History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

Alt title: Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi

Vol: 61; Ch: 583
2002 - 2014
4.25 out of 5 from 3,998 votes
Rank #567
History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

Shirihama Kenichi is a weak scaredy-cat, and his status as the karate club's punching bag has earned him the name of ‘Weak Legs'. One day Kenichi meets Miu and, impressed by her skill after she effortlessly throws him to the ground, he follows her to the Ryouzanpaku dojo. There he finds five great masters of martial arts, and driven by his desire to become stronger, he begs them to accept him as their student - though it won't be easy. Kenichi endures harsh training (and injury) from Akisame - the philosophizing Jujitsu master; Apachai - the Muay Thai ‘God of Death'; Kensei - the ecchi Chinese Kempo Master; and Shigure - the weapons prodigy. Finally after proving his determination, he is accepted by Shio - the 100-dan Karate Master, who had initially wanted nothing to do with him. Now Kenichi walks the long and arduous path to becoming a master himself, all whilst trying to protect those he cares about from anyone who would dare to harm them.

my manga:

User Stats

9,551 users are tracking this. to see stats.

If you like this manga, you might like...



Story: A nerd/geek/outcast, or at least that's how I see him, enters highschool. Being bullied when he was younger and having no friends, Kenichi reads books. One day while walking to school he meets a girl, who throws him, causing a book to fall out of his hand. Opinion(s): I pretty much read the manga two months ago, so I can't remember the beginning. The plot shows Kenichi become stronger through training, surprise the dude is just a regular person with no out-of-nowhere power ups, with the help of 4 masters. The reason for his training is that Kenichi has become a target to local delinquents and it just escalates from there, to the point where he is fighting in a war against a large organization. Around the 300s I began to lose interest in the manga and had to force myself to read the next 100 chapters or so. If it wasn't for the tournament arc I would've gave the manga up sooner. Art: Teenage girls and women with Triple G breast sizes. Characters: I'll first begin with the relationships, or lack there of. Kenichi and Miu - Sure they like each other, but it's hard for me to even see a relationship between the two. Either that or I'm just slow. Ukita's love trianle - I'll understand if he likes Nanjo, which may explained why he joined as one of her underlings or began to like her while being an underling. What came out of nowhere was Kugatachi's crush on him. But this triangle makes him, somewhat, a lucky basterd. Back to general character bashing. Shigure is a master which is just there for either Ecchi moments or comic relief ones, which makes me forget she is a master to begin with. Her battles are either just fan service or off screen, out of view slashes. Still on topic with masters and fights, no matter how epic they are, they all end the same with the people of Ryozanpaku winning or a draw. The only one who would lose is Kenichi but because of training he wins the rematch.  There's a lot of characters I could go over but I forgot most of them, some of the characters were never important, and I would just keep writing for awhile. Overall: If you like long shonen mangas that have the protagonist actually training and aging, a man saying Apa all the time, or just Chic's with large breasts, then read this manga. Most rambling I did so far. Makes sense, 400+ chapters.  -JC


