(Anime Review) Fist of the North Star: Arc Four and finale

I have to say that it’s been a great journey so far and I know it’s not done yet because I still have Fist of the North Star Two to get to.  Still, that doesn’t diminish the high notes coming from the end of this arc.  Great build up, great development of the main villain and various other characters, and the best production values that the show has seen so far.  This a quick statement to make, but I have much more to say.

Characters:

See my earlier reviews for the other characters already involved in this story.  In this arc, we are introduced to the five chariot stars.  The five are Huey, Shuren, Juza, Fudo, and Rihaku.  Huey is the person with wind powers meant to measure Roah’s strength.  Shuren, the man of firey passion and fire powers who wants revenge his fallen brother, Huey.  Juza, the character who has a complicated past with Roah and eventually fights Roah with his self-taught material arts after gaining his soul back.  Fudo is a kind mountain sized man who has adopted a lot of orphaned kids.  Finally, there is Rihaku.  He is the old strategist keeping an eye over the last South Star General.  I can’t talk about the last South Star General, because that would be a massive spoiler.

Okay and now back to Raoh.  He deserves an entire paragraph to himself, because he is more than the villain who wants to rule over anything.  Despite his rough exterior and how he carries himself, he has a larger heart that anybody has realized and is a big man child that wants everything with unmatched martial arts abilities.  A lot of time is spend not only developing the final conflict between Kenshiro and Raoh, but developing Raoh as a person.  It gives Fist of the North Star so many more layers to the story knowing that the final villain of part one is a complex character.

Art and Animation:

I only just mentioned that the production values have increased compared to the rest of the show and it’s so true.  I’m not only mentioning the final fight between Raoh and Kenshiro, which was phenomenal, but arc four as a whole.  If I had to compare it to anything, it would be on par with the early Yu Yu Hakusho episodes and that which is nothing to sneeze at considering this aired almost a decade before Yu Yu.  The art is more inherently detailed, more fights are animated or reuse less of the same bits of animation for each fight, and do I even have to mention the fight between Raoh and Kenshiro?  It’s just wonderful to watch it all.

Story:

The story is easy enough to follow.  It’s all about the buildup between Kenshiro and Raoh, with the last South Star General and the five chariot stars in the mix somewhere.  It’s simple, but the execution is extremely solid and well done.  It’s a fighting anime so it’s to be expected.

Flaws:

A lot of plot developments or backstories always seem to come out of nowhere.  How Juza and Raoh know each other is mentioned, but we don’t see Juza in any previous flash backs.  Or how Kenshiro has a special ability that had some development, but didn’t have a name until a semi climatic fight.  There are other aspects and asspulls in how some characters that were previously thought dead were still alive somehow.  So yes, lots of ass pulls, but I can’t help but casting them to the side because I had so much fun watching this series.

Conclusion:

At this moment, I can’t help but recommend everybody to watch this series.  If you are a major shonen junkie, which I partially am, then knowing where a lot of the tropes came from can be interesting.  Especially when it’s in a solid package like this.  If you are expecting a series with slow pacing, then you might be surprised.  Fist of the North Star is on pace with a lot of modern shows.  Just remember that this is from the 1980’s.   The animation and art are old and will take some getting used to if you haven’t watched older anime before.  That’s it.

Okay, I’m slowing down my anime watching for now.  Luke Cage just came out and I also need to watch Stranger Things.  It might be a while before I review Fist of the North Star 2.

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