Post Reply Review: DD Fist of the North Star II
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Posted 11/25/15 , edited 11/25/15
Written by: EyesOfTheScarecrow

In 199X, the world is destroyed and the prophesised Saviour of Century's End Kenshiro wanders the Earth. In DD Fist of the North Star (I and II), there is no such apocalypse, and the confused Kenshiro is searching for the elusive End of the Century. In true DD Fist of the North Star fashion, he finds what he's been searching for; only twisted on its head. Kenshiro arrives at the End of the Century Academy, a school that's lost its joy and is overrun with ruthless gangs. At the behest of Lin, who is actually likeable in the DD series and the audience won't find themselves hoping she gets punted by a giant, Kenshiro takes his place as the End of the Century's Saviour by restoring happiness to the students. However, his two brothers also compete to be the successor to the Divine Fist of the North Star.

While ostensibly a sequel, DD Fist of the North Star II is not a direct follow up to the first series, but rather a second reimagining of the original Fist of the North Star story in another mundane scenario. Kenshiro and many others are motivated by their love for Yuria, ultimately causing them to engage in dramatic battles. Only rather than explode into blood and viscera, they are turned into mascot characters. King of -whatever the current topic of conversation is- Raoh, nudist Shin, blood-coughing Toki, straight-man and fourth wall breaker Bat, and other classic FotN characters also return for DD II.

The original Fist of the North Star manga/anime is known for being one of the most intense and violent productions of its time; not a single sin is left uncommitted by the people of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, as all kinds of evils roam the land. Its hero carves a swathe of blood and body parts through his enemies as he searches for the woman he loves. The brilliance of DD Fist of the North Star is taking such a bleak and fundamentally unpleasant premise, turning it on its head but retaining the core elements, and making it funny.
The series' humour ranges from absurdity and slapstick to dark comedy, but nevertheless retains the sense of light-hearted affectionate parody throughout. The super-deformed art style used for the major characters adds instant levity to the production, and helps distance these iterations from their original versions. It can be genuinely difficult to laugh at Shin making grandiose speeches while naked when you consider the many heinous acts he commits in the manga. By stylising the characters so much, it's easy to separate the two versions, so tonal dissonance never sets in. Each episode is split into two parts, which is ideal for comedic series such as this as plots can often be drawn out to fill time around the jokes. At approximately ten minutes a story, DD FotN II doesn't suffer from this.

On the whole, DD Fist of the North Star II delivers the same level of insane fun and self-parody that the first series did, while altering its setting entirely; allowing for fresher jokes. If you've never seen Fist of the North Star, it's certainly worth a look (it's available on Crunchyroll) and will only enhance your enjoyment of DD FotN all the more. That said, if you're only interested in a light-hearted comedy series that fires off the jokes at the speed of the Hundred Crack Fist technique, DD Fist of the North Star II is a very good choice. It works entirely on its own, even if you're not seen season one. In short, it's a love letter to its original source material and its legions of fans, as well as being a tremendously entertaining series in its own right.

Catch the Simulcast on Crunchyroll at Tuesdays 10.45 PST
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