Shijou Saikyou No Deshi Kenichi

May 24, 2008

I guess it’s part of our human genes that makes us fight, whatever the reason. And I’m sure we have a proven track record of it throughout our entire history of existence whether it’s an epic battle or a small petty squabble. Thus in this world, there has many been many form of martial arts and it depends on the user on how it is used.
 
Though I’m not really a big fan of the martial arts genre, but I still can’t pass a good anime series if it was made into one. And because of the comedy factor as part of the package, I decided to have a go at History’s Strongest Disciple Kenichi. Since I don’t have any martial arts background (all those Taekwondo lessons I got during my childhood years seems to have been forgotten ;P), I’m not really sure all the moves that the characters pull here are exaggerated or not. But I’m sure there are some basic moves and knowledge which have some truth in them.
 
There are 50 episodes in this manga adapted series and though this anime is quite action packed and the fights I could say are quite choreographed, there are quite some amount of violence and blood. So I guess this show isn’t really aimed for younger audiences as this is categorized more of a bishonen category.
 
Our main character and soon-to-be hero of the series is 15 year old normal high school-goer, Kenichi Shirahama, who is a ‘weakling’ in the martial arts. So much so, he has been given the nickname ‘Weak Legs’. At first glimpse, this guy is really to take on and get beaten up. True. Easy meat. I think because of that, he’s part of his school’s karate club to learn self defence. However, Kenichi has got a big problem coming up. He is being challenged by a karate club member, Daimonji, in which the loser of this battle must leave the club. On his way to school, Kenichi meets a pretty blonde, Miu Furinji, who is also a new transfer student in Kenichi’s class and school. As contrast to typical dumb blondes, Miu is much different from those stereotypes. Though she may have erm… let’s say her prized assets are larger proportions than normal girls, this girl can kick ass. Yeah, she’s a skilled martial artists, though she’s being modest and say that she isn’t an expert. And yes. Never stand behind Miu, because her natural spontantaneous reflex will cause her to grab and throw the perpetrator behind. Kenichi find that the hard way and got a little taste of it when he bumped into her.
 
Kenichi must be having a dilemma whether to go on with his match with Daimonji. But deep down inside this kid, Kenichi too has his staunch believe in justice. And after witnessing Miu kick a bunch of delinquent’s ass as they go about bullying their victim, Kenichi becomes convinced and decides to train himself harder. But he has no background or whatsoever knowledge on martial arts, how is he going to get a good footing on it? Don’t worry, Miu suggests that he could come to the Ryouzanpaku Dojo to do so. By the way, this dojo is where Miu lives and is also run by her grandpa, Hayato Furinji (loves licking lollipops by the way). And thus, Kenichi’s hell begins… well, I looked at it that way.
 
So okay, being a disciple at Ryouzanpaku is tough. I mean it makes you think that going to hell is better. Why? Because the masters of this dojo are a bunch of scary weirdos. But they’re really good in the martial arts they master in. Let me introduce them. First of, we have the karate master, Shio Sakaki, who likes drinking sake. Second, we have Akisame Koetsuji, the philosophy jujitsu master who also runs a nearby clinic. Then we have the always-having-a-camera-in-hand (if not a porn mag) perverted Chinese kenpo martial arts sifu, Ma Kensei. Also, a slow talker and monotonous sounding weaponry specialist Shigure Kousaka. She has a little mouse, Tochimaru, who is always by her side and sometimes doing cheeky stuffs. You know men like Ma never really do change as he’s always taking perverted photos of Shigure but getting her feet in his face as retribution. Otherwise, this dirty old man takes his chances on a more ‘younger raw meat’ (read: Miu). Last but not least, the super powerful Thai boxer, Apachai Hopachai. He’s not the brightest of the gang, but he is good natured though he is child-like at times and likes to say his signature word "Apa?" or "Apapapapa.." (I think it’s taken from the Malay word ‘apa’ meaning ‘what’). Too bad he doesn’t know how to hold back his massive power and poor Kenichi usually gets brutally injured by him everytime.
 
If you think Kenichi being a disciple with 6 different masters is good, wait till you see his training. Well, in a way it’s good because it broadens Kenichi’s view and not just stick to 1 way. Like they say, variety is the spice of life. The training that Kenichi undergo seems exaggerated and hilarious and forgive me if I sound like a sadist, laughing everytime at Kenichi’s pain and suffering. But because Kenichi’s scream is so convincing in a funny way, I can’t help laugh each time he undergoes his torture. Yeah, he’ll shout and yell to his masters how they’re the monsters and murderers. Ah well, the first step of a long journey is always the toughest. So what is his motivation to keep staying at Ryouzanpaku? Miu, of course. At least Kenichi’s still a ‘normal’ boy because at times he’s a passive pervert. Uh huh. At 1 time, Miu was helping Kenichi out with his torture training and it’s like between hell and heaven. The device is causing Kenichi so much pain that he can’t go on anymore, but since Miu’s boobs were rubbing against his back, I guess he enjoys it. And if you’re planning to see any chemistry between these 2, forget it. Though Kenichi does like Miu, but at 1 point Miu did bluntly mention that she sees Kenichi as a friend. There goes his chance.
 
