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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 ... 3 4 [5] 6 7 8
Fist of the North Star
Reply #33. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Chris
This is the greatest movie to ever exist. THEY WEAR SUCH TIGHT PANTS! Quit WHINING about how it's not the orginal or whatever. I just wish there was more anime like this, now it's all cartoon network garbage and teeny bopper stuff like DBZ and Inuyasha. This is classic, I've been watching this stuff since before it was popular and this movie is genius. This movie and Wicked City has made my friends who hate anime like DBZ realize that some anime has redeeming features. Also, BARBARIANS VERSUS NINJAS, the two coolest warrior groups ever. I can't mention this movie without someone going: "YEAH, Barbarians versus Ninjas!" This is the best movie ever, and I don't care that it was edited.*

*Sure I'm going to check out the edited version, but this movie (version) holds a special place in my heart.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #34. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Thief in Chief
I watched the movie almost ten years ago, but I just saw the entire series (over 160 episodes).

If you liked the movie, your gonna like the series. A lot more characters, superb graphical style and innovative action sequences

The movie and series together created a defining moment not only in the world of anime but also of action movie making in general.

Countless directors have lifted ideas from this movie, including the Wachowski bros.(MAtrix), John Woo and so many others.

The origins of this style of Anime can probably be traced to two sources. 1. Chinese Kung-fu comics, and 2. Japanese art.

I am a Malaysian and have been exposed to asian cinema all my life. There are many titles that the west has never heard of let alone seen.

I'm planning to dedicate a website to Classic Kung fu flick and Anime - With a special page dedicated to The Fist of the North Star... Will make another post once its completed.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #35. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Nathan
I first saw the fist of the north star when i was around 16, and have recently spent most of my free time watching the entire t.v. series (157 episodes)> As you can probably tell I just can't get enough!!! For anyone who can enjoy the violence, yet see through it to understand its real motivation this story will, as it is for me, be the geatest experiece of your televisual life... ok that sounds a bit anal, but are truely an awesome set of movies, t.v. series and comics. Action packed, bloody, thoughtful and down right hillarious, if I could give it 6 drops it still wouldn't do it justice.

 Hey you! Where are you going, i`m not finished with you yet!!
            Thats funny cause your already dead!!!
Fist of the North Star
Reply #36. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:10:12 PM by Golgo 13
Yeah, Ray was the s**t with Nanto Seiken.

My favorite part:

"Hey... These belong to you?"
Fist of the North Star
Reply #37. Posted on September 03, 2004, 09:52:26 PM by Corey
Great anime. So much better than the live action movie. I had no idea that one person could spew that much blood.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #38. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:03 PM by Felicity
Oh, *that* Fist of the Northstar.  The original.  The anime.

When I saw the title in the index I guess I assumed you would be reviewing the much-cheesier 1995 live-action version with Malcolm McDowell, Chris Penn, and Vader (the pro wrestler, not the Sith).  That I rented with my friend Patrick, who was both an anime and wrestling fan, and this was during such a great era of my life that I loved it even though it was completely terrible.

The 1980s anime isn’t a bad movie; it was just edited and translated wrong.  Plus I think there was a whole TV series (which in turn was based on the manga by writer/artist Buronson) leading up to it which might have helped it to make more sense.

I *love* that 1980s Toei style of art--the exaggeratedly strong chins and muscular bodies, the extra shading.  Also, today’s audiences should be reminded that it was the anime physics in animation like this that predated by many decades what we now think of as wire-fu or Matrix-fu.

As with 99% of the anime I’ve seen, this movie does have the standard Japanese problem with pacing--long sequences of no dialogue, action, or plot while people stand around looking dramatic, or walk slowly from point A to point B while we’re forced to experience *every single footstep* in loving detail.  To a western audience member like me, it seems excessively padded.  Chris Warner talked about a similar problem with manga, in an article in Pulp (a magazine about manga and Japanese popular culture in general).  Warner called it “compression”--Japanese creators and audiences simply do not consider it a problem when it takes three pages just to show the sun rising.  For all the supposed hyper-accelerated speed that is the Japanese lifestyle, it sure takes a long time for their fiction to get to the point.
Fist of the North Star
Reply #39. Posted on September 30, 2004, 03:32:32 AM by Felicity
Oh, PS--I saw two different versions of this.  The first was an untranslated Japanese version that was pirated for me by the local anime fan club back in the 1980s, when you couldn’t rent or buy this stuff (so it was morally OK to pirate it!).  I didn’t speak any Japanese at the time, but I got the gist of the story anyway.  A few years later I saw that it was playing at an actual movie theatre downtown and I dragged some friends to see it, telling them it was great.  This of course was the dubbed into English version, and my friends looked at me with such hurt and betrayal in their eyes afterwards...I was left wondering if I had somehow seen two completely different movies, written by two different writers, that just happened to have the same title and the same star character!
Fist of the North Star
Reply #40. Posted on November 25, 2006, 04:09:49 PM by Glommer
Wow, getting stoned and watching this series is awesome.  I am disapointed that the live action version of this seris is so s**tty.  But the music is very cool (the ending in particular) and you cant go wrong with dude that cut fools with there fingers and other that can make people body parts explode.  I don't like anime, but i love fist of the north star.
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