History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi is about a human punching bag who is mistreated by everyone, until one day the manic pixie dream girl of the story suggests learning martial arts so he can defend himself, just like she does. Like the beta male simp he is, he accepts not only for protecting himself, but also because she’s hot. If it was a sweaty ugly man making the suggestion, he would refuse.   A charming aspect of the manga is the explanation they have for every martial art technique someone is using. Although it’s clearly an infodump, it provides the overall logic behind how something works and it’s usually how the actual martial arts function in real life. In this case for example it’s about karate and how a smaller fighter can overpower a bigger opponent. Other times it can be simple life lessons, such as if you don’t go into something with a positive mindset, it’s as if you have already lost. So it’s not just about how to punch someone, it also has a few specks of psychology and sociology.    With that said, it’s not a thought-provoking deep manga. All women are constantly sexualized, as if the mangaka knows nobody would be interested in a beta loser MC for long and would need something else to motivate the audience into not dropping the manga. And since the target audience is mostly teenage roneries, tits and ass is the easiest solution. Like in most battle manga, the MC gets stronger way too fast. It isn’t so simple in real life, it takes years of daily training to get from a human punching bag to someone who beats an experienced martial artist. The best way to approach the manga is by seeing it as an action/comedy in the likes of old Jackie Chan movies. You know, the ones the MC spends most of the film training non-stop in extreme and funny ways. It’s what happens to Kenichi when he’s invited to train in the dojo of the manic pixie dream girl. The training and learning new moves segments tend to be very long which can easily tire anyone who wants the plot to keep moving forward in every chapter, but at least there is payoff once the battle actually happens and you see the progression Kenichi had after several chapters of seeing him training and being told the way something works. During his second fight for example he learns street fighting or how to think outside the box. That makes him unpredictable and easier to exploit telegraphed attack patterns. The thing is, the more people he defeats, the more people come after him which was not what he wanted by learning how to fight. It’s another joke about Jackie Chan yelling “I want no trouble” and he keeps causing more trouble. Along with it they make fun of what happens when the protagonist of a shonen is not an orphan. He has living parents and a sister who are constantly worried about what he’s doing and if he should stop. They are not doing something drastic about it though. Because it’s not a realistic plot. They would have called the cops the second they saw their son returning home with bruises and broken arms. It’s another one of those stories where teenagers can do whatever they want because police and teachers don’t exist.      Anyways, the plot is fairly simple and repetitive. An opponent will appear who will use a move Kenichi has no defense against, he will train at the dojo, he will gain a new ability or a new exploit, and then he will win against the opponent during the rematch. If you want constant twists and unpredictability you are not going to find them in this manga. From a point on what keeps you going besides the comedy and the boobs is the self awareness of the stereotypes in battle manga. Like this one where Kenichi makes fun of delinquents who think they can be free by being strong enough to do anything they like. He just replies they are tyrants who just cause trouble to everyone else and wants nothing to do with it. He’s basically poking fun at the power fantasy of reading a manga about delinquents constantly fighting each other and that is supposed to be super cool. It criticizes such things from time to time, so it’s not completely out of touch with reality.  With that said, as much as I like the messages and the jokes, the plot is not thrilling. Aside from how most chapters are silly comedy, even during the fights you never feel like Kenichi is in any real danger, since his masters can jump in to save him whenever they feel like it. It’s a self-aware joke on why most stories don’t let the mentor being next to the protagonist all the time. Because he will be far more powerful and will be fixing every problem too easily. In this manga they do it all the time, which is rule of cool and a source for comedy, but it also saps away any real danger from the fights and it also halts plot progression. Although the opponents don’t want to kill the protagonist, they only want to beat him up and then take him to the boss of an evil gang, they are constantly being prevented from doing that because of the masters. When the plot can only move forward by being taken to the damn gang leader, this plot armor is constantly stalling plot progression with rule of cool and silly comedy bits. It doesn’t ruin the manga, but it definitely tests the patience of a reader who wants something to be happening every few chapters or so. But wait, you might think, if the protagonist keeps getting stronger and after 40 chapters there is nobody besides the gang leader who is stronger than him, then isn’t the staling part needless? Common thugs can’t capture him anymore and even if he willingly goes to the boss he will be able to beat her after a few more training sessions. And here is where even the bad guys are staling the plot. The gang doesn’t have one leader but 8, with each one using a different fighting style. Kenichi has to train 8 times so he can find a different weakness for each one of them. In between all that the other masters have their own side stories and many secondary characters get their own arcs as well. Something I wasn’t very fond of, since although everyone gets fleshed out that way I personally didn’t care much about any of the other characters. I was perfectly content with Kenichi going up the ranks and becoming the leader of his own gang in funny ways. Whenever the focus was moving away from that I was kinda bored. Not because the subplots weren’t good, but because they were about people going through issues that are too serious compared to what is going on with Kenichi. It’s very similar to what happens with