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Other Tuesday- Fist of the North Star

Other Tuesday- Fist of the North Star

Novels

An original novel was written by Buronson and Tetsuo Hara titled Shōsetsu Hokuto no Ken: Jubaku no Machi which was published by Jump Novel in Japan on December 13, 1996. The novel was the basis of the later three-episode OVA series New Fist of the North Star. A novelization of the movie Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Love in Death written by Eiichi Sakaki was published by Tokuma Novels on March 10, 2006.

There has also been two cell phone novels released via the mobile site Hokuto no Ken DX. Raoh Gaiden, a novelization of the manga of the same name, and Kenshiro Gaiden, an original novel by Jotaro Higashi.

Live-action film

An American-produced live-action movie version of Fist of the North Star was released in 1995, directed by Tony Randel based on a script by Peter Atkins and Wynne McLaughlin. The movie, loosely based on the Shin storyline of the manga, stars Gary Daniels as Kenshiro, Costas Mandylor as Shin and Japanese actress Isako Washio as Yuria, with Malcolm McDowell as Ryuken and Chris Penn as “Jackal” (actually a renamed Jagi). It also featured a cameo by professional wrestler Big Van Vader as Goliath, and Kevin Arbouet as “Rao” (unrelated to the actual Raoh from the manga). The movie was released straight-to-video in the US and Japan (though it did receive a premiere on HBO). The Japanese dubbed version used the original voice actors from the 1980s anime series.

Video games

The four Hokuto no Ken video games for the Famicom.

Numerous video game titles based on the Fist of the North Star have been produced since the 1986 release of Enix adventure game, simply titled Hokuto no Ken for the PC-88. The earlier games in the franchise were released by Sega for the Mark III and Mega Drive and by Toei Animation for the Nintendo’s Famicom, Game Boy and Super Famicom. These titles included side-scrolling action games, role-playing video games and competitive-style fighting games. The two Sega titles were released overseas without the Hokuto no Ken license under the titles of Black Belt and Last Battle, while a couple of the Toei titles, namely Fist of the North Star for the NES and Fist of the North Star: 10 Big Brawls for the King of Universe for the Game Boy, had American releases with the license intact. Further games were released for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation, Arcade, PlayStation 2 and Nintendo DS among other platforms. In 2000, Konami released an arcade game based on the franchise titled Fighting Mania. Another arcade game, a 2D fighting game simply titled Fist of the North Star, was produced by Sega and Arc System Works in 2005. Both games saw international distributions, although the PS2 version of the fighting game was released exclusively in Japan. Tecmo Koei produced a Dynasty Warriors spinoff focusing on the events from the first half of the manga, titled Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage. It which was released in Japan on March 25, 2010, and later in North America on November 2, 2010, and Europe on November 5, 2010. A sequel, Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2, expanded on the first game and incorporated the events from the second half of the manga. It was released in Japan on December 20, 2012, and in North America on February 5, 2013. On August 25, 2017, Sega announced a new game, Hokuto ga Gotoku, for release in 2018 on PlayStation 4. The game is being developed by the team behind the Yakuza series and features similar gameplay and elements.

In addition to traditional video games, the franchise has inspired a series of typing software, an online MMORPG, and numerous pachinko and pachislot machines, mainly produced by Sega Sammy Holdings.

Reception and legacy

Fist of the North Star was one of Weekly Shōnen Jump’s most popular titles during the 1980s. It is one of the best-selling manga series in history, having sold approximately 100 million copies. In a poll conducted by TV Asahi in 2005, the Fist of the North Star anime series ranked 26 in a list of Top 100 Anime series. In a second poll in 2006, it ranked 89. In a celebrity version of the poll, it ranked 15.

Anime News Network was critical of the anime series, comparing it to “the Go Nagai steaming pile of crap Violence Jack“.

Berserk creator Kentaro Miura has named Fist of the North Star as the work that has had the biggest impact on his own.

Light Novel Tuesday- Earl and Fairy

Light Novel Tuesday- Earl and Fairy

The Earl and the Fairy (Hakushaku to Yōsei) is a completed series of light novels written by Mizue Tani and published in Japan by Shueisha. The story is serialized in Cobalt magazine and illustrated by Asako Takaboshi (Ayuko).

Shueisha has commercially released two drama CDs and a manga adaptation has begun serialization in The Margaret since the September issue in 2008. An anime adaptation was broadcast from September to December 2008. A visual novel for the PlayStation 2 was released on April 30, 2009. As of December 2013, 33 volumes of the light novel have been published in Japan by Shueisha.

