Bruce Lee Jesus fights gigantic berserkers and make them explode. Truly, this is The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Best thing to wake up to ever. A new anime abandon episode is always a highlight of the day for me. Especially if it involves Fist of the North Star. And to address your intro, I love when classic and big animes are covered on here. I may have disagreed with your points on Akira sometimes but it’s still one of my favorite episodes. It’s always fun when besides jokes and good times, an episode can provide me with a chance to imagine something more complexly than I was and reconsider why I like a movie/show or dislike it. Serious discussion about anime is just as great as funny discussion, and I always found the show hit a really good medium and has made me a better critic of shows I watch.
Hyper violence does have a place in popular culture, and it does actually offer up a reasonable amount of entertainment if it’s treated right. Fist of the North star did it right. Probably because not only is the violence over-the-top, the entire world in which the violence takes place in is over-the-top and melodramatic, therefore it fits the mood.
But… Word of warning. I think you’re going to get a lot of angry comments from comic book fans about that little comment that you made in regards to Lois and Clark, and Spiderman. Anytime anybody tries to suggest that maybe Clark shouldn’t be married to Lois because all superheroes shouldn’t have personal lives, people tend to get infuriated with that line of reasoning.
I think that argument was a tad incorrectly phrased. the point should have been that heroes should not allow their self interest to overshadow the greater good. falling into that trap and then recommitting out of guilt does seem to be spidermans whole thing.
I admit I only have a basic understanding of the two major comic universes as I don’t read many comics. I would probably be more interested if the whole ‘superheroes shouldn’t have personal lives/relationships’ attitude was dropped. I put my search off when Williams and Blackman walked off Batwoman.
Some time needs to pass, but, i feel that this will become one of my favorite anime abandons’. The reason being that i love how Bennett used this particular anime to tie into larger subjects such as “how ultra violence is used”, “fandoms”, ” standards for dubbing”, and ” how we can love something and still be honest about it’s short comings”. All of it handled with great pace and wording.
I think that the statement that people identify themselves with what they like is true of all humans in all cultures and sub cultures. Unfortunately our perspectives are so limited that we have to learn not to take ourselves to seriously and the things that other people say.
I think identifying ourselves by our hobbies and likes is true of all humans, but I think Bennet pointed it out well that at least in ‘nerd stuff’ we take it more personally than most. Maybe it’s because folks are used to being torn down or the idea that nerds dont have much of a social life outside of the internet (the validity of that not withstanding though), but there is such an odd sense of community that pops up around every fandom, to the point it really does become peoples lives. Theres actually a really good set of documentaries about it called “Trekkies” that shows well how some people get way to serious about something they like. I think when you get so wrapped up in something it’s really hard to take a joke about it, or have a conversation about the subjects of choice objectively while acknowledging biases or trying to step away from them.
Holy balls do I love this movie; yes, it’s utterly cheesy and over-the-top (and, at the moment, I actually prefer “Ken’s Rage” when it comes to an adaption of the comic), but this movie is just so much FUN. From the characters to the art style to the action to… everything! I could be wrong in saying this, but I’d like to think that it has just enough depth to counter balance the ultra violence without appearing too “try too hard” at spreading a certain message; to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if such things are lost on me when I myself get lost at the sight of KENSHIRO SPLITTING A SKYSCRAPER IN HALF WITH HIS FACE!!
I highly enjoyed the review, Bennett; Hell, lump me in with (what appears to be) the rare few who actually LIKE seeing their favorite films/games/comics/whatever reviewed, whether harshly or insightfully, just because I it feels like a variation of “laughing at oneself” and recognizing that even one’s favorite thing in the whole-wide-world can still have noticeable flaws. I liked Doug’s review of “Independence Day,” I liked Lewis’ review of “The Transformers; Generation 2,” and I like this. Kudos.
(Although there’s always been one thing that I’ve never understood regarding this film; when Ken strikes Zeed with the Hyakuretsu Ken, Zeed appears to be two feet taller than Ken, give or take. Yet when he gets up off of the ground, Zeed appears to be FIVE TIMES TALLER. WTF, movie!?)
