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Retrospective Review: Fist of the North Star



The nuclear bombs have destroyed the modern civilization. Buildings have crumpled and energy is pretty much nonexistent. The strong have survived and the weak has perished or become fodder for the ones who are ruling the different villages or nomadic tribes that are inhabiting the world today. The world is desolate.

The grounds are ruined and cannot even grow even the most basic of flora. This is the world that makes up Fist of the North Star. In this world, which is very reminiscent of any kind of Mad Max or any kind of future dystopia, we have a man who, like from many Shakespeare or Greek tragedies, must reunite with his love and fight off his evil brothers and a traitor of a best friend.

This anime is a cult classic and is very well known with abridged series and with the main character being cos-played at many conventions. However, given the grim subject of the movie and considering the gravity of the nature and the amount of blood and head explosions, is the film any good? We will be looking at story, fighting scenes and the animation. Does this movie live up to the standards of classic anime movies or will it be another defeat in the hands of the viewers? Let’s roll up our sleeves and power up as we review Fist of the North Star.

The film is loosely based on the manga of the same title. The story (at least the dubbed version I had to view) is about Ken (Kenshiro) who is betrayed by his rival and friend Shin when he beats him up and takes his woman who he loved. When he is left for dead, his brothers (Jagi and Raoh) decide to disprove of his body by throwing it down a crevice. Raoh goes back home and claims to his master that Kenshiro has been defeated and he is now the new Fist of the North Star. He stares off into the earth and plans on what taking over the world.

Meanwhile, as time has passed, Kenshiro reemerges from a mute girl who psychologically called for help when she and her brother figure were being harassed by the local gang. He has a full beard and it seems like he has learned more abilities since his earlier defeat. He easily makes work of the gang in a quick manner with lots of body parts and heads exploding with all the bloody gruesome details.

Without revealing all the play-by-play sequences, Kenshiro ends up defeating his brother Jagi (who took over a town claiming to be the fist of the north star), defeated Shin and was able to stand his own against his brother Raoh, but eventually did lose the fight but not his life. He did rescue his girl but she disappeared during the fighting. Her goal seemed to just want to plant some seeds that she had and try and regrow the habitation that was long gone. At the end of the movie when Kenshiro is looking for her, he comes across an oasis of trees and water in the middle of the desert. He doesn’t really smile but rather looks determined to continue his quest to find her and be together again. The movie ends.

The fighting scenes are reminiscent of what anime was like during the 1980’s. There are lots of movements with the fists but the rest of the body is pretty stagnant (probably due to animation being expensive). With the fighting scenes, there are a lot of blood and body parts being ripped off from the limbs and dissected as well.

It’s very macho and very in your face about the violence of the nature that the creators have surrounded themselves in this story in so it does feel very appropriate that the gore and violence and the fighting match with the nature of the environment that this story is taking place in. The fighting itself has a little feel of Berserk meeting some early DBZ feel to it but the fights don’t last long enough to really have any kind of shonen hidden gem to it.

The animation style had the hand drawn appeal that I miss in modern animated features and it also has some grittiness to the way everyone is drawn. Everyone has some dirt, mud, smudges on them because in the vast desert and baron wasteland of Japan, clean water is scarce and having clean clothes seems unheard of or a luxury that people cannot have unless you have power and not money.

Even though the animation does have some stiffness in it and there is a lot of standing around with dialogue coming from mouths we cannot see, I think it’s still has a decent animation given the resources and what they had to work with. It can be choppy and the flow might not be the most crisp as later animated features would prove but there is a charm to what is shown to the viewer and a passion showcasing their style and their skills getting the story across.

This movie has some flaws but it does have some Greek tragedy/Shakespearean elements to it that western audiences can relate to and have an understanding why Kenshiro must do what he has to. A man who loses his love must fight back against all odds and armies to reclaim his love from the clutches of a jealous rival and a hate ridden older brother. That’s a story audiences can understand and root for.

The violence is over the top and there are a lot of body parts exploding but luckily the paste like red blood that comes from the victims are not in focus and we usually move on to the next victim until we get to the boss of that stage and have the epic take down. If you are an anime fan or if you enjoy animation with an interesting plot and some dark elements on a budget, then you’d like this film. I think the story of Fist of the North Star has been around for a while but, I think new audiences would quite enjoy some of the over-the-top fight scenes and some of the gritty atmosphere that is very symbolic to a Mad Max or a reverse Waterworld.

The movie is on the streaming site Crackle.











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Finally, the Cinderella story of the Richmond Greyhounds has come to an end.



We are now in a new season for the team, and they have started off on the wrong
foot. The team is broken up and Ted has his work cut out for him. The team goes
through a slump, and Ted is now doubting his coaching ability. Ted’s personal life
has also gotten out of control, and he discovers his ex-wife Michelle has started a relationship with their therapist. The wonderkid, Nathan Shelley, the former manager of West Ham has had a change of heart and leaves his job to be with his one true love, the waitress from his favorite restaurant.

She convinces him to return to the Richmond team he started out in and it’s quite evident that
everyone wants him back and held no hard feelings. All of Lawrence’s series he has worked on with others have just that right balance of slice-of-life drama with a little bit of ridiculous comedy that reality dishes us, normal folks, every day.

This all comes to a head in the potential series finale where Ted announced to
Rebecca that he will be returning to the States to his family after his mother tells
him that his son misses him. This puts the Richmond owner into quite a state of denial; doing everything from offering Ted the position of being the highest-paid coach in the league to selling the team after he leaves. The team is also affected by this decision as they perform a number from the musical The Sound of Music that is a more than touching farewell to this family.

This bleeds into their playing as in the final title match the first half is met with
bumbling and possible injuries to their star player Jamie.
After an energizing pep talk and a circle back to the first motivator in the
beginning, a sign Ted made up that said “BELIEVE”, the team dominate the second
half and win with a rousing closing scene that is reminiscent of any 80’s party
movie. It’s a fitting end for this pandemic darling that emotionally carried us through. It is
a must-see series even if you don’t like soccer (football).

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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