The Fist of the North Star TV series is based on the Japanese Manga of the same name and is from the same people who brought us the original Fist of the North star animated movie, which is a compressed retelling of the first 100 or so episodes of this series.
Fist of the North Star revolves around Kenshiro and his deadly martial art Hokuto Shin-ken in post apocalyptic Earth. He is the successor to this art and only one practitioner may practice it once a successor is named.
We’re introduced to Ken after he is betrayed and nearly killed by his friend Shin, who steals Ken’s fiancee Yuria away from him. After a long recovery, Ken hits the road to defeat Shin and get Yuria back.
During his travels he beats up thugs and helps those who are unable to defend themselves. He eventually meets and keeps the company of two kids – Bart and Lynn. Together they travel to help the less fortunate form gangs, and kill any powerful and evil men taking advantage of weaker people with the ultimate goal to find Shin and take back Yuria.
It doesn’t stop there!
This series is 152 x 25 minute episodes, so we jump from one story arc to another and the whole series gets incredibly epic!
There’s actually two series in this whole franchise, series one which is 109 episodes and series two which is 43 episodes.
I don’t want to give away any plot points, but in series one Ken also teams up with a man named Rei and ends up meeting, and usually fighting against, all of Rei’s brothers from the Nanto Seiken – another highly powerful martial art.
As things develop Ken also must face his adoptive brothers from Hokuto who failed to become successors of the style, with one in particular being the most powerful – Raoh.
Raoh becomes the main ‘arch nemesis’ for Ken as he is immensly powerful and even considered to be more powerful then Ken himself. So things get incredibly interesting.
This first series is by far the most interesting part of the entire show. I was impressed how certain enemies became friends of Ken after their defeat, as he learns something about them and himself during their fights.
Ken’s abilities grow as he fights many more opponents who are conceivably more powerful than him is cool to watch and he simply evolves past their abilities and becomes a better person.
The second series can get a little boring in the middle but finishes and ends just as interestingly. When Ken returns he meets up once again with Bart and Lynn, who are now fully grown up and fighting with their ‘Hokuto Army’.
They face a new style as powerful and Hokuto and Nanto Seinken before crossing the dead see to the island of Shura.
The island of Shura is considered to be extremely violent with many more skilled fighters than that land where Ken was living. He meets more people from his past and we learn even more about his upbringing and relationships with Raoh and Toki – although Jagi seems to be non existent in these flashbacks.
It finishes with an epic battle that brings more family to the palette, but I won’t give away the main points!
The Action and Martial Arts
The animation is not so fantastic, but the drawing style can be heavfily detailed at times and matches the look of the Manga to some degree.
We see Ken using some impressive pressure point strikes to perform almost miraculous deaths filled with gore and fanatical injury. Much like a lot of Anime TV series though, it’s more about how their technique and training is superior, and involves a lot of talking.
The action is spoke in words and presented in a way to demonstrate the power and pace of each of fight but don’t expect top notch fighting animation. it is still incredibly entertaining to watch though!
I think it’s a total classic and I loved every minute of the show. I would recommend watching it – if you have the time! 150 episodes is a lot to watch!
Watch the first 25 episodes or so and see how you go if you’re keen! If you enjoyed it, you’ll love the rest!
On DVD –
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
Fist Of The North Star – Tv Series – DVD (6 disc set) Boxset