I saw Fist of the North Star (FOTNS) for the first time when I was nine-years-old. My mind was blown. Before that, I had seen some episodes of Dragon Ball Z… but my life was mostly Tom & Jerry and the Looney Tunes.
It was like going from a slingshot to a shotgun. There’s violence, blood, guts, and even boobs. It was awesome. I saw this movie so many times, I knew when to turn the TV down because it was about to get too loud. God bless Blockbuster.
I feel I should warn you: FOTNS is a pure 80’s anime, and that means it isn’t holding back. It takes old kung-fu movies and turns it up to 11. That isn’t a surprise since FOTNS manga artist, Yoshiyuki Okamura, directly named Mad Max and Bruce Lee as inspirations. He was a fan of those movies and it shows.
The story of FOTNS isn’t anything special. In the unforgettable year of 199X, the world destroyed itself with a nuclear war. We follow our protagonist, Ken, who is the Fist of the North Star. Ken fights his way through the nuclear wasteland after his former best friend and Fist of the South Star, Shin, kidnaps his fiancé, Julia. There are a number of typical subplots—a power struggle to become Fist of the North Star, Julia wants to bring the planet back to life through planting seeds, a brother’s revenge, and the death of a sensei.
But I could care less about the story. FOTNS is nearly two hours long and it never feels slow. The action is so rampant, it never gets the chance to become boring. The fight scenes are over-the-top masterpieces, highlighted by background and color changes when gore is imminent. FOTNS contains so many scenes of bad*ssery that it jump-started my puberty by a few years. Sh*t, there’s a scene where Ken sits up in bed with such force, the bed disintegrates.
The visuals are stunning and add so much to the movie. At every turn, you see how desolate the world has become. The Earth is in shambles and barely hanging on. Gangs covered in spikes and football pads rule the land. You’ll see a ton of Mad Max-esque visuals and ideas translated into animation—it’s impossible not to see the “homages”. But it’s not necessarily a bad thing when it’s done so well.
The Dub is fantastic for 1991 and the music fits effortlessly into the movie.
Screw nostalgia, this movie is incredible. It is FREE on Viewster.
10/10, and dear god, how can it not be?
If you’re a fan of kung-fu and over-the-top violence and gore, PLEASE watch it. I’m literally begging you.