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Hokuto no Ken: The Legend of Raoh – Demonic fist of the devil

Along with Ninja Scroll, I grew up watching the Fist of the North Star movie. I was attracted by the unapologetic gore but this was no mere action flick – set in a post apocalyptic world ravaged by nuclear holocaust, I felt in awe of the endlessly barren landscapes, the grandiose struggle for power between armies populated in their thousands and the colourful ways in which Kenshiro would inevitably dispatch his ever demented enemies; his battles were at once intensely personal crusades and vitally important victories for a shattered, weak civilisation. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Fist of the North Star (Hokuto no Ken) – The Legend of Raoh: Martyred Love Arc (Raoh Den Jun-ai no Shō) is a return to those days; unpretentious, violent, fun and absurdly operatic, I absolutely loved every moment of this movie – and understand, the presentation is amazing too – Hokuto no Ken has never looked as gigantic and over the top; pyramids touch the clouds and knives of lightning rip through the star lit night as the muscle-mountains Kenshiro and Souther duke it out for the future of mankind.

This film is the first in a "pentalogy" of upcoming Hokuto no Ken features — re-animating and re-telling the cult 80s TV series. "The Legend of Raoh: Martyred Love Arc" begins by introducing us to the Hokuto universe – showing Kenshiro (as a berserk young kid) fighting in the "Nanto Temple for a test of his worthiness". Ken must defeat 10 warriors or face execution, and being a kid and all, he eventually loses to a far superior fighter by the name of ShÅ«.

Recognising in Ken the potential of a great hero, ShÅ« (Man of Jin-sei (benevolence star)) elects to rip out his own eyes, essentially ending his life as a martial artist, to save the kid. That’s the kind of world this is, a culture where brave warriors would feel honoured to die for a worthy cause.

Ken and his brothers grow up; Raoh, the eldest, is apparently the subject of this movie. Raoh is a conquer on a quest to rid the world of violence by force — he sits atop a massive horse while his army sweeps through countries, destroying whatever stands in its way. He is a fearsome man, but in his own way, is trying to make things better for all. The movie charts his attempts to end the evil reign of emperor Souther, but as fate would have it, Kenshiro is still the undoubted hero of the piece.

There is no point in approaching Fist of the North Star if you are looking for a completely serious, dead pan action movie. It has always been so over the top, melodramatic and unashamedly macho. Imagine a bastard child spawned from the collective talents of Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mad Max. If you spurn that pretension of sophistication, you will love this film; a beautifully stupid, deliciously melodramatic and action packed romp through war torn countries where the heroes are sometimes as bad as the villains.

Comments

kacpy says:

I watched it strictly because it had Kajiura music, and MAN! It turned out to be the comedy of 2006! I’ve not laughed this hard in a while.

Kajiura’s score wasn’t her greatest and it’s VERY OBVIOUS she was composing it at the same time as Xenosaga III and My-Otome scores. I’m still excited about the OST, as it’s supposed to include tracks for the 2007 movie as well.

Nighty says:

The movie was a damn good retelling of the Souther/Strongest of the Nanto Arc with some changes on Raoh’s side of the story, but still, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE RAOH’S STORY!!!

Well, at least Raoh will have a 2nd movie. Hopefully it WILL really be about him. Can’t wait for this month’s Yuria Densetsu. :3

bateszi says:

I was quite impressed with the score, and didn’t realize it was Kajiura. The music playing when Raoh goes berserk was very powerful and epic, and the beautiful instrumental music used during Shu’s death was… emotional…! Kajiura did a fine job.

The voice acting in this was actually some of the best I’ve heard for a while too… “KEEENSHIIRROOO!!!”, “SHUUUUUUU!!!!” etc. Everything about it was just so gruff, over the top and fun!

thakandu says:

Watched the movie, animation was great. Voice acting too. The music was OK. Noticed that Raoh was too soft compare to the TV series which I did not like.

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