Fist of the Northstar Vol. #1 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Manga Entertainment
  • MSRP: 24.95
  • Running time: 210
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Fist of the North Star

Fist of the Northstar Vol. #1

By Andrew Tei     October 14, 2003
Release Date: March 25, 2003

Fist of the Northstar Vol. #1
© Manga Entertainment

What They Say
Nuclear war has devastated the planet, turning one fertile ground into a barren, inhospitable landscape on which mankind struggles desperately to stay alive. Society has collapsed and a fight for control wages between vicious dictators, super-powerful mutants, and biker gangs that terrorize the streets.

In a world so cruel and bleak, only the chosen one can restore civilization to its former self. Kenshiro - master of the Hokuto Shinken fighting technique; a martial art so awesomely brutal that only a single being can be entrusted with its full power!

The Review!
Haro Tetsua?s classic post apocalyptic saga finally comes to DVD, but does it get the treatment this almost twenty year old title deserves?


For my primary review, I listened to the original Japanese stereo sound track. There is no directionality present. The soundtrack sounds old, but it?s in good shape. No distortions were present and dialogue was clear.


Fist of the North Star was made in 1984, and time hasn?t treated it well. Colors were not bright, and seemed muted. Compression related macro artifacts show up in backgrounds. The picture seemed a bit soft also. No line shimmering or rainbowing was present though. Most of the problems are a result of the age of the master, and not any mastering problems.


Fist of the North Star comes in a single keepcase featuring Kenshiro on the cover against a yellow background. Ok, it?s ugly as hell, but it certainly is eye catching. Volume numbers are listed on the front and spine. The back cover features the names of all seven episodes available and features pictures of the various bad guys in the series. Inside there?s an insert, that has the same information on the back cover, and another cover picture. I believe it?s from a VHS cover.


The menu starts up with a sequence of various video shots before the main menu loads up, which features Kenshiro pointing into the distance against a moving sky background. The opening music also plays. Menu options include Play, Episode Access, Set-Up, and Special Features. Scene Access only allows you to select the beginning of an episode.
Menu response time was good.


The extras include a character bios section, a photo gallery, and a prologue. The prologue sets up the series, and only has English dialogue. It seemed more like a trailer.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

A nuclear war has left the Earth devastated, and the survivors barely meek out an existence. The only rule now is the strong take from the weak. Mutant creatures roam the country side. Lawlessness abounds.

There is one man who will fight for the common man, a man who is the lone successor of a fighting style called Hokuto Shinken, Fist of the North Star. Hokuto Shinken allows the fighter to use 100% of the human body?s capabilities, and it?s attacks are based on the pressure points of the human body. By using these pressure points, one can cause another person?s body to explode. The successor to this style is Kenshiro, a man wandering the wilderness for the woman he loves.

Kenshiro?s journeys take him near a town being accosted by a man named Zeed. He meets two children in the town: Bart, a young thief, and Lynn, a small girl who saw her parents killed. Zeed?s deeds eventually lead to Kenshiro taking him out, but Zeed is part of a bigger organization, the Bloody Cross, led by a man named Shin. Shin happens to Kenshiro?s half brother, and a master of Nanto Sei Ken, the Fist of the South Star. Both Shin and Kenshiro had the same master, but Shin in a lust for power turned against Kenshiro and struck him down.

Each episode has Kenshiro taking out another one of Shin?s lieutenants saving someone from oppression. The fights in Fist of the North Star are both funny and painful at the same time. If you?re a fan of Bruce Lee, you?ll be amused by the sounds Ken makes when he fights. Ken takes out almost everyone in one hit, so the fights never last long. After Ken uses Hokuto Shin on a major bad guy, you get the line ?You?re already dead?. When Hokuto Shin is used, the person hit doesn?t necessarily die right away. It can be a few seconds before the person even begins to start convulsing in pain, and then they go boom.

Fist of the North Star is nineteen years old at this point, and it truly shows its age. On one hand, the stories are very simple, and the animation is poor, but there is something about the show that keeps me watching. Perhaps the show seems so ridiculous now that I just had to keep watching. If you?re looking for some great old school fighting, this is one of your best bets

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Character Biographies,Photo Gallery,Prologue

Review Equipment
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears


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