HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Fist of the North Star" - Volume Eleven

MANGA REVIEW | "Fist of the North Star" - Volume Eleven

MANGA REVIEW | "Fist of the North Star" - Volume Eleven

A few months ago, I had the privilege of seeing a Fist of the North Star exhibition in Roppongi. (You can hear my thoughts on it in this episode of Duck Amuck in Japan.) In it were the original drawn pages of Tetsuo Hara and Buronson’s iconic series. However, the odd thing about the exhibition was the fact that the final original page showcased was the final panel seen in its tenth volume. I found it sort of fitting, as this could have been the proper ending to the series, with Kenshiro carrying Yuria into the sunset with fates unknown.

Alas, life is a cruel mistress. The story must continue. After all, evil never vanishes; it only multiplies. And boy, does life in a post-apocalyptic world get rougher ten years later. As the eleventh volume shows, the carnage only gets worse.

Bat and Rin have grown up, and Yuria has sadly passed on. Without her, Kenshiro has become a shell of a man. But it takes a massive village attack and the death of Juzu’s son to rile up our hero once more, showing that ten years without fighting hasn’t given Kenshiro the slightest bit of rust. Riding on Raoh’s horse, Kenshiro must find a way to seek total peace before he can fully rest again.

Joining the side of good is Ein, who swears to take Kenshiro’s head one day. But that fight will be for another day, as their first battle shows that he’s not ready to go one-on-one with the great one. Instead, Ein temporarily aligns with Kenshiro, as he aims to build his strength and his legend. In order to do that, a lot of evil must be vanquished.

It’s here where Fist of the North Star starts to feel more episodic. Rather than one long narrative, Kenshiro, Ein, Bat, and Rin instead now roam one dangerous village after another as they clean house. Is it as focused as the original story? No, not in the least bit. But damn it all if it still wasn’t gorgeous to look at!

Even if the story isn’t as strong as the first ten volumes, the fights are incredible to look at. Hara’s art is second-to-none, with each punch, kick, stab, and trademarked meat-bag explosion looking better than the last. In the years since its original publication, nobody has ever come close to what Hara has been able to accomplish. (Well…maybe except the mysterious author of Rooster Fighter Shu Sakuratani, but has anyone ever seen him and Hara in the same room together?)

Fist of the North Star easily could’ve ended with its tenth volume. But nay, war in a post-apocalyptic world continues onward. It may have lost a bit of its focus, but Volume Eleven is still a treat for the eyes. Maybe after another village rescue or two, that focus will return. For now, enjoy the carnage that Fist of the North Star gives us, in the name of Yuria and the fallen friends of Kenshiro.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)