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Not Rated
Copyright 1986 Toei Animation Company LTD
Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 'a long time ago'

The Characters:  

  • Ken - Martial arts master known as the Fist of the North Star. Not only can he perform clothes bursting sequences reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk, anything he punches explodes, including people.
  • Ray - Powerful fighter whose style cuts enemies to ribbons. Searching for his kidnapped sister, after finding her he tries to take on Raoh. Ray is not with us at the end of the movie.
  • Julia - Ken's true love, taken prisoner by Shin then Raoh.
  • Bat and Lynn - Two kids, she has special powers enabling her to grow plants even though the world is an arid wasteland. Mostly I have been wondering about parents who would name their son "Bat."
  • Ryuukin - Father to Ken, Jagi, and Raoh. His ideals and knowledge might be among the most noble, but only one kid turned out to be anything except a dangerous megalomaniac. Killed by Raoh.
  • Shin - The Fist of the South Star. Betrays everything sacred in his desire to possess Julia, though first being pummeled by Raoh and then finished off by Ken is probably ample punishment.
  • A Limitless Supply of Fodder - Thugs, bandits, and giants. Despite their own strengths and weaknesses, like being large enough to make Richard Simmons cry or transforming their skin into metal, all are destined to meet gory ends. Zendah falls into this category.
  • Jagi - Ken's brother, a previous argument between the two led to the mutilation of his head. The second encounter proves to be a very messy affair.
  • Raoh - Ken's older brother and probably the most powerful warrior alive (by a smidgen). Wanders around doing evil stuff like raising armies and massacring people.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I tend to wax nostalgic when thinking about this film, but what young lad wouldn't? First off - it is (decently drawn) Japanese Animation, secondly - people get punched then explode into fountains of guts and blood! Forget the Internet and television, how did our parents make it growing up without this movie?

All that and an acceptable plot too, which we will now go into more detail about (for some reason I imagine you all cowering under tarps like the audience at a Gallagher show). As so many other films here the movie begins with a nuclear war devastating mankind and the Earth in general. Even though many large buildings are destroyed (including one with a oil tanker through it) I would like you to ignore the large amount of unbroken windows in evidence. This is secondary to more important plot points, like the development of martial arts that cause massive trauma to anyone struck.

Yeah, what about that? I honestly don't know, though that fact does not tarnish my joy at watching Ken glow with power as he stomps a hole in someone the size of Goliath. Or squeeze some guy's skull in, can't forget that.

In his quest to rescue Julia from Shin our hero encounters Bat and Lynn, which proves fortunate since the little girl has a green thumb. Unfortunately the seeds which everyone hopes will save the world appear to be weeds and annuals to further the insult. Terrific, the last darn photosynthetic organism on Earth and it's a weed.

Besides this the movie has fighting, lots of it. Plenty of people getting punched, smashed, or cut into pieces. Whether it is Ken defending a town against marauding bandits or Raoh leading his armies across the dusty wastes, you're going to see some messy stuff. I recommend this film to people who like over the top splatter.

On a final note, try counting the number of times someone says "Fist of the North Star." I gave up around twenty.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • Eyes are more resistant to damage than muscle and bone.
  • People are little more than pressurized sacks full of blood and intestines.
  • After a nuclear war the Aurora Borealis are really spectacular.
  • A dirt buggy is fully functional and the occupants unharmed after plummeting twenty stories.
  • If some guy makes things explode when he hits them then (for crying out loud) don't let him punch you in the forehead.
  • Fat guys are just like tar babies.
  • Trying to kill a woman's boyfriend is not the best start to a relationship.
  • Sometimes not having rhythm is fatal.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • 4 mins - It is the middle of a nuclear war, why are you idiots walking around?
  • 25 mins - Want to know what I'd do after seeing some guy knocking down skyscrapers with punches? The phrase is "run like a little bitch."
  • 33 mins - Zendah seems to change size...
  • 48 mins - You have to admit, fatboy had a lot of guts. Okay, no more puns this review, I promise.
  • 60 mins - How did Lynn know Alei's name?
  • 70 mins - RANDOM GRATUITOUS BREAST SHOT! (Feel really funny saying that about ink.)
  • 86 mins - Flowers are against the law? What is this, California?
  • 102 mins - Where in the heck did this change of heart come from?
  • 104 mins - Obviously some bees survived and pollinated the first flower.


  • Julia: "This is madness, the fists of the north and south aren't ever supposed to fight! You know that!"
  • Raoh: "All right, if you're that eager to die I'll oblige you. Any time you're ready."

