Fist of the North Star is one of the most loved and honored anime of all time. Hence, we have DD Fist of the North Star: a half-chibi gag anime with little violence and even less skilled combat. This is similar to a roasting, if you love it, you make fun of it. Of course, this is DD Fist of the North Star 2, acting at the not-quite sequel to 2013’s DD Fist of the North Star as well as 2011’s ill-received short-form adaptation. Though there is a clear “2” in the title, it’s not a sequel, so don’t be afraid to take a look at this anime if you haven’t seen the first season. Oh, and the “DD” stands for design deformation – best to get that out of the way now so that nobody’s left wondering throughout the review.
With all the pleasantries out of the way, let’s dive in!
In the year 199x, there was no war and everything was at peace. Now, with nobody to save, Kenshiro wanders around with no purpose as the savior of the century’s end. Fortunately, a devious young girl drags him into her school, conveniently enough dubbed “End of the Century Academy,” wherein he meets up with his two brothers, Toki and Raoh.
After discovering that the school nurse is their long-lost lady love, and that she cannot be seen without a school ID, our three heroes become lackeys for the school’s principal. However, only one brother can be enrolled in the school, taking the place of a recently expelled student.
In Fist of the North Star, Kenshiro was a stoic kind-hearted hero with unsurpassed skills in combat. Here, he’s a well-meaning goofball, acting as a baseline for the attitudes of the three brothers of the Divine Fist of the North Star. Usually, he’s the most rational of the three, but that really isn’t saying all that much.
In his original incarnation, Toki was a kind man who wished to use the Divine Fist of the North Star’s focus on pressure points to provide medical attention to the needy; though he was slowly dying of radiation poisoning, he walked with dignity. Now, he’s a two-bit shyster working in the black market who coughs up blood more often than most people cough normally. With that said, Toki does love his brothers and is not made of stone, despite his indiscriminate gouging and extorting.
In a past life, Raoh was an all-powerful warlord and tyrant, terrorizing the wasted and laying claim to all he could see. Nowadays, he’s a shirtless guy with no shortness of bravado and no excess of intelligence, proclaiming himself the king of whatever venture he may currently be undertaking. Among the three brothers, he is the most dense and stubborn.
Lin and Bat once were two children that Kenshiro traveled with, having saved them from raiders and prison respectively. Now, they’re a couple of students who act as foils for our heroes.
Lin is an enabler, always acting gung-ho towards our heroes and their misadventures.
Bat is more or less the most reasonable character in the series. Although he never really tries to stop our heroes, he’s constantly making snide remarks and snarky commentary towards the situation at hand. If anything bizarre happens, be it physically or socially, Bat will have something to say about it even if it’s just putting what we just saw into words.
Originally the brothers’ master; in this incarnation Ryuken is is a tiny man who wears a large papier-mâché torso that makes him resemble his original design; he is also the principal of End of the Century Academy and the one who will ultimately decide who among the three brothers will become a enrolled as a student at the school. He is a nonsensical man who makes very poor decisions, especially with money.
Always the object of the three brothers’ affection, Yuria is a school nurse in DD Fist of the North Star 2. Having shown kindness to all three brothers in the past, she is the true prize for whoever wins the right to be enrolled in the school.
Yuria makes about as much sense as the other characters, from constantly encouraging the heroes to get hurt to moving her office to nonsensical locations. Mind you, she does not show any real romantic interest in the brothers; rather, those three knuckleheads are fighting just for the right to have her apply bandages to them when they get hurt.
For this second season of DD Fist of the North Star, Ajia-Do Animation Works has added a short segment based on another comedy spin off of Fist of The North Star called Fist of the North Star Strawberry Flavor. These two-minute segments revolve around Holy Emperor Thouzer, but transform his character from a ruthless dictator to a complete nutter. Sometimes he’s promoting his boyband with the other South Star Generals, sometimes he’s trying to get closer to Kenshiro in the creepiest ways imaginable, and sometimes things just aren’t going his way; but he is always, ALWAYS cackling like a madman throughout.
The humor here can get a little stale through overexposure, but since it only takes up two minutes of each episode, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.
DD Fist of the North Star 2 is a fairly niche anime and that’s not just talking about its reliance on slapstick. While reading this review, you may have found a few instances where you wish you knew more about certain characters and the differences in their roles from the original work to this parody. If this applies to you, a lot of this series will go over your head. For example, though they make up reasons for things like only one brother being able to enter the school, a few concepts in the anime have deeper meaning in regards to parody. As I just stated, Ryuken must choose one of the brothers to enroll in the school, and all along the way he tests them and makes them compete for the privilege. This is actually based on the original anime, where he had to choose one of the brothers to become the true heir to the Divine Fist of the North Star. In a similar fashion, a decent amount of character interaction loses its meaning if you don’t have a basic knowledge of pretty much all the heroes and villains of the original Fist of the North Star. However, unlike the first season, enough of the characters have newly manufactured character traits that they’re entertaining without the knowledge as well.
On the technical side of things, there isn’t all that much to say. The audio is very strong all around; not ground-breaking in any regard, but everything it needs to be on a fundamental level. The animation is much the same as the audio, not anything to write home about, but effective in what it’s trying to get across.
DD Fist of the North Star 2 Strawberry Flavor +
All in all, DD Fist of the North Star 2 Strawberry Flavor + is a decent gag anime with likable characters; just don’t go around hoping for significant (or any) character development.
Otherwise, the jokes are good, the interactions are funny, and the world as a whole is just generally enjoyable. However, as I said, veterans of the franchise will enjoy the anime much more, with nearly every major character from the original work making an appearance at some point.
- With prior Fist of the North Star knowledge - 8/108/10
- Without prior Fist of the North Star knowledge - 7/107/10
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