the guys in bear hides.) The animation dosen't flow flawlessly like in something like ninja scroll or akira but as in a lot of anime with limited budgets they make it look excellent with a minimalist style. The drawings are superb and add to the epicness of the story giving the characters huge pumped up bodies and absurd amounts of power. (punching over buildings, breaking tables due to intense mental powers, crushing peoples heads effortlessly) Some people might not like the over the top presentation of characters being fifty feet tall in one scene and then being in proportion to everyone else the next, but you must understand this is just to present the terrifying presence and power of these characters. I think it's brilliant. Rent it at all costs!!

    PS The rapper Jeru the damaja samples and quotes the opening voiceover of fist of the north star on his album The sun rises in the east!
  • hellraiser710 April 2015
    This is one of my favorite anime of all time as well as my favorite Shonen manga/anime, out of a lot of them I just found this one to be the most fascinating.

    I really love the story, I love the fact that it's a combo of both post apocalyptic sub genre and fantasy which is just a beautiful combo and isn't something we see much, one example is Ralph Bashi's "Wizards" but that's a different story.

    I like that each of them have story arcs which was for it's time unique in animation and TV, sort of like with shows like "Lost", "Once Upon a Time", and "Game of Thrones". Each of the arcs develop and there is even some depth in both plot and character, where almost most of the episodes hold a crucial detail you don't want to miss.

    I even like how dark the show is as we see some scum of the earth people just murdering innocent people for no reason or no good reason. This was shocking for it's time because it wasn't something you seen in fantasy or even the comics where collateral damage takes place. This I feel really gave the show a sense of reality showing that heroism has it's limitations, the mission is to save lives but not everybody because it's logically impossible; Kenshiro despite his abilities is human he can't be everywhere even if he wants to. But also the deaths of the innocent is just all the more motive for Kenshiro to give the scum exactly what they deserve because their practically asking for it.

    Charactaerisation is great, protagonists and antagonist. Each of them have a great amount of depth which makes both fascinating and even some of them greatly sympathetic and tragic. Kenshiro is one of my favorite anime protagonists because he is awesome but at the same time tragic because in a way he's is both blessed and cursed, despite his ability to punish evil, he can never really find true peace, in a way you can say the ruined landscape reflects his troubled soul. It's the same with even antagonists like Raoh whom despite his strength and power is really a broken person inside which really made you feel for him even forgive him. His conflict with Kenshiro is one out of envy because of Ken being chosen to be "Fist of the North Star" as well as sadness where he feels his father didn't love him as equally as his brother.

    The action is great, there is an excessive amount of gore or at least the suggestion of it probably enough to fill two or more Olympic Pools. And just an excessive amount of creative kills. From plenty of heads, chests and other parts of the body exploding, limbs and heads getting cut in half, you name it it's just crazy. But to me what makes these fights stand out is more in the execution of them.

    Each of the protagonists and antagonists don't use superpowers but they use a specialized martial arts which is based on harnessing inner strength/power as we as the utilization of a certain physics, which I find fascinating and actually makes the battles seem a bit more three dimensional and seem more interesting than the typical super powered battles where two opponents are simply blasting away at each other till one goes down. You actually see the protagonist have to struggle a bit and hope whatever technique their armed with will

    Each of the martial arts are unique and were inspired by real martial arts systems. Hoto No Ken is sort of a form of Kokondo Karate (martial art I'm studying) almost since like that martial art it's based on hitting vital points of the body. Rei's martial art (forgot the name sorry) is based on Tai Chi as it's based on the non use of force and the use of flow. And plenty of others you have to see to believe.

    The battles are great seeing Ken and even his buddy Rei just take down practically an army of baddies which would make Rambo almost envious. But it's really the one on one battles with certain colorful enemies that are great, some are literally David and Golith battles as most of the opponents are practically almost the size of buildings. My favorite one was always Ken's battle against Raoh, which really felt and looked like a fifty fifty battle as we see both use power techniques on each other and are bleeding like crazy.

    And of course that soundtrack is just rockin, this show has one of the best soundtracks out of any TV show I've ever heard. The theme songs are great their all my personal favorite themes of all time. Mainly that first theme song is one I love the most because it just has an awesome tune that just gets you pumped up and going, this is the kind of song I sometimes play when I workout.

