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GENRE: Anime ORIGINAL AIR DATES: October 11, 1984 March 21, 1985
// review by Meow

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What if you took Mad Max... but, like, with Enter the Dragon and anime? That's basically Hokuto no Ken in a nutshell (or Fist of the North Star, as it's known in English-speaking territories).

Fist of the North Star is a tale set off in the far-off distant future of 199X where the world was rendered near inhospitable from nuclear warfare. We follow the adventures of a man named Kenshiro (or Ken, for short) as he journeys across the wastes of the world in search of his beloved fiancé Yuria. It becomes quickly apparent that Kenshiro isn't to be trifled with, as every marauder that has the misfortune to come across him tends to erupt in a bloody explosion (always shown in a silhouette with blood being neon white-blue). How does he do it? Magic? Chinese martial arts? Assassin secrets?! Yes to all the above. Kenshiro attacks his foes' vital points, doing all manner of crazy witchcraft such as making people forget things, enabling the mute to talk, somehow make people who are about to die of fatigue feel 100% okay again, and all sorts of other convenient tricks. This art is called the Sacred Art of the North Star, or Hokuto Shinken, which secrets lie within using 100% of the strength in the human body, as average people only use 30% of theirs.

Tagging along for these adventures is Bat, an orphaned young teen seeking to make his way in this torn world, and Lin, an orphaned young girl who had her parents brutally murdered before her. During their adventures, they encounter many settlements in distress from various controlling gangs such as Zeed and "God's Army", a deluded band of ex-red berets that have used their skills to keep an entire city in terror. In the end, the result is always the same: the villains explode or have some hilariously poetic death at the hands of Kenshiro, and Ken also loses his shirt every time. Don't worry, though. It grows back.

Omae wa mo, shin deru.

Season 1 here lasts a respectable 22 episodes covering the first big story arc involving the search for Yuria and Shin, Ken's rival in love and martial artistry. Over these episodes are several smaller story arcs that last two to three episodes on average, showing isolated incidents, but ultimately they all tie into Shin's control over this new world, which makes for a great interconnected story which ends on a super manly note. Speaking of manly, check out the theme song. From what I'm told, this is a LOVE song, which is symbolic of Kenshiro's undying love for Yuria that drives him on his crusade of justice. Granted, I can't confirm this at this time as I'm still relatively fresh at speaking 日本語 myself.

Are you interested in watching the show yourself? Well, fret not, noble reader, for it is available for watching on Crunchyroll at your leisure. And no, I'm not sponsored by Crunchyroll. Alternatively, there are DVDs of the show out there as well, but they can go for steep prices unless you look in the right place (I think Crunchyroll themselves sell it for a fair price right now?). But hey, as long as you have a stable internet connection, it's free for watchin'. Season 1 definitely gets a thumbs up from me.

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