Fist of the North StarJapanese
DD Fist of the North Star: manga vol.1
Medium: comic
Year: 2010
Writer/artist: Kajio
Original creator: Tetsuo Hara, Buronson
Keywords: Fist of the North Star, manga
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 9 chapters, 130 pages
Website category: Manga
Review date: 30 October 2019
That wasn't what I'd been expecting. I'd known about the 2013 and 2015 Akitarou Daichi anime series of the same name, but this is the 2010-11 manga that got turned into a 2011 series of four-minute anime episodes. Similar jokes, but separate continuities. Mind you, does that matter with a parody.
Fist of the North Star = post-apocalypse world ruled by giants. Our heroes are martial artists, making skulls explode every week with the ultimate assassination technique: HOKUTO SHINKEN.
DD Fist of the North Star = the apocalypse didn't happen. The world is peaceful and Hokuto Shinken is useless in day-to-day life. All these stoic samurai-like macho gorillas are thus also a bunch of fish-out-of-water losers whose main challenge is how to hold down a part-time job at the local convenience store. This is funny because they're all exactly the same as usual. Kenshiro stares into space and is barely sentient. Raou is a supervillain who talks to everyone as if they're worms. Toki's theoretically a polite gentleman with more social skills than the other two, but in reality he's just as hopeless.
Oh, and they're also tiny, with super-deformed proportions (two heads high). This is adorable. My first view of Little Kenshiro made me laugh out loud. He's got that oh-so-serious expression, huge Popeye forearms and a teeny-weeny body. He's like a soft toy. He barely reaches your knee. It never stops being funny to see these self-proclaimed mighty warriors waddling around like five-year-olds. This is particularly true when Jagi shows up with braggadocio set to MAXIMUM and is astonished that the world doesn't quake in terror at his Most Awesomely Evil Magnificence... but then goes all quiet and well-spoken when the police stop him for a word.
Superhuman warriors are knee-high (except for Raou, whose size is variable and can match whoever he's talking to). Nice, normal people are human-sized. This is a good start.
The main character, oddly, is Bat. He's the tsukkomi, i.e. the straight man. He's the sane one who's constantly aghast, inconvenienced, etc. when the Hokuto Shinken warriors go off the deep end. (I'm not convinced that the manga really needed Bat, to be honest, but he serves his function.)
Rin has grown up and is still adorable. She also likes Ken a lot, immediately, which is funny in itself. (How would a relationship work between a human-sized woman and a munchkin? I don't know, but the size mismatch is amusing.)
This manga made me laugh and the full series is only eight volumes long, but I don't imagine I'll be buying the rest of it. It's funny, but plotless. It's just a bunch of parody chapters. I've seen it and I laughed, but that's enough. For what it's worth, the first few chapters are partly set-up and it's the book's second half that I found funnier. Chapter 5 (the sukiyaki party) and chapter 8 (the flower viewing) were my favourites. Just seeing these whack jobs trying to cope with an ordinary social situation is brilliant. Raou's idea of a welcoming gift! Rin vs. Julia!
I'm tempted to go looking for the 2011 anime now.