I’m a fan of the manga and anime series BUT I’m not really fond of the anime movie, seeing that it tried to tell the first half of the Roah Saga in just one movie therefore removing characters who were important to the plot like Toki.
Also the Japanese version had a different ending to the fight, which ended in a draw as Lin stopped both fighters as they were both about to give the final blow.
Actually, the “Raoh wins” ending is the original theatrical Japanese ending. The “draw” ending was created for the Japanese VHS and Laserdisc.
Man, that’s confusing. I guess didn’t like the original ending.
@ 2.25 Kenshiro was clearly painted on afterwoods instead of making a new set of drawings to save money
When the movie came out on home video in Japan they added a weird filter to some scenes to obscure some of the violence. That is what is going on with the video quality during the violent scenes. As far as I know the original, uncensored theatrical version has never been released on home video in any country.
More info: http://hokuto.wikia.com/wiki/Hokuto_no_Ken_%281986_movie%29#Censorship
There was an Italian VHS that has SOME of these scenes uncensored.
I am convinced that you are reviewing my 90′s anime shelf. I have had the vast majority of ALL of your reviews and its alarming. I agree with you almost all of the time even on the ones i love (such as perfect blue).
There was a 3 Movie block that ran on TBS in the early 90s consisting of
Vampire Hunter D
and Robot Carnival.
p.s. The professional (the scene with the 80s CGI that comes right the fuck out of nowhere and looks like shit AND is never used again)
I always found it amusing that Kiba Daiou / Boss Fang was played by James Avery (The Shredder from the 1980s TMNT cartoon).
aka. Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince Of Bell Air.
Fist of The North Star can pretty much be sited as the first of the Mega Media Franchises in Japan, so we have it to thank for all the Dragonball and One Piece millions of people enjoy to this day…. also I did a little research and found that F.O.T.N.S did in fact predate Dragonabll’s run in Jump magazine by one year… just saying
Enjoyed the review; brought back a lot of rather fond memories. Concerning your hypothesis about the abrupt image quality between the non-ultra-violent scenes and the ultra-violent ones, though: I first watched FotNS a couple of years after it reached North America – so 1994 or thereabouts – and I have very clear memories of the ultra-violence on my (now long gone) VHS copy being as warped and faded as it is on your DVD copy. Therefore, I believe the image quality discrepancy had nothing to do with digital transfer problems or the unavailability of master reels, but rather was a) the intention of the original mid-80s filmmakers, for artistic reasons (?!) or to skirt the Japanese censors of the time, or b) post-post-production dickery by Streamline (the original NA rights-holders and English-dubbers) to tone-down the ultra-violence despite their release being direct-to-video and thus free of rating boards, and despite the appeal of anime in NA back in the day resting to a large degree on, “Hey, check it out: cartoons with sex and violence!”
If you’re talking about the “two warriors cross blows but it takes a moment for one of them to get hurt” thing at 6:20, I don’t know what it’s called either, but it’s been around since at least 1954 with The Seven Samurai (like at the end of this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMWsOyOHaaA). Maybe it’s part of some Chinese or Japanese theater tradition?
They do it in pokemon and digimon a lot too. Anything that has a cheap budget and they need something to kinda move and look cool.
Well. If it doesn’t have a name.. let’s name it? Get that crud up on TVTropes. Hmmmm. Slash Flick? (HA)
It’s called “Single Stroke Battle”. Because they only swing/punch/kick once and then it’s all over.
I spent most of this review squeeing, especially when Raoh was around. The guy is my favourite anime-villain ever. ^^
I want that book.
Shin is the hand parasite from Vampire Hunter D. The first one.
Eh I understand what you mean about how some important heroes shouldn’t have loved ones distract them, but I think its harsh to say that Superman shouldn’t have a love life, he does have two lives to balance and well as opposed to the hero in this film he has the option of doing both, and well he’s Superman he can handle it. Plus it would be boring to watch him just be Superman, its more fascinating to see him try to balance both and the conflicts that it creates. Sure it has the ability to become overly melodramatic, but its still an aspect to the character that makes him relatable and shows that he is indeed human.