As time goes by, you’ll see that Kenichi grows into a stronger character, thanks to all that suffering… I mean training. As Kenichi build on the basics like stamina and speed, he soon learn techniques from his masters and in no time, improvises and combines them as part of his moves. Not only that, because Kenichi’s the only Ryouzanpaku disciple, he too changes his masters like Sakaki, who doesn’t really take on a disciple at first but as time goes by, Sakaki seems to admire Kenichi more and more. And Shigure, she usually eat meals alone but ever since Kenichi arrived, she joins the others and looks forward to the day with the rest. Even if Kenichi is involved in fights, the masters have made a vow not to interfere unless it becomes real serious like probably Kenichi losing his life. Well, it’s not like they enjoy seeing people beat the crap out of their number 1 disciple, but this way, Kenichi gets to learn things better instead of being spoon-fed or being saved everytime he’s in trouble.
 
So back to the Daimonji battle. After Miu personally gives Kenichi some side-stepping lessons one night, will it be enough to defeat Daimonji. On the day of the match itself, the obnoxious Daimonji is full of himself. It’s like David vs Goliath. Remember, pride comes before a fall and the bigger they are the harder they fall. Though Kenichi has learned a move in a short moment of time, he managed to use all that he has acquired to beat Daimonji. That Daimonji loser is now in a panic. However, Kenichi decides to forfeit the match because he claims that 1 of the moves he used on Daimonji was illegal. But I think Kenichi felt pity for Daimonji and decides to leave the club. With Kenichi’s departure, he joins the gardening club (which is supposedly less ‘violent’ and more calming) while Miu joins a rhythmic gymnast club. It’s kinda funny to see Miu trying her best not to show off her flashy moves but the jealous gymnastic club leader is always trying to make her life miserable but her plans ends up backfiring on her. Move over, girl.
 
However, that first win for Kenichi is the start of his troubles. Some weakling defeated a powerful guy. That has got to be news. So Kenichi’s next fight is supposed to be the karate club captain, Tsukuba. He was the one who refereed the match between him and Daimonji and was kinda impressed with his side-step move and wants to challenge him. Peace loving Kenichi declined at first but was forced to fight back when Tsukuba mocked and teased him. After learning a few more moves, Kenichi defeats Tsukuba for good. You see, with back to back wins, Kenichi’s name is fast starting to go around in the fighting world. He’s really becoming popular for the wrong reasons.
 
Before I move on, I would like to mention several few characters first. The most interesting and amusing character that everyone will love to hate is Kenichi’s friend, Haruo Niijima. Okay, that’s what Niijima proclaims. Kenichi doesn’t like him that much but since they’ve been pals since young and he’s always around him, plus Kenichi’s principals of helping a friend in need, etc, I guess Kenichi has no choice but to accept this devil alien as his friend. Yeah, opposites do attract. Niijima do look and sound like a devil. Why, his ears are really long and when he’s really scheming, you can see his devil horns, tail and snake tongue when he’s doing his evil laughter. Niijima is part of the school’s newspaper club and his information gathering is close to perfect. His info is never wrong. But the thing is, he sometimes misuses them. At times he tells info of things Kenichi doesn’t want to know (which will later prove useful), or he twists a story and make a mountain out of a molehill. You just want to strangle this guy, don’t you? Though he don’t have any fighting skills, but his running away and escaping skills (coward!) are first class. Master of evasive techniques, I’d say. I think because he sees Kenichi fighting skills rising, the more reason Niijima decides to stick with him. Plus, he’s got a pretty Miu on his side, so it wouldn’t hurt to be friends with her too, right? All to his favour… Then there’s the other gardening club member, Yuuka Izumi. A shy and soft-spoken bespectacled girl, you can see her body language that she harbours a crush on Kenichi but that guy obviously has his sights on a more busty Miu and doesn’t know this. I kinda notice that she doesn’t make an impact in the show and her presence was ‘missing’ as the series near its end.
 