    However this show isn't without substance as it also has a certain amount of philosophical and moral themes. Interal/spiritual strength and perception, the constant fleeting nature of external power, selflessness outweighing selfness, forgiveness, redemption and the constant struggle for harmonious balance.

    Well I've said enough, Fist of the North Star packs a punch.

    Rating: 4 stars
  • This series itself retains something of a cult following - not least because of its distinctive tone and setting, which packages pounding martial arts action, a deconstruction of the family, as well as interesting homo-erotic undertones - all set in a Mad Max style post-catastrophe landscape. After a devastating global war, we are told, life for mankind has turned into a nightmarish struggle, not only because of the barren environment but through the depredations of mentally deranged, mutated savages.

    Ranged against them, and all evildoers, is Kenshiro, master of a particular fighting technique, Hokuto Shinken, a virtually unbeatable martial skill that works on manipulating the secret power points of opponent's bodies, destroying them from within. Ken was trained up with his evil half-brother Shin, the Fist of the South Star, and who represents a polar opposite from him. He practices Nanto Seiken, a martial art that destroys from without. But Shin stole Ken's beloved Julia, this after fighting our hero, marking his chest with the seven distinctive scars which echo the sign of the Big Dipper and leaving him for dead. The narrative of Fist Of The North Star primarily consists of Ken's attempts to regain Julia and overcoming various champions of Shin.

    The series makes almost no concessions to reality - not least of which are the sheer number of Shin's followers, duly met and thrashed on each occasion by Ken (or come to that, the amount of thin T-shirts which the hero destroys, then replaces unseen, with each encounter). His opponents are generally the mutants, who as a group are unsympathetic, grotesque and brutish. Many viewers have commented on the surreal arrogance of these killers, their bodies often drawn ridiculously out of proportion, towering over hero Ken and the regular humans. But mutation is just as it suggests, although the animators feel free to add to the macho incongruity of it all by adding Mohican haircuts, outrageous outfits and snarling dialogue. In comparison Ken is a model of sobriety, often warning his opponents to cease their activities before he strikes.

    On his travels Ken is accompanied by two youthful helpers, both acquired in the first few episodes. One is the orphan girl Lynn and her puppy. The other is Bart, Ken's self styled 'business manager' as he makes clear in an earlier episode always, ostensibly on the fighters behalf, always looking for the main chance to profit from Ken's unique skills. Together with a repeated emphasis on Ken's lost love Julia, this group makes up a peculiarly fractured family, with normal relationships distorted by the world in which they find themselves. From this point of view, Ken's repeated attempts to get his woman back, as well as his repeated rescuing of social groupings (the mutants never have kin), equates a drive for regular familial balance.

    The twist is North Star's visual insistence at the same time on butch body display and the repeated physical contact between the vaguely camp males making up the greatest number of dominant characters each week. (My favourite is the handlebar-moustached and splendidly named Colonel Mad, who fights with his blades dipped in scorpion venom.) In fact Ken faces no villainesses at all, at least until well into the second DVD volume. This is a series where the exaggerated torsos of the combatants is a hallmark, only equalled by their swollen braggadocio, itself suggestive of sexual taunting. Blood in the show is never the common red; rather it assumes a weird milky colour, exploding into the air at the climax of each encounter, while Ken's characteristic chest scarring was symbolically produced by the slow penetration of his skin by Shin's powerful fingers - a moment echoed later in the series. The result of all this imagery is thematic psychosis, arguably as pronounced as that enjoyed by the mutants who populate the landscape of future Earth: heterosexual Ken has a lady love and two children in tow; 'other' Ken with his body builder physique, has an intense relationship with his half brother, wears tight T-shirts and sleeveless jackets, and spills all that uniquely coloured blood in one casual encounter after another...

    The distinctive 1980s' animation style is an advantage when depicting such a barren landscape, the desolation of which also reflecting Ken's emotional emptiness, deprived of Julia's presumed humanising contact. Manga's box set offers generally excellent picture quality. Opinion has been divided over the relative merits of the two soundtracks on offer; the original Japanese suffers from its mono origins while the re-release English dub offers a more visceral techno musical score, which more easily conveys the urgent brutality of it all. However this reviewer, at least, prefers the original with its far more sympathetic voicing of Ken's young followers - his modern voice in particular makes of Bart an irritating brat - while the score, although less monolithic, has a contemporary charm. Most especially, each episode is interrupted for an on-screen announcement of the baroque martial technique Ken has selected for the current fight ('Spinning Wheel Explosive Punch', 'The Hundred Crack Fist', 'Mountain Splitting Wave', etc). The modern version does its best, but the original intonation makes such moments highlights in themselves.

