Character from the Fist of the North Star
Toei Animation confirms a new Fist of the North Star anime for the 40th anniversary. Here are key elements the remake needs to get right for success.

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Now that Toei Animation has confirmed that there is going to be a new Fist of the North Star anime to celebrate the original manga’s 40th anniversary, there are a lot of reasons for excitement. The series created by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara could be viewed as the grandfather of Shonen manga and anime, taking the genre to greater heights and inspiring the likes of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Dragon Ball, and Berserk, plus generating a lot of imitators in the 80s.

Kenshiro’s journey through a desolate wasteland of a world and being the solitary symbol of justice is a timeless tale, and now the wielder of Hokuto Shinken is getting a chance to leave his mark on a new generation. Therefore, it’s extremely important that the people at Toei get this remake right and there are some key elements people would want them to do to achieve that goal.

Stay As Faithful To The Manga’s Art As Possible

Artwork from the Fist of the North Star Manga.
Credit: Viz Media

Tetsuo Hara is a generational artist and the fact that his art is still so impressive, despite the many different mangaka who have proven their worth in the subsequent decades, is a testament to his talents. And while its true that such a detailed art style cannot be animated easily and something is going to be lost in the transition to an anime, staying as faithful as possible to the source material is the best way to go.

The Fist of the North Star remake needs to convince both old and new fans that the series’ art style is a major selling point. It’s raw, it’s imposing, and perfectly captures the feel of the story, particularly Kenshiro’s mix of power and humanity, which is something that the new anime is going to need to show to be a success.

2D, Not CGI

CGI animation of Fist of the North Star
The 2006 Fist of the Blue Sky anime with CGI, Credit: Toei Animation

CGI has its moments when it comes to anime but 2D is the best way to go with the Fist of the North Star remake. It is not only better-suited for the kind of story they are trying to tell but it is also a much more appealing visual style of animation and fits well with the style of the series.

Granted, it is also important to not exploit animation studios and what they can do but considering the series’ cultural significance and what this anime adaptation could represent for the franchise as a whole, this style of animation would do the project a world of good. The 2006 Fist of the Blue Sky anime didn’t exactly help itself with the CGI approach and Hara’s art deserves the best of treatments.

Keep The Violence As Faithful As Possible

Character from the Fist of the North Star original anime adaptation.
“Omae wa mou shindeiru.”, credit: Toei animation

The manga is very violent and the Fist of the North Star remake should stick to that approach. Modern manga series such as Jujutsu Kaisen and Chainsaw Man have shown that violence, gore, and success are not incompatible and Buronson and Hara did it before a lot of people when it comes to a violent Shonen series.

There is a very visceral appeal to the way Kenshiro destroys his opponents and that should remain as it is one of the character’s best traits. Besides, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world without law and where criminals run amok, so it makes sense that the anime is going to have a lot of violence.

Add More Choreography To The Battles

Fight scene from the original Fist of the North Star anime.
Credit: Toei Animation

Watching Kenshiro tear bad guys into shreds is always a lot of fun but is also important that the biggest battles in the series get a much better treatment in the Fist of the North Star remake. Considering this day and age, anime fights demand a lot more choreography and ups and downs, which is something that this new anime needs to do.

This is going to be shown particularly in battles against the likes of Shin and Raoh, who are two of Kenshiro’s biggest antagonists in the series. It is only befitting that the grandfather of Shonen anime gets this treatment to push the series forward.

Adapt The Full Story… And Cut The Filler

Mix of characters from the Fist of the North Star series.

The 80s Fist of the North Star anime adaptation is iconic and paved the way for a lot of series moving forward but it was also a show with some major ups and downs when compared to the source material. The constant addition of filler and not adapting the final couple of arcs makes it an adaptation that while entertaining hasn’t aged in the best of ways.

The upcoming Fist of the North Star remake has the possibility of remedying this situation and adapting the entirety of the source material. However, it also has the chance to do something even better, which is the following point.

Go Deeper With The Characterization And World-Building

Mix of characters from the Fist of the North Star anime adaptations.

The Fist of the North manga is a long series and it certainly has its fair share of emotional and introspective moments, but its also a product of its time. The series sometimes was lacking in exploring its world-building, such as the state of the world after the nuclear world, and how the Hokuto Shinken came to be and how it worked, with Buronson and Hara only giving the readers a few crumbs along the way.

A greater focus on characterization, interactions, and world-building could come a long way to make the series even better, which is something that everybody wants. This could be viewed as filler, sure, and would go against the previous point, but it could also add another layer to the series as a whole.

Keep “Ai Wo Torimodose” As The Opening Theme

The original Fist of the North Star opening is iconic and a piece of anime history. It’s passionate, is energetic, and captures the series’ most positive themes, which is why it would be a good idea to keep “Ai Wo Torimodose” as the opening theme in the Fist of the North Star remake.

It would be a good message for the older fans, showing that attention to detail, and is simply a good song that deserves the spotlight once again. While its understandable that the new people involved in this project would want to put their own stamp on this series, little details like this can go a long way to gain goodwill from the fandom.

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