Fist of the North Star
Legends of the Dark King the Complete Collection
This anime series is considered by some
the definitive answer to this genre and after spending the weekend,
sitting through 385 minutes of an amazing mind F**K experience of gore
and violence, I must whole heartedly agree.
Before I get to the crux of the story, I
need to explain the back history of this universe. The story of First
of the North Star is set in a post apocalyptic future that has seen
the Earth decimated by war and order has been vanquished. Vicious gangs
and man-made Kings now rule the lands with violence to those who stand
in their way.
Fortunately for the survivors, four
brothers have banded together to not only protect the innocent but have
become a law unto themselves. These brothers created their own armies
and trained the soldiers in the art of the legendary North Star
(Hokuto Shinken), an ancient form of martial arts that can devastate
their enemies by just a touch. Whereas nuclear war may have ravaged the
lands once, it is now bloody violence... my perfect recipe for anime!
This story First of the North Star -
Legends of the Dark King takes place before this uprising and when
the dust from the nuclear war settled, a man called Raoh rose from the
ashes who was the first King of the Fist, the Divine Fist of Heaven and
more specifically, the master of Hokuto Shinken. He is also the main
responsible for creating a new order on this broken planet.
Although knowing the back history of this
series is probably a good idea, the creator of this series, Youkow Osada
still makes the characters from this prequel quite accessible on anime.
However, if you have never read or watched any of the Fist of the North
Star's before, you can still thoroughly enjoy this impressive
collection. Just to cement this idea, knowing the back history only
compliments the story but its not a necessity.
Roah is the main character of this current
instalment who is disgusted at how the world has fallen and he wishes to
bring order to this world, even if it means being something that he is
not. Human or Demon? That remains to be seen but Roah has the help of
Souga and Reina, a brother and sister who believe his path is quite
Together they defeat the so-called Kings of
this land, one by one as their power levels grow. And without spoiling
the story any further, there is quite a bit of strategy involved in
knocking these thugs from their thrones. There is even a touch of
mysticism involved in this story and ultimately, you believe that for
Roah to succeed, he must die.
The only aspect of this collection that had
me scratching my head is that at times, the story seems a little broken
and disjointed in relation to pacing and motivations of some of the
characters that they encounter. Of course, when the battles begin, you
immediately forget about any inconsistencies and watch the blood
splatter as people start to get decapitated in the most deadly
ways possible. Finally we have the dialogue that is a little cheesy at
times but suits this Conan the Barbarian meets Steam Punk type of story.
I enjoyed this collection thoroughly and
this was the tasty large morsel of anime I needed after too much shiny
pop anime. The video quality is presented in widescreen and showcases
some truly impressive animation that is matched with a great 5.1 English
score. At the end of the day, this is real men anime... not that cutesy
CGI that we see today!