About this site
-From Rage Quitter 87's Fist of the North Star siteContents
1) History of the site
-Fast forward: 2008
-Random Action Hour
-2009: Toei's war on Youtube
-Thank you hackers
-Back to Youtube
3) Thanks to...
History of the site: The Prologue
My first experience with Fist of the North Star would be some time in the mid to late '90s, in a Forbidden Planet store (then known as Another World). On the second floor of this store, there used to by several TVs all linked together to display one massive image, but without any sound. And when I entered it one day, the 1986 Fist of the North Star movie was playing. Despite the fact it was an 18 rated film, the staff of the store seemed to have no problem playing it at 10am. I only saw a glimpse of it, but the images got stuck in my head forever:
I had never seen such violent imagery in a cartoon before, and watched in shock and awe as this cartoon showed the destruction of the Earth via a nuclear attack. The shot of a ship just thrust through a building was something else I just found incredible. But I had to leave the store at the point, as I had other places to check out to check prices of video games. Just over an hour later I returned to Another World, and the violent cartoon was still playing. Now two guys were fighting each other.
Holy crap, these guys were really going at it! In the cartoons I'd seen up to this point, characters like Optimus Prime would usually try and shoot Megatron, occasionally throwing the odd punch if it came to that. But these two guys were just hitting each other at what seemed to be a thousand hits per second, blood going everywhere. Again, the imagery of these two warriors hitting each other at such speeds was something else that I would never forget. But it was time to leave the store and go home, and I didn't dare ask my mother to buy this movie, as I know the answer would be a flat-out no. I had no idea what the movie was even called, and all I left with was those images.
Fast forward: 2008
I like fighting games. I especially like fighting games from Capcom and SNK, but as I was watching some combo videos for various games on Youtube, something came up in the related videos list:
"Hokuutoe no Ken" I said, not having a clue what it was about. But I clicked it, and became very interested in this game. Watching the video, I liked what I saw. Nice graphics, bright colors, the game looked fast and the characters had some awesome and completely over the top moves. I especially liked how the "Fatal K.O." attacks worked, with the cool music coming on whenever they were successfully performed. I found out that the game was made by Arc System Works, makers of the Guilty Gear series, and was released in arcades, but only received a Playstation 2 port in Japan. Since I'd been lucky enough to acquire a Japanese PS2 console, I hunted down this Hokuto no Ken game and eventually tracked down a new copy from Genki Video Games.
Upon getting it, I played it a lot and loved it. Whilst I had no idea what was going on, it didn't take me long to learn how to perform the Fatal K.O. attacks I'd seen in that video and how other aspects of the game worked. As I started to use all the different characters, I realised that two of them, Kenshiro and Raoh, were familiar, and I was sure they were the two guys I'd watched fight each other in Another World all those years a go. I stopped playing any other fighting game for a while as I couldn't get enough of Hokuto no Ken. Even my brother, a die-hard Capcom fan, commented that he would like to play it after seeing it in action. Whilst I was enjoying the game immensely, I wanted to know more about this series, which I found out was known as "Fist of the North Star" outside Japan. Who were these characters? Why were they fighting each other? Why has Rei got a Fatal K.O. animation where he holds Yuda, who then dies in his arms? I had to find out.
Trying to find out about the series led to me discovering that it was originally a manga, but then had a 150 plus episodes anime, along with a movie. And then there was a new series of movies coming out called Legends of the True Savior. I wanted to start with the anime, and searching on Youtube led me to videos such as this and this, and I was once again blown away as I had been in Another World. Whilst the animation wasn't always stellar, watching Rei slice up enemies, and watching Raoh crush some guy called Shuren was mesmerizing. Someone had uploaded every episode to Youtube with subtitles provided by a fan group, and I started watching from the very beginning. Whilst there were some bad points (useless filler being one of them), I enjoyed Hokuto no Ken a lot. I saw episodes 1-109 along with the 1986 movie. As there were very few fan sites to the series, even fewer English language ones, I decided to do something about it.
Myself and Ragey had been working on Random Action Hour for a while. A place where cartoons were given episode overviews we wrote up, we started with the Street Fighter and Mega Man '90s cartoons, but soon expanding to cover a lot of other shows. Most notably would be Transformers, which we had worked on extensively to get all the Generation 1 series up and done, which we managed to do by the middle of July 2008. It had taken over a year or work to get them all done and we were both burnt out with the Transformers. So doing something completely different, Fist of the North Star, was just the ticket for me.
Of course I ran into problems straight away. The first hurdle was the fact that I found out that only 36 of the 152 episodes had been released on DVD over here (England), which was no good if I was going to do the whole thing (which I didn't know I was at the time -the idea of writing up 152 episodes was very daunting). However, searching eBay on a daily basis led me to finding auctions offering the whole series on DVD, with features that sounded to good to be true: region free! all the episodes! English subtitles! I got one of these sets for around £70 and had to wait about a month for it to arrive (it got lost in the post apparently) but eventually it came and I put disc 1 into my PC, opening Windows Media Player classic, and loading it up. Then I groaned.
