This is the best release of this film in the US
V. Crisafulli | Lansdale, PA | 06/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Fist of the North Star has been released multiple times on VHS and DVD in the US. It even has two different dubs (one by Streamline Pictures with Carl Macek of Robotech fame, and one by Manga Entertainment).
In this release:
* The film is digitally restored. It actually looks a little better than the original release.
* The movie still goes into monochromatic mode during the most violent scenes - just like in all previous US releases.
* The original US dub (Streamline) is used. The original Japanese audio is also included.
* There are also two sets of subtitles, one for the US dub dialog and one that is a faithful translation of the Japanese dialog. Before reading the Japanese subtitles, I never realized how many liberties Streamline took with the script. It's almost like watching a different movie!
* The Japanese theatrical ending is used, which is the same ending all previous US releases had. (There is a Japanese home-video ending where Ken and Raoh's duel ends in a draw)
* We get the Japanese theatrical teasers & trailers.
* The 80's hair-metal song "Heart of Madness" is liberally applied in the menus.
Again, this is probably the best release of this film in the US. If you need to replace your decade-old copy of the VHS tape, this is your best choice."
Top 5 All Time Anime
A. Stephens | Denver, CO | 06/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must for any fan or collector of anime. For years this was a gem that could only be found on VHS. Now on DVD the quality is much better. Much better than the series, this is the original story that led to a multi-episode series, a NES Game and an actual live-action movie. A classic that stands in the same category as Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, Grappler Baki (The movie is also better than the series) and Crying Freeman, this DVD release is the final piece to that collective of great anime.
Set in a post-apocalyptic setting where money is valueless and food and supplies are priceless, the story follows the hero Kenshiro and his journey of struggle and betrayal as he rises to reclaim his status of the true Fist of the North Star. Shin, his former best friend and also Fist of the South Star, attacks Ken to seize his love Julia. The plot thickens as it is revealed that Ken's own brother Jaggy is the spark that turned Shin's admiration of Julia to the fire and madness that is the cause of the assault.
At the same time Ken's oldest brother Raoh has decided that the title of the Fist of the North Star should be his because of his immense power and the fact that Ken's seems to have been destroyed by Shin. Raoh unveils his feelings to their master Ryuken, who does not agree and tells him to leave and never return. Though it is not shown, Raoh erupts and in fact kills Ryukens and begins his mission of total domination.
The movie definitly has an 80's vibe with both the effects and the music. While most anime fans I know appreciate this movie for the gem that it is some view it as choppy and even corny. I believe this is one of the few anime movies you can find that has a good story with intriguing characters and the old school, raw anime of that represented the time it was made.
This is and Ninja Scroll were what we automatically envisioned whenever the term "Japanese Animation" came about. A true classic."
FotNS: Looks outstanding, but with some flaws
T. Phillips | Las Vegas | 06/27/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First, let's get the good out of the way. The picture quality on this disc is absolutely fantastic. After watching VHS copies and fan-subbed digital versions for years, it's truly eye-opening to see Hokuto no Ken looking like this. Everything looks incredibly clean. Sound is also quite good, so the A/V package is right on.
But, let's get to the bad. Extras are pretty much nil, except for some trailers (which are thankfully also up to the same quality as the feature), a bios section for the characters and a gallery. There are quite a few spelling errors, mostly with the way things are romanized from the Japanese text, and mis-translations in the English subs for the Japanese track (there are also subs for the English voice track, too). A lot of these are very irksome when you are used to translations that have been used for a long time and used by other folk that are a lot more fluent than I am. And shame on Toei for not bothering to uncensor the more graphic kills in the movie. Not only is it just lazy on their part, but it also throws off the movie by switching from the great picture quality of the rest of the film to the grainy, low-quality censored stuff. This may have caused some PTA folks in Japan to blow their tops in '86, but it's now 23 years later. Give us an uncut print.
It's nice to see this get a decent DVD release, but it's certainly not worth $30. Pick it up if it falls under $20; that's what I'm waiting to do."
One of my favorite anime movies!
John Lindsey | Socorro, New Mexico USA. | 11/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
Set in the future after a nuclear holocaust, nearly all the cities and towns in the world have been destroyed including the plants. Some people are trying to bring it back to life and some mutant giant warriors hellbent on killing people, a martial artist named Ken has been murdered by a friend of his named Shin who takes his woman and leaves him to be dead, later on he becomes magically resurrected with magicial martial arts powers that can make bad people explode through fist-fights. He battles many vicious mutants including Shin and his two brothers Raoh and Jagi as he fights to get back his love and even save the world from being dead.
Bone-crunching and ultaviolent Japanese animated Sci-fi fantasy action flick is one of the best cult animated movies ever. Directed by Vampire Hunter D's Toyoo Ashida this is an all-out assault on the viewer's senses and kicks you in the gut. The film has an interesting eco-future story and about humanity, there's also loads of graphic gory violence including exploding heads and bodies galore. The battle and action sequences are nothing sort of outstanding including the animation which seems to be an improvement over Ashida's "Vampire Hunter D" whom the character does make a brief cameo. This one isn't for the weak stomached but for those that like action, Sci-fi and animation i recommend this movie.
This DVD contains a great remastered picture with terrific sound quality with both Japanese language with Subtitles and Dubbed versions that has James Avery as Fang. The extras include Trailers, Biographies on characters and still galleries.