£14.99 Play.com, £19.99 RRP
03 Jul 2005
The new series is over already it seems! Three volumes and three episodes of wonderful head exploding, pressure poking fighting fun is all you get for what can only be described as the sequel (?) to perhaps one of the most notorious franchises in Anime. What do we expect from these final volumes? I’ll tell you what, a lot of brains, a good bit of story, and some nice violent fun. Thankfully, this is something that New Fist of the North Star can happily provide! Read on, but be careful, there are a few spoilers!
The young boy known to the people as Lord Doha is clinging onto life by a thread. A serum is needed from a faraway land to help him recover! Kenshiro volunteers for the mission to gather the medicine from the only source which just happens to be on the path through highly dangerous territory. As he leaves, another powerful martial artist by the name of Seiji takes over the Last Land and imprisons Sara, Tobi and Lord Doha. Luckily Tobi and Lord Doha escape and begin to rally up an army to enact their revenge.
In the final volume Kenshiro comes to find Last Land on the verge of complete rebellion against Soiji. As he tries to catch up with his old friend Tobi, he is suddenly betrayed and confined. All the townspeople have taken up arms against him under the name of their false god Lord Doha and are being led by Tobi, who at this point is showing some signs of power induced madness… A battle ensues and Tobi and Doha are on the verge of being slaughtered when they are caught unawares by Soiji and his lackeys. Meanwhile, Sara tries to free Kenshiro so that he can face up to Soiji for the final head exploding battle!
The story is a lot deeper than the highly brief summary above suggests. As was evident in the first volume, there is much more to most of the characters than it would seem (Kenshiro is perhaps the least rich character in the story, surprisingly enough!). Sara and Soiji have quite a distinct shared past and Soiji himself has many evident difficulties which are displayed throughout the final volumes in a series of peculiar flashbacks.
The quality of releases is highly consistent. The grunting of the battles in the marvellous 5.1 surround track simply cannot be beat, but, the problems highlighted in my first review still remain.
The problem with the style of the story that I can see is this. Kenshiro is unbeatable. In the final volume he fights Soiji. Kenshiro is the master of his inherited martial art, and Soiji is the master of his martial art. Both of them have unpronounceable names, but in the thick of it, both involve rapid punching and kicking and the well known TOUCH OF DEATH techniques which bring on the trademark head-exploding fun. The final battle becomes a sea of put down comments which can simply be summed up as a conversation between two men comparing penis size! It is, for all honesty, quite dull. It is much more fun watching men of this calibre slaughtering whole armies of men with their poking powers!
Apart from that slight problem, the series is concluded in a very satisfactory way. A cheesy ending does exist, but it does end well. Kenshiro does vanish again, so will we see him again? Only time will tell…
My main difficulty with these final episodes was the lack of beer. I was perhaps a little inebriated during the first volume, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. In a more sober state, I saw the series for what it was, and it didn’t excite me as much. It is still a good series, and a must have for those who are fans of the franchise. Just don’t, whatever you do, watch it while eating tomato pasta…. Ugh!