Following a cataclysmic nuclear war, the world teeters on the brink of complete destruction. Civilization is polarized into a degenerate society where opposing packs of marauding scavengers prey on helpless, homeless nomads. For those who are lucky enough to survive the constant brutality and danger, it is a bleak existence. Life an death blur into abstractions. The only hope left for mankind is to find a hero worthy of becoming the next "Fist of the North Star" - an enlightened warrior - who is capable of leading those with the will to survive out of this barrenness into a new world. But in this savage no-man's land of shifting loyalties and power-hungry demi-gods, heroes are in short supply.
"To survive in this era, what else can we use but violence?"
Kids these days talk about Jojo like it's the manliest, baddest ass, GARest thing there's ever been. Don't get me wrong, Jojo is a lot of fun- but there's always that one that came before, and boy does Fist of the North Star kick some ass.
Warning: not for weak, weenie men.
You want a 30 foot tall guy getting kicked through TWO mountains?
You want brutal, bloody violence, countless decapitations, man openers, vertical splits, exploding heads, dismemberments, disembowelments, and more?!
Ken even karate chop drops a skyscraper on his head and his face just plows through it, opening a path for him to walk through, which he follows up by punching a 25 foot tall ridiculously musclebound man once, and his head explodes into a gushing fountain of brain matter, 15 gallons of blood, and cranium and spine fragments everywhere.
Talk about sick nasty, and DEFINITELY in the good way.
Artwork and Animation: 8
Let's be straight here, FOTNS is old as dirt. It's like the Epic of Gilgamesh of anime- ancient, kickass, and stars a bunch of inordinately huge, burly dudes kicking the shit out of everyone and everything! Yeah, the blood sprays like a busted pressure washer, and sticking your fingers and fist through someone's chest like hot butter is way out there, but this cheesy goodness is just too tasty to pass. It looks old, but the animation was super solid for the time (this came out two years before Akira), and still holds up well.
But when you see Ken literally kick a 40 foot tall fat man's rippling fat rolls so fast that it whips them up into a whirlpool of lipids, sucks down on itself, and allows him to punch a hole straight through the guy and makes his head explode... WHO EVEN CARES?!?
Sound and Voice Acting: 9
IT'S USELESS AND I'LL SAY IT AGAIN: HOKUTO NO KEN IS INVINCIBLE!
Okay- the weakest part of a movie about guys who can disintegrate cities and mountains with only their fists? The adaptation.
The only thing that's even more impossible than the scenario described above is adapting 109 anime episodes and 240 chapters of anime into a single two hour movie. It just can't be done. However, did Toei ever mash as much annihilation and obliteration as they could in? Yes.
We lose a lot of characterization that just couldn't fit in the space of the movie, but it's not for a loss. When you've got Bruce Lee X stupid piles of steroid pills X Kung Fury ka-ra-te, you've got half of Kenshiro. He's the successor to the fighting style "Hokuto Shin Ken", or "The Divine Fist of the North Star", and will become the hero who kicks every dude with a mohawk, neon colored hair, of inordinate height, capes, or leather vest's ass to ensure the wasteland of 19XX is just inhospitable instead of inhospitable and lethally hazardous.
It's so 80's- the sound, the look, the macho man feel. It's larger than life, unapologetically violent, and in your face, and boy does it ever curb stomp weak, shrimpy ninnyboys. The muscle rules in the wasteland, and Hokuto no Ken has enough for everyone to be an Olympic weightlifter.
I had to dump my girlfriend because she watched "Fist of the North Star: The Movie" and instantly became a man!
The movie adaptation of Hokuto no Ken attempts to cram over 100 episodes of anime or just over 200 chapters of manga into a 2 hour run time. As you probably guessed, a LOT of character development and world building gets left out and this is a somewhat flawed adaptation of the original because it was so rushed. What it does have is some of the most batshit insane, manly action scenes in the history of anime! This movie absolutely DEFINED anime for a generation of American otaku and is the epitome of GAR that /a/tards worship to this day. Is it a deep, literary masterpiece? Not exactly. Is it skull crushing awesome! Fuck YA!
