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Fist of the North Star (1986)
"Hokuto no Ken" (original title)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 3,836 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 14 critic

After a nuclear holocaust tears the world apart, mankind is forced to the harshness of not only the oppression of others who are much more powerful, but the dead earth which seems to be ... See full summary »

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(comic), (comic), 2 more credits »
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Title: Fist of the North Star (1986)

Fist of the North Star (1986) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Akira Kamiya ...
Ken (voice)
Yuriko Yamamoto ...
Julia (voice)
Kenji Utsumi ...
Raoh (voice)
Chikao Ohtsuka ...
Jagi (voice)
Toshio Furukawa ...
Shin (voice)
Kaneto Shiozawa ...
Rei (voice)
Tomiko Suzuki ...
Lynn (voice)
Teiyû Ichiryûsai ...
Bat (voice) (as Mie Suzuki)
Arisa Andô ...
Alei (voice)
Junji Chiba ...
Ryuuken (voice)
Hidekatsu Shibata ...
Zeed (voice)
Junpei Takiguchi ...
Heart (voice)
Takeshi Aono ...
Fox (voice)
Hiroshi Ôtake ...
Jackal (voice)
Daisuke Gôri ...
Uygle (voice)
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Storyline

After a nuclear holocaust tears the world apart, mankind is forced to the harshness of not only the oppression of others who are much more powerful, but the dead earth which seems to be getting worse with every passing moment. But a savior has risen from the ashes, a man who will defeat those who would torment the weak and make the world a livable place once more. A man named Kenshiro..... Written by Chuck "Dark-Side" Williamson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

27 September 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fist of the North Star  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ryûken's speech regarding the nature of life and death, which opens the English dub, is quoted verbatim by Jeru the Damaja on the intro to his classic album The Sun Rises in the East. See more »

Quotes

Yuria: Shin. At one time you were Ken's closest friend. He trusted and respected you. When your were chosen as fist of the south star, he was glad for you, glad for his friend's success but you were never really his friend were you?
Shin: Yes I was, but then he left and when he came back he brought you. First time I saw you I knew you would be mine someday and that day has come!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Anime Abandon: Apocalypse Zero (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Heart of Madness
Written by Tsuyoshi Ujiki
Performed by Kodomo Band
See more »

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User Reviews

Genre fans will enjoy it for the gore and style, casual viewers will find that these do not cover the other problems
13 August 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Mankind has finally destroyed itself and those that have survived find themselves on a barren, dead planet. All men are afraid and this leads to tribalism where strength and power over others is all, leading in turn to cruelty and violence. With this as a backdrop, powerful Fist of the North Star Kenshirô, is left for dead when his equally powerful friend Shin defeats him and takes his lover Julia for himself. Kenshirô somehow survives this and returns to seek justice, aided by fighter Rei, whose sister has been kidnapped by Kenshirô's brother Jagi (who was the one who poisoned Shin against Kenshirô in the first place). Meanwhile Raoh's rebuffed claim to be the rightful Fist has left him bitter and hungry for power with his army and individual powers seeing him grow in strength and power, creating a world of repression that is at odds with the hope manifested in two young children who find themselves under the care of Kenshirô and Rei.

Somehow or other I managed to watch and comment on the live action remark of his famous film/series. That version was pretty poor so I decided to go back to the source material and see how that comes across. Everything opens well, with a visual depiction of a nuclear holocaust that has a real sense of scale and suffering about it and I hoped that it would use this backdrop well. Sadly it doesn't really manage it and, while there are plenty of things to appreciate about the film, it never manages to get away from a key problem – one that you may already have a feel for from my plot summary.

The genre and the approach of the film suggests that a tight plot with a simple narrative would suit it best. However what we get are lots of characters moving around, causing the film to feel a little slow and complicated. It is not that it is hard to follow per se, just that there seems to be a lot of plot and characters for a film that does so little with all of them other than use them to create a convoluted narrative. It is messy and it doesn't bring much to the film than an impression of clutter and mess that it could easily have done without. Those kids and their entire "subplot" could have been cut from the get-go; although calling their material a "sub-plot" suggests that it is a plot worth following which, other than their roles early on as trigger for one character's return, they do not work in any way of interest.

What it does do well though is create some stylishly cool violence and gore. It won't be to everyone's taste but certainly fans of the genre will love it. Technologically the animation has been superseded so will look a little dated but this is not to say that it is "bad" or even "of its time" because certainly does not feel like something that is over 20 years old. The violence is cool even if it is a little silly as well – but this comes with the territory. I loved the scenes of the aftermath of destruction though, these were mostly creative and impressive in their scale. The voice work was also surprisingly solid – often English dubs are awful but, with the exceptions of Julia and the kids, everyone was pretty good.

Overall though this is a solid piece of anime but not the classic that many claim it to be (a look at the 10* reviews here will show you what I mean). The imagination behind it and the delivery of gore is impressive but it is undermined by the passage of time making it less impressive to modern eyes but also the problem of such an unnecessarily cluttered plot that leads to some overly-sentimental nonsense as the conclusion. Worth a look for genre fans but casual viewers will not see the film that the fans are seeing.


3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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anyone else think it just sucked? naubrian
What did Ken meanth by 'What a waste.'? FilmernasGud
Anyone else like the dubbed version better? steven_t-2
Uncle Phil!!!! danketch69
One of the biggest movie mysteries ever? FilmernasGud
Anime like this? Broken_Guitar
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