They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Shin Hokuto no Ken, Initial D Extra Stage 2, Initial D Battle Stage 2, and more!
3: Shin Hokuto no Ken
English: New Fist of the North Star
Japanese: 新 北斗の拳
MAL Score: 6.97
In a post-apocalyptic Earth, the water has become entirely toxic, except for some kept safe in a reservoir. A fortified zone has been created by a man named Sanga, he calls it The Lastland. A group of villagers have discovered safe water, and Sanga wants it. He and his band of killers go to kill everyone and steal it. As they do a mysterious man appears out of nowhere, instantly killing some of Sanga’s men. His name is Kenshiro, and he can beat any man with his martial art, Hokuto Shin Ken. Sanga will do anything for the water, and Kenshiro will do anything to try and stop him.
Story: 8/10- it’s a classic, straight up action martial arts anime with a simple to follow story line and lots of violence.
Art: 9/10- A great thing about OVAs is that animation is always brought up a level, with a lot of detail and clarity involved.
Sound: 9/10- I love Gackt (which is the intro & outro songs) plus who doesn’t love “Watatata!!!”
Character: 7/10- Not a whole lotta development for characters, but they’re still likable and you want Ken to succeed in all he does.
Enjoyment/Overall: 8/10- I love this story, action and strength of martial arts, so its an enjoyable OVA for me.
Story: Well, the story simply put is bad, close to unwatchable. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world in which people beat the living crap out of each other with martial arts. Our hero, Kenshiro, is the greatest martial artist on the block because he knows the Fist of the North Star and therefore cannot be injured. Very very weak plotwise.
The beginning of the first episode is where it all starts to go downhill in a hurry, you have to listen to the dialogue which is terrible. I watched the dubbed version so maybe the sub is better but I doubt it, it’s hard to take crap and make it into something good.
However, it must be said that the second and third episodes are distinctively better in the story category but not by much. (1000 times 0 is still 0.) So really, you don’t want to pick up this anime for a good story. No, people out there watch Fist of the North Star for violence, which I’ve got to say, isn’t very good either.
Kenshiro is an unstoppable brick wall and every fight, besides the last, is over in a matter of seconds. He hits a pressure point on their head and then they blow up sending blood and guts everywhere, not much for fighting. Even when they actually do have a real fight, it is still ridiculously unrealistic and it turned me off.
Art: Well, the art’s pretty good. It matches the art of the manga and tweaks it a little bit making it look prettier and more full of colors, except when they go into the 3D look. I don’t know what it is with animators wanted to do things in both 2D and 3D but it turns me off, Fist of the North Star is no different.
Some shows seem to be able to pull off bringing the two worlds of 3D and 2D animation together, but this is not one of them. Everytime it shows the landscape it’s nothing but poorly rendered sand and nothing else, I know that they are in a Post-Apocalyptic world but there would be at least something to break up the monotony every once and a while. However, the makers of this series did a cop out on the 3D so there’s nothing to really see.
It’s truly depressing because without all the 3D that they threw in, I might’ve given this series an 8 or 9 in the animation department but since it had it, and it clashes so badly together, I had to drop it down.
Sound: The sound is right next to being completely and utterly terrible. The opening theme is alright and the soundeffects of people’s heads exploding are well done. But the voices are hideous, mainly because of what they’re saying, and there’s really no music whatsoever throughout the series. Every once and a while a heavy guitar rift will start playing in the background of a fight scene but these always seem to be timed badly and are few and far between.
Character: What character? The characters are severely lacking in the personality department. It’s almost as though they reached into a bag of over-used anime cliches and handed them out to the characters like candy. Kenshiro is the badass strong silent type, who never gets hurt. Sara is the buxom healer. And I can’t even mention all the stupid but powerful henchmen that proliferate this anime. But the list goes on and on. It made me sick.
I guess the character designs are fairly interesting but the characters themselves could have used quite a bit more personality. Throughout the series they just acted like robots, and annoying robots at that.
Enjoyment: If you can’t tell, I did not like this anime. It had a lot of potential for being good but the writing and everything else just tore that potential to pieces.
Overall: I’d say stay away from this anime unless perhaps you’ve seen the other Fists of the North Star, then you might enjoy this one. Your average anime fan however I think will hate this anime almost as much as I did. I guess that if you really have absolutely nothing better to do on a rainy day you could check this one out, although you probably won’t enjoy it at least you get to see people’s heads explode.
The series does have a stable plot overall. At least one of the characters fill his role in pushing the story and delivering a very realistic plot twist. The main character Kenshiro, even though he’s the hero of the story is kind of overshadowed. Kenshiro is mainly present to deliver final justice, by engaging in some uninspired hand to hand battles. However, he is still very easy to cheer for. Kenshiro appears to almost be an antihero with his merciless streak, but when looking at the crimes committed by the villains; their very gruesome and painful deaths are well deserved. He also delivers some pretty good lines before delivering execution. The second main character named Tobi proves to be the most interesting with his transition that I refuse to spoil.
This is a very violent series, this is a point that must be driven home for those whom shun these type of shows. For those that love it brace yourselves, because it maintains the brutal tone almost completely throughout. Fist of the North Star knows what it wants to be and the comedy is kept very low. The fight scenes are very well detailed with its gore. You practically get the whole nine yards: decapitations, bodies chopped in half, brains and guts exploding out of people left and right, brutal deaths by various weapons with lots of blood. I believe this series is a gore hounds wet dream. Plus you get quite a bit of fan service.
The original movie gave some detail but this series somewhat paints a better picture of the misery taking place in this world. The rulers are very evil and abusive to the weak. Plus, you see the negative effects taking place with the people and how it influences their behavior.