    Fist Of The North Star is full of such ritualistic moments: the repeated (and failed) attempts of Shin to woe Julia for instance, or the rending of Ken's red shirt; the various exploding heads, or the fighter's famous pronouncement over those opponents whom, it appears, he has just touched, and who continue their arrogance yet: "You are already dead." In addition, each of the episodes is named in vengeful, declamatory fashion: Villains! Ready Your One Way Ticket To Hell!; Stormy Times, Titanic Battles, Is Battle All That Awaits Me?; Sinners! Thy Name Is Fang! etc. It's a characteristic that seems bizarre to western eyes, but the self-awareness reveals something about the original, local deliberation behind the series. Seen today, despite - or because of - its extremes, and curious undertones, it remains strangely addictive.
  • It's with great pleasure that I be the first critic to write the review for "Fist Of The North Star".

    After writing several number one reviews, I will write a great review for this incredible anime.

    Fist of The North Star is based on the movie and manga which has been one of the top anime fan picks ever!!!

    It's based on a post nuclear society in which their is no law. Only the strong shall survive.

    Kenshiro , the hero of our story is part several brothers of the Hotushin school of Martial Arts.

    His Brother Jagi, Toki and his friend Shin all were honest, fighters, but all their hearts became evil.

    Jagi became jealous with envy after the leader of the school chose Kenshiro as the new leader of the school.

    Jagi tries to kill his brother, but Kenshiro using several moves including his "North Star Death Fist" stops Jagi and leaves Jagi face disfigured and ugly.

    But this is only the beginning as Kenshiro, remeniscent of the Clint Eastwood Western character, travels to place to place battling Evil and giving hope and entertainment to the people he meets.

    I am laughing right now, because I have all the episodes on tape, and I keep getting amazed with every episode I see.

    The series is hard to find, but through my best friend I've gotten it on tape.

    I am sure they are people who would love to see this series, so email me if you want it.

    Back to the series:

    Fantastic action!!! Unbelievable moves and many groundbreaking animation scenes make "Fist Of The North Star" one of the greatest anime ever made.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is a very long anime with more than 100 episodes in season 1 which is the best one. Many fighting scenes and most end up the same with a exception of the last one which has a twist I did not expect.

    The music and the first intro is just phenomenal and really flows with the animation most parts but it gets re-used a lot and there's nothing wrong with that but hearing the same ambient music from the beginning til the end is a tad bit repetitive.

    The story is very long which makes you get to know all of the main characters better and perhaps even develop deeper feelings for them compared to season 2.

    If you like the old style anime from the 90's and 80's this is a must watch and I didn't live back then so I got to enjoy this on sites I won't name which I don't regret watching and would happily recommend.

    The cons are that is feels a bit dragged out and repetitive sometimes otherwise it's a masterpiece. 9.5/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    There is no subtlety in this excellent animated series. It is violent, loud, passionate and steadfast in the morality of its dialog. The characters are (literally) larger than life, and good and evil wear very white and black hats...most of the time.

    The plot is reasonably simple. I mentioned a spoiler alert because I feel that describing the three story arcs is indeed giving something away. Here goes. The Earth has been ravaged by a nuclear war, so the entire world is essentially desert wastelands and villages that were once cities. Three types of people exist: normal people, evil hulking punks, thugs, barbarians and other horrible nameless idiots, characters with varying levels of superhuman martial arts ability. The most 'super' of these super-humans are those skilled in the Fist of the South Star, or the Fist of the North Star. Basically, South Star disciplines (there are six of them) are techniques that slice someone up, and North Star disciplines (there is only ONE of them) uses pressure points to blow someone up after a series of strikes. Don't get me wrong though, all the practitioners are walking bulldozers that can apparently punch down buildings. The hero of the series is Kenshiro, sometimes known as Ken. Quite early on, we find out two things..(1) he is the new Fist of the North Star and (2) he got his girlfriend Yuria stolen by his "friend" Shin, who left him for dead, with a bunch of scars on his chest....

    Arc 1: Ken goes looking for Shin, and encounters several villains along the way, who are terrorizing villages of different kinds. We learn just how powerful Ken is, as he dispatches everyone. He makes some friends, in the form of some kids.

