Hokuto no Ken
Hokuto no Ken
-From Rage Quitter 87's Fist of the North Star site
Hokuto no Ken is an anime series which was broadcast between 1984 and 1988. The anime is an adaption of the manga series of the same name. After a nuclear war the world is left battered, but human life still exists. Those with power are those who rule in the new world, and the masters of various martial arts styles begin to make their moves to obtain domination.
The series stars Kenshiro, a master of the Hokuto Shinken style. Kenshiro has his girlfriend Yuria taken away from him by Shin, a Nanto Seiken master. Kenshiro recovers and goes on a quest to rescue Yuria, but as events unfold, he soon finds himself on a far greater journey than he imagined. Hokuto no Ken consists of 152 episodes. The first part of the series has four chapters and is 109 episodes long. From episode 110 and onwards the series is called Hokuto no Ken 2, done so because of the time skip the story has (HnK 2 is set 10 years after HnK) and consists of 43 episodes.
1) Hokuto no Ken
1a) Hokuto no Ken Episode List
2) Hokuto no Ken 2
2a) Hokuto no Ken 2 Episode list
Hokuto no Ken
As stated above, the first part of Hokuto no Ken consists of four chapters, for a total of 109 episodes. The Hokuto no Ken manga started to be published in 1983 and was a massive hit. In order to ride of the wave of popularity the manga had, the anime started to air late on in 1984, whilst the manga was still running. In order to prevent the anime from overtaking the manga, the anime has a lot of "filler" episodes -particularly in the first chapter -which feature new, largely one shot stories with new characters who weren't in the manga. The animation for all episodes of the series was provided by Toei Animation, who's other works include Dragon Ball Z, The Transformers and Sailor Moon.
Hokuto no Ken episode list
Chapter 1 involves Kenshiro looking for Shin, intending to fight him and take Yuria back. Befriending two children called Bat and Lin, the trio make their way from village to village, trying to find Shin's city whilst helping those in need and dealing with Shin's various armies. After a long journey, Kenshiro finally finds Shin's City (Southern Cross) and confronts Shin. The chapter ends with Kenshiro meeting Bat and Lin again, following his confrontation with Shin.
Chapter 2 deals with the Hokuto Shinken legacy -after befriending Rei (a Nanto master) Kenshiro learns that his 3 "brothers" (not related by blood) who trained with him in Hokuto Shinken are still alive. It is down to Kenshiro to confront them all, as the rules of Hokuto are only meant to allow one master at a time. As this is going on, Kenshiro also helps Rei and learns more of his past, as the history of the Nanto Roku Seiken is explained here. The chapter ends with Kenshiro saying farewell to Rei, the latter of which has finished his battle with another Nanto master.
The third chapter has two main story arcs. The first involves Souther and Shuu, two Nanto masters who are at war with each other. Kenshiro sides with Shuu as the two try to defeat Souther, who is the strongest Nanto master. The second arc has Kenshiro having to deal with Ryuuga, a warrior who has sided with Raoh and is determined to defeat Kenshiro. Chapter 3 is the shortest one of the lot, with just 20 episodes.
The following 5 episodes are simply clip shows, originally broadcast after Chapter 3 ended, but before Chapter 4 started. Therefore, they don't belong to any particular Chapter.
Chapter 4 is the final chapter. With the other Hokuto masters gone, only Kenshiro and Raoh are left to decide who the true successor to the Hokuto Shinken style is. But there is also a Nanto Roku Seiken General left, who's appearance changes everything for both Kenshiro and Raoh. Kenshiro's journey is about to come to an end, as he must challenge Raoh to a final battle.
Hokuto no Ken 2
Set 10 years after the events of the last episode of the first part, Hokuto no Ken 2 has Kenshiro make his return to help Bat and Lin fight the forces of the Emperor, who has put the world into another dark age. Hokuto no Ken 2 started to air just one week after the first part ended, and has a total of 43 episodes. Unlike the first part, Hokuto no Ken 2 isn't devided up into chapters, and instead consists of just two major story arcs, with the second arc being far longer than the first. Hokuto no Ken 2 originally aired between 1987 and 1988.
Hokuto no Ken 2 episode list
In Japan, Hokuto no Ken is one of the most beloved manga/anime series of all time, and heavily influenced many other martial arts series. It was ranked no. 26 in a 2005 Japanese poll for the 100 greatest anime series. The success of the manga and anime led to a movie adaption in 1986.
The reception outside of Japan is much more mixed however. In the early days of the Internet, I remember reading reviews about how Hokuto no Ken either sucked or was a Dragon Ball Z rip-off and sucked. The main problem with the series was, at the time, only a limited amount of episodes were released in America, and chapter 1 is a very tough chapter for a newcomer to sit through due to the huge amounts of filler episodes. Things do pick up a lot by the time chapter 2 starts, but some people may never even make it that far.
But as time went on things started to change. Episodes people had never seen were put on Youtube, usually with subtitles created by fans groups. And as people did a little more digging, it turns out Hokuto no Ken actually wasn't a Dragon Ball Z rip-off, since it predates that series by 5 years, and even predates the original Dragon Ball by 1 year. Thanks to word of mouth and the Youtube uploads, the Hokuto no Ken series became popular. Episodes were available on streaming sites, and then the whole series was released on DVD via Discotek Media.
As well as being a hit in Japan and America, Hokuto no Ken has a large fanbase in Italy, and is available to watch in other countries -click here for a little more info.
Hokuto no Ken has seen several video and DVD releases. The latest releases are the DVD sets. In Japan, the entire series has been released on DVD. In America and Europe, Manga Entertainment released the first 36 episodes, but went no further than that. Discotek Media started releasing box sets in 2010, and got the entire series out on DVD by 2011. Their sets are the best ones to go for, and have the added advantage of being region free. Other countries have had DVD sets also, I believe the entire series has been released in Italy and France.