Another interesting cast of characters would be Kenichi’s family. They too don’t really make an impact in the series and even so, their appearance was just ‘obvious’ in the first half of the series. Kenichi’s little sister, Honoka, loves him very much and was bloody devastated when she learns her brother is gonna leave their home and stay at Ryouzanpaku. She thinks that big boobs girl Miu is the one responsible for whisking Kenichi away, thus doesn’t like her very much. But Miu loves cute little Honoka because she yearns for a family as she herself has no other siblings and her parents died while she was young. Initially, Honoka views Ryouzanpaku as a hell place because she witnessed the torture and suffering Kenichi went through. Though the animosity from Honoka subsides later, she understands her brother’s wishes but comes back from time to time to play games with Apachai and Shigure (I guess they’re quite fond of her too). Kenichi’s mom Saori is the calmest and most understanding one but sometimes have to control her husband Genji from doing stupid things. Not that Genji is an idiot, but since he loves his son very much, it saddens him to see Kenichi go live somewhere else. He’s a man now. Plus, Genji doesn’t have a good impression of Ryouzanpaku and thinks there are bad people there. Why, sometimes he thinks of visiting them with his trustworthy pal, Sebastion (Gasp! A shotgun!) and later Maximilian (Double gasp! A more powerful shotgun!), to teach those ruffians a lesson, only to be knocked out by Saori. Guess he’ll never set foot in that place.
 
Thanks to Niijima’s mischief of spreading blatant lies of Kenichi’s supremeness, Kenichi’s name has caught the attention of a powerful local delinquent group called Ragnarok (nothing to do with that MMORPG game). I’m thinking this group of delinquents look more like underworld people and it makes you think what the heck are they doing. I know being a delinquent means skipping school but heck, they’re acting like some underworld organization already. Anyway, a Ragnarok group division led by Kisara Nanjou wants to make Kenichi under her so she sends 3 subordinates to get him. They are Ikki Takeda the Striker, Kouzou Ukita the Thrower and Taichi Kouga the Kicker. The trio are searching for Kenichi but since the school is so big, they have a hard time finding him as Kenichi always seek a new hideout away from them to avoid any unwanted fights. Can’t believe they’re in the same school and can’t even find each other. Besides, Kouga and his underlings did meet Kenichi and Miu on the streets, I think Kouga’s so infatuated with Miu’s boobs that it impede his performance. Yeah, Miu alone herself took out all the thugs.
 
At the same time, Niijima has on his own decision formed a group called Shinpaku Alliance (name derived from the kanji writing first names of Niijima and Kenichi) to achieve his world domination goal. You guessed it, he drags Kenichi into it no matter how much the latter refutes that he’s not part of this group. Besides, Niijima himself is a smooth talker and has got several low level underlings to join in for his cause.
 
But the first Ragnarok member Kenichi will face is some low coward named Furukawa. He wants to gain recognition in Ragnarok and uses a knife to face an unarmed Kenichi when the latter injures him. Kenichi would’ve lost if Miu hadn’t interfered. Embarrassed by being saved by a girl, Kenichi undergoes more training (from Shigure and Akisame especially) and another later rematch leaves Kenichi with another victory. But Ukita has had enough of waiting for Kenichi to show up and decides to kidnap Kenichi’s classmate ‘friends’ (well, they were talking about how they should be friends to be close to Miu. Losers). By doing this, Ukita thinks Kenichi will come to their rescue. Initially reluctant at first, but I suppose Kenichi has to stick by his principles and soon face Ukita and Takeda on the school rooftop. Kenichi swiftly takes out Ukita with his knee kick learned from Apachai.
 
Now it’s between him and Takeda. It’s gonna be tough since Takeda is a boxer. Plus, Takeda is giving Kenichi a handicap by using his right arm only. During the fight, Kenichi decides to attack Takeda’s legs because as a boxer, you don’t really train one’s legs, right? So it’s revealed that Takeda was once an upcoming boxer but an act to save a boxer friend in need got his left hand paralyzed and his dreams up in smoke. While his buddy went on to be champ and such, that incident disgusts Takeda very much and that’s why he hates a guy like Kenichi who stood up to his friends, whom he thinks they’re just taking advantage (true, those 2 classmate rushed off when Kenichi arrived). But you know Kenichi’s sense of principles. The fight nearly claimed both lives with Kenichi and Takeda falling off the rooftop. If Ukita wasn’t there to catch them, they’d be goners by know. Miu who has just arrived, misinterpreted the situation and beats up them up. Though the victory is Kenichi, he still think positive of them as he sends Takeda to Akisame’s clinic for treatment. Akisame’s amazing bone healing skills manage to undo the blockage on Takeda’s nerve and revived his boxing career. Takeda is grateful and decides to leave Ragnarok.
 
