There’s only one anime that could possibly follow GOLGO 13 on this semi-impromptu track of macho anime. Really, there was no choice.
FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, of course, is the anime that shaped my Vice Pit co-host into the man that he is today. As for me, I’ve been aware of this franchise since my misspent youth, when I was playing the fighting game for whatever reason on my first gen Game Boy and futilely trying to use the punch pad arcade game that required players to recreate Kenshiro’s trademark “Hundred Crack First.” (I feel like writing for this column has been an ongoing process of me sampling every single piece of pop culture that I’ve been in even peripheral contact with).
So here we are, more than 20 years later, and FIST OF THE NORTH STAR is exactly as overwrought, over-the-top and diesel-engine overdrive as I could’ve hoped for. This is the sort of show where the surprise of how the “Hundred Crack Fist” essentially blows bad guys up from the inside is met with an approving grunt and nod from me. I don’t know if there’s anything significant to observe about how this feels like some wild card producer recast THE ROAD WARRIOR with Bruce Lee and added a bizarre, “preposterone”-pumped messianic angle to Mad Max… but it’s still worth observing. After all, this is the show where the lead’s got an endless supply of t-shirts and leather jackets he can shred to pieces with his outrageously massive chest.
I mean, there’s not much to say except that this kicks major ass. Kenshiro kicks ass. I feel like I can kick even more ass just from watching this. It’s like that whole Objectivist principle of “A = A.” With FIST OF THE NORTH STAR, we all have to just know ours roles and shut our mouths.
But... I do have to say that this show’s pretty funny for where it’s dated (and not in the areas you’re thinking.) It’s hard to convey to kids today how the year 2000 used to feel like such a distant threshold, even when it was three years off. As such, the 199X makes me chuckle because, at the most, this show’s positing a post-Apocalyptic wasteland that’s 13 years off. Somehow, they figured that little girls would still dressing like back-up dancers in a Debbie Gibson music video.
Watch this episode, "God or Devil? The Mightiest Man Appears in Hell" here and decide for yourself.