The apex of the series to me is the depiction of people’s belief in a higher power. I believe this is the most over looked point of the series. The writers hit the mark to me by displaying the fanaticism in a higher power when people have lost all hope, and their only salvation is to believe in a god; the thing that helps this theme work better is the fact there is a god they can actually see, which helps give them the will to fight and die, because they believe they’re going to end up in god’s hands. This makes their fanatical ways all the more believable.
Animation and artwork is a mixed bag here. As the series went on I noticed a decline in both. The character designs are very good, especially with the women(but then again isn’t it always?), but I did notice it wasn’t consistent. Sometimes characters would appear bigger than what they really were, and there wasn’t too much variety in generic characters. The animation was hurt badly with the use of CGI which ruined some of the backgrounds.
The characters also seemed too stiff and lacked some movement, especially during the fights. The animation didn’t really flow well at all. There are also a large use of stills and some reused scenes. As always, music is subjective but I didn’t find the rock soundtrack to be anything special.
The New Fist of the North Star could have been a very well above average series but several other things dragged it down; such as the ending and the female lead Sara. She served a small purpose, but I found her personality at the end to be too unrealistic. This also goes for Kenshiro as well. I will also mention that there is a non too graphic rape scene.
Overall, I don’t find the series to be bad. It’s good if you’re looking for some gory fight scenes. As a matter of fact, along with fans of the franchise, those are the only people I would recommend this to.
Highs: Lots of action, plot twist, interesting and realistic theme
Lows: Gratuitous violence will put off some, weak ending, sub par animation, missed potential
2: Initial D Extra Stage 2
English: Initial D Extra Stage 2
Japanese: 頭文字D Extra Stage 2
MAL Score: 7.41
Iketani missed an opportunity to see Mako-chan and hates himself for never calling to say he was sorry. By chance he runs into her 6 months later, and the situation is awkward. Iketani does not have time to talk at that moment, but both want to talk, so they arrange a second meeting. Iketani goes to the meeting place early, but an old man was left behind from an tourist bus, and asks Iketani to catch the bus for him. Iketani being a nice guy, so he can’t say no.
Extra Stage 2 takes place sometime between the 1st & 2nd races of the Project D timeline. Remember those cool races during Project D, well you can forget them because this OVA focuses on Iketani Kouichirou, who’s still thinking about Mako (Impact Blue racer) from the time he couldn’t meet her 6 months ago (Extra Stage 1). Then by a stroke of luck, he gets another chance to meet her and from then on it’s a 40 min snore fest to the finish. Initial D has always been known for developing its characters through some awesome & exciting races but sadly this OVA is on the same level of a Naruto Filler. So naturally character development is basically absent here, since there was only 1 race and even that was lackluster compared to all the previous ones.
Thankfully I won’t be coming down hard on the animation and music, as they both were pretty good for this OVA. The animation is the same as always, poorly animated characters but nicely rendered cars, however it seems they followed the animation from the previous Extra Stage and not Project D, which drops a point in my book. At least the same old catchy soundtrack is back but with barely any opportunities, it just feels wasted.
Overall Initial D: Extra Stage 2 can be described simply as a stab at some romance in a racing anime but they should have known better from the first try that giving such unimportant characters the spotlight just spells disaster. It’s a shame that Takumi gets less screen time than Kenji (bet no one remembers him). In other words this is only worth watching if you have nothing better to do and I mean absolutely nothing.
Extra Stage 2 revolve around Iketani and Mako having a second chance at love. The story is fairly simple but is actually very well written and helps clear up the empty feeling after the missed connection between them earlier in the series. Everything is well paced and moves logically. You will not find anything deep in relation to the main Initial D story. Togue racing is limited in this series.
Both CGI and drawn art are well done in this short side story. Drawn art is treated to an overhaul of rich colors and generally looks much better than First and Second Stage.
Sound quality is good, acting is well done and comprehensible. OST music is better than in previous seasons as is the sound of the cars.
Iketani and Mako are the main focus of ES2 and undergo decent development as both grow.
You’re not going to find anything profound in Extra Stage 2, but it is a welcome conclusion to the Iketani and Mako subplot, so if you wanted more of that, you’ll really enjoy Extra Stage 2.
1: Initial D Battle Stage 2
Japanese: 頭文字〈イニシャル〉D BATTLE STAGE 2
MAL Score: 7.64
This is simply the OAV summing up the major events and battles of “Initial D 4th Stage” much like the “Initial D Battle Stage” original summed up the first 3 seasons. Additionally, has 2 extra battles from the manga that were not incorporated into the original 4th Stage.
I would recommend watching this just because of the two extra battles that weren’t shown in the TV series (Keisuke’s FD versus Smiley Sakai’s DC2 Integra, and Keisuke’s FD versus Atsuro Kawai’s ER34) and of course to anyone who wants to re-live the exciting battle races.
Also , the best time to watch it , should be right after Fourth stage , before entering fifth stage.
“Technique can’t be learned like tying your shoes or changing a flat tire. It’s something you gotta figure out for yourself.” – Bunta Fujiwara
Better visuals, and new eurobeat tracks on each race too!
It’s a packing of all the races from the fourth stage but it also adds some races that were exclusive to the manga, which is really nice and interesting.
You can see a lot of what Keisuke went through and how his character evolved before fifth stage as the newly animated races are focused on him.
Makes it actually worth watching even if you’ve seen the entire fourth stage.
Overall a nice experience to rewatch old races and to remember the good moments too.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Initial D Battle Stage 2
2. Initial D Extra Stage 2
3. Shin Hokuto no Ken