News of Takeda’s defeat has reached Kisara but this time the lady is fed up of waiting and orders Kenichi to be killed instead. But another underling of hers, Shinosuke Tsuji thinks he wants to have a match with Kenichi and persuade him to join his group. Tsuji is an ambitious Ragnarok member and thinks a man’s power is measured by the number of underlings he has. The more the better. Soon Tsuji and his gang bumps into Kenichi and well, another round of fight begins. I love the part whereby Kenichi was telling off Tsuji about how he can’t stay a delinquent forever as his underlings will leave and work one day. Then the words "Right Way Of Thinking" appeared behind his head, as though he’s an enlightened! So funny. This pisses off Tsuji as he think those words insulted his pride as a man. Tsuji’s fighting style is less refined and more like street fighting. In the end, Kenichi is on the losing side and Tsuji is gonna break his legs when Takeda interrupted. This guy is now on Kenichi’s side. He won’t allow anyone to touch Kenichi because of him, Takeda’s boxing career was given a second chance. They manage to get away. But a loss is a loss. Back at Ryouzanpaku, the masters aren’t happy with the outcome and criticizes him and vows more harsh training as they fear this would lead to another loss.
 
Meanwhile, Kisara herself has been promoted to one of the Seven Fists of Ragnarok and is on probation. Well, it’s now Eight Fists. Claimed to be the most powerful members of the organization. Tsuji isn’t happy with her promotion and had an argument. Kenichi spots them and accidentally knocks Tsuji out with his sneak attack. Later Niijima uses this news to spread word that Kenichi had used a dirty tactic to defeat Tsuji. Later Kenichi and Tsuji meet and the latter is not too happy since he has only 2 followers left after his defeat to Kenichi. But Kenichi tells him that he has 2 friends instead. This made Tsuji feel a little better, he tells Kenichi that Takeda is gonna be executed by Kisara as punishment for those who leave Ragnarok. Tsuji decides to form his own new group but that’s the last you’ll see of him. So to play safe, Kenichi exchange handphone numbers with Takeda and to call him if he ever was in need. But on the night of the assault, I guess Takeda has his own pride and wants to do it himself. Another surprise is that, Ukita then too decides to remove himself from Ragnarok and so it’s 2 against who knows how many. Kenichi and Miu wouldn’t have come running to their rescue if Takeda’s handphone didn’t drop and accidentally pressed some button to call Kenichi. In the end, Kisara has back down and save this for another day. Besides, Takeda and Ukita did receive quite some beating so I guess, that’s enough punishment for now. Later on, you’ll see Takeda and Ukita as Kenichi’s comrades and of course to Kenichi’s horror, part of the Shinpaku Alliance. Yeah, that Niijima is on a recruiting spree.
 
So from now on, Ragnarok will have to be careful and wary of Kenichi. That’ll be the main story arc for the rest of the series. Besides, there’ll be short filler episodes in between so it’s not fight fight fight all the way. But I kinda notice that each episode is a training for Kenichi. No rest for the man. Some filler episodes include Kenichi and Miu going out on a date together only to discover it was a plot by the masters to see if Kenichi had learned anything so far, Ma drags Kenichi to some secret training just to peek Shigure and Miu bathing in the hotsprings at Ryouzanpaku filled with traps along the way only to find that the long hair blonde is no other than…. Hayato, Honoka trying to sneak into Ryouzanpaku but meet those scary weirdos, Kenichi and Miu have to protect the Ryouzanpaku’s signboard from being taken away from a dojo challenger while the masters are out, the gang leaves on a vacation to a secret Furinji island (don’t think Kenichi will have time to play. Besides, that boat to the island is man-powered… by Kenichi. Step on it pal!) and the masters see Kenichi’s determination and will to save and protect the ones he love when Honoka is being attacked by a group of sharks, Izumi who’s trying to win Kenichi’s affection pays a visit to Ryouzanpaku and decides to join the dojo only to find that the entrance exam is too hard (darn. Should’ve had more catty fights between Miu and Izumi), Kenichi sneaking out of Ryouzanpaku to follow Ma to resolve his personal family matter (yeah, Ma’s daughter Renka looks like another busty figure. Speaking of which, it seem Ma finally meets his older brother Sougetsu but in a fight, Sougetsu lost and decides to kill himself when the building caught fire. His body was never found, which means…), and Renka finding out where Ma is living and decides to temporarily stay at Ryouzanpaku to be close to Kenichi causing Miu to be jealous (double darn. Should’ve had more catty fights between Miu and Renka. Ah well, I guess a fanservice episode is enough as the gang heads to an indoor amusement pool park. Wow! Hayato’s kick reminded me of what Moses did to the Red Sea!).
 