The plot is that a nuclear war has occurred and the world has become wasteland that is ruled by absurdly ripped, balls out badasses who kill people with their bare hands while doing cheesy impersonations of Bruce Lee. The plot essentially combines a testosterone drenched martial arts B-movie with Mad Max. Occasional attempts are actually made at heavy handed symbolism and depth, but in the movie that is kind of undermined by some absolutely ridiculous shit occurring 2 minutes later. One scene will try REALLY hard to compare Kenshiro to Jesus while wandering around with his long hair, cloak, and Christ beard healing sick children....then 45 seconds later he punches a 30 foot tall, grotesquely fat thug causing him to explode approximately 80 gallons of blood. This movie is best described as a "flawed masterpiece". It is FAR from perfect, but it is entertaining as hell. Fist of the North Star is so manly that it even makes a rather effeminate looking dude who kills people with his long fingernails look manly!
Everything in this movie is hyperbole upon hyperbole taken up to 11!
It not only defined anime in its time, but summed up the entire 1980s decade in terms of popular action cinema. Hokuto no Ken didn't alienate Western viewers by being oddly or uniquely Japanese. It is such an obvious imitation of big dumb American and Australian action movies from the 1980s that it could have been an American cartoon. However, Americans would never have thought to make a cartoon so absurdly violent and allow small children to watch it. This was before the age of 24/7 media coverage where parents are terrified about mass shootings. This was before those little girls were murdered by an Otaku serial killer who cast a profoundly negative light on violent anime and the people that enjoy them. This movie is a historical relic because it ONLY could have been made at that exact point in history. It is like Japan's Rocky 4. Hell, the last scene even contains a metaphor for Mutual Assured Destruction theory because everyone was so worried about nuclear war at the time this was made.
I honestly have a complex Love/hate relation with macho GAR anime. I loved them when I was younger, but I can't stand the loud mouth 12 year olds online today talking out their asses and praising shitty anime just because they think its manly. Once again 4chan is the fucking cancer of the anime reviewing world. However, I could never dislike the Hokuto no Ken movie no matter how flawed it is. This movie is simply too much fun, too awesome, and too historically important for me to truly dislike. If you absolutely HAVE to see a GAR anime, then go watch this one!read more
This is a condensed version of the series. Hard to condense 109 eps into 1 1/2 hours. Not the best or brightest animation, but a cool story with lot's of violence and cool characters. This anime is a bit corny at times as far as it's over the top style. Fight scenes that seem to always end a different, violent way. Many ways to kill a man when you can cause them to explode with the touch of your finger. Eng dub is not good, but it's actually funny (to me anyway) because it's so bad. Keep in mind that this is corny yet violent in a Road Warrior (movie) kinda way and you won't be disappointed. DVD can be found cheap if you get the eng dub version. If you like this movie, you'll love the 36 ep Manga Ent dub version or the 109 ep subtitled version. I watched all of any Hokuto no Ken I can find and I found them all on dvd. Hour after hour of hilarious violence.read more
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR: THE MOVIE is simply awful. The storyline is lacking in any coherency or nuance, the characters are all mono dimensional and uninteresting, and the presentation is turgid. Taking a 100-episode series and trying to squash it all into a two-hour movie (never a wise decision when adapting any such lengthy source material) may be part of the problem. But the major issue with FIST OF THE NORTH STAR: THE MOVIE is that it is, simply put, not at all interesting. It's basically scene after scene of blood-splattering violence, with few breaks in the action, and a virtually nonexistent plot. Characters come in and out at various times, over cluttering an already busy movie. We are never given a specific reason to care about anybody in one way or another because of that. The end result is a boring, and frankly, not very compelling train wreck that doesn't make any sense. Apparently there are two different endings to this movie, but because the movie provides very little reason to care one way or another, it's hard to know WHAT could have made it any better. The English dub, provided by Streamline Pictures, is even worse; a dreadfully wooden, robotic, stiff, and all around boring train wreck with disappointingly underwhelming turns from everyone involved, despite the presence of names like Michael McConnohie and Greg Snegoff. In fact, it gets my vote for being one of the worst dubs of all time. Carl Macek and company have done so much better. I've ripped into this movie long enough for you to get the idea. There are far superior animated movies to invest in than this joyless, unpleasant film.read more