Characters

Lydia Carlton
Voiced by: Nana Mizuki

Lydia Carlton, the daughter of Professor Carlton, is a 19 year old fairy doctor. She has the rare power to see fairies, an ability she inherited from her mother. Lydia also possesses green eyes, a trait of those with the gift to see fairies. (Her eyes are green-gold.) She is independent and kind, and doesn’t hesitate to help others. She ends up working for Edgar as his consultant on fairy-related matters after helping him retrieve the Merrow’s Sword (key to him being recognized as the Blue Knight Earl by the Queen of England). Her goal is to become a full-fledged fairy doctor, and frequently places herself in danger willingly when it comes to anything to do with problems between humans and fairies.She appears to have some self-esteem issues, referring to her own hair as “rust-colored” and comparing herself to her mother, who was apparently a woman of considerable beauty; everyone who knew her mother before she died says that they don’t look anything alike. Once, in an outburst, she confesses to Paul Ferman that she thinks that she isn’t cute at all, and that it’s part of the reason why she tries so hard to help in other ways (by working hard). Her physical differences from her parents also leads her to wonder if she is, in fact, a changeling. It is later revealed that she is indeed part fairy; her mother Aurora was half-fairy (due to familial circumstances that forced the real Aurora to be exchanged with a half-blood changeling). Because of past difficulties, Lydia dislikes the idea of falling in love and even seems to be afraid of it. When she was a child, she was given a love letter by a boy who – as it turns out later – was dared to do so by his friends, crushing her. She also used a “spell” to ward off Kelpie so that he would not come near her, as his aggressive advances were troublesome to her. At first, she also rejects Edgar’s advances and brushes them off, but as she falls in love with him, she demonstrates substantially less distrust of his confessions of love. Lydia currently is considered Edgar’s fiancee, a status she vehemently denies, despite Edgar’s overt courtship of her and multiple fairies calling her that. She obtained this status when she accepted a moonstone ring (previously owned by Gwendolen, the countess of one of the past Blue Knight Earls before Edgar), which effectively meant that she accepted his proposal. The moonstone ring apparently has some protective powers of its own; it prevented Lydia’s soul from being fully trapped by the fairy world in volume 6 of the novel series, as well as enabled Lydia to break Kelpie’s spell on her when he tried to bring her to the fairy world by magic (to prevent her from being hurt in the crossfire between Edgar and the Prince). Though Lydia despises Edgar in the beginning, it is known she has undressed herself in front of him when spilling tea on her dress. When this incident occurs Edgar is outside the bed room door observing Lydia change, which makes him want her more than before for her beauty and personality. Recently, Lydia has truly accepted Edgar’s proposal, and afterwards it is shown that Lydia has hence been accepted as part of the Blue Earl Knight’s family (as Edgar’s fiancee). When she takes what should have been a fatal blow from the Blue Earl Knight’s sword, she emerges unscathed, proof that the sword has acknowledged her as the Knight’s family. Following this revelation, she becomes able to form a shining bow from Gwendolen’s moonstone ring, and is able to use it to repel Unseelie Court. Strangely, even though he is the Blue Earl Knight, the sword still inflicts physical harm on Edgar. This is supposedly because Edgar’s blood has been “dirtied”.

