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The Fascinating Series : Fist of the North Star

Art by Tetsua Hara Kenshiro and Raoh are main characters in Fist Of the North Star.


Fun facts: Fist of the North Star 

  1.   It was first published by Shonen Jump
  2.   It is considered one of the most influential manga of all time 
  3.   It was inspired by a manga called Violence Jack and Mad Max 
  4.   When it was first released it became number one in sales in weeks
  5.   It has also inspired Dragon Ball Z and Seven Deadly Sins


   Fist of the North Star is a dystopian martial art manga, anime, and video game which first appeared in 1983 as a one-shot manga about martial arts by artist Tetsua Hara and writer Buronson. It gained immense popularity because of its art and theme. By the end of part 1 it had already become a hit in Japan and one of the best sellers of the time.  

   According to the article “I have been searching about the success of the franchise lately, and boy oh… fist of the north star is like 15th” posted on Reddit, “The series had become the 17th highest selling media franchise of all time, having 21.81 billion dollars in sales of manga, games, shows and merchandise surpassing Hot Wheel’s and Toy Story 

  Fist of the North Star inspired manga and videogames such as “Berserk” and “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure”.  


Character motivations 

  A story that deals with death, love, and sacrifice, a story where once you die you never come back, Fist of the North Star is the manga to popularize permanent death within its pages. For example, when a character named Shiba sacrifices his life to save Kenshiro (the main protagonist) at a great cost, it motivated Kenshiro to continue.  

   The great message that sticks with you is said by Kenshiro: “The sadness of one’s sorrow is what forges true strength.” This manga and anime truly show sorrow and pain with muscular men rips out the norm of “men don’t cry” but says they don’t but the strongest do, which has touched me throughout reading or watching and is a major reason why this is a great franchise, and I would recommend to anyone. 


Impactful story 

  Fist of the North Star is a story where there is no happy conclusion, where joy is a pleasure for the strong, and a story that captivated 1980s Japan. I have yet to witness similar mangas or animes. A story where sadness and strength are its focus, its characters, its story, and its impact. It’s a story of tyrants, evil martial artists in a desolate wasteland, where it really is survival of the fittest, but our protagonist Kenshiro.  

   The successor of a deadly martial art “Hokuto Shinken”, after losing everything he had, he became the century’s last savior and its last hope as he made new friends and some old ones, and losing almost all of the people he had met. Such a sorrowful tale and a unique story.  

   Characters sacrifice their lives as atonement for their actions for the greater good. Seeing so much death had changed Kenshiro to the point Kenshiro’s sorrow manifested as a form itself : “Muso Tensei”, the embodiment of nothingness through sorrow. Something rare to find in anime is true sorrow manifested through dozens of characters and environments. In my opinion you don’t really see stuff like this anymore which is why I believe it is great. 

Juza of the Clouds  

  With a series as complicated as this one, there is bound to have characters that seem straightforward at face value. Even the simplest looking characters are extremely complicated like with Juza of the Clouds, an extremely skillful and strong fighter who was sent to fight Raoh (the main antagonist), an old rival of Juza.  

   In this part of the story 5 elite fighters were being sent to kill Raoh, but one by one they were each failing. Juza was the closest to victory. Juza goes through life without knowing how he wanted to live or die. His only true love, a woman named Yuria. Once he found out she was his half-sister, he was devastated. Losing the one thing he loved, this was a devastating revelation. When he found out the general who sent him on his mission to kill Raoh was none other than Yuria herself, he regained his reason to live, his fighting spirit and vigor. His death was the ultimate freedom for him, and he got it. In the end he was finally as free as the clouds.  

The deaths 

  In a series with romance, violence, and death there is obviously going to be main character deaths, and with each one being permanent they are bound to have immense significance and impact for both the viewer and characters. The anime shows it the best with voice acting and music. The death of Juza impacted both viewers and characters around him as clouds surround him replacing blood, finally being as free as he wanted. 


  As for characters from the series with the most impactful death it would be Raoh, the man who conquered the heavens who finally fell at the hands of Kenshiro, when Kenshiro showed him what a man who knows what sorrow is can accomplish.  


The character designs 

  For such an old manga, the character designs are rich in details that can tell a story of their own. Interesting silhouette, color, and exaggeration are the recipe for a great character design, and Kenshiro would have all of them with his 7 scars and gloves. His expression shows he is an experienced warrior with his muscles also showing strength, dark and light colors to contrast him on the inside and outside. 

Favorite picks  

  For a series with many great characters there are a few I would consider one of the greatest such as “Juza of the clouds”, a carefree warrior; Raoh, the man who conquered the heavens; and Kenshiro Kasumi, the 62nd successor of hokuto shinken. 








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    Sayid GonzalezDec 18, 2023 at 3:40 pm

    Very interesting article about an underrated masterpiece