KENSHIRO HOKUTO MUSOU (Ken's Rage) VERSION
REVOLTECH FIST OF THE NORTH STAR 021
following is a guest review. The review
and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford
or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the
|Ridureyu is back with another
look a cool Revoltech figure - take it away, R!
After about half a year of reviewing Revoltech's Fist of the North Star
toys, I've finally made it to the main hero!
Fist of the North Star was an incredibly influential anime and manga,
setting the template for most action series throughout the 1980s and
'90s. This includes the idea of an impossibly-powerful
hero. Although nowhere near, say, characters from Dragon Ball
Z, Fist of the North Star's main hero is pretty much
invincible. He could probably mix it up pretty well in either
Marvel of DC's universe.
The setting is shortly after nuclear war transformed the earth into Mad
Max-land, only since it's Japan, the place is filled to the brim with
supernatural martial arts. Kenshiro is the heir to Hokuto
Shinken ("Divine Fist of the North Star"), an 1800-year old martial art
that uses acupressure points to kill people. Think Kill Bill,
only a whole lot messier. It isn't the only result, but
Kenshiro's favorite tactic is to pop his enemies' heads like bloody
balloons. This series is gory beyond all reason, although it
somehow managed to maintain a good plot with complex
characters. Fist of the North Star follows Ken as he searches
for his lost love, clashes with his brother over successorship to
Hokuto Shinken, and generally splatters bad guys everywhere.
Toward the series' end, he travelled overseas to learn the secrets
behind Hokuto Shinken, and ended up training a student to be the
martial art's next successor.
Hokuto Shinken is powerful enough that Kenshiro might as well be
invincible, with only very few enemies in the series ever giving him a
challenge. To avoid "boring invincible hero syndrome," the a
lot of the series focuses on the people around him, most of whom die
pretty terribly. Kenshiro's near-constant manly tears helped
set another trend in action anime, too.
Revoltech (pronounced like "revolver," not "revolt") is a company owned
by Kaiyodo which specializes in a very specific, modular
ball-and-socket joint. Their figures universally have great
articulation, and can be pulled apart or swapped around to accommodate
alternate hands, heads, or whatever. This figure is Number 21
of the Fist of the North Star line, and one of the most
recently-released so far. As of this writing, none have been
announced beyond number 23 (Raoh in Ken's Rage garb), but let's keep
This particular figure is of Kenshiro as he appears in Fist of the
North Star: Ken's Rage (Hokuto Musou in Japan), the newest Fist of the
North Star game (Released in late 2010). The game advertised
new costume designs for the characters, which ranged from subtle
changes (Jagi) to massive overhauls (Shin). As for Ken, his
costume is more or less the same kind of outfit he wore in the series,
only fancier. He generally stuck with a pseudo-Mad Max
leather jacket, jeans, and a shirt. The Ken's Rage outfit
just dolls it up a lot. Is it worth it? Well, let's
toys have a standard packaging design, and Kenshiro is
technically no different. He comes in a window box with a plastic
tray designed to hold everything. The pieces all fit without
twisty-ties, rubber bands, tape, or excess force needed to remove
them. Ken's nestles in pretty nicely, no different than anybody
else in this line. You can also easily pack Ken and all of his
stuff back in, thus making storage a breeze. The box also
includes a shot of Ken as he appeared in the game, which is a nice
Sculpting - ****
has a pretty consistent look all through the Fist of the North Star
manga, although his character model matured a little over time.
Try to imagine what would happen if Bruce Lee, Mad Max-era Mel Gibson,
and Sly Stallone had a baby, and you've pretty much got it. This
was slightly different in the anime, where Ken's appearance really
varied based on how much money they spent on the episode - he might
look like Bruce Lee, or Stallone, or a monkey, depending on the
episode. At the very least, the new remake movies and new game
have managed to keep him looking good. Ken's face is quite good,
if just a little young. It seems to match Kenshiro at the
beginning of the series more than how he was at the middle or end,
although this isn't really a complaint. They also did a good job
with his hair, keeping it very '80s without being too '80s, if you
catch my drift. He had a couple of similar-but-different
hairstyles in the series, and the anime also gave him an occasional
Bruce Lee bowl-cut. This matches how he looked in the game, which
is pretty close to how Ken's hair was at any given time.
course, the main issue with this figure is his outfit. In the
series, Ken was generally either seen in his usual shirt-jacket-jeans
combo (although he had a few different styles, most people don't
realize that), or shirtless when he was bringing the pain. That
latter one showed off the seven scars on his chest in the shape of the
Big Dipper, put there by the very first major villain of the
series. Thankfully, Koei chose not to completely overhaul Ken's
outfit, instead just making it fancier. It's the same basic thing
he usually wears, except with added designs all over the place. A
lot of players really prefer his original look and choose to use that
costume, but it's not that bad a problem for me. The tassels on
his belt are kind of odd, but that isn't that big an issue. The
biggest eye-catcher on the whole thing is that fire pattern going up
one leg of his pants and then to the back of his jacket. It's
nicely-done, and it's good to see that the sculptors didn't skimp out
on all of that complicated detail work.
