Fist of the Northstar Movie (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, December 15, 2003
Release Date: Thursday, January 01, 1998
What They Say
Powerful animation and a provocative story distinguish this science fiction epic. The Citizen Kane of Japanese anime, the world's imminent destruction can only be stopped by a hero worthy of becoming the next Fist Of The North Star
I've seen Fist of the Northstar listed as the "Citizen Kane of anime" by a few online DVD retailers when this came out. It's been hailed as an assault on the senses, the first big release of the splatter fighting genre, and several other things.
To me though, it's just crap. I'll discuss more of the movie itself after we get through the aspects of the disc itself.
The video isn't bad, but it's obviously an older transfer that was used, and probably the only one available. As such, it's somewhat grainy in several sequences, but never to the point of distraction. The colors in the movie are generally muted, so there's nothing vibrant coming out, often giving the impression of a dull transfer. It looks very similar to what I remember my VHS version being.
The audio is in English only, with no Japanese language track and no English subtitles or closed captions. Presented in Dolby Stereo, the movie makes minimal use of the front soundstage, though the voices are as clear as they can be.
Presented in the traditional Image/Warner snapper case, the cover reflects the general muted colors of the movie. Nothing terribly eye-catching, but nothing horrible either.
The menu is, as expected, very basic. Chapter selection and play the movie are your only choices, though at least the Chapter Selection isn't as bare boned as some of the older Image or even Columbia Tri-Star releases were.
As for the movie itself, well, I really don't care for it. If it wasn't for review purposes of the disc itself and the fact I'm a completionist, I would not have picked this up. The dub for this was originally brought out in 1991 by Streamline, which means it features many of your regular actors found on nearly every other Streamline video. Even with that said, with this one being so early on, it's definitely an example of what's bad with some dubs, though I'm sure they'd have a lot of fun with this over at Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The movie was originally released in Japan in 1986, based off of the manga by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara. I never managed to pick up any of the few translated issues that came out from Viz years ago, so I can't compare the quality of the movie against it. The character designs in the movie really don't appeal to me at all, with their blocky features, and the animation overall is subpar to me.
So, as stated, this is a disc that I normally would not have in my collection, and even though it's in there now, it's highly unlikely to be watched again for quite some time. A cornerstone of the early domestic anime years, it's earned its right to be released on DVD as it will definitely have its fans, but I am most assuredly not among them.
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: F
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: C+
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Image Entertainment
Running time: 109
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Fist of the North Star