The quality of the episodes was horrible, with bad pixelation when ever anything moved at high speed. Given how fast some of the fighting techniques are in Hokuto no Ken, this happened a lot. There being 12 or more episodes on a single disc didn't help the quality either. The English subtitles were also complete garbage, as I watched in dismay as characters ran around referring to Raoh as "Lord Boxing Champion" and Kenshiro telling Spade that he had struck his "special holes". But what was I going to do? This set, a bootleg, was the best I could get. The subtitle issue was something I could mostly get around, by loading up the episodes on Youtube first and using the subs done by the Heart of Madness team. In the long run this still would cause problems, as the uploader of these videos had uploaded the last few episodes with bootleg quality subtitles, but I was a long way from reaching that point and I was sure I could figure out something before I got to having to write those up. I sent the first few episodes I had written up to Ragey early on in August 2008.
On August 10th, Ragey uploaded the first few episode overviews I had done for Fist of the North Star, and the ball was rolling. I blitzed through chapter 1 and started work on chapter 2 immediately, getting it all done and put up on the site by October. I then got the 1986 movie written up, again having to use a bootleg version and Heart of Madness subtitles to understand what was going on, before taking a short break. Towards the very end of the year, I started work on getting episode overviews of chapter 3 done, getting as halfway through the Ryuuga arc. Then something happened.
Towards the end of January 2009, I found out that Toei Animation, the company who animated Hokuto no Ken, were going on a rampage on Youtube. Getting as many videos removed as possible via copyright infringement complaint, just about anything people had uploaded that Toei had animated was pulled. I had uploaded a few clips from the series, a few of which were taken down before I deleted them all myself. I wasn't bothered, but I was bothered when the guy who had uploaded the entire series lost half of his videos. For some bizarre reason, Toei had gotten rid of all of the episodes from the end of chapter 3 and onwards, whilst the ones for chapter 1 and 2 remained (although a couple of years later, these were also taken down, and the uploader has his account banned). This was a massive problem for me as I no longer had any quality subtitles to use -the way I wrote the episodes up was to watch them on Youtube, read the subs, then take pictures from my bootleg DVDs and write the text explaining what was going on. Now that I no longer had the ability to watch the eps on Youtube, it looked as if my coverage of Hokuto no Ken had come to a halt. I tried using the subtitles on the bootlegs, but they were so awful it was impossible.
It was a fan of the site, who's name escapes me (he sent me a message on my old Youtube account, which I no longer have), who suggested checking out streaming sites. I looked around, largely without success. Whilst there were sites which would let you stream Hokuto no Ken for free, I couldn't access them -getting messages about them not being available in my country. However, there was one place I found which didn't have this issues, and it was a site of a company called Funimation. Working as fast as possible, I got all of the remaining episodes written up, which consisted of the last few chapter 3 episodes and all of chapter 4. I managed it, and in May 2009, I began uploading them to Random Action Hour, getting them all up by June. As I finished chapter 4, the 1986 movie was released on DVD in America by a company called Discotek, something I was pleased by and hoped it would be released in England. But I hadn't got time to think about it as I still had to work to do. Whilst I had finished all overviews of the 109 episodes of Hokuto no Ken, I still had to do episode overviews for Hokuto no Ken 2, which was 43 episodes long. I started work on them, and then disaster struck again.
It was very early October, and I was about half way through writing up the sixth episode of Hokuto no Ken 2 when suddenly, Funimation's streaming stopped working. I refreshed the page, only to get a dreaded message: "This video is not available in your country." Hoping it was a mistake, I refreshed again, but it changed nothing. I waited 24 hours, but still couldn't get to stream any HnK 2 from Funimation's site. I then found out why: in what was to be a simultaneous event, Funimation had planned to stream a new episode of One Piece (a popular anime about Pirates) at the same time as the episode debuted in Japan. However, hackers managed to extract the episode from Funimation's servers (in what was believed to be an easy operation due to Funimation's poor security) and then upload it to the Internet, letting people view it before it was officially broadcast. Toei Animation, who animated One Piece, was furious, and Funimation had immediately responded by taking down all of their streaming services. Everyone was pissed, aside from the hackers, and I was again back to square one, with no idea what to do. Funimation eventually got their streaming services running again, but only in America -anyone outside the USA got the same message about streaming not being available in your country. As I was from England, I was out of luck.
Two months passed. In that time, I decided there was nothing I could do, so I just left Hokuto no Ken alone for a bit. I instead wrote up overviews of the first season of the X-Men cartoon, possibly planning to do more. But then a random Youtube search early in December led to me finding that someone had uploaded every episode of Hokuto no Ken 2, complete with Heart of Madness subtitles. That someone was cnh2132, who also loved the Playstation 2 game and also had videos of a MUGEN version of it (MUGEN is a fighting game creation software, allowing users to import characters, backgrounds and more from other games). I immediately dropped everything I was doing on my sites and spent all my free time writing up episodes of Hokuto no Ken 2, terrified that Toei would go on another rampage and get cnh2132's videos removed before I was finished with them. But they never did, and by the end of 2009, I had finally finished. (Later on, another Toei rampage unfortunately led to cnh2132 losing all of his HnK 2 videos.)