Edgar J. C. Ashenbert
Voiced by: Hikaru Midorikawa

Edgar is a flirtatious man in his early twenties with very distinctive ash mauve eyes. When he was young his parents were both murdered and he himself was thought to be dead. As a result, he was shipped to America as a white slave. He was subsequently framed as a mass murderer and forced to flee from America for his alleged crimes. Stripped of his honorable name, Edgar embarks on a journey to find the famed Sword of Merrow. By obtaining the sword, Edgar hopes to assert himself as the “Earl of the Blue Knights” thus acquiring a respectable title and gaining a fabricated sense of honor. In his quest to find the Sword of the Merrow, Edgar captures Lydia Carlton, believing her eyes to be the key to finding the legendary sword. He gradually falls in love with Lydia, and is frustrated and confused that she continually avoids his advances. He openly shows his love for her, in ways which Lydia often feel are embarrassing. He tells her it makes him uneasy to see her communicate with other men so easily and is unnerved by her friendship with Paul. Edgar was heir to a dukedom (the highest rank in the British peerage) before his family was murdered. He was then captured by an organization headed by a mysterious figure known only as the Prince. There, he was groomed to be the Prince’s successor, learning all the knowledge that the Prince possessed, including how to ruthlessly make use of the people around him. Later, he managed to successfully flee the organization, taking Ermine and Raven with him, among other supporters. However, on more than one occasion, Edgar has wondered whether he is becoming more like the Prince by making use of the techniques taught him by the Prince in his quest for survival after his escape. Later, it is revealed that the Prince murdered his parents to capture Edgar, believing him to be the most suitable successor to the Prince’s name. This is because Edgar was of both royal blood, and blood related to the Prince, and would hence easily absorb the Prince’s memories. This is quite literal, in that the Prince was a title carried by several generations of Princes. Each generation would groom a new successor by breaking the Prince-to-be’s own self-consciousness and forcing him to learn the original prince’s knowledge, mannerisms, behavior, etc. to the point that when the Prince transfers the memories from the entire lineage of Princes into the Prince-to-be, the new Prince accepts the memories so naturally that he believes himself to be the Prince. Edgar was also trained as such, but he retained his own personality and will, and was not broken when he fled the organization. After meeting Lydia, as well, he begins to recall his kinder side that had been pushed under in his desperate bid to escape, and becomes increasingly less “Prince-like”. He maintains, though, that he cannot fully let go of the knowledge he learned by the Prince’s side, because they are weapons that he needs in order to protect his loved ones. Later, in order to save Lydia, he steals the Freya (a red gem created by a powerful wyrm, that is able to absorb and transfer memories) containing Prince’s memories. In doing so, he absorbs the memories and effectively becomes the Prince. However, Edgar still retains his original personality, although he is also shown to be deeply uneasy about how long he could keep his own will. He quickly maneuvers events such that Lydia becomes his fiancee. He does, however, maintain relations with other paramours for some time even after claiming engagement to Lydia, which makes her ever more distrustful of his advances. Later, he decides to be truly faithful to Lydia alone. It is shown that as time progresses, he falls deeper in love with her; in the beginning of their partnership, he treats Lydia as a pawn (he uses her as bait without her consent to lure his enemy out into the open, although notably he also attempts to protect her by ordering Raven to trail her). At the time, Lydia mused that she’s in an extremely ambiguous position, in that she is enough of an outsider that Edgar treats her as a pawn, but enough of a comrade that Edgar feels an obligation to protect her.However, later, Edgar becomes uncertain of the wisdom of involving her in the battle between the Prince and himself, as he cannot guarantee her safety. It comes to the point that he continuously contradicts himself by wanting to keep Lydia with him, but also wanting to keep her safe by pushing her far away from himself. He is severely possessive, and it has been noted by Lydia that he “cannot tolerate anything that belongs to him being taken away by another”. This possessiveness extends to Lydia also; Edgar has been known to become jealous of many men who appear interested in Lydia, or whom Lydia are friendly with. On one occasion, when Raven accidentally saw Lydia dressed in a revealing Arabic costume, Edgar commands him to forget what he saw. Initially, his driving goal was revenge on the Prince for murdering his family, no matter the sacrifice. In order to achieve this goal, he cares little for his own life. After the Ashenbert family’s banshee saved him at the cost of her own life and entrusted the key to the land of Ibrazel to him, however, he tells Lydia that his thinking has changed, and now he understands that as the current Blue Knight Earl, even if he does not possess the ability to see fairies, he will persevere and find a way to defeat the Prince as the duty that comes with his title. He also tells her that he will no longer treat the preservation of his own life as cavalierly as he did before.

Raven
Voiced by: Tomokazu Sugita

Raven is 18 years old at the beginning of the series, and Edgar’s personal servant. He is Ermine’s half-brother. He possesses mysterious green eyes and exceptional fighting skills. It is revealed that Raven was born with a sprite residing within him, and for this reason he was not acknowledged by many. Edgar has mastery over the sprite, and hence Raven. According to Raven, Edgar would never take advantage of this power. And because Edgar accepts him despite his obscurities, Raven is pleased to serve him.When Raven and Ermine were young, they were taken in by Prince’s organization. Raven was then trained by fighting masters, but due to the speed at which he surpassed them, and his inability to control his sprite’s killing impulses, as well as his own indifference to killing them in the course of his training, he eventually ended up being chained and locked away. This was where he met Edgar for the first time, when Ermine brought Edgar to meet Raven, telling her brother that “she had found his master”. While the sprite within Raven was supposed to serve and protect the king of Raven’s (and Ermine’s) tribe, Raven immediately accepted Edgar as such. It was then that he received the name “Raven”, which Edgar gave him to signify that he was to be the master of his sprite from now on, instead of the other way around. It is shown, however, that the sprite’s obedience to Edgar is not absolute. When the sprite’s killing lusts override Raven’s own will, even Edgar is unable to stop it.Later on, it is revealed that there are two sprites within him; one of them is a giant serpent, and the other as a giant bird. The giant serpent is the original servant of his tribe’s king, while the giant bird is a manifestation of one of three magical gems sealed within Raven. This is hinted at early on in the series, when Kelpie met Raven for the first time and was unable to immediately identify whether he was a “snake” or a “bird”. His loyalty to Edgar is virtually absolute, and Edgar believes from the bottom of his heart that Raven is one of the few who will stand by him no matter what. He will attempt to accomplish every task Edgar assigns him, even if that includes standing by while Edgar is in danger.Because he was treated as a killing machine in the past, Raven has become almost emotionless, responding to the commands of those he obeys, and very little else. As the series wears on, however, he begins to show emotions of his own, a fact Edgar is glad about. He also becomes more receptive to other peoples’ emotions and begins to display consideration towards them. Together with the slow regaining of normal human emotions, he also begins to express opinions to Edgar, such as stopping Edgar from irritating Nico, and butting in sharply when another woman attempts to seduce him (because he understands that Edgar giving in would have repercussions on Edgar’s and Lydia’s relationship). He is deeply happy about Lydia marrying Edgar, and is, in fact, frequently anxious that Edgar might do something that would make her turn away from him. Once, when Edgar asked him which female Raven thought suitable to be his countess, he answered that he would prefer Lydia to be the one. His relationship with his half-sister Ermine seems rather distant, due to his upbringing. He places Edgar far above Ermine, and sought to kill her after her second betrayal. However, he was also the one who pleaded with Edgar on Ermine’s behalf to allow her to serve Edgar again after her first betrayal, and he had also hidden his suspicions about Ermine from Edgar briefly despite his overwhelming loyalty to Edgar. He apparently does not like how young/childish his face appears, as he was noted by Ermine to have brooded over how a couple of maids thought he was only 15 years old. He is apprenticing under Tompkins in order to learn the skills of a butler. Lydia surmised that this is in preparation for the day Edgar defeats the Prince and obtains true peace, and Raven’s fighting skills will no longer be useful to Edgar. He forges a tentative friendship with Nico, standing up for Nico in the face of Kelpie’s wrath.

