English: Fist of the Blue Sky
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 5, 2006 to Mar 15, 2007
27 min. per episode
R - 17+ (violence & profanity)
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.031 (scored by 748 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
action martial arts
SynopsisA mysterious man known as "the King of Death" roams the streets of pre-war Shanghai in this action-packed prequel to Fist of the North Star.
Shanghai in the 1930s is a dangerous place. Foreign governments and Chinese factions have carved the city into different quarters, each with its own laws and government, and all rife with corruption. As the major powers vie for political control, the streets are left to local gangs. Life is cheap, and death is always near.
In days past, one man walked these mean streets battling the forces of evil. He was known only as Yan Wang, "the King of Death." Few knew who he really was, but many knew that he was a master of Hokuto Shinken - Fist of the North Star - a lethal martial art. He disappeared years ago after dispatching the city's worst gangsters, and is now rumored to be in Japan. Various people have come to Japan in search of him, but who will find him first?
Related AnimeAdaptation: Souten no Ken
Sequel: Hokuto no Ken
Spin-off: Souten no Ken Specials
Characters & Voice Actors
Fist of the Blue Sky (BlS) is the prequel of the famous Fist of the North Star (NoS), showing the feats of the previous holder of the most lethal martial art in the world. Since I already made a review about the core series and because many elements are similar, I will focus mostly on comparing the two titles rather than starting from scratch.
- The artwork in BlS is definitely a lot better than NoS. It is still very realistic when it comes to body figures and does focus a lot on cool fighting poses, just like the original did. Plus, thanks to computer technology, the amount of deformed or poorly drawn characters is a lot smaller.
- The backgrounds also have much more variety in details and the colour palette is broader. NoS was taking place in a devastated world and almost everywhere it was just a brownish desert and some grey ruins of buildings. On the other hand, BlS takes place back when the world was still at its prime, and thus you see a much greater variety in uniforms, building decorations, street lights, and general the world looks a lot richer and interesting; albeit less scary because it is not devastated.
- The animation is unfortunately not better than NoS. The characters are still standing too still most of the time and even battles use speed lines and simple blurs to make you think they are moving. It is a very cheap method that makes it boring.
- Lightning/ Visual Effects are also not better. Although they are now computer generated, they still feel artificial to the most part. Blood spills in a very generic way and the impact punches have on a body just looks lifeless.
- Voice acting is pretty much as it was before; mostly macho-talk. It’s just that the amount of humor is higher and many minor goons constantly make really bad remarks with a retarded tone of voice. Takes away the serious feeling of the original.
- Music themes are nothing much. NoS had really awesome and memorable OST, but here it is just average.
- Sound effects are as cheesy as they were in the original.
- The overall story in BlS is far less exciting than in NoS. It is no longer an epic struggle for who gets to control the world but a simple local war amongst yakuza members. The Kenshiro of this series just wants to avenge the death of his fellow yakuza. He is also looking for his woman as well but that part seems to have very little importance.
- BlS has far less filler airtime than NoS, which means far more actual plot. So here the hero will not spend 20 episodes fighting weak goons before he finds the big shots and has a decent battle with them. It is far less predictable and repetitive too.
- On the other hand, BlS also stretches each event to last as much as possible, which means that things that could have been told in one episode, now last two. It is much easier to get bored as the pacing of the actual storyline is too slow, even compared to the old.
- Character interaction amongst the main players is very loose. While in NoS you would have each strong fighter to know the other strong fighters for many years and somehow affect their lives, here it feels like most of them are separate from one another and are thrown in the story when the plot requires for it.
- The cast of BlS feels a lot less exciting than that of NoS. The most powerful fighters are hardly as ambitious or imposing as those in the original.
- On the other hand, they also feel more humane and colourful. This series’ Kenshiro is a lot weaker and sometimes makes mistakes. Plus he doesn’t rush into killing everything that stands in his way and even shows compassion for some minor villains. His variety in special attacks is also far narrower which in effect makes him not almighty every time. On the other hand, many of the original’s special attacks are now used by his opponents, which makes them far more dangerous and varied in the way they fight.
- Most key characters in BlS can easily be seen as counterparts of those in NoS. They are not too boring and you even think they are more complicating than their originals.
- Most mooks in BlS don’t look like gay punk clowns; they are typical black-suited yakuza members. That makes them too generic.
- Unlike NoS, BlS, was not fully adapted to anime. That means that there is no conclusion and you are left with a gap of what follows. You just need to go read the manga.
- BlS has definitely much less value and novelty to offer than NoS simply because it feels boring for the time it came out. NoS was the first long martial arts shonen and for its time it was way too brutal and cool. BlS came out when the market was full of other shonen, most of which look cooler. Not always better but definitely cooler.
- BlS is overall less enjoyable than NoS. It has less imposing characters, less memorable scenes, and for the time it came out feels too boring. Plus, it is incomplete.
