"Weak Legs" Kenichi Shirahama would rather spend his time reading self improvement books than fighting. However, when he finally works up the courage to become strong and join his school's karate club, he is coerced into fighting a bullying upperclassman who is intent on getting him kicked out of the club. He is about to give it all up until he falls for his mysterious new classmate, Miu Furinji. In order to face this challenge, he undergoes rigorous training at the dojo she lives at, Ryouzanpaku. Some initial training by the masters there allow him to defeat his upperclassman, however his fighting prowess brings him to the attention of the powerful gang of delinquents, Ragnarok. Wishing to protect the things he loves and determined to have the strength to face the increasing adversity, he must learn various martial arts from the dojo's resident masters, taking Karate, Muay Thai, Ju Jitsu and Chinese Martial Arts and combining them to create his own fighting style!
#1: "Kimi ga iru kara" by Issei Eguchi (eps 01-15) #2: "Catch Your Dream" by Koike Joanna (eps 16-25) #3: "RunOver" by Koike Joanna (eps 26-45) #4: "Kokoro Kara no Message" by Sakura (eps 46-49) #5: "Be Strong" by Kana Yazumi (ep 50)
You are a person who loves fighting anime and is looking for something with epic battles and intense rivalries. Or you are someone who is looking for a good laugh and an entertaining anime that will last you for awhile. Or, you are somebody who is simply looking for an amazing anime that has all the right pieces that make it extraordinary. If any of those above scenarios fit you, simply put, Shijou Saikyou No Deshi Kenichi (History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi) is a must-watch anime for you to pick up on.
The story, although simple at heart, becomes more complex at the surface
as the anime progresses through the episodes. Kenichi is your run-of-the mill weakling kid who is always getting picked on by everyone and has no confidence in his abilities whatsoever. But that doesn't stop him from doing the right thing and stepping into some pretty hairy situations despite his shortcomings. The story begins with Kenichi wanting to get stronger because of his will to protect his friends. As a result, he joins the Ryōzanpaku dojo and from there on out, every episode has meaning, and will have you wanting for more. The story ends with Kenichi in an final showdown verses the leader of the most intense gang in Japan - Ragnorak. Just from that, it gives you the sense that the plot development is spectacular in this show.
The art for Kenichi is well done. All of the characters are drawn very well and have distinguishing characteristics that cosplay members will love to create. Animation is also done very well, as you have great battles and very few repetition of frames.
Arguably, the sound is probably the weakest point of the anime, and its not even that weak. Opening/ending songs are pretty good and the scores used throughout the anime fit quite well with the current scene you are watching. However, it is the voices to each character that really brings all the characters alive, as you can feel the emotion from all of the characters.
The character design in HSD Kenichi is so original and great, that you'll wonder why nobody has ever came up with this before. Kenichi is trained by six masters, who all specialize in a different form of martial arts. All of their personalities are so different and unique, you'll also wonder how each of them get along in the first place. Hence, the many comedic moments and episodes that you'll inevitably witness as they all fight amongst themselves to be the one who trains Kenichi. Ah, and let's not forget the beautiful Miu Furinji, Kenichi's love interest, who, unlike other female protagonists of similar plots, is one hell of a fighter and the reason Kenichi joins the dojo. As the anime progresses deeper in the story, you'll be unveiled to a plethora of unique characters who have different fighting styles and unique personalities, which will all amaze and have you laughing at the same time. For the sake of keeping this section as short as possible, I'm simply going to say character development is flawless in this anime.
Even with all of this that I have written about, this anime would be nothing without its comedy, and that is what makes Kenichi so much fun and enjoyable to watch. You will be literally laughing out loud at some of the hellish training that Kenichi is forcibly put through and will wonder why he hasn't died yet. (Yes, the training is that hellish). Even with 50 episodes, the comedy of Kenichi never gets old and you'll find that to be the case right up to the very last episode. Hell, sometimes you'll wish that they had more comedy than serious fights, because its that good.
All in all, Kenichi is one of those rare anime shows out there that is able to blend in comedy with the overall serious plot extremely well. One of the few qualms that I did have with this show was that the ending occurred a little to quick and you'll also wish that they gave more information about the history of each of the masters, as they provide you with relatively very little on each one of them. In the end, once you watch the final episode of this anime, it will take you five seconds or so to wish that there would be a second season to it.
History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi is a Shounen, Action, Comedy about a typical high school boy (Kenichi) who’s always being bullied, until one day, he learns of a special dojo that teaches many forms of martial arts.
From the start, this anime has a very typical story and plot. Having a high school setting, the story is about Kenichi’s quest to become stronger. The story itself is incredibly basic that any idiot can grasp its concept. The way in which the story flows makes it feel like a game; Kenichi gains some experience points => clears a stage => levels up => makes it to the next
stage. This makes it really enjoyable to watch him develop but its overall simplicity is also its downfall, due to the lack of depth to the story. This doesn’t matter too much, to the average viewer because of than the awesome fights and there’s plenty of comedy that will make it hard to take the show seriously.
