Thursday, November 15, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *Fist Of The North Star

Probably one of the most bareknuckle post-apocalyptic movies ever was Hokuto No Ken, or as it was known in America, Fist Of The North Star. This retelling of the manga which at the same time was a 109-episode anime TV series achieved cult status in the States when it was first released on dub-only VHS(and very briefly on DVD)through Streamline Pictures, and then recently on bilingual DVD from Discotek Media. It even spawned off a horrendous American live-action movie that makes Dragonball: Evolution seem almost watchable.

After a nuclear war decimates most of the entire planet, the buff-as-Hell Kenshiro(or usually just "Ken")is the prize student of an elite martial arts dojo, each student of which is given a distinct titles. Ken is the Fist of the North Star, which his other brothers want to take away the role of. Shin, the South Star, nearly fataly wounds Ken and takes away his lover Yuria. Ken emerges a year later even stronger than before, and teams up with another martial artist to take on his other brother Jagi. Jagi is now masquerading as the new Fist of the North Star, so Ken blows his head up with his awesome wa-da-da-da-da-da-da-da attack("You're already dead!). Ken finds out from Jagi just before his head a'splodes that Yuria is with Shin in his stronghold in the south. Meanwhile, Ken's stronger brother Raoh has been gathering an army of extraordianary magnitude, and conquering road warrior-wannabes left and right. Raoh sets his sights on Shin's little empire. After pounding the crap out of his fortress, Raoh makes off with Yuria to lure Ken out. Ken goes after them to Raoh's capital, and he and Roah thrown down in an epic fight the likes of which Dragonball or Street Fighter still haven't been able to match. Raoh leaves Ken after gaining some last minute bit of conscious from an orphen girl, and Ken then pursues Yuria who for no explained reason left on her own. The movie has a strange Waterworld-type ending where Ken thinks he's found an oasis that Yuria has sewn, but it turns out to be an illusion.

This movie has achieved a status with even non-otaku on the level of other anime movies like Akira and Ghost In The Shell. The film has that amazing but still gritty 80s brand of animation. There is some serious gore and violence in it, so fans of Quinten Tarantino will totally gush over it. Admittedly the dub is pretty stale, even for one directed by Carl Macek(history's greatest monster!), but if you developed enough of a resistance to his crap from watching Robotech then this shouldn't be too much of a stretch. It is more of an action film then anything else, so guys, just send your ladies to the mall and watch this sandwiched in between Die Hard and Commando!

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