But I will admit Peter Parker is just terrible when it comes to not letting his personal/love and heroic life get in the way of each other. Its actually part of the reason why I am not that big of a Spiderman fan, he can be so unlikable at how irresponsible he is…
I liked this episode and how it enters into discussions about attachment to media. And I think my opinions on both AKIRA and Perfect Blue are less rooted in “if you make fun of this I’ll cut you” but instead “AKIRA is the most mature attempt at a bromance subplot I’ve ever seen, Judd Apatow be damned, Kaneda is Jimmy Dean as FUCK in this” as well as “Perfect Blue wasn’t a movie, THAT WAS A WARNING! SATOSHI KON TRIED TO WARN US OF AKB48′s EVIL YEARS IN ADVANCE BUT WE DIDN’T LISTEN, which is why Miley Cyrus just seems lame to me, compared to Japan’s pop industry Miley’s gonna be fine, she lives in a land where rehab and therapy exists.” and Fist of the North Star was a good way to illustrate how something silly can make you happy, much like something like Highlander makes me feel emotions of an epic scale, come to think of it, Scott Pilgrim was just The Eagles to Highlander’s Creedence Clearwater Revival, yeah Edgar Wright gave it a new lick of paint, but having Beck on your soundtrack can’t hold a candle to Queen and Freddy Mercury, and I LIKE Beck, it’s just that his offerings there aren’t very memorable.
I understand what you’re saying….I think? but it’s a little of a stretch to compare Highlander to Scott pilgrim. Two films that have similar concepts (there can be only one) doesn’t necessarily mean they can be compared fairly. Scott pilgrim has a different focus than highlander, hence the music is different than Queen. And the story. And the fact scott pilgrim is my hipster paradise. You can like highlander more than Scott pilgrim, but you’re comparing them in a superficial way, in that you like highlander as a movie more than scott pilgrim, and those two films have almost nothing in common to compare except the high concept of fucking up people in big awesome fights. Its like comparing enter the dragon and the crow because both have fighting and they have Bruce and brandon lee.
That’s true, my painfully obvious ideological bias against hipsters betrays itself here, but I think the earnest silliness of Highlander being mocked by the cool kids whereas Scott Pilgrim being hailed as ‘the pop cinema moment of our time’ is where I’m going with the Eagles Vs Creedence thing. I’m kinda dismayed that Scott Pilgrim valourises the act of peeing out of boredom, yet Highlander stands for a lot of things, love, wanting to live forever, the human need to see people fight with swords, features updated by Scott Pilgrim yet my issue comes with the irony, Connor was gonna go all out, and let’s be real, it’s easier to sympathise with a guy who sticks with his lady till she dies of old age even in the face of trauma/infertility issues than a 22 year old who is two timing on his lady. I hope I made my apprehension a bit clearer. I like what I see in parts of Scott Pilgrim, I just wish the heroes fighting each other had greater motives than battling each other over a bus fare and a half hearted romance.
Awesome. I totally get your reasoning, so I hope I don’t sound like I’m condemning your opinion or anything. Highlander’s story is more serious, and Connor is definitely more likable, while with Scott, I can relate to the slacker pop culture nut that he represents, but you can see him as more of an asshole because he takes no responsibility over is love life and seems ignorant with his environment. Connor knows himself a bit more since he’s immortal, though, so you can argue Connors teachings from Ramirez and the past centuries and his first wife being killed and raped gives him more of a sympathetic edge than Scott, who just stumbles on these exes and really only learns a lesson after he gets stabbed to death
Oh, without a doubt, and a lot of my problems with Scott Pilgrim are rooted in that and the fact that when I first saw it, I had to get a ride from my mother to the cinema, alone to watch it. And by the end of it I just felt pissed because people like Scott Pilgrim don’t understand what it was like for guys like me who feel angry that they can get into relationships so easily and treat it like trash. But let me tell ya, Brother, whatcha gonna do, when The Perks Of Being A Wallflower is so much worse than Scott Pilgrim’s antics to the extent… that Edgar Wright should know, my apology’s coming for you. I might not have liked Scott Pilgrim’s moral fibre, but oh God, if you take the abject hipsterness of Scott Pilgrim and take out the video game fight scenes, you have yourselves a truly reprehensible film, based on a book I read and hated going in. I may detest the Scott Pilgrim comic, and I refuse to name the authors of works I detest because I combine the ruthlessness of Xerxes with the ego murdering of Carly Simon, but Edgar Wright made that watchable, good God, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower makes Scott Pilgrim, Fist Of The North Star, and even Riki-Oh look like landmarks of modern cinema by comparison, worthy of the Criterion Collection over what I just saw because my mother wanted to watch it, the same deal that got me mad at Scott Pilgrim in the first place.