One Punch Man whenever it moves away from Saitama defeating everyone with a punch. It becomes an average battle manga about secondary characters fighting each other way too seriously in what is supposed to be a comedy manga. And while that happens, the plot goes nowhere for dozens of chapters. Anyways, after a lot of training and goofing around, Kenichi is finally fighting the top leader of the enemy gang who is able to adjust to the rhythm of his attacks. But it’s okay since he became proficient enough to be constantly switching fighting styles by imitating his masters. This is where it gets too shonen, since you can’t switch fighting styles just like that. Each one focuses on making a different part of the body stronger or flexible. There is no way to master all the arts because each one of them shapes your body in a different way. By the time the final fight is over in a completely badass way that demolished a huge storehouse, most of the leaders have received a backdrop story and became his nakama after the masters shared a few words of wisdom that were guiding them to the right path along with Kenichi. It’s basically the power of friendship but as far as fighting shonen goes, it’s very satisfactory. This is a fine point to end the manga as well, since the evil gang is no more and Kenichi can use every fighting style with enough proficiency. And then another evil group appears that is led by the previous top disciple of the dojo so Kenichi has to continue his training for essentially defeating his evil counterpart. Oh boy, what a way to stretch a manga past its reasonable conclusion. So the manga continues (unnecessarily) by raising the stakes. We move from a street gang to a criminal organization that the masters encountered in the past and are in war with. This time Keninchi is dragged along and has to fight the strongest disciples of that organization’s evil masters. And that is all he is doing, he feels like a side character in his own manga. His personal investment with the gang in the first arc is over, now it’s the masters who have personal investment and just drag him along for the ride.  One evil disciple invites them in a tournament arc. You can’t have a shonen without one. In this particular case though it feels completely needless. Tournaments are supposed to be an excuse for giving focus to specific fighters while everyone else is not allowed to steal the spotlight. But this is exactly what was going on so far, so I don’t see the need for one. Every fighter was always getting the spotlight when he fought. It was mostly Kenichi, since he is the main character, but even when it wasn’t him and it was a master or a different fighter everything was focused on that. So why is there a need for a tournament? Probably as a tribute to the first tournament from Dragonball, evident by how the old master poses as one of the contestants for teaching his disciple a good lesson. It’s also equally random. It’s supposed to have rules, but they are constantly overlooked for the sake of comedy or spectacle, therefore it’s a bunch of nonsense done for your amusement. Every fighter has a gimmick and a supposed explanation for how it works in actual martial arts, but at this point everyone is basically a superhuman so the explanation is not really explaining shit. Thus as a whole it’s a needless but otherwise entertaining event. With that said I didn’t care one bit about the new characters, they were all fodder, created solely for the established characters, mostly the gang leaders who joined Kenichi’s side, to show off what they can do and to then disappear from the manga. If there is an improvement compared to the first arc it’s how training sessions are short or are summarized out of screen, and there is always something going on while some nobodies are fighting. The pacing is much better since there’s more than one thing going on at the same time and the sub-stories advance at the same time as the core story. Also, typical to the genre at this point, the tournament gets interrupted and hell breaks loose as the freaking army is fighting with the freaking mafia. And they are not using martial arts but machineguns and bazookas and tanks. Then the masters join the fight for real this time and you get some really epic shit. If only the buildup to this event was better, it would be glorious. I still don’t think the tournament setup was necessary after the way the first arc ended.  Something that is a mixed bag in terms of execution is how the role of the main waifu changed in the second arc. During the first one she was basically motivating Kenichi with her sexy body. Without that he would have given up almost immediately. In the second arc he’s now powerful enough to be fighting side by side with her and in many occasions to be saving her when she’s in trouble. Essentially she behaves like a damsel in distress. He’s even fighting the evil disciple who also loves her, so essentially she becomes a sexual prize for the winner. So yeah, it is a mixed bag since on one hand he is now strong enough to defend her and on the other hand she got even more objectified. Anyways, the arc ends with pretty much the entire complex of the tournament getting destroyed and Kenichi winning. Although it wasn’t a conventional victory, since his opponent respected him so much he sacrificed himself by shielding Kenichi from incoming bullets. On paper Kenichi had already won with resolve, but the outcome could be different if a war wasn’t waging around them. The evil masters feel really butthurt and send the rest of their disciples to pose as transfer students at Kenichi’s high school. This is supposed to make the threat more direct since now everyone he grew up with is in danger. It doesn’t work very well since outside of his family and the gang members from the first arc, the rest in the high school are just background decoration. Just like it happened in Bleach, when Aizen wants to destroy Karakura Town, the reader doesn’t actually care about any of them, since they were completely neglected up to this point. So yeah, although you are supposed to be worried about the lives of everyone, you are given no reason to be worried. The entirety of the third arc is about fighting the rest of the disciples while the masters deal with elite assassins and the masters of the evil organization. It’s definitely a lot more epic that way, but at the same time it becomes even more unfocused. There are so many fighters at this point the main objective