Fist of the North Star: Arc 1 (Anime Review)

I have recently acquired all of the Fist of the North Star series from Amazon for a measly $25, so I have an obligation to watch it because that’s what I did with all of the other series that I bought.  Since this is a long series, I decided to review this in arcs.  It gives me something else to write/talk without having to scrounge my head for ideas.  Don’t worry, the shoujo thing is still going.  I watch an episode or two of Rose of Versailles whenever I’m at the gym on a stationary bike.  Just wanted to give you guys a heads up.

The first arc/chapter of the Fist of the North Star is what is easily described as the world development introduction thing.  A way to introduce the audience to the world of the series and how it got to that point.  Every long running anime, book series, and so on has one.  To do this for Fist of the North Star, it’s a massive journey across the desert to get Kenshiro’s fiancé back.  Through all of that, Kenshiro and his two traveling companions go from village to village helping out however they can and facing whatever challenge shows up.

From a character stand point, Fist of the North Star has very archetypal characters that don’t stray very far from their paths.  Kenshiro, our main protagonist, is the strong and silent master of martial arts who is out for revenge.  His companions are Bat, the rogue who wants to use Kenshiro as profit to survive and Lin, the small girl who is attached to Kenshiro for some reason.  The main villain, Shinn, is the archetypal bad guy who sent Kenshiro to hell and stole his girl.  These characters don’t stray from this path until the final confrontation that changes everything.

Well, this series is from the early 80’s, so I think you guys know what to expect from that.  A lot of still frames and repeated frames of animation.  This did remind of the grit in each frame that is left behind today’s more digital animation and honestly, it’s so endearing.  Fist of the North Star is proof that you can do whatever setting you want in animation with limited amount of animation and drawing.  The English dub of this anime makes me miss so many voice actors that aren’t working anymore.  Sure, Mary Elizabeth McGlyn and Steve Blum are still voice acting, but there are many people aren’t.  The dub itself is alright, but the subbed version is definitely preferable.  A lot of nostalgia is behind the doors of this series.

So yeah, the first part of Fist of the North Star isn’t anything special, but it is the intro to the whole series.  By the end, the watcher should have a good understanding of it all and it should improve from here.  From what I’ve watched of the next arc thing, it definitely has.  If you are a shonen action junkie and want to know more about the origins of it, this is a required watch.  The show is also at a very good pace; much faster than I expected it to be.  Just know that it’s old and will take time for your eyes to get used to the animation.


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