What is this sorcery?! People having a constructive, civil, and understanding conversation on clashing opinions, on the internet, in the comments section?! NAY, IT CANNOT BE! Oh, great black warlock of the 8 Dark Moons, he who lives atop the Mountain of Shadows, what witchcraft will you bemuse yourself at our expense next?! What I say?!
I actually think Superman -must- have a social life to help humanize the character. Superman isn’t just a hero but a role model, and something we may someday become. While personal sacrifice is something we should all be able to do, we should also be able to love and care for those who love us. Clark Kent having Lois with him shows we can both make a personal commitment as well as a greater one. What you have to give up in order to preserve those commitments, is well part of the story.
Or that is how I see it anyway ^^;
I will admit Peter Parker’s run as Spiderman would’ve been better if it ended in the Clone Saga when he realized he -couldn’t- be who he needed to be for both his family and the mask. Then again I am probably one of maybe… two dozen people who actually likes Ben Reilly despite how bad that saga was -_-;;
I’m not a big fan of the huge franchises that last hundreds of episodes/tens of volumes, which is why the Fist of the North Star movie is perfect for me. This is everything Fist of the North Star is in a two hour period and it feels like a complete story and if you weren’t paying attention to the series or manga, you wouldn’t notice anything missing. That’s fairly rare in big franchise anime movies.
It also helps that the movie is wildly entertaining. It’s not always a great movie. Hell, it’s not always a GOOD movie, but it is a gift that keeps on giving. The insane juxtaposition of the opening credits with a classy disco symphonic score to nuclear fire, skyscraper smashing super Jesus powers, the insane amount of detail and effort put into all the creative ways people are turned into human casserole, and ultra-80′s montage “Eye of the Tiger”-ing the film as much as legally possible. I agree with Bennett. This kind of thing usually gets boring around the hour mark, but I never get tired of this one. It’s a supreme guilty pleasure that in some ways isn’t so guilty.
And yeah, I totally get the people getting fussy over not liking what they like. There are some circles where I would never bring about my opinion that the ending of the Nausicaa movie is awful (Not enough to ruin it, but if it was anyone but Miyazaki doing, they would not get such an easy pass). I’ve learned to take different opinions as simply another way of seeing something. It’s an opinion and unless it really seems like people weren’t paying attention to the entertainment under discussion, you can’t make it wrong. But tell that to the people whose jaws drop when I say Perfect Blue is kind of soured for me because its unintended message is beautiful people are decent and people considered ugly are poisoned and mentally deranged into unsympathetic monsters by their jealousy of beautiful people. Even the somewhat slimy womanizer friend of the main singer character is held in a “we like this guy” light.
well, after a look though TvTropes, that dramatic Jump kicking thing Shin and Kenshiro did could be called “Air Jousting”.
Wow… THOSE BLOOD GEISERS!!!!! :O
Does anyone know what the background music was during the part when he was doing the “King Lear” monologue bit?
On my soundtrack, it’s titled “Hokutoshinken Denshousha, Ryouken.” I have no idea what that translates to though, other than having Ryuken’s name in the title.
Thank you, I’m most gratified to know.
First thing I should mention, this is one of my top favorite movies of all time… and yet, I’m am shocked at all the love this movie is getting in the comments section. When I was in high school (1996-2000) this movie seemed to be universally hated by every person, I knew, that saw it (these were the days of Dragon Ball Z and those weird anime “Plastik” shirts). None of my highschool friends liked it or wanted to watch it either. So to this day, I’m apprehensive about showing it to new friends.