Kenichi’s involvement with Ragnarok fight starts off when he first befriended the school’s drama club guy, the popular Natsu Tanimoto. Because he’s been harassed all the time, lots of members has left the club and a Romeo And Juliet play is coming up. Miu decides to help by playing the part of Juliet while Tanimoto as Romeo. Kenichi must be feeling jealous. At the same time, Kisara decides to go ruin the play as revenge over that ‘dairy cow’ (Miu, that is) for her previous defeat at her hands. Kenichi gets to know this and tries to stop Kisara. However, he has a policy of not hitting girls, which pisses off Kisara. Because of Kenichi’s believes, Kisara decides to back down for now. Meantime, Kenichi missed the entire play he had hoped to see but Miu was glad to know from Niijima that Kenichi protected her so that her play could go on. Later, it’s revealed that this Tanimoto guy is actually 1 of the Eight Fists, the 6th Fist Hermit. Hermit has been acting to be good all this while and he hates Kenichi’s justice-like character and principles. You’ll see flashbacks of him when he was young and he had a sickly little sister. As orphans, they were taken in by a wealthy man who promised treatment for his sister if he takes over his large corporation. But everything was a facade when his foster dad fell in love with a woman and in his eyes, that woman wanted just his wealth and that poor kid was left with nothing. Plus, with daddy’s demise, all his other subordinates plan on taking over his assets as they couldn’t believe he left it all to Tanimoto then. Because of this, Tanimoto was emotionally scarred from young and couldn’t trust anyone, thus he thinks deceiving by acting all good is part of life’s cruel way up the ladder. But he was taught martial arts by a mysterious man named Kensei (I thought it was Ma but later found out that they had no relations whatsoever) and he’s using Ragnarok as a stepping stone to move up in the underworld. But the fight between Kenichi and Hermit ended in a draw and a rematch will be quite likely in the future. So Hermit goes on to do some secret training to improve himself.
 
There’s an episode whereby Kenichi receives a love letter in his shoe box by a mysterious girl. I’m sure Kenichi still likes Miu but a guy like him rarely gets an opportunity like this. So what the heck, just accept the invitation to meet her at some place. Similarly, Niijima and his underlings decides to confront 1 of the Eight Fist, the 4th Fist Loki (weird pair of goggles he wears) at a restaurant. Niijima thought he outnumbered him but Loki had set an ambushed instead and turned the tables on them. Kenichi is on his way searching for the meeting place when he spots the Shinpaku Alliance in trouble. He’s in a dilemma whether to help or not. Of course he finally decides to, bad friend or not. At the same time, Takeda and Ukita too were there and joins in. In the end, Kenichi pulled 1 of his combo moves to beat Loki but to Takeda’s horror, that this isn’t the real Loki when he unmasked him. Yeah, something like the real Loki has a funny face. So the fake Loki and his subordinates escape. It seems that Ukita and Takeda too had received a love letter from a mysterious girl and was looking for the place. Finally it’s revealed that the mysterious girl is no other than Niijima! Holy schmoly! He had plan this all along so that the trio would come to this restaurant (the meeting place) to fight. Haha! Didn’t really see that sly move coming.
 
Due to Niijima’s slyness, Loki kidnaps Niijima in an attempt to lure Kenichi. Once again, a reluctant Kenichi and Miu has to save that demon in distress. They have to do it fast because Niijima is tied on board a ship to who knows where. Here, Kenichi faces off with the 5th Fist, Siegfried. This guy is quite annoying because everytime he fights, he sings! "La La La La!". That Beethoven Symphony sucks, mind you. To cut things short, Kenichi defeats the guy while Loki escapes with his underling, Number 20 (yup, another weird goggle wearing character. In fact all of Loki’s underlings dons one). However, Kenichi is too late and Niijima is set sail. However Niijima made the headlines the next day as some alien invading that ship. Yeah, that guy is still capable of mischief where ever he goes.
 
Next we see Honoka bumping into Hermit on the street and saves her from thugs. She calls him "Idol-looking guy" and in a way likes him. She follows him to his large lonely mansion and tries to nurse his injuries. Hermit isn’t too amused and wants her to leave but the very sight of her reminds him of his late sister. Loki then comes by Hermit’s house and comes to know this little girl is Kenichi’s sister and hatches a plan. Meanwhile Niijima is back and has completed an online website for his Shinpaku Alliance. To his delight, they got their first visitor in the name of Loki. He tells them to meet at an abandoned church and shows a picture of Honoka in his clutches. It is then that Kenichi is filled with rage as he rushes out to save his little sister. Don’t mess with this guy when he is mad. The others tried to follow him, but he was just to fast. Or rather they got lost. Besides, Loki’s shadows (fake Loki wannabes. Hey, a fat one!) are in their way. Kenichi arrives and faces Hermit waiting there. He’s mad that he resorted to such low dirty tactics. But since Hermit went on to tell about his dark past, Kenichi realized that he wasn’t the one who kidnapped Honoka. So lots of cool manoeuvres and moves before Loki interrupted by holding Honoka hostage. With Kenichi unable to fight back, Loki easily beats up Kenichi. Hermit has enough of it and despatches Number 20 who is holding Honoka hostage and accidentally cuts Honoka’s face when the little fry was too noisy. With the threat gone, Kenichi gets his confidence back and beats Loki. Just then, the 1st Fist, Odin appeared and tells everyone to back down for now. It’s also at this point where Hermit decides to leave Ragnarok. Odin is fine with it and leaves with Loki and Number 20. But it’s not over yet. Hermit wants to finish his fight with Kenichi and the latter is happy to oblige. Because of Kenichi’s strong will and his training, he defeats Hermit. A closely fought battle.
 
