ADV Films // 2004 // 55 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Gutierrez (Retired) // July 21st, 2005
Now go out there and kill.
Picture a teenage boy's power fantasies. At thirteen (an eternally pissed off thirteen), I wanted to settle every altercation with a good head bashing or scissor lock. Imagine that sensibility unleashed, and there you have Fist of the North Star Vol. 3: When a Man Carries Sorrow.
Kenshiro, a brutal and buff warrior, is the Fist of the North Star. In this installment, he returns to his village, only to find it split between warriors Seiji and Tobi. Kenshiro ends up imprisoned, but not before engaging in the wholesale slaughter of an army. Eventually, Kenshiro escapes for a showdown with Seiji.
I watched this installment twice and still have no idea what this series is about. Coming into the third volume, I would not describe this series as "viewer friendly." At its core, it's numbing violence. Kenshiro, Seiji, and Tobi each share the uncanny ability to make people's heads explode and gush overwhelming amounts of blood.
Punning aside, the bloodletting wears thin quickly. The violence quickly descends from a novel trademark to mundane to overdone. Instead of saving the body parts exploding for the important climactic battles, the show throws the gimmick into every other scene.
Fist of the North Star Vol. 3: When a Man Carries Sorrow becomes disturbingly and unintentionally comical. A hulking, lumbering man, who resembles one of the Village People and says such things as, "This place is too small. Let's find another," and "Your fist is quite powerful. How did you come to possess such a strong fist?" makes the dramatic laughable.
Still, FOTNS is not without its good points. The character design is top notch. The animation directed well. Unlike most dubbed anime, the acting in the English version didn't make me cringe as much as I'd expected. Finally, barring the comedic preamble, the ending is somewhat touching. It's a long way to get there, though.
The Special Features on this DVD make it shine. Considering how short this disc is, I'm amazed at everything ADV Films added. Included is a featurette on Sifu Moy (Chinese boxing) and the American Ving Tsun Kung Fu Academy, Behind the Scenes at an ADR session, Character Bios, audio commentary by the English voice actors, and an Italian Fist of the North Star trailer. The Sifu Moy featurette ran too long but would be of interest to those schooled in kung fu. The featurette on the ADR sessions is brief and provides a peek behind the curtain for those curious about what the actors look like. It was obvious the actors enjoyed themselves during the commentary. Not much to glean from it, but fans will be appreciative.
Fist of the North Star Vol. 3: When a Man Carries Sorrow is a great piece of animation art -- if you're twelve. This court found this to be a hollow piece of disposable entertainment. Eject this thing from my courtroom.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: ADV Films
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Japanese)
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Voice Actor Commentary
* Behind the Scenes at an ADR Session
* Sifu Moy Featurette
* Character Bios
* Italian Trailer
* ADV Previews
* New Fist of the North Star Vol. 1: The Cursed City!
* New Fist of the North Star Vol. 2: The Forbidden Fist