Fist of the North Star

Alt title: Hokuto no Ken

Vol: 27; Ch: 245
1983 - 1989
4.086 out of 5 from 670 votes
Rank #2,101
Fist of the North Star

Imagine a world devastated by nuclear war, where the strong oppress the weak and strength is the one thing that will ensure survival. A world where even close friends can betray you for power, a lesson that Ken, the Fist of The North Star, learns when he is nearly killed by his closest friend and left for dead. He's not an easy man to get rid of, and he returns - very angry.

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This is the fighting shounen series. The story begins in a distant future 199X. Sometime after nuclear war obliterated planet and erased civilization as we know it. The settings are akin to post-apocalyptic series and movies such as Mad Max. Difference between usual shounen series is the fact that most characters including main protagonist are not kids nor teenagers. On the contrary main protagonist is young adult man, who travels land and fights bad guys. He is true hero, because in the end he is not looking for fights for his own sake or ambition, but he just can’t stand by watching as strong pray on weak. Truly manly character – rather stoic, man of few words, but those words deliver as eloquently as his fists – making him the ultimate badass protagonist. He is like John Wick of manga. It has interesting overarching story composed of various encounters building up world, introducing and developing characters. There are more aspects where the series differs from usual shounen tropes. For example, general lack of training arcs. When it comes to difference between the manga and anime adaptation, it’s composition of story, which is different from the anime. Order of events and some settings are different in consequence. The art is splendid especially if you have "the complete edition". It's night and day difference between this and the very dated anime adaptation. It’s also less censored when it comes to entrails gushing out of enemies. I like the design of characters. It leans toward more realistic design over common anime/manga style. Japanese difficulty 5/10 (see my profile for details about various difficulty scores) Generally speaking, the manga does not provide furigana except some “less common” words. I’m using quotes, because it’s debatable how much more complicated those instances are. Overall, it’s not that difficult in my opinion with one exception and that is the mythos and technique terminology. Probably not series for beginners, but very enjoyable for intermediate and advanced in Japanese. Would I recommend the series? Yes, absolutely.

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