In order to bring Ragnarok’s reign of terror down, Niijima manages to convince Kenichi to take on the next Eight Fist, the 7th Fist Thor, who runs an illegal fighting and gambling den. Thor’s specialty is combat sumo and he makes a bet with Kenichi that if the latter loses, Kenichi will have to become his disciple as the duo will go round the world promoting this sumo style. If Kenichi wins, Thor must stop fighting under Ragnarok. Guess who wins in the end? Of course Kenichi lah. Thor thinks his sumo days are over but Kenichi tells him that he only wants him to stop fighting under Ragnarok and nothing else. Meaning that Kenichi wants him to pursue his dream of combat sumo. Since Thor lost, he’s being beaten up badly by the other Fists.
 
Next is Kisara who has now become the 8th Fist, Valkyrie. But I will still refer to her as her real name. However Kisara’s stay of being a Fist is just a short one. Kisara did bump into Kenichi and Miu on the streets and it seems that Kisara has a soft spot for cats, just like Miu. I guess it’s then the duo clicked. The 3rd Fist, Freya, has sent her female underlings dubbed Valkyries (see, that’s why I wanted to use Kisara’s real name. I wonder why she was given such a nickname in the first place) to spy on her. Those Valkyrie girls reminded me of Sailormoon, only wielding traditional weapons. They have come to a conclusion that Kisara has made several contacts with the enemy and decides to take her down for her betrayal to Kisara. Though Kisara is badly beaten, Shigure pops up in time to give those Valkyrie girls some advice on how to use weapon. Yeah, that nose bleed from Kenichi wasn’t because of Shigure’s slip, but rather he saw something he shouldn’t have when Shigure sliced the Valkyrie’s clothes.
 
Soon, Miu and Kenichi meets Odin at a store and their past is revealed. It seems Odin was Kenichi’s childhood friend, Ryuuto. I can’t believe Kenichi didn’t remember who he was. Can’t blame him. Odin looks so different when he was young. Yeah, like a sissy. Now he’s like a bishonen. Anyway Odin now hates Kenichi because the latter did something unforgivable back then. So we see that a young Kenichi and Ryuuto have met Miu before at a store. Miu was crying because she wanted a cat badge but got a yin yang one instead. Kind Kenichi decides to exchange his with Miu’s and this made her happy. Then Kenichi and Ryuuto saw how Miu beat up a group of robbers robbing that store and since then, they vowed to be strong like her. Back in present time, because of their different perspectives, it can’t be avoided that Kenichi and Odin started to fight. Since Odin has some super power move called Seikouken, he defeats Kenichi and decides to take his yin yang badge which he treasures so much in exchange of a broken one Odin has.
 
Kenichi is devastated after this loss but decides to go undergo further training. Finally we get to see Hayato training Kenichi as he brings him on a journey to a secluded forest and mountain. Though Kenichi is eager to start training, Hayato is just dilly-dallying, much to Kenichi’s dismay. Plus, Hayato did tell him not to train a single cell. Kenichi sneakily tries to do so but got attacked by a wild bear in the process. He is saved by a guy named Ishinsai Ogata, who brutally continues to attack the bear even when it’s dead. This causes Kenichi to be worried and prompted and tells him to stop. Ogata learns that Kenichi is a disciple of Ryouzanpaku and sees potential in his martial arts. Thus wanting him to be his disciple. However, Kenichi refused the offer and goes back to Hayato. It’s later revealed that it was part of Hayato’s plan to see whether Kenichi would want to follow the path of Sei or Dou. A Sei martial arts user hides his intentions and has control over his feelings but a Dou user lets his killer instinct take over and the user goes wild and uncontrollable. Like Ogata, he is a Dou user and it seems he could’ve been Ryouzanpaku’s first disciple if Hayato hadn’t disallow him after knowing his true nature. Because of that, Ogata secluded himself in the mountains. Also, later I found out that this guy is the Kensei that Hermit is referring to. Thank goodness, Kenichi unknowingly decides to follow the path of the Sei because he stood strong to his principles. And thus, the hell training begins.
 
