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.
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.
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.