Books like “The Complete Anime Guide” weren’t too favorable to it either, and it was difficult to find information on it during those early internet days. All I really knew was that there was a Gameboy game and that I coincidently owned a Sega Genesis game called “Last Battle” that was originally a FOTNS game.
Add this to the fact that Viz never did finish their manga run of the 1st story arc (they stopped publishing it right after Ken killed Jagi. About a decade later, Gutsoon! Entertainment also tried unsuccessfully to finish the story ), that it wasn’t until 2001 that they bothered to translate the TV show (also left incomplete), that it is still notoriously difficult to get merchandise based of the property, and finally, that no American company has ever brought over those new movies released in the last part of the 2000s. So you can see why I might think that the whole franchise is hated by everyone in at least North America.
I’m actually enjoy the dubbing. The original Japanese track is rather dry and even boring at times, and you would have needed to read the manga to understand what was really going on in the story anyways. Ryuken’s
English speech during the prologue is complete altered, as is his conversation
is Raoh, so it’s not surprising that it comes off as awkward. Also note that
J(Y)ulia called Shin the “Fist of the South Star.” I guess that since there was no way for an American audience to have any exposure to the original
story, Streamline just thought it would be better if they made up their own dialogue to piece together a cohesive dub, from an already choppy, fast-paced narrative.
That ending still sucks though, and they never did make a sequel to finish off the story arc.
Actually, now that I think of it, I did show it to a 13 year old Mexican kid that had never seen anime before in his life (this was 1998). He loved it so much that he became obsessed with anime and went on to spend over $3000 on Pokemon cards, and correct me on my pronunciation of “TRI-gun.” I also showed a bootleg copy of Yuria’s movie to my girlfriend, and she liked it, so maybe there really are FOTNS fans. Yay for me!
UNCLE PHIL IS THE SHREDDER. …. I mean UNCLE PHIL IS RAO.
I’ll admit that I never really saw anything more in-depth about the franchise other than the “You’re already dead” line, but I gotta say… I’m interested now. The Shakespearean role Jagi plays, the DBZ-esque fights, and a setting that looks like Trigun fused with Fallout and… yeah. I am definitely going to look this one up.
Now I really want to see Bennet play King Lear
Actually, Uncle Phil wasn’t Raoh. He was that big, metal guy that Raoh exploded after throwing him through a mountain.
This movie rocked. I liked the Professional although its no Fists of the North Star.
Fallout was clearly inspired by Fist of the North Star, so it did something right….in the end.
Since fucking when? I don’t remember badass martial artists that can make people explode in Fallout, so….yeah you’re an idiot.
And never mind Mad Max came out years before Fist of the North Star came out.
The Road Warrior was released in 1981. FOTNS was released in 1989. Who influenced who now?
FOTNS was ’84, actually.
Mad Max still came first, though.
Hogwash, if FOTNS inspired Fallout, then why is Fallout so damned average?
Also Fallout is more inspired by Mad Max. Which FOTNS is also inspired by.
wait…Fist of the North Star is about nuclear war? That explains why Kinshiro and Rau (I hope I spelled their names right) are blue and red respectively.
i have vhs of this and i saw it 3000 times it gets better every time
btw the 3 movies that came after that are so bad
Loved this one, loved the 109 ep t.v. series also, but it pains me to even think about what the series is now a days..
Cutesy deformed slapstick “dd’ fist of the north star…? Ugh…
the series holds up . including the reboot as well as the the story of king raoh
It’s called “the single-stroke battle”, Sage. At least, according to TV tropes it is.
its funny, they have made a anime about what would of happened if the nuclear holocaust did not happen. and its called DD Hokuto no Ken!
One of my favourite series.. man the anime series was really long!
…I have to agree.
How DOES the levels of violence in this metaseries not get old?
It’s almost mesmerizing…
Why didn’t you explain Jagi and Kenshiro’s previous relationship and why Jagi has to wear that leather face gear? It’s not for BDSM…!