Fist of the North Star by Tetsuo Hara and Buronson has been released with English translation before, but they stopped printing them before the full series could be released. It's been many years since then, and for the longest time it felt like we'd never get a full release of the series, but Viz have finally picked it back up again. This time around, releasing the Fist of the North Star in a new hardcover format with design based on the 2013 Ultimate Editions. With these, they even made some new design choices, including raised and textured elements, such as a translucent Big Dipper and some blood splatter details.
But is there anything new about these hardcover editions releasing from Viz? Yes, there definitely is. Not only are they hardcover releases with new design as mentioned prior, but the sound effects are translated--a first for an English translated release of the series, they open up with a couple full color pages, and they also have updated translation. Also, these volumes read in the original right to left reading format, which I really love.
I unfortunately am not familiar with other Fist of the North Star manga releases, but have heard from others that are, that they changed the way that some things are worded and also fixed a few grammatical errors. For those who are aware of the previous volumes, the updated translation may be something that bothers you. But for those you, who are like me, and have been waiting to experience the series for quite some time, it's a joy to finally be able to experience the Fist of the North Star and its incredible art and story.
I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories, so in that way, Fist of the North Star had me from the start. It's very reminiscent of the films I grew up with as a kid, such as Mad Max, The Warriors, and more. It definitely has more parallels to Mad Max plot-wise, but when it comes down to that over-the-top violence and action, it is similar to all of those late 70's-80's films that are close to my heart.
The way Kenshiro aka Ken fights is also very reminiscent of Bruce Lee at times. I grew up watching his films thanks to my Dad as well, so it really connected with me in that way as well. While I didn't grow up with Fist of the North Star, it still felt very close to home thanks to all of those movies my parents introduced me to.
Not only that, but Fist of the North Star and its creators, Tetsuo Hara and Buronson, have had a huge impact on the industry, so I couldn't wait to dive into their legacy and experience the series that's influenced so many others, such as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. There's something magical about these two when they come together, and with the combination of Tetsuo Hara's art and Buronson's story-telling the Fist of the North Star is unstoppable.
As to what it's about, The Fist of the North Star is set in a post-apocalyptic world where it's become this survival of the fittest scenario, and with all hell breaking loose, vicious gangs now run rampant in the wastelands. Law and order may not exist, but Ken and his power, Hokuto Shinken—the Divine Fist of the North Star do, and he sets out to bring justice back into this world and destroy those who hurt or take from others.
So far, the story has me hooked. I'm interested in seeing who Ken is going to take on and vow to destroy next. You can follow the high-action sequences easily and the fights are fun to witness and they are incredibly drawn. It just has a really cool style, and while it's a bloody fun read, it has substance to it as well.
If you love over-the-top violence and thrilling action, post-apocalyptic stories, and a MC with a strong sense of justice, you definitely want to check out Fist of the North Star. For long-time fans of the series, this new release is bound to impress, but I'm also happy that Viz re-released the series, so that it can reach new readers. On top of all that, the print quality of these is top-notch and they are beautifully made, so they are really nice editions, and it's one of my favorite new releases of 2021 so far along with titles like The Breaker.
If you are interested in checking out the series, you can pick-up the first Fist of the North Star hardcover now and preorder future volumes on sites like Right Stuf and Amazon! And if you would like an all-around and inside look at the first hardcover, be sure to check out our review on YouTube below!
Fist of the North Star Vol. 1 Manga Review with Inside Look
In other manga news, check out all of the manga collector's editions and manga box sets that are releasing in 2021!