    Arc 2: Ken meets Rei, a noble fellow who is a South Star Master. Most people who watch the series generally think Rei is the coolest character ever. We also learn more about how Ken was selected as the Fist of the North Star, and that he has a couple of brothers (Toki and Raoh) who were also in line, but they didn't get picked for various reasons. We learn more about the other South Star Fists...some good...some bad.

    Arc 3: Ken is now 'competing' with Ken-Oh, a monstrously powerful martial artist (North Star) who wants to rule the world. Ken-Oh could be described as a bit of an anti-hero but I will leave that up the viewer.

    That's it. So, the different levels on which this can be enjoyed: 1) Anime beat-em-up with heads exploding. 2) Soundtrack ranging from soulful to J-rock cool/cheesy. 3) Love story. 4) Friendship story (think buddy cop but more serious and with punks being destroyed) 5) Deep philosophical journey over what it means to be good and evil, or what drives man to do different things.

    I warn you right now, for a heads-exploding anime with some repetition and a lot of yelling, this series can lay claim to some of the most emotionally powerful moments ever put to celluloid. I won't spoil them here but when you are done with the first 108 episodes (don't bother with the others) you will have completed an incredibly satisfying journey.

    You Wa Shock, indeed.

    P.S. Asunaki Tabi is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard.

    P.P.S. If you have a history of body image dysmorphia in your family, be careful watching this series.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Fist Of The North Star, what can I say? It's an anime I feel doesn't receive much appreciation from certain groups outside Japan due to 2 factors. First is the horrible dub by US distributor MANGA with a completely bad change in music background and a lame rockish replacement for the Japanese opening and ending theme songs used in the US dub. The second being the animated movie, which tries to tell the first half of the manga and anime's story in one movie while also removing important characters and events that were in the series that it was so hard to follow.

    Set in a post apocalyptic world where the Earth is barren and the strong survive by preying on the weak, the series follows the journey of Kenshiro, the successor of Hokuto Shinken (Divine Fist of the North Star), a secret martial arts style that allows its practitioner to destroy an opponent's body from within by striking their secret pressure points, often resulting in a violent and gruesome death. Kenshiro uses his skills to protect the weak and innocent against the numerous villains that threaten their survival while seeking to rescue his love Yuria who was taken from him by his once close friend Shin, master of the Nanto Seiken (Sacred Fist of the South Star).

    Plot sounds simple, right? It also seems simple in the first 30 episodes but it isn't, deep in the story is a tragic plot about men who grew up as brothers destined by fate to fight to the death to see who is the true successor to the Hokuto Shinken school of martial arts. It's sounds like something out of an old school Kung Fu movie and I like it. Tetsuo Hara and Buronson, creators of the original comic book claimed they were highly influenced by Mad Max and Bruce Lee movies.

    Even though many of the antagonists are your typical one dimensional evil and cruel villains, that's not always the case however, Raoh the main antagonist of the series is more dimensional than he seems.

    Of course, the animation seems to be a big issue for some people, well it was done in 1984 so I don't really see the argument about it since it's the typical TV animation of that era in Japan.

    The soundtrack in the original Japanese version is truly fitting with an awesome opening theme. Unfortunately all that was replaced with a mediocre Rock soundtrack in the US dub.

    However, the anime has certain issues against it, the character designs need a little getting used to and may not be enjoyed by everybody but it improves over time and actually fits the mood of the anime.

    Then, we have the usual issue common in anime, that is the issue of filler episodes especially in the beginning, you see in the comic, the first story arc involving Kenshiro's final fight with Shin only lasted about 25 chapters, that's roughly about the first 2 volumes out of the whole 27 volumes, however the animators decided to extend this with anime exclusive story lines that had Kenshiro fight Shin's subordinates (some were actually either anime exclusive villains or not part of Shin's force at all in the comic), this brings me to my second problem with the anime as it seems to drag on before getting to the important plot points but in my opinion, it's worth it.

    I guess I'm mostly positive on the anime is because it got me to read the comic, which has better pace in terms of its plot than its anime adaptation however in my opinion I take the FOTNS anime series over new wave animes like Naruto anyday. Overall, it had heart and soul, which is truly evident near the end, which is something titles like Naruto seem to lack in my opinion.