By the end of January 2010, I had gotten my own site set up, and planned to make a Hokuto no Ken site on it. Hosted by Flying Omelette (who also hosts Ragey's site), my new site soon had all the HnK 2 episode overviews uploaded, and it was finally done -it had taken over a year, but complete coverage of the '80s Hokuto no Ken anime was complete. There was still stuff to do, and it didn't take me long to write about the Legends of the True Savior movies (which were not animated by Toei, and thankfully very easy to find subtitled versions on Youtube) and the Ten no Haoh series. Even the live action movie got a look in. With everything finished and uploaded halfway through December 2010, I could finally take a much needed break.
Fist of the North Star had been popular in Japan and Italy, but had never really had much success in America. Two different companies released a translated version of the manga, but neither came close to finishing the whole thing. Manga Entertainment had only released the first 36 episodes of the anime on DVD, and clearly had no plans to do any more. But the series began to grow in popularity thanks to Youtube. Despite Toei still getting videos pulled, many people were uploading clips and episodes, and many more people watched them. People seemed to like what they saw, and as they searched for more info on the series, my HnK site grew in popularity. And then Discotek, who had released a version of the movie on DVD, announced that they were going to release the entire '80s series across 4 box sets, released throughout 2010 and 2011. These sets featured remastered versions of every episode, with a picture quality never seen before.
At first I had no plans to get them. But then looking at my site, I realised things could be better. I had really liked the episode overviews the staff of the Transformers Wiki had done, such as this, and thought about doing something similar for my site. I had also upgraded to Windows 7, and immediately noticed how much better the quality of JPEGs were when saved in paint when compared to Windows Vista. Plus re-doing the episodes wouldn't be that bad, as I would mostly be getting new images, whilst only making minor changes to the text. Managing to get a hold of these sets through Ragey or eBay, I began re-vamping each episode of Hokuto no Ken I had written.
Facing none of the troubles I previously had, it took just under half a year to get them all done, and by the end of November 2011, the new versions were all uploaded. I updated other sections of the site, such as the Shin Hokuto no Ken and Legacy of the True Savior sections, but not to the same degree, as I have not got better quality versions of them. Over 3 years had passed since I started, but the site was finally at a level I was happy with.
There are still things I want to do. The Ten no Haoh section isn't as in-depth as the others, simply because I still only have it on a bootleg DVD and don't have access to the manga. I would like to get better images for the Legend of the True Savior movies, but again, bootlegs are all I have access to at the moment. Doing coverage of Fist of the Blue Sky is something I may do at some point, but getting DVDs and merchandise for that is an even bigger pain in the ass then getting Fist of the North Star stuff, so don't get your hopes up. I would also like to add some random articles about other things in the Fist of the North Star series, such as some stuff about the video games and some of the books.
Why didn't you just use torrents to get the episodes you needed?
Because I'm afraid of torrents and have never used them.
What is your e-mail address?
It is on the main page, but if you missed it:
What is Fist of the Blue Sky and why haven't you covered it here?
Fist of the Blue Sky, known as Souten no Ken in Japan, is a prequel series set in the 1930s. Blue Sky first started to be be published in 2001, but did not finish it's run until 2010, due to irregular production. A 26 episode anime adaption was broadcast between 2006 and 2007, but has never been released outside of Japan, and I have only seen a few episodes of it (someone uploaded them all to Youtube, but, surprise surprise, they got pulled before I could view them all). Whilst I would consider doing overviews of each episode, I've heard that the series isn't great and has wildly changing animation quality throughout.
Why don't any of the Ten no Haoh episodes have pages with info on the manga?
I can't seem to find a English translation of the manga anywhere.
Flying Omelette -for giving me a place to upload all this stuff.
Spamdini -for translating the original manga.
Manga Fox -for hosting the original manga, I have no idea how that site manages to stay in operation though.
Ragey -for getting me some of the DVD sets, and for also offering advice on the dangers of frames (this site could have looked a LOT worse, had it not been for his words). cnh2132 Discotek The Heart of Madness forums
UnflinchedTesticle2 -for uploading all of the original Hokuto no Ken, the 1986 movie and the first couple of Legacy of the True Savior movies with good quality subs.
The staff of the Hokuto Wikia -this place had a lot of info on the correct spelling of certain character names and technique translations that I needed.
Mighty Kombat -for pointing out some errors I made with character names.
cnh2132-for uploading all of Hokuto no Ken 2 with good quality subtitles at a time where I needed it.
Discotek-for releasing all of the anime on DVD, along with the 1986 movie. Double points for making their discs region free, making my life easier.
The Heart of Madness forums-some of the members there answered some questions I had about the series, particular thanks to Endofcentury/Seiken.
Codiekitty -for pointing out some other errors I made with character names.