Fist of the North Star Vol. 3 Review – A Visceral Spectacle

    Title: Fist of the North Star Vol. 3
    Author: Buronson, Tetsuo Hara
    Release Date: December, 21, 2021
    Publisher: VIZ

In the previous Fist of the North Star volume, Kenshiro has found Rei, a new user of the Nanto style. However, he also found out a shocking truth: Rei’s motivation is to kill the man who has seven scars on his chest. This is a trademark of Kenshiro, which was revealed back in the first volume.

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However, more pressing issues come before Ken has the chance to ask him about this. The death of bandits in the area led to some of their friends coming back to torture the populace and finding a young man called Ko in the outside area.

As the young woman called Mamiya tries to be tough to lead the village, a brutal set of events unfolds. Now, both Kenshiro and Rei will find the motivation to fight, killing many enemies on the way to the bandit leader. Though they’re both lone wolf figures, it’s easy to notice how much trust they get to have in each other throughout the volume.

The situation leads to all the blood-pumping action that Fist of the North Star usually has in spades. The panels are very dynamic, with gory effects resulting from the actions. Kenshiro’s Hokuto style breaks people’s organs internally with visceral splashes that make the villains’ punishments a visual spectacle.

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The story is full of exaggerated, dramatic reactions that can be helpful to enjoy the ride. On one side, this is a cruel world, villains are all over the place, and innocent people are easy prey. But, on the other, in this barren wasteland where humans go astray, there are still those who cling to honor and think of others in their time of need.

Fist of the North Star does a great job at reminding the reader of the cruel side of the world at every turn. It often shows the enemies Kenshiro kills as unredeemable villains who find pleasure in torturing others. It’s also interesting to note how Ken’s attitude had become pragmatic and stoic, a far cry from when he was obsessed with Yuria.

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If there’s one thing I’d criticize is how conveniently the plot moves at times. Some twists aren’t compelling, which can be an issue for people who like to be a little more critical on the narrative side. However, the entertainment value of its well-choreographed scenes is truly high with its over-the-top moves and dramatic panels.

This edition also has a few color pages that are simple but effective in enhancing the scenes’ atmospheres. Even when it opts to go with a more detailed sepia coloring, its mix of orange and black-and-white helps highlight the old-school artstyle.

A new bit of Kenshiro’s past is revealed at the end of the volume. This leads to the next big enemy, which should be a significant conflict in the upcoming volume. With the special twist that this upcoming adversary had the same Hokuto training, the ending parts manage to excite volume 4 events.

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Fist of the North Star Vol. 3 is an excellent addition to the classic action series. While the plot can sometimes feel a little forced, the entertainment value of its battle sequences is wonderful. As we get to know a little more about Kenshiro’s still obscure past, the volume left us wishing for more.

4/5

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Ivanir Ignacchitti

Random Japanese games are my jam. Handhelds, RPGs, VNs and PC banzai.