    I know many may not agree with me and some might actually react with confusion and question my mentality. But that's okay, I understand the series isn't everybody's cup of tea however to me, the anime series is more than some brainless violent kung fu fighting action series because believe it or not, I don't really go for the brainless violent action anime, I believe FOTS is much better than that.
  • Don't get me wrong, this manga production is seriously flawed in places. As most would point out, it is excessively gory. Heads pop and people explode, frequently. The plot, basically about a guy searching for his kidknapped girlfriend, in a post nuclear war ravaged planet, is kinda weak. The japanese humour may also annoy the less tolerant viewer but, and this is an important one- the excellency of this anime story is its perfect atmospherics and ambience. Forget the over-hyped Akira, (though it was much more stylish). FOTNS is a triumph for its desolate tone, and great portrayl of post-apocalyptic isolation.
  • This masterfully written and developed story is told by means of pain and tears. Crude, unfair and definitely sad, it uncovers the reasons behind the power quest.

    Love is the key of the story and it is shown as the story unfolds, the main character Kenshiro goes through a journey and unnoticed by viewers he becomes spiritually deeper. The plot twists are unexpected and there is richness in the story and characters are developed in depth.

    Several actors (japanese) reflect high stake through their voice as they transmit deep emotions. Must be said the last words of Souther are a great voice performance and can be overwhelming to the audience.

    This is a story surrounded by hate, pain and violence but it must be seen as an allegory to human passions and the hidden truth of love beyond all that.
  • Wow....just finished the 109 episodes ; this story in not only amazing by its dept and maturity make it one of the best manga that I ever seen.

    I recommand that you look at this serie before anything else of the Hokuto.
  • jameslevay28 November 2018
    This show is so badass it makes your beard sprout biceps it's like Dragonball z, Jojos bizarre adventure, and one punch man before those even existed. The mad max setting only adds to the coolness factor along with very badass villain designs like Roah or Jagi if you wanna watch manime watch this along with JoJo, Baki, and Berserk
  • WW3 has come & gone. The world lay ravaged, raped by mankind & its wars. Humanity must battle & survive the attacks of the mutated & horrid outlaws of the "new" world. One man armed with only a fighting man's knowledge that even puts "kebono-oko" or "kame-senin" to shame beyond belief. Hokuto Shin Ken [North Dipper Godfist]a powerful ancient age old (2000 yr) martial art passed only from father to son(s). The hero of this tale drenched in blood & honor, is Kenshirou Kasumi the 64th successor to Hokuto Shin Ken. In this tale the kind hearted Ken & his love Yulia were attacked by his former friend Shin of the opposite style of Nanto Sei Ken [South Dipper Sacred Fist] who is hell bent on taking the lovely girl. Yulia is stolen by Shin & Ken is left with seven scars in the shape of the Big Dipper on his chest. Ken's sole goal is to defeate Shin, but finds this adventure leads down a winding path to the death of his friends, family conflict, more & more death, & the loss of his true love. This anime has much social context & then some worth checking out especially if you are a fan of fighting series. Though this isnt DBZ/GT it is a good & to me a better series sticking to the point & what the show was about Ken, the soveriegn Fist of the North Star & how a man's yearn for love will take him to hell & back. "Give the devil my regards"-Kenshirou
  • One of my all time favorites and one of the best anime ever made. And the godfather of many wonderful manga like Jojo and berserk. Fist of the north star is a great journey you shouldn't miss. And aside from all the killing, blood and explosiond the show has a deeper meaning and a real message which is love. You wa shock!
  • Be prepared to hear the abuse of this phrase yelled more than once, by yesmen that will be defeated at the hands of Ken. Ken the fist of the North Star romps to his love, Yulia the Nanto mistress (daughter of a Nanto Sei Ken master). Though much of the series is plagued by Ken ripping off his shirt & it coming back mysteriously after he is done fighting. This is actually some of Toei's best work in Hara Tetsuo's masterpiece of the dark mad-max like anime. Hokuto No Ken, a mostly 2-d look at humanity holds on to the feel of a ever grimming society in the hands of mad men...just like now!! Hold on for the ride panned & plauged with techniques like "Hundred Crack Fist of the North Star" or "Flying Defensive Fist of the North Star" or "Five Finger Explosive Burst" or my personal favorite "The Hundred Wave Slash of the North Star". Just remember its still better than DBZ/GT.