Jan 16, 2016
Oh wow how does this not have a review yet?
To sum up the plot in simple terms, it’s an original story / prequel following the chosen successor of Hokuto Shinken, Kenshiro. It’s also the last film in the set of the pentalogy which consisted of 3 films and 2 OVA’s. Though they are not tied in any cohesive way and take places in different times and follow different characters.
While non-canon the film fills in some blanks that were left after Kenshiro’s defeat by Shin. As a fan it’s genuinely nice to finally see some character development for Kenshiro who throughout the series seemed adamant
personality wise. For anyone else considering starting the series this film does enough to make Kenshiro seem like an interesting protagonist. However pacing issues near the beginning do cause for some drawn out scenes and exposition. While these scenes can be tiresome they do serve the film by providing enough information on individual characters. To put it simply the core story is of Kenshiro understanding his true resolve to fight, and the story around him is simply done to reinforce this.
Without going into spoilers it’s a fun ride once Ken regains his full strength. While fight scenes are surprisingly sparse in a Hokuto No Ken film no less, it still manages to show off enough flair to be entertaining. However most of the first hour is spent focusing on critical scenes between characters, flashbacks, exposition or advancing the story. As a fan of Hokuto No Ken I didn’t mind most of these scenes. They’re written well and expand more on the lore. Especially concerning Shin’s roots which is something not heavily discussed in the manga. However I can understand if these can be seen as uninteresting from people not familiar with the series, which is why I suggest newcomers watch this later on.
For the most part the story is compelling, especially with the twist at the end which in hindsight makes perfect sense. But also makes for an incredibly sad and sympathetic ending. Art direction is consistent and polished over the pentalogy, though some small amounts of CGI are noticeable near the end. The soundtrack left something to be desired, yet the use of Hokuto No Ken’s signature song Ai Wo Torimodose is present and worked beautifully when it’s used.
After 2-3 average films in the pentalogy it’s satisfying to finally see a decent Hokuto No Ken film. The bonus scene at the very end is what bumped this to a nine for me as it feels like something of a celebration of the series. For newcomers I suggest staying away from this for the time being so you don’t get the wrong impression. Reading the manga or at the very least watching the old TV series first would make you appreciate this all the more. They even cast the voice actors from the original series into this film as various roles.
What did you think of this review?