ART SECTION: NoS: 6/10, BlS: 8/10
SOUND SECTION: NoS: 7/10, BlS: 5/10
STORY SECTION: NoS: 5/10, BlS: 3/10
CHARACTER SECTION: NoS: 6/10, BlS: 4/10
VALUE SECTION: NoS: 8/10, BlS: 4/10
ENJOYMENT SECTION: NoS: 7/10, BlS: 3/10
VERDICT: NoS: 6.5 / 10, BlS: 4.5 / 10 read more
Thoughts Before Watching: Hell yeah a prequel to one of the most classic fighting Anime’s of all time hell yeah, maybe ill get to see how cool things where before the nuclear apocalypse and possibly how it all came to be…..especially with updated animation, bring it on!
Thoughts After Watching: Seriously is that it…..scratches head continuously
Well it’s definitely an improvement compared against the 80’s series but the characters and movements / motions feel painfully stiff. As usual the character designs are very templated but that itself is a common trait of this franchise. Sadly another bad thing is this anime has the look of an old visual novel game where everything looks extremely plain and it feels like someone just did a paint by numbers job on everything…it just looks extremely dull, stiff and bland.
The kill shots are as humorous as the 80’s show and the same goes for some of the bad guys facial designs but other than that the animation is disappointing…and to be honest I have seen other FOTNS OVA’s created in the 2000’s with better animation than this so yeah I am really disappointed with the overall presentation of this show
Well nothing really stands out at all here, again it just feels bland. I guess the only thing that stood out for me was the extremely humorous moments of engrish which were intentionally there when the bad guys were scheming or celebrating their short lived victories.
Op and Ed were forgettable….voice actors were alright and there was hardly any theme or BGM so there is not much I can add there….oh except…the dialogue.
The dialogue was either comical, predictable or just campy really and I guess that is due to the content of the storyline which is…erm yeah lets get to that.
Alright let me just clear up the need to know stuff.
The original 80’s series followed the protagonist Kenshiro (no last name) who was the 64th successor to the Hokuto Shinken fighting style and that story was set in 199x after a nuclear disaster.
This story here follows the 62nd successor to the Hokuto Shinken fighting style of which the 80’s character was named after, Kenshiro Kasumi or as they keep calling him in this show “Yan Wang”….this story is set in the 1930’s.
So right off the bat I was a bit disappointed that the story here wasn’t focused on our original 80’s master Ryuken and his humble beginnings but then I thought hey the ORIGINAL Kenshiro Kasumi might be even more interesting than Ryuken….well turns out not so much
The story In Souten no Ken at its core is more about gangster rivalry and territory wars than it is about Hokuto Shinken. Yep that’s right….its like if you took the gangster element of GunGrave and mixed it with FONS you will basically have this show…..so the question is does it mesh well…and my answer to that is….it probably could have if it was taken more seriously.
The pacing to the show is another problem….for the first 5 or 6 episodes the show is building up just to get started then it goes through the motions of being more of a comical “hunt down the bad gangsters” story before it goes into another element about lost love. Now I’m not saying these elements are bad they are just written very poorly here and the Hokuto Shinken theme to me just feels like a plot device for the characters to fight each other in this otherwise bland storyline.
Also to be honest the main character’s back-story goes extremely unexplained and you get little insight to how he came to be, his master or his training but rather a couple of minor flashbacks of his time as a gangster-helper.
Lastly a lot of the story elements feels like it was taken from the original 80’s series and follows a similar template for the most part but the 80’s story is far more interesting and emotionally touching than this…attempt.
The range of characters is exactly what you would expect from the FOTNS universe but I have to say I felt the bad guys in this show where the most zany and comical I had ever seen. I mean there was actually a bad guy than had a golden wig heavier then his entire body and he would fall over continuously…which was obviously going to be his downfall (hehe pun).
The other Martial artists / rivals in the show had really flimsy and stupid motivations and almost every fight ended up the same way….the bad guy was either “misunderstood” or “clouded”…I mean it got kinda sappy and felt counter-productive but hey it was so predictable after a while I just went with it.
Now to be honest the redeeming character for me is Kenshiro Kasumi himself. Unlike the original Kenshiro from the 80’s show this Ken had a lot more personality and didn’t come off as a complete messiah all the time. He has a Clark Kent thing going on at times which was very comical and he seems to like to toy around with people which I felt is more something I would do in his shoes. You can definitely see the similarities between the old and new Kenshiro but their characters are different enough to clearly put them apart. But then again when I think about the 80’s Kenshiro he didn’t have much to be happy about so maybe this is just the Kenshiro that could have been….either way I do like him…but other than that every other character in this show is just darn predictable with a capital P.
Meh overall I can’t say I enjoyed this show that much…apart from Kenshiro Kasumi killing the gangsters in funny ways, which is another constant in this franchise it was an extremely dull story.
This show does not really add anything to the universe of FOTNS or even illuminate to anything so it has little value for me except to see some interesting kills and some zany antics from dumb gangsters.
I am still waiting to see the Ryuken story as I think that would be an epic tale and a great segway to the original 80’s series…as for this show see it if you’re a die hard fan otherwise PASS on it!
Planet Tyro Rating: Watchable
FONS Franchise Blog: http://bit.ly/123faBT
planettyro.com read more
Opening Theme"Bara ga Saku Bara ga Chiru" by Rina Aiuchi
Ending Theme#01: "Kokoro no Rhythm Tobichiru Butterfly" by Doa (eps 1-12)
#02: "Kissing 'til I die" by Jun Manaka (eps 13-??)
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