What They Say:
Highly trained in the secret martial art of Hokuto Shinken, Kenshiro has achieved such a high level of combat expertise that he can kill a man with his pinky finger. Though these skills may be useful for a wandering man trying to survive the deadly wastelands left behind by nuclear war, they’re all but useless in modern day Japan!
With an apocalypse that never happened and a less-than-desirable skill set, would-be hero Ken is stuck looking for a job just like every other unemployed schmuck in Japan. And frankly, he doesn’t interview well. Things start to look up when he stumbles across an opening at a convenience store, but unfortunately he’ll have to deal with two contentious contenders if he wants the job: his own brothers Toki and Raoh, who’re just as dimwitted and muscle-headed as the mighty Ken himself.
The episodes each come with a single Japanese 2.0 audio track. English subtitles are provided for non-native speakers. As often happens with subbed titles, I pay more attention to what I’m seeing and less to what I’m hearing, so any particular audio tricks are lost on me, not that I expect much from a 2.0 track. Essentially, there are no bells and whistles here, but the audio seemed fine.
The video was crisp and clear with no distortion or other issues.
The packaging does a good job of letting you know what you’re in for. The front cover features Chibi versions of Kenshiro and his two brothers Toki and Raoh standing in action poses in front of the convenience store with the part-time job they vie for. It’s big, silly, and colorful and indicative of the show’s overall tone. The same goes for the spine, which is a bright yellow festooned with stars. The back cover features the standard show summary, screenshots from the show, cast and crew credits, and DVD specifications.
On the inside, the twenty-six episodes are divided up over three DVDs—with the first two housed on a center inset and the final lodged comfortably against the back cover.
Man, this is one busy menu. Despite that, it’s fairly easy to navigate. Each episode lasts only fifteen minutes (and a long fifteen minutes those are, but we’ll get to that in a moment), so the episode list is pretty extensive. Like the show, the menu page is big, bright, and very cluttered, yet somehow functional (unlike the show).
Just the standard stuff here. Clean Op/Ed and Sentai trailers.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I have no one to blame but myself for this one. I was trolling through the backlog of reviews, looking to snatch up random stuff to help pare it down, when I came across DD Fist of the North Star. I knew it didn’t have a great reputation, but I thought, “Hey, I like Fist of the North Star, and the premise sounds kinda cute, and I’ll be doing Chris a solid, so let’s get this.”
This is the reason why Past Josh and I don’t get along well.
DD Fist of the North Star was painful and damn near unwatchable. The initial concept possesses a certain charm and seeing chibi versions of the characters is pretty cute, but the random, machine-gun style of the comedy and the general stupidity of the show (made even worse by the fact the show knows exactly what it’s doing and calls attention to it) robs it of that charm almost immediately.
It’s 199X, and the world’s doing just fine, thank you very much. People live their lives, go to work, find true love, and all that jazz. 99% of the population gets along great, but some people just aren’t equipped to live in this world. Specifically, Kenshiro, Toki, and Raoh. Although they long ago mastered the martial arts, they never learned to how to hold down a job. Destitute, they make their way from one odd job to the other until they eventually hatch the plan to pretend to be stray animals in the hope that somebody will take them in and care for them. This works, and each of them are taken in by the same girl, whose name I can’t remember and I don’t care enough to pull up Wikipedia to check. Her father owns a convenience store and resembles the master of the Fist of the North Star technique. He also has an opening for one part-time employee.
The entirety of the show revolves around Kenshiro, Raoh, and Toki vying for the coveted part-time position. Kenshiro in particular desires this position, because a steady salary would allow him to finally marry his beloved Yuria. That’s another point of contention, though, as everyone falls in love with her, and she often resorts to using life-sized Yuria dolls to get some peace. Or at least I think that’s what she does. The show was difficult to follow.
DD Fist of the North Star hits you hard and fast with the jokes, but it repeats them more than Saturday Night Live does a popular character. Kenshiro uses pressure points to do ridiculous things, like restore a woman’s youth, Raoh constantly calls himself the king of something-or-other (crying, fighting, bagel-making), and Toki constantly stands on the verge of death because of his poor health, vomiting blood and whatnot. The gags come so quickly and frequently it’s like the show is trying to pummel you into submission. “Laugh! Laugh, damn you, laugh!” is what it seems to say.
There were maybe two times in the twenty-six episodes that I chuckled. The one I clearly remember was the episode where South Star (or whatever his name was) fought Kenshiro over a Yuria doll. South Star took her to the top of a large building and taunted Kenshiro by asking the doll questions and answering for her in a fake girl voice.
I don’t know, maybe I’m becoming old and grumpy, but I had the worst time paying attention to the show and an even worse time actually enjoying it. It’s all scattershot and random and equates yelling with humor. I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on the show, because, again, I did this to myself, but man, this one was a stinker. Where’s the pressure point I can use to forget 325 minutes I spent watching this?
In case I wasn’t clear enough, or in case you just skipped right to the summary, DD Fist of the North Star is not good. In fact, it’s bad. Very bad. It’s forgettable and about as funny as a root canal. Dr. J gives this a…
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: F
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: C
Extras Grade: C
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: April 14th, 2015
Running Time: 325 minutes that I’ll never get back
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Panasonic Viera TH42PX50U 42” Plasma HDTV, Sony BPD-S3050 BluRay Player w/HDMI Connection