This anime is full of so many interesting characters and it’s not only the 2 main ones (Kenichi & Miu). Some of the supporting characters are also great, as their little quirks make the series more enjoyable. With Kenichi being the main titular character, he proves to be quite an amazing well developed one. It just makes it so interesting to watch a "loser-kun" character with no natural talent become such a great fighter.
The quality of the animation is very peculiar because most of the time it looks really simple and crude. The action on the other hand can be pretty intense but the character’s thoughts tend to slow down the pace. The music has to be the weakest aspect of the show, as there is nothing particularly special about it. Not only that but the background sounds (birds & cicadas) don’t sound good but the SFX during fights help add to the intensity.
Overall History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi proved to be a really enjoyable and addicting Shounen Action anime to watch, as it didn’t rely on typical “power ups” and “special techniques” but just traditional fighting styles and clichés. Of course this anime would have been so much better if it was produced by a different studio but even then the story would still be very linear. If you’ve seen and enjoyed shounen action animes like “Tenjou Tenge” & "Naruto" then you’ll definitely enjoy this one.
Animation - 5
The animation is lack luster. Rather than fluid animation displaying extension of limbs and alertness of characters. Kenichi relies more heavily on the quick flash of motion with speed lines indicating action, and sequences of pictures less worthy of being called animation. Character design is uninspired-ly shounen, with an overall presentation of something one would see in the early 90's.
Bad voice acting. There really is no other way to say it. It was surprising to discover that the voice of the main character, Shirahama Kenichi, is acted by Seki Tomokazu one of my personal favorites. The music is equally bad and also
quite forgettable. I had to go back to youtube just to remember them, and even then it was unfamiliar. Also laughable are the foley effects for fights which prove highly anachronistic given current technology and processes.
Characters - 4
Nothing to see here except a plethora of sterotypes as flat as the paper they were conceived on. We have your meek protagonist who cherishes what little companions he has. His busty, pure-hearted, yet equally shy friend. Kenichi's numerous martial arts masters are all ripoffs of characters from various fighting games and movies. We have the old man with a long beard and ripped muscles, the kung fu master, the kunoichi weapons expert, the thai boxer, badass karate guy, and disciplined but dangeruous Aikido master. On the opposing side we have baddies including a tsundere who likes kittens, a bitter enemy who misdirects rage, and the main bad guy who lusts for power at all costs.
Story - 5
This story plays out as all shounen fighting shows with a hint of romance do: Fight a person and find out that something more sinister awaits. Train. Conflict of conscience. Something bad happens. Train. Fight. Get former enemies to be your friend. Train. Recognition of weakness. Train. Discover you like girl. Date. Train. Remember past with girl and baddies. Train. Turn weakness into strength. Prevail.
Enjoyment - 4
The only thing I can honestly say that I enjoyed is the application of Norse mythology in the form of giving nick-names to the "bad guys." I wasted a lot of time during the show trying to find a higher meaning behind the monikers. But clearly the creator though: Norse names are cool sounding. end of thought.
Overall - 4
Kenichi is a laughably mediocre show. I once had this score at a six (I tend to give middle of the road shows the benifit of the doubt), and then a five; however, while writing this review I have come to the conclusion that this show is not the sum of its average parts. At no point in time does this show take the viewer by surprise. Everything from design to execution is bizarrely over-exaggerated and banally predictable. Even if one is a fan of the genre, I doubt that it stacks up to any of the heavy hitters, or even the more marginally popular fare.
History's Greatest Disciple Kenichi starts off as somewhat slow and mediocre. I myself was forced to watch the first few episodes because I had already gotten a few and it seemed like a waste if I didn't even watch what I got. As the story progresses you are left with an endearment to Kenichi himself and maybe one (or all) of his masters. Simply put Kenichi's character is unlike anything I have ever seen. He's like a mixture of Ueki from Law of Ueki and take any lead character of a romantic comedy. Why? Basically, he has the comedic attributes that Ueki has. Unfortunately, he
doesn't have that natural ability to be skillful when fighting. He has that "my friends are important" feature though. The comedy really doesn't come from him but from the situation he's in and how he reacts to it. Add, in that little mix from a romantic comedy and you've got yourself a Kenichi Shirahama.
I gave a 10 for the Characters not only because of this but because of the supporting characters namely his masters and Niijima, his love/hate friend. Its because that there is something to love about every one of them and you can just choose your favorite. I personally love Apachai Hopachai, his Muay Thai master.
The story is basically nothing from the ordinary. You've probably seen some like it, but what sets this story apart is how it is executed. Some things are obvious at the start and some things aren't There are a few surprises as the story progresses though. It's one of those "I'll protect the world stories" but with a comedic twist. I would say that the closest anime to Kenichi would be Law of Ueki. If you liked that, then I'm sure you'll love Kenichi.
Art and Sound are fair and at par with most anime. Although upon further reading, the cast is composed of familiar voices and new voices.
History's Greatest Disciple Kenichi is one anime that you will surely enjoy.
Martial arts are an expression of power, showcasing the potential of the human body when pushed to its physical limit. It also makes for exciting anime, and allows animators and directors to showcase their prowess as things get heated.