Fists Of The Northstar: The Movie (Hokuto no Ken) is a full-length animated movie that was released in 1986. It was not until 1991 that it was released in America, and has become somewhat of an unknown in anime. Most anime films that were released before 1998 live in obscurity, only known by true anime fans, and Fists of the Northstar is one of them.
The movie is set in the late 1990’s. In the movie, a nuclear holocaust has destroyed everything. Chaos rules the world, and only those who know martial arts have any chance of surviving, much less making it to the top. Kenshiro, also called Ken, is the main character in the story. He is the heir to a form of martial arts that is called Hokuto Shinken, or Fists of the Northstar. He does his best to uphold the peace, and tends to do so with the use of his fists and feet. The martial art is so deadly that it actually makes internal organs combust.
Shin starts out as Ken’s best friend. Shin follows a martial art known as the Fist of the South Star, which, unlike the Fists of the Northstar, bases attacks externally, not internally. Shin kidnapps Ken’s girlfriend, Julia. Ken gets to Julia and gets beaten by Shin. Shin leaves Ken for dead, but Ken manages to survive and vows to get his fiancé back. On his journey, Ken has to fight other villains, and ends up saving two children from a band of bad men. Ken proves that he will stop at nothing.
The series was originally a manga, as many full-length animes are. The manga became extremely poplar, and the movie was made in the middle of the third, and extremely popular, season of the manga. The film is mainly based on the first two seasons, but there are a lot of characters that are taken out in order to make the movie easier to understand.
A live action movie was made about the manga as well. It was released in 1995 and was meant for American release. This movie was not very approved of by fans of the manga, and has disappeared into almost obscurity.