Meanwhile, Niijima has recruited Siegfried and Kisara into his Shinpaku Alliance! He’s trying to convince Hermit but the latter doesn’t want to, beating Niijima up everytime he gets near him. But that doesn’t stop Niijima from trying harder. Also, Niijima decides to join forces with Kisara’s ex-members to strengthen their ties. While Kenichi is away training, Odin dispatches Freya and the 2nd Fist, Berserker, to crush the Shinpaku Alliance by hunting down all its members. Freya and her Valkyries takes on Kisara and Miu respectively once more while Berserker finds and beats up Takeda and Ukita after destroying the lower levels of Shinpaku Alliance and Kisara’s men. Niijima then confronts Berserker but that devil uses his best skill against him, to escape, that is. Even if Berserker manages to catch him, Niijima manages to slip through and Berserker only has his clothes in his grasp. Yeah, Niijima’s running around half-naked shouting that there’s a pervert after him! Sly guy. He leads Berserker to a dead end and lets him fall into his trap but it didn’t work. Just when Berserker is gonna deliver the final blow, Siegfried appears to give Niijima the time he needs to escape. The fight between a Fist and a former Fist ended with Berserker winning. Since the Ryouzanpaku masters were passing by, they were enjoying the fight till the end, but when it’s over, they pulled Siegfried’s unconscious body out of the river and treated him back at their place. Meanwhile, Miu manages to single handedly beat all the Valkyries, while Kisara squares off with her former mentor Freya. Some flashback how Kisara decides to leave her team because she doesn’t believe the use of weapons unlike Freya. The fight ended when Freya’s staff broke and Freya admits defeat. I guess, she too has a pride as a martial artist.
 
Niijima and his last Shinpaku Alliance member, Matsuo, are meeting at their hideout, some old abandoned refinery and has to hatch a plan. But it seems Loki has got the place totally surrounded with Ragnarok’s henchmen. Is this the end of Niijima and his Shinpaku Alliance? Well, Niijima did send Kenichi an SMS telling his future plans. Because Kenichi thinks it’s weird for Niijima to do so, he thinks that something is wrong and hurriedly rushes back. Loki commands his men to crush Shinpaku Alliance when Thor shows up. Yeah, looks like he’s part of the group too. At the same time, Siegfried is recuperating but he’s will to go help his friends in need made the masters of Ryouzanpaku and Miu decide to go watch the battle from afar. It amuses me that how come they can all see and hear things when they’re kilometres away. At the same time, Ogata himself decides to go to the city and have a look at things when he stumbles upon this battle and decides to watch it too. Before Loki could execute his master plan, Odin and Berserker arrives. Odin tells Loki to back down but the latter is fed up with Odin’s weak leadership and declares to carry out his scheme. He tells everyone that with Odin as a weak leader, the Fists of Ragnarok have crumbled and claims he is the new leader of a new Ragnarok group. Why, there are 8 new Fists too! He then tells Berserker to join him as his number 2, which Berserker coolly walks over to Loki’s side. Loki thinks now that he’s in command when Berserker lands a blow on him and the other 8 Fists. Did Berserker betray him so fast? Well, he never did say he wanted to join Loki. He just wanted to get within punching distance. And I thought there’s gonna be new characters with those new Fists, but they just made a really short appearance. Berserker then knocked out Loki and put him out of his misery.
 
Hermit too has arrived by then but he’s here not to join Shinpaku Alliance but to get revenge on Loki. Since Loki has been defeated, obviously he wants a match with Berserker for taking his prey. Also, Kenichi too arrives in the midst of the battle when Hayato drops him (literally). Hayato then joins the Ryouzanpaku masters watching from a distance. Kenichi is surprised and mad to learned what has happened and wants to take on Berserker. But Hermit stops him by saying that since he secluded himself in the mountains to defeat Odin, he should just concentrate on that. So it’s Hermit vs Berserker. Hard work vs talent. A tough fight which sees Hermit coming out tops eventually. After the defeat, before Berserker could warn them not to take on Odin, Odin knocks him out unconscious. Though Odin didn’t want to fight Kenichi and orders his underlings to finish off the rest, Takeda, Ukita, Siegfried and those other fallen Shinpaku Alliance members come to aid the battle. With both sides almost even in numbers, I guess the inevitable boss vs boss match has to start. So the much awaited rematch begins. It won’t be possible for me to describe in every detail the fight. Let’s just say that Odin is pretty much amazed with how much Kenichi has learn and grow in a short while. We find out that the unforgivable thing Kenichi did to Odin back then was after Kenichi had given that cat badge to Miu, they argued over the yin yang badge. This lead to a little boy’s fight. In the end, Kenichi won but decides to give his victory to Ryuuto. So that was the unacceptable part? So when Ryuuto bought his own yin yang badge, he wasn’t satisfied because it was victory he wanted and ever since vowed to become stronger. Anyway his grudge runs deep. Odin’s view of martial arts is to dominate the world and against the weak yada yada yada. We also find out that Odin’s a disciple of Ogata.
 
