To begin with, I'd like to say that this show is only a 10/10 if you know anything about Fist of the North Star and the shows of Go Nagai.
If you have, or know anything about fighting anime in general, you'll love this. Because it's a total love letter to them all. There is basically no plot, just two episodes of lots of punching, shouting, sideburns and jokes.
The art-style is a Go Nagai-esque heavy lined style, very much like an animated manga. The music is full of heroic themes, and a rock OP reminiscent of Ai Wo Torimodose (as is fitting.)
What the show
does well is compress into two episodes every fighting show cliche it can, from ludicrously named finishers to the devoted girlfriend and the school violence which provides the backdrop for things like the Getter Robo manga. There are unsubtle VA jokes, and no pretence of a fourth wall.
It's because of this that Honoo no Tenkousei is so fun. It's nice to have a show that's only two episodes of breakneck-paced action every once in a while, and the jokes really hit the spot.
There's not really much more to say - HnT is a love letter to the fighting anime genre which pokes fun at it while employing all the cliches in a competent way, and really can't be recommended enough if you like that sort of thing.
Blazing Transfer Student originally caught my eye because it was brought up a lot by People In The Know as something Kill la Kill was heavily inspired by. It’s an old Gainax OVA from 1991 in which a mysterious transfer student arrives at his new school and immediately gets into battles with the leaders at the school. The school runs entirely on student power and whoever beats someone else in a fight can claim whatever the loser owned. The influence is fairly clear, albeit made stranger by the fact the original Blazing Transfer Student manga was itself intended as a parody of old 70s fighting
manga like Tomorrow’s Joe. We’ve human centipeded our way through anime history where nothing is original anymore and parodies are turned straight.
The story is all very flimsy in Blazing Transfer Student. This punk ass dude has ‘won’ a girl from another guy and now she’s forced to be his girlfriend. But then in comes our transfer student bent on rescuing the girl because if he does she will totally put out and this is oh so romantic. The two of them get into a hastily constructed boxing ring on the school grounds and fight for her heart, with the fights being decided largely by who can say the name of their death-punch faster. Well that, and a pair of vultures who land on the person they deem to be worthy of laying a nest on. Since it’s a mock-up of 70s manga it follows the same aesthetic with big thick lines and poofy hairdos. I’d heard a bit of fuss made over the animation since it was the Project A-Ko team together. It’s generally pretty well animated and dynamically presented by early 90s OVA standards, but it did remind me how glad I am we have moved past the period where much of the episode is repeated animation.
It’s largely all gags, which is why it’s a little disappointing that many of the gags miss rather than hit. Pulling perv faces, yelling loudly or hitting someone make up many of the gags. Thankfully there’s enough good ones to make it worthwhile. The original back and forth of rhetorical warfare when the transfer student enters the school originally is brilliant, and the whole layer of self-parody makes it funny. On some level I would have preferred it be much wilder, but that may have been me spoiled by Kill la Kill and its giant flying speakers shooting recorder missiles, and it wouldn’t necessarily fit with the tone it was going for. It treads close enough to the real thing that it’s extra funny when battles are decided by someone saying the name of their death punch faster. It’s fun, but a total trifle that you’ll forget the exact details of a week later.
Blazing Transfer Student is a 1991 two episode Gainax OVA specifically made to advertise the much longer running manga, as such things often are. This shonen/delinquent parody stars Takizawa Noboru, a good-natured but daft boy who challenges the school bully Ibuki Saburo for the love of Yukari Takamura. Honjakuniku High seems to only follow one rule, and it's the one unwritten rule of all fighting anime: the winner of a fight gets whatever they want. The endearing thing about Blazing Transfer Student's style of humor is that it never leaves the mind of its setting. The characters are all teenagers and consistently act as melodramatic
and self-absorbed as one would expect selfish high schoolers given free reign to do, and masculinity is portrayed as a stupid form of expression prioritized by stupid people rather than something to aspire to, no matter who wins. The bully brags about his ridiculously trite finishing move, "Insect Killing Punch", and everyone fears it because of the intimidating way he presents his personality rather than the pointless thing the punch did in the first place. You remember high school, don't you? People are popular for speaking loudly, not for the content of their speech.
Of course, beyond parodying high school there's general mockery of dramatic action cliches. My personal favorite comes in the climax when the main character realizes his own special attack is never landing first because naturally he has to finish saying the attack name before it hits, but its name is longer than the bully's attack name. Simply changing the name would be an unacceptable finish for a hero, of course. Gainax takes an interesting direction for art style here, intentionally copying the rough and thick outlines of 70s anime and the simple "blobby" facial expressions of comedy anime from around the same time. Due to the budget only having to be spread out two episodes and Gainax's resources in 1991 being far better than the 70s anime they're paying homage to, the frame rate turns out to be very smooth and the blu-rays specifically really make the simple solid colors pop for a very visually appealing look with a lot of charm that holds up in high resolutions. More than the jokes themselves, this is the selling point of this OVA. The soundtrack is lightly enjoyable with the main opening being suitably retro while the mix of synthesizers/rock in the score is more contemporary, along with the cute ending theme that'll make any 90s anime fan nostalgic. Though the OVA is too short to really go anywhere and seems like it could've built upon the charm of its humor and environment, it also doesn't allow itself to overextend or wear out its personality or sense of humor. The great production values, animation, and short running time make this an easy and enjoyable watch that's both simple and difficult to particularly recommend. Anyone who's discovered this OVA exists is the kind of genre fan very unlikely to think they've wasted their time with it.
Overall this Ova is a fantastic representation of the manga. The characters are portrayed better then expected each bringing over there comedy to the ova so well that if you aren't laughing I'm shocked.
The fighting in this serious is well brought over as the manga doesn't really follow any tradional martial arts but instead an all out crazy system especially in the beginning with an winners takes all system.
Overall amazing well done worth watching only a couple of episodes long and still this ova will produce a bunch of laughs and fighting enjoyment.
Downsides are that the manga is a much longer and In dept story
including a number of characters that sadly won't be seen here and a lot more insane fighting scenes. Overall just quite generally sad that no full anime was made for this series so deserved it.
Honoo to Tenkousei is a short but a really fun serie to watch. It's both an homage and a parody to classic shōnen like Saint Seiya or other anime from the eighties.
Just from the opening, you can feel the love they put into this work: everything in those two episodes like the soundtrack, the characters design, the animation and the overall atmosphere are all a love-letter to those anime. And of course, they use every cliche in the book like the nonsensical romance, super attacks, the speaker for the fight, the rival who cheats, etc...
But what make this show works is that they
know how and when to use their jokes: they don't overwhelm you with jokes every two seconds (like many bad "spoof" movies) which is a good thing. They know when to have jokes and when to have some so called "serious" moments; to the point that I was, for a few moment, legitimately into the story. I even was rooting for the main character at some point which is impressive since he is a massive idiot. I actually wish we had more episodes to see the other vilains the opening showed us and to spend more time with the serie...
Really it's the combination between being at both a parody and an homage that makes Honoo to Tenkousei work. It's not the best serie ever made, sure, but it's a fun watch and everyone should give it a shot!
This anime is decent but not great. One of the main reasons I watched it is because I am going through all of Gainax's older works. I really liked the art style, which had thick black lines and a dirty cel look. The animation was choppy but that was on purpose since they were trying to emulate the look of older fighting anime. The story is not very great, but it's not supposed to be since it is only two episodes. The ending was decent but was very predictable.
Overall, this is a decent anime to watch, especially if you want to watch some of
Gainax's older anime, and see where the studio started.