Hokuto no Ken 2 Episode 1
10 years have passed since Raoh's death, but the world is about to be plunged into darkness once more. The forces of the Celestial Emperor have now taken over, and the Emperor himself lives in a massive fortress. Many people have been captured and taken to work there, operating turbines which generate electricity. The fortress, known as the Imperial Capital, is a shining light.
Whilst the Emperor is not seen, his Viceroy, Jakoh, gives out his orders. He finds out that his forces have taken over much of the land, but there is a resistance group known as the North Star Army who keep attacking their armies and freeing prisoners. Jakoh isn't that bothered about this. Meanwhile, a man called Joe heads out with two of his friends to find Kenshiro, but instead finds Zoruba and Zaruji, who say Kenshiro is dead. They kill two of the men and tell Joe to go back, and to tell everyone that Kenshiro will never return. Joe heads back to his village and tells people not to give up hope, but some of the Emperor's troops overhear him badmouthing them and have him killed.
The North Star Army -led by Bat and Lin -makes a move and attacks a convoy of the Emperor, in an attempt to free some prisoners. However, this backfires when the commander of the convoy sets fire to the prisoners, killing them all whilst he gets away. Bat and Lin can do nothing but watch as the prisoners burn.
The North Star Army returns to their base, and Bat informs Rihaku on what happened. As Rihaku hears everything, he wonders if Kenshiro will know something is wrong with the world. Bat and Lin are carrying the flag for the North Star and fight on, but they are both waiting for Ken's return. If he can hear their young hearts, then he must return. They need him, the true successor to Hokuto Shinken, to bring light back into the world. In another town, a man wearing a cloak stumbles and then falls over, as a boy runs up to see if he is alright. He offers him some water, but the man is so weak that he can't even accept it. Who is the cloaked man?
In the manga...
-The scene showing the capital for the first time does not happen until later on in the manga.
-Zoruba and Zaruji were never in the manga, so the scene featuring them was never in the manga either.
-Joe is in the manga, but is never named.
-The way Joe is killed is different in the manga, as the commander crushes his head. In the anime, it was toned down to him having his back broken.
-Part of the scene near the end where the two guys wonder if Kenshiro is dead and Bat tells them not to talk about that was not in the manga.
-The ending of this episode is very different. In the manga, there is a scene where Kenshiro (riding on Kokuoh) sees the commander (the same one who set fire to the prisoners) looking at wanted posters of Bat and Lin, who's reward money has been doubled. Kenshiro kills him and takes a look at one of the posters. In the anime, this scene doesn't happen, and instead has a new scene where Kenshiro enters a village and collapses, setting the scene up for the next episode (which is a filler episode).
-The amount of time that has passed between HnK ending and HnK 2 starting is up for debate. The general agreement is 10 years have passed, but I've seen some places list it being as many as 15 years and as few as 5 years. The Discotek DVD set for the series lists 10 though, so I'm going with that.
-Hokuto no Ken 2 has a brand new intro sequence, featuring the song "Tough Boy" by TOM★CAT. The credits sequence is also new, featuring another song by TOM★CAT simply called "Love Song". The intro to HnK 2 is my favourite one of them all, and Tough Boy is a great song to listen to if you need an instant adrenalin boost.
-The lyrics to Tough Boy were changed slightly -in the full version of the song, the lines were "fightin' in the eighties", but for the shorter version used in the intro, the line was changed to "fightin' in the nineties".
-In the first episode of the original HnK, money was, according to Zeed, "Not worth wiping out asses with!". But in the first episode of HnK 2, Bat and Lin's wanted posters have some kind of currency on them as a reward, so it seems money has been re-introduced.
-The woman seen in the carriage at the start of the episode is apparently connected with the Emperor (the troops escorting her bear the Empire's symbol on their armor), but she never appears in the series again.
-Joe's friends are never named, but in the script, they are called Gee and Ai. Put them together and what have you got? Gee, Ai, Joe. G.I. Joe, geddit? Toei animated both Hokuto no Ken 2 and G.I. Joe, which may or may not be the reason for the reference. Thanks to the Hokuto Renkitōza wiki for this info.
-The voice actor for Jakoh is Shigeru Chiba, who usually voices the narrator and has previously voiced minor characters like Joker and Komaku.
-The narrator for this episode is voiced by Banjō Ginga, who previously voiced Souther. Banjō also voices the commander in this episode.
-When Zaruji bursts through the ground, he is colored like Zoruba.
-The North Star Army manage to run down a hill and somehow catch up with and block off a convoy consisting of a moving truck and several bikes.