Just when Kenichi has even the odds and tells Odin to take off his glasses, Odin tells him why he is called so. Without his glasses, Odin has some foresight skill. Because of that, he gets to predict Kenichi’s every move. Vision of foresight is better than vision of seeing. To counter this attack, Kenichi decides to imitate his masters’ skill and personality! Odin is obviously taken aback but I guess this provided some laughter and amusement for the masters. Hehehe. Just then, Odin the unthinkable by combining the forces of Sei and Dou. Now he is even more ripped and powerful. It’s a dangerous technique in which may lead to the destruction and overuse of his body. Once his body reaches its limit, he is unable to avoid Kenichi’s attack. Since it’s Kenichi’s win, he gives back his yin yang badge. Ogata tries to intervene but was stopped by the Ryouzanpaku masters. Due to the intensity of the battle, this causes an explosion. Kenichi wants to save his friend but Odin is still disgusted with his stance. In a nick of time, as they’re falling, Ogata manages to swoop Odin away while Hayato does the same with Kenichi. The rest of the masters use their superb skills to rechannel and put out the huge fire. Kenichi tells Hayato how he wants to save his buddy and go back to the way it was. Miu rushes there and Kenichi tells her that the number 1 disciple is back. That’s it. End of series.
 
WHAT THE?! It doesn’t feel so much of an ending by the way. I understand that the manga is still ongoing but it just like leaving some bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Yeah, I’ve got a feeling that a sequel is highly probable in the near future. When the show ended, it didn’t resolve a lot of things like what happens to the Ragnarok group now that Odin has been defeated. What about Shinpaku Alliance members and Niijima. Heck, what about the other small side characters like Kenichi’s family and Izumi. Oh well, if one is interested, one can continue reading the manga, which I browsed through a little of its future storyline arcs which includes a new threat especially from Ogata’s side. But you know, I don’t really have that reading habit. Perhaps I’ll just wait for the 2nd season. If there will be one.
 
During the series especially the opening and ending themes, sometimes they display drawings and arts from the manga. In my opinion, the manga drawing looks horrible! Compared to the anime, which has been given a bishonen and bishoujo makeover, the characters do look 1 kind. There are also several differences between the manga and anime in the sense that some chapters of the manga were completely skipped in the anime. Also the manga seems to display more gore and blood.
 
Another thing I kinda notice in the anime is that when the characters are gonna scheme, usually you’ll see a sparkle of light in their eye. But this one has both eyes flashing like a car headlights! Funny. I also found out later that the Eight Fists are named after the mythological Norse Gods. And something trivial, I too later got to know that based on Kenichi’s kanji writing, it is NOT Ke-Ni-Chi, but Ken-Ichi instead. Get it?
 
I particularly like the voice acting especially from Kenichi who is voiced by Tomokazu Seki (Chiaki of Nodame Cantabile, Pierrot of Yakitate! Japan). His voice really suits all the moods Kenichi is in. Especially when he is in pain or suffering at the hands of his masters tormenting training. Other voice casts include Tomoko Kawakami as Miu (Fuyuki in Keroro Gunsou), Takumi Yamazaki as Niijima (Izawa of Ping Pong Club), Ken Narita as Odin (Sesshoumaru of Inu Yasha), Unshou Ishizuka as Sakaki (Bunta of Initial D), and Mamiko Noto as Shigure (Yakumo of School Rumble). I could go on a little but that last episode of the series which show snippets of the characters and their seiyuus lasting several minutes made me feel I’ve had too much of it already.
 
Both the opening themes Be Strong (1st opening theme) by Kana Yazumi and Yahoo! (2nd opening theme. No, not that online search engine) by Miho Morikawa and Akira Asakura sound very rock-like with all those heavy electric guitar playing, which suits the theme of the series and gets viewers into the action mood. However, I find that some of the ending songs are quite impropriate such as the 2nd ending theme Catch Your Dream and 3rd ending theme Run over, both sung by Koike Joanna, to be kinda ‘a happy song’. When the series reaches the end as it gets intense or suspenseful, then they play such song. It spoils the mood. Plus the slow ballad 4th ending song Kokoro Kara No Message by Sakura only lasted for 4 episodes. I wonder why change an ending theme when the series is gonna end soon. So far I still prefer the slow pop 1st ending theme Kimi Ga Iru Kara by Issei Eguchi. The mid-intermission has some ‘terror’ loud heavy electric guitar playing solo. So it’s best to turn the volume down just then.
 
So it goes to show that violence begets violence and once it’s started, it’s a never ending spiral. Each time you beat a strong one, another stronger one will emerge and challenge you. If not everybody else wants to beat you to be number 1. Even so, the use of martial arts still vary and depends on the user. So what is the best defence from any attack, you say? Well, you just turn around and run like hell!
 
Kenichi

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