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note fistnorthstar1.wav Ryuukin: "Power without perception is virtually useless, and therefore of no true value."
Green Music Note fistnorthstar2.wav Zendah: "Refuse me and the girl will be the first to die."
Villager: "If we give up you'll most likely kill us all anyway."
Zendah: "Maybe so, but if you don't I'll break this kid into pieces and stuff her down your throat."
Green Music Note fistnorthstar3.wav Evil Guy: "Hey I thought you was a girl! Either way, you die."
Ray: "Sorry, I don't agree, I believe you are the one who is about to die."
Green Music Note fistnorthstar4.wav Ray: "Quit stalling Raoh, come on!"
Raoh: "Death shouldn't be rushed, one should savor it like fine wine and enjoy it's aroma. But if, in consideration of your impatience, I must kill you now - so be it."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipfistnorthstar1.mpg - 2.5m

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Comments:Write CommentPages: 1 [2] 3 4 ... 8
Fist of the North Star
Reply #9. Posted on November 24, 2000, 06:42:04 AM by CONAN
FONS (Fist of the North Star) is the best anime ever made: Jet.  I have watched it over 3 dozen times, it never stops being funny.  If you dont like the movie there is something wrong with your BRAIN.  The only thing it is missing is the predominatly asian theme of school girls being penetrated by tentacles.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #10. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Kasumi Kenshirou
As an English Dub, this great movie was very misunderstood. It left out a lot of key elements that explained all the violence that so many have a problem with.  Read the Japanese Script translated to English to see what I mean, the movie should become much more clear:

Furthermore, there is a lot more to Fist of the North Star (originally called Hokuto No Ken) than just this Anime Movie.  There is an Anime TV Series of 152 Episodes, 36 of which were translated to English but hopefully more can come.  Most of the 152 episodes have been subtitled at least, and what Ken is all about really becomes clear. The Movie was made in Japan with the assumption that everyone watching has read the Manga already and knows most of what's going on even though there is some explanation if you look at the original script.  So in an English Dub, with all of the few explanations in the original taken out, it leaves the viewer to believe that nothing is going on at all.  Which is just not true.  Ken is out not only to save Yuria but to free the world of evil.  He knows Hokuto Shin Ken and that is basically a martial art that is focuses on pressure points to destroy the enemy from the inside and Ken is strong and skilled enough to strike them so his enemies will explode.  Raoh and Jagi knows this style, too obviously.  In the Movie, Rei and Shin are Nanto Seiken Masters. Their style is the opposite of Hokuto Shin Ken and destroys the body from the outside using slicing techniques.  By reading the script and looking more into what Hokuto No Ken really is, I hope any negative views you have for this Anime will change. It is truly the greatest Anime of all time.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #11. Posted on February 20, 2001, 01:42:18 PM by Richard P.
I agree with Kasumi Kenshirou; the English dubbed version of the movie is very wrong. The Japanese original movie contains better dialouges and you understand the story more. Or even better: read the comics (Manga), and I hope you will see that Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken) is the best anime in the whole world!
Fist of the North Star
Reply #12. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by DantesInferno
I remember seeing this movie for the first time at an Anime double-feature about 6 years ago in Las Vegas (the other movie was The Professional: Golgo 13, which is a sweet-ass movie).  I've been an HNK fan ever since.  This is a great movie, but I want to find a subbed version so I can seen it in its true form.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #13. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by D
There is nothing better than 'Fist of the North Star'.  I can't wait for the rest of the books and the series to be translated into english.  My greatest regret is that the series and film were never released on DVD.  Shame.  
PS. If you liked the film, I suggest you find a SNES emulator and download 'Hokuto-no-ken 7'.  
PPS.  If you can't get this, try 'Hokuto-no-ken 6', or get a Genesis emulator and download 'Fist of the North Star' game.
PPPS.  You wont be disappointed!
Fist of the North Star
Reply #14. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by FroPower
As others have said, pick up the manga. It has so much that the movie did not have. I first saw the movie in 1992 (I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen at mega decibel volume... MY head almost exploded when Ken picked up Lynn's psychic scream), and I picked up the Viz mangas as soon as I was aware of their existance (last week).

The Fist of the North Star movie is to the manga as Dune was to the series of books. The manga features better character development all round, even for Ken's fist fodder. It KILLS me that only volumes 1 - 4 are available. I hope Viz plans on releasing the rest of the series soon.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #15. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Wally
Hokuto Shin Ken is probably based on an existing martial art call "Dim Mak" or "Death Touch". It concentrates on striking major chi (energy) points on the body. Only, instead of releasing the energy like in acupuncture (spelling?), Dim Mak is the art of cutting off the energy flow. I've never seen it make anyone explode before (Damn!), but it can easily knock someone out with one blow, cause extreme pain, and yes, it can kill. Anatomically, it has been discovered that most of the chi points in the body are also major nerves to the brain and heart. A blow from Dim Mak one day can cause serious brain and heart trouble years later. It is not an art to take lightly and takes decades of practice to be made effective, and to ensure that the student is judicious in their use of Dim Mak. DON'T TRY THIS s**t AT HOME!!!
Fist of the North Star
Reply #16. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Joe Stalin
 I love this movie. The Exploding Heads And Cut Up Bodies style of Kung Fu totally rules. I'm opening up my own dojo.
 Question- In a nuclear wasteland devoid of food and water, how the hell did all the guys get so big and ripped? I assume that the Fists and anybody else who practices E.H.A.C.U.B Kung Fu has some funky magic dealy going on, but what about all those biker punks? I await an answear while I practice E.H.A.C.U.B Kung Fu on that snot nosed little kid next door.
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