Nico
Voiced by: Hiro Yūki

Nico is a fairy who takes on the form of a cat. He accompanies Lydia on her journey with Edgar.While he can walk on four legs like a normal cat, he prefers to walk on two legs like a human. He is able to turn invisible, and can read and write human language. Nico was Lydia’s mother’s companion, as well.He likes liquor, and fine tea. He is also very particular about being treated like a gentleman rather than a cat, and as such obsesses over his attire (most frequently a single neck ribbon, but he has been known to wear suits and tailcoats), and the state of his fur and whiskers. On a few occasions, Edgar has provoked him deliberately by scratching Nico and petting him like a mere cat.He is rather cowardly, often disappearing when things turn nasty. Despite his inability/unwillingness to engage in physical combat, his assistance is valuable to Lydia. He often gathers information for Lydia from the fairies in the area, as well as acts as a guide when Lydia needs to travel to or from the fairy world. He is also something of an adviser to Lydia.In recent times, Edgar has taken to bribing Nico with things like fine food or a gentleman’s “essentials” (a cane, a tailcoat, letter-writing set, etc.), in order to find out developments around Lydia.

Other Tuesday- Kino’s Journey Light Novels

Other Tuesday- Kino’s Journey Light Novels

While there is a new manga about Kino’s Journey I was not able to find any accurate information about it which is why I did not write about it on Manga Monday.

Light novels

Kino’s Journey began as a series of light novels written by Keiichi Sigsawa, and illustrated by Kouhaku Kuroboshi. The series originally started serialization in MediaWorks’ now-defunct light novel magazine Dengeki hp with the release of volume six on March 17, 2000. The first volume of the series was published on July 10, 2000 by ASCII Media Works under their Dengeki Bunko publishing imprint. As of October 10, 2014, 18 volumes have been published. The eighth volume of Kino’s Journey, originally published in October 2004, was Dengeki Bunko’s 1000th published novel. An additional volume entitled Kino’s Journey -the Beautiful World- Country of Theater -Kino- was only released as a promotional gift for the second animated movie. A collection of special chapters entitled Kino’s Journey: the Sigsawa’s World came with the first volume of ASCII Media Works’ light novel magazine Dengeki Bunko Magazine on April 10, 2008.

In commemoration of Dengeki Bunko’s 20th anniversary, Kino’s Journey was serialized weekly from April to September 2013 in several Japanese regional newspapers. The ten stories serialized during this period were included in the 17th volume published in October of the same year. The previous 16 volumes were released with new cover artwork also in commemoration of the anniversary.

The light novel series has also been translated into Chinese, Korean, and German. Tokyopop licensed the novels under the original title Kino no Tabi for release in North America, and the first volume was published on October 3, 2006. The chapter order of Tokyopop’s English release of the first volume differed from the original Japanese release. According to Tokyopop representatives, there are issues with the licensor that have left them unable to release further volumes of the series. Tokyopop used an image from the sixth chapter-title page from the original novel for use as the English novel cover.

The first volume of a spin-off of the regular series titled Gakuen Kino was published on July 10, 2006 under Dengeki Bunko; as of July 10, 2010, four volumes have been released. The series is a collection of parodies originally published in three spin-off magazines of Dengeki hp: Dengeki p, Dengeki h, and Dengeki hpa. The spin-off features Kino as a magical girl in a school setting. Gakuen Kino was translated into Chinese and Korean.