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
The Earth is plundered and becomes an almost completely dead planet. As a result, clean water and food are scarce. Many bandits and would be kings engage in war to wipe out the other. Due to these events, innocent people are caught in the crossfire, and happen to fall victim to tyrants and would be kings.
Kenshiro, the master of a deadly art called "Hokuto No Ken" stands up for the weak. But, he too falls victim to a self proclaimed king when he's beaten in battle, and his woman named Yuria is taken. Now, Ken must recover from his wounds, and seek out the man who defeated him. While Ken seeks to reclaim his woman, his brother The Fist King is attempting to conquer all rival territories.-summary
Another case where the saying classic anime is hurled around without mercy. However, those of us whom know better understand nostalgia is probably the biggest reason this movie has such a solid fan base. Along with Vampire Hunter D, this is one of the very first anime titles many long time fans have seen; but in all honesty, this is not at all a reason for me to believe it's a good movie. For me, it's a bad one that gets worse but redeems itself somewhat. It has a lot of use for those drunken group gatherings.
In defense of FOTNS, it really isn't the fault of the movie. I blame the writers for taking a 100+ episode series and packing it into a near two hour movie. The story and the post apocalyptic setting is rather interesting, to include the fighting styles of the different warriors can pique one's interest. Now, where the series and the manga both do a good job fleshing out the story, the movie does not. The condensing was too extreme and FOTNS comes off as nothing more than a mere action filled and somewhat mindless anime, which is jam packed with obsessive gore. It also hurts that this movie can be extremely boring when the blood and limbs briefly stops scattering around.
The biggest and only attributes FOTNS has going for it is the violence and gore. The death scenes in this movie make Ninja Scroll appear tame in comparison. Kenshiro's martial art causes his enemies heads to explode into pieces on contact. Another character soon appears with an art just as deadly but very different. He adds a great deal of variety, and delivers some brutal action scenes. It took a very sick, and not a creative mind to conjure up something like this. However, the problem with these over-exaggerated deaths, is that after a while they begin to lose their shock value due to redundancy.
Animation is another issue. Fans of the constant reused cel style, which is disguised as the super fast fighting found in Dragonball Z will be pleased with some of the battles for the most part. I'm not a fan of this style of fight choreography. I find it to be just another lazy short cut; but some action scenes have good animation at best, which delivers some very brutal death scenes. I'm not too crazy about the artwork at all. Too many characters are done with the same models, with only differences in hair style or color telling them apart. The soundtrack has a decent score that at times fits well with the setting. The voice acting and dialogue is cheese galore.
FOTNS does have its glaring problems, but two elements that it does get right and are always over looked happens to be the setting and characterization. The world is hell and it shows through the devastation. The personalities of the characters reflect that, and are portrayed very well depicting this world. It's clearly a world where only the strong can survive. Traveling groups of people are ambushed and viciously murdered for their valuables, and guys get their chicks snatched for not being strong enough.
I understand that FOTNS, like many titles has some influence on a genre or an entire culture; but I don't recall ever being the type to recommend or praise anything because of its influence. If I don't think something is good, then I'm going to say that and not recommend it to everyone. I recommend this only to a select few; if you love loads of action and gore, then this is definitely for you.
Highs: Incredibly gory violence, great for drunken parties
Lows: Weak plot, not much variety in art work, gimmick over stays welcome