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Now, ADV has released the "New Fist of the North Star", and let me tell you, Ken has never looked better.
The Cursed City
Review by Matthew Anderson
3 Episode OVA
Company: ADV Films
Running Time: 60 Min (1 Episode)
Rating: R (Language, Violence, gore, subject mater)
In the near future, the entire world has been devastated by nuclear war. Water is at a premium, and human life is measured in blood. Gangs rule the wastelands, and kill whom ever they want for fun.
Yet in this lawless land, there is a hero ready to stop this evil. His name is Ken, the last surviving master of an ancient Chinese Martial art called Hokuto Shinken. With his powerful fists, he will fight wave after wave of scum in so that the survivors of the holocaust can be set free.
Unfortunately, Ken's prey will not be so easy to defeat. Sanga and the members of the Last Land have the power of God on their side. Can Ken's mighty fists of fury defeat Lord Sanga, or will his new foe gain the upper hand where others have failed?
Only Heaven knows!
DVD VISION TEST
VIDEO: Wow, this is one of the sharpest looking
transfers I have seen. There are no pixels, wrinkles, or blemishes
anywhere to be found. This is the benefit of digital based animation. Many
of the technical errors of the past are nonexistent when you are
transferring from a digital source to a digital medium.
AUDIO: The English 5.1 is absolutely the best. It's way powerful, with a hefty surround sound mix that hits you from every angle. The subwoofer will bounce due the heavy metal soundtrack. The Japanese 5.1 is pretty much the same, just a little softer.
EDITS: To the actual episode (believe me when I say this) there is no editing. Everything is there, in all it's visceral glory. The opening and closing use the clean versions with English titles.
EXTRAS: There are some interesting extras in this volume. First up is an interview with the English voices for the main characters. Second is an interview with a martial arts expert who helps to sort the fact from fiction in "New Fist". Character bios, narrated by the English voice actors, and a press confrence with "Fist" creator Bronoson, Tetsu Hara, and Gackt, who sings the opening and closing.
buy this series for an in-depth story.
Like "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" this is pretty much a typical
"Bad Ass vs. Bad Ass" anime. The screenplay by the writing
staff is pretty straight forward, much like the source manga by
Bronson/Tetsuo Hara. If you were a fan of the "Mad Max" movies, then
you are going to love this.
ACTING: The Japanese is superb. Full of dynamic range and emotion. Everyone is superb, and are a perfect match to the characters. Takehito Koyasu's deep voice is perfectly suited for ultimate bad ass Ken. His "Bruce Lee" yell is also perfection! The same can be said for Robert Kraft, the English voice for Ken.
The rest of the cast fits the characters they play. No one really stands out, but then again, it's the visuals that do the talking.
FAN SERVICE: Nothing in the nudity department, which is a surprise, considering the setting. There is tons of ass kicking, which will make you gore hounds squeal in glee.
"Fist of the North Star" is a classic of Japanese animation. Even though it's an older title, the mere mention of it's name still elicits a positive response in the heart of young and old anime fans. Now, ADV has released the "New Fist of the North Star", and let me tell you, Ken has never looked better.
If you have not seen the original series, don't worry. The plot is pretty simple and it has no relation to the previous series (at least as I can tell). All you need to know is this: Ken arrives in a town terrorized by strong and evil men. He kicks ass, makes some friends, kicks some more ass, then leaves. In spite of this repetitive formula, you will not be bored. All you gotta do is sit back and let it's hyperkinetic energy flow over you.
The animation will blow your mind, much like one of Ken's punches. The high level of detail, the fluid motion, and the fast pace will keep you sitting in front of your TV in total amazement. With the exception of "JoJo's Bizarre Adventure" I have not seen animation look this good in a long while.
Unlike the TV series, there is tons of blood an gore to go around. Anytime Ken uses his powers, his target explodes in a mass of blood and internal organs. Some even continue to twitch after they have fallen. You will be yelling "DAMN!" many times during it's 60 minute run time.
This is not, I repeat, not a series to let any kid watch. Innocent people get stabbed, sliced, and beaten to an inch of their lives. Fortunately, there are not any rape scenes, but you never know about the other volumes. With the absence of graphic sex and nudity, that is why Fist of the North Star gets an R rating. Still, I don't think anyone under 17 should watch this.
The presentation is excellent. The video is free of defects, the audio is kickin', and the extras are pretty interesting. For all you Gackt fans, your pretty boy singer does both the opening and the ending for "New Fist". Even better, you get to not only see him at the press conference, he pops up in the closing credits. He also voices one of the characters! Now, that's some fan service!
As much as I loved the original series, "New Fist of the North Star" is even better. It looks fantatic, it sounds great, and there is plenty of action to go around. I loved it so much, I watched it twice in one sitting. Now that's the true power of Hokuto Shinken!
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