The Curator of Schlock #267 by Jeff Shuster
Fist of the North Star
Welcome all my friends to the show that never ends.
My MacBook Pro power cord died on me again. This happens from time to time. Maybe I need to hang it up and buy a PC. So I’ll be wrapping up Anime Month today even though it’s April. Tonight’s feature is 1986’s Fist of the North Star from director Toyoo Ashida. This movie is guaranteed to blow your head apart. Sorry. I’ve got Emerson, Lake & Palmer on my brain. Maybe because I saw so many brains exploding out of heads in Fist of the North Star.This might be the most violent animated motion picture I have ever seen. Hell, this might be the violent motion picture I’ve ever seen. Fist of the North Star begins with the world being nuked into oblivion. Must have been the Soviets. Or maybe it was Matthew Broderick. At any rate, you see the full horror of that nuclear fallout, people stumbling around as their skins melt off. The aftermath leaves the world a wasteland reminiscent of the Mad Max movies. Only the strong survive in this cruel, new world.
Enter our hero, Ken (voiced by John Vickery), a martial arts master with the title of Fist of the North Star. While traveling with his fiancé, Julia (voiced by Melodee Spivack), he gets challenged by the Fist of the South Star, Shin (voiced by Michael McConnohie). Shin is Ken’s best friend from childhood, but he wants Julia for himself so he challenges Ken to a fight. One thing to note about many of the men in this film is that they’ve got muscles upon muscles upon muscles. Arms and legs shaped like tree trunks. I wonder how these men can pack on the muscle when food is so scarce in this post-apocalyptic world.
Ken loses the bout and is left for dead. Shin and his gang of hooligans make off with Julia. Fast-forward a year. A gang of marauders is chasing two kids named Bat and Lin. I think Lin has some psionic powers because she summons Ken from the wasteland. Ken fights the marauders and knocks a couple of ruined skyscrapers over. This movie is kind of a blur to me. Maybe it’s because I can’t keep track of whose head exploded when and where.
Yes, Ken has a martial arts technique where he touches pressure points on another guy’s head resulting in his opponent’s brain exploding from his skull. People get killed in all sorts of ways in this movie. Some get crisscrossed into chunks. Others spill their guts all over the ground. It’s all really quit nasty. Still, if you look past the carnage, you’ve got a movie that champions love, honor, and the restoration of the Earth to a green paradise. I think they released a Fist of the North Star video game last year. You get to explode men’s heads in the game. It’s amazing what they can do with technology these days.
Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47, episode 102, episode 124, episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.
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