becomes an afterthought. It feels like they can have a final showdown whenever they want to, but don’t for the sake of stretching the plot unnecessarily. Kenichi doesn’t improve as fast he did in the first arc, and because everyone else levels up fast and catches up to him, there isn’t a hierarchy like in the first arc. You have no idea who is stronger than who among the evil disciples, and you are not given a good reason for why they don’t fight each other right away and be done with it. I mean, seriously, the heroes are fooling around for months in school competitions and holiday trips, while constantly being attacked by elite assassins. And once they survive, always with no real casualties, nothing feels like it has changed. It’s so whatever, there’s no sense of continuity anymore. It wouldn’t be so bad if the dozens of side stories were different, but they are not. It’s always about trying to become the strongest with the flashbacks being slight variations of each other. It’s similar to how every boy with a sad flashback in Naruto was the exact same one. Thus every fight feels same-y and it’s nowhere as memorable as what was going on in the previous arcs.    There’s a point in every story where it stops being good and you just tolerate it. That’s how I felt after the first arc ended. Then comes another point where you begin to hate the story for what it has become. This here is that point. One of the good masters gets killed, multiple people confirm he is dead, and then he just comes back to life on his own with resolve. There’s no other explanation, it’s simply because he wanted to plot armor the protagonist and in the process he plot armors himself. When that sort of shit happens you just stop giving a damn since you know even if someone loses he can simply will himself to victory, something which has nothing to do with training in martial arts. It takes away all tension and stakes from the fights because a good guy can reject a defeat and substitute it with a victory whenever he feels like it. Kenichi was seemingly dead not long ago and he would remain dead if he didn’t get aid from the masters who know some weird medicine stuff. Over here Apachai’s chest was pierced through with a huge fist, he loses a ton of blood, everyone confirms he is dead and he comes back to life just because. This is not what was making the manga good at first, and I was not tolerating it all this time because it was full of such bullshit. And it’s not only that event that made the manga worse. Despite this video covering the last third of the total number of chapters, the pages in every chapter became fewer, because the mangaka was burning out and couldn’t draw as much anymore. Also the fan service went up 300%, since what used to be zooming in to the boobs and asses of the girls, now became constant panty shots and full nudity. And it’s the paper clothes type of nudity, where whatever the women wear shreds easily without their bodies getting any damage. And it only happens with them, when men are fighting, they stay dressed and bleed like hell. The mangaka became more tactless and desperate, as if he was trying to keep selling his work to thirsty roneries instead of being the martial arts comedy it used to be at first. Then the main waifubait gets captured for yet another time, this time by showing a lot more boobs and ass, and Kenichi has to save her again. For the sake of stupid drama she also gets brainwashed and fights for the bad guys. Although she was never a deep character, the same way nobody is in this manga, she still had some respectable characterization in the beginning of the story. She was dynamic, serious, and could think on her own. All that gradually goes away, until we get to this point where she is nothing more than a piece of meat that exists as a sexual prize without any will of her own. And it doesn’t even lead to something tragic in the longrun since after Kenichi fights with her and she shows her tits and ass for about 100 times, she magically regains her memories and things go back to normal, meaning it was a freaking waste of time. After that event it’s as if the mangaka forgot about the remaining evil masters that had to be defeated and wasted dozens of chapters in secondary characters having needless rematches which come down to booby and panty shots, and duels among nobodies. Then eventually the final battle with the remaining bad guys begins and according to the number of remaining chapters there were only 30 left. How can they wrap it up in this small amount of pages? It was taking a dozen chapters for a single important fight and now they are cramming 20 fights in a fraction of that time? And yes, that’s exactly what they did, following the tradition of war arcs being a complete mess in shonen, the final battle is just a confusing mess of dozens of people using a couple of attacks each. Nobody gets much of a focus and it’s all confusing to follow. If the mangaka hadn’t wasted so much time in random fights he would have plenty of time to do more. But that is not what he chose to do and that is the result. As for the final duel, get ready for this, it’s not Kenichi fighting evil disciples or a good master fighting an evil master. It has that too, but most of the focus is given to the leader of the evil masters fighting a guy who killed his wife in the past. And we find out about that as they are fighting. What the shit kind of last moment revelation is this and why does it not involve the protagonist? Or a good guy in general? It’s just the main bad guy fighting another bad guy for whom we knew nothing about until the manga was basically over. Needless to say everything was done in a very rushed way. The mangaka was probably told to wrap it up because the sales were down so the finale doesn’t have much of an emotional impact. Especially when it’s not even an actual finale, the protagonist says he had many more adventures later on which we will never see because the manga got canceled. Overall impressions. As a whole it’s not a good manga, it’s 70% filler fights with an incomplete finale. The first arc which is like the first quarter is by far the best part. The next two parts are just mediocre stuff you can tolerate, and the ending is a desperate attempt to keep the attention of the viewer with softporn rather than a decent plot. If I have to give it a score it’s like a 5/10.   

See all reviews

Related manga

Related anime


See all characters


See all staff


Custom lists

See all custom lists