New Fist of the North Star Volume 1 – The Cursed City
By: Kimberly Godwin – March 27, 2005
This article was originally posted on PlanetExile.com
In a post apocalyptic future of Earth, war has ravaged the land leaving it a barren and poisoned waste. The death of the old society gave birth to a primitive one, where the strong subjugate the weak and where pure, clean water is more precious than any other substance on the planet. The Village of Freedom is searching for a pure water source in order to liberate themselves from the cruel dictator, Sanga and his armies of the Lost Land. They have a glimmer of hope in Sara, a “Woman of Miracles” that can banish sickness and injuries with one touch of her finger, but with Sanga’s eyes set on her and with the might of his armies and a living God on his side, how could they ever hope to win their freedom? If there was ever a time for a champion to rise and over throw Sanga, it would be now – and this is where Kenshiro, the Grandmaster of the Fist of the North Star technique comes into play.
Yes, Kenshiro is back in a new three episode OAV series that takes place after the Second Fist of the North Star television series. If you don’t remember this series, you might remember that this is the one where the Martial Arts technique makes heads explode with a single touch. Or perhaps you had the misfortune of watching the horrendous Americanized live action movie back in the early 90s with the hopes of it being as good as the original animation, either way, this series will be a sheer joy for you if you fondly remember this classic Shounen, Kung Fu series.
Any concern for the original integrity of the series will be soothed when you happily notice that the animation still stays true to the original styles and incorporates newer animation techniques such as 3D textures and backgrounds, in order to make a figuratively dark action series, very beautiful to behold. The story itself is fairly fast, so it almost leaves the viewer with an “It’s over already?” feeling as the ending credits roll. Sadly, this pace gives the viewer enough time to meet the characters but not really enough to truly care about their dark fates. But, this weakness is overcome with a wonderful score that provides the energy needed for the action scenes with 80s style electric guitar based rock and the darker, quieter scenes with more compelling violin and piano arrangements. Also to be noted would be the heroic and tragic mood set by the opening and ending themes, “Lu: na” and “Oasis” sung by Gackt.
The DVD’s features are interesting sources of information about the English vocal cast and the feelings of Buronson, who wrote the original “Fist of the North Star” novel as well as some information about an actual martial arts style, the Gracie Jiu Jitsu School. The special features are voice actor interviews with the principle English Cast; an interview with Relson Gracie of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu school and the Japanese Press Conferences about the original launch of the OAV.
Overall, this is a fast paced, martial arts anime with a powerful musical score and wonderful animation. It is certainly a must for any fan of the manga and the original series as well as any Kung Fu movie fan. If you are bothered by violence, especially things like exploding heads – it would be best to pass this series up.
Rating: 4 out of 5