I feel so lucky sometimes. This is one of the biggest manga releases to come out this summer. Holy crap, I was able to get a look at this one and it’s beautiful art work. The best part of all of this is the fact I own the anime, so I know the story and the characters already. The main difference is that the way a 1980’s shonen manga is going to look vs how a 1980’s shonen long running anime are going to function are two different things. It’s almost night and day for art work vs the story. Either way, this is a legendary work by the mangaka Buronson and art work by Tetsuo Hara. This one should be rated a bit more mature for a lot of the content.
So what is the story of Fist of the North Star? Well, this series is what happens when Bruce Lee and Mad Max merged together into something really cool and unique. It’s basically the story of a certain powerful martial artist by the name of Kenshiro walking from one town ruined by deserts and oppressive people as he destroy each regime with his own fists. Fists that are powerful martial arts style called Hokuto Shinken, the Divine First of the North Star. He’s a very lawful good guy who has no sympathy for evil, but mourns and cries the loss of innocent and the pure.
There is a story with all of Kenshiro’s wandering. Part of that is him gaining some followers as he walks around. On the first village in the manga, he picks up the plucky and scrappy boy by the name of Bat who wants to use Kenshiro for a money ticket as Kenshiro saves more and more towns. There is another character, a little girl named Rin, who shows up at the beginning and the end of the volume to eventually join Bat and Ken.There is also the reason why Kenshiro is wandering from place to place, to seek revenge for his wife. There is an emotional encounter between Ken and this guy that only leaves Kenshiro to move forward. At this moment Kenshiro still hasn’t found someone who rivals his power.
As this is Volume 1, this volume is about establishing who Kenshiro is, the world that he runs around, the duty he has by wielding the Hokuto Shinken, the Divine First of the North Star, establishing some feeling between Ken, Bat, and Rin, and so many other things. It’s very good, yet simple and addictive shonen battle story telling in which you can tell why this story is important. The way anime is told is so different because the anime opens with the reason why Kenshiro is wandering upon the reason he is doing what he is doing. Is there a better story telling method? I don’t know. I do think knowing who Kenshiro is up front allows for him to feeling a bit more endearing, but the manga following the story and unraveling the mystery of Kenshiro might be a bit better for a manga.
As you can tell by the two pages that I’ve shown from it, First of the North Star is gorgeous and this was when the manga was starting out. Can you imagine what it will be like over time as Hara got better with his art work? Incredible. I can’t wait to see it in the future. Right now, the character designs are so crazily detailed and so innovative and different. One goon does not look like another goon for example. Also, Kenshiro himself is one of the most innovative and memorable character designs in anime history. The action scenes themselves are incredible with tons of impact and explosive in nature. There is a lot of gore in this manga. Not blood, just gore with exploding body parts and such. Not for everyone.
In the end, I am so glad that Viz Media allowed me to read this manga way ahead of time. It’s so good. If you are a shonen battle fan or an anime fan that wants to where a lot of shonen battle manga came from. Especially things like JoJo because Part 1 really does look so much like Fist of the North Star that it’s not even funny. This manga is really fun and just a great read. A very solid beginning to a long running shonen battle manga. That’s it. That’s all that I have to say here. It comes out in June.
Fist of the North Star Copyright:VIZ MediaHOKUTO NO KEN Ultimate Edition
Ⓒ1983 by BURONSON AND TETSUO HARA/COAMIX
If you want to pre-order Fist of the North Star Volume 1, you can find a place to pre-order it here: Link