Kenshiro is 6" even,
which may make him look a little small when standing next to other
6"-scale figures (most of them have at least half an inch on
that). A lot of recent DC figures are even taller than that, and
will positively dwarf poor Kenshiro, so there may be some scale issues.
with all the other Revoltech figures, Kenshiro's paint is
fantastic. His costume really got a lot of love this time around,
with tons of tiny paint apps everywhere. The fire pattern is
flawless, buit so is the silver filigree on his jacket, or the rivets
on his shoulder pads. Everything looks like the right material,
including the detail work on Ken's boots. His skin seems a little
"rosy" when compared to other figures in this line, but that just helps
set him apart a little bit.
The work on Ken's head is also
pretty good, especially with the faint outline to bring out his
hair. His face seems just a little soft, but again, it's "young"
Kenshiro, not quite how he appeared by the end of the series.
Revoltech articulation! Kaiyodo really hit a gold mine with their
Revoltech line. Technically, Ken has roughly the same number of
articulation points as a good Marvel Legends figure, but the unique
construction of these joints gives him an impressive range of
movement. The pieces come apart reasonably easy, which is good -
it means the figure won't break, and there are lots and lots of
alternate heads and hands in this line. It's still important to
work each joint when you get a new figure, and try to find the best
ways to keep him stable, though. But if you want, you can put Ken
in pretty much every pose from the series. His basic fighting
stance doesn't take too much work, and he can do a lot of the various
flying kicks/punches/head-splattering karate chops he is known
for. You can even mimic that goofy "Heaven Breaking Stance,"
which looks like he's trying to rub his belly and pat his head at the
One nice detial is the construction of his neck
joint. Somehow, they have managed to give this figure a
ball-jointed neck that actually lets him look up and down! That
just blows most Marvel or DC figures out of the water.
To start out with, Kenshiro comes with a basic Revoltech accessory set:
two alternate sets of hands, one head, a stand, an orange coin (you can
redeem those for bonus items... if you live in Japan) and a little
orange box to hold everything. Swapping hands and the head aren't
too hard, although you should probably swap them all a few times to get
the joints working right before settling on one. He has a pair of
closed fists, flat hands in a chopping pose, and open palms.
Unfortunately (and this is part of the reason for a half-star
deduction), Ken does not have hands sculpted to hold anything, nor does
he have hands for any of his more-specific Hokuto Shinken moves.
Pointing fingers or "thumbs-out" hands would have been perfect, but
alas, they are not to be. His two heads are calm and shouting,
which fit most situations. Sure, a "crying over somebody who
died" head would fit, but he usually looked pretty stoic at those
times, too. The stand is very good for either standing of aerial
poses, just like all Revoltech stands.
Kenshiro also comes with some extras - energy effects for his fighting moves! Although these aren't really
accurate to the series, they are for the game. And besides,
they're cool if you like that sort of thing. There is one
rounded-edge ball that can fit over his fist like a glove, or at the
tip of his foot. He also has a piece meant to fit around his
ankle or wrist, which fits certain kicks as well as the
"Boulder-Splitting Wave" chop (which was never used to split boulders,
The other two are really fantastic in how
they fit the series. Ken's most famous attack, the "hundred Crack
Fist of the North Star," was basically a massive spam attack.
Think E. Honda's move from Street Fighter, only with exploding heads at
the end. In fact, it probably inspired the Street Fighter
version, but that's another story entirely. The sculptors decided
that the best way to represent a cloud of flying fists was to just
sculpt it. They are the same color as the energy blasts, but both
hundred-crack-pieces work like swapped hands, and can fit with a few
different poses. Nice job! The only problem is that,
because they are huge, it might be somewhat difficult to see
Kenshiro behind all those blue hands. You can even try to replace
a foot with them, which kind of works somewhat.
$25-$30 on average, these figures will make your wallet hurt. But
then,you're really not paying that much more than you would for a MOTU
Classics figure, and the quality difference is tremendous. These
Revoltech figures showcase the same level of quality as high-end 6th
scale figures, which does help soften the cost a bit. A little.
to Watch Out For -
Some figures might have a minor smudge or two, perhaps from his
hair, but I really can't think of anything else that's a problem.
Remember after posing Kenshiro to tighten each joint so he doesn't
start looking too goofy, of course, but that's standard for all
have no real complaints about this figure except for the lack of
hands. The costume might be off-putting to people, but there are
traditional costume-Kenshiro figures out there. Three, if I
recall correctly! This figure goes well with the other Ken's
Rage-themed figures in this line, and makes me hope for more. I'd
love to see Jagi's in-game redesign get released, after all!
Where to Buy
often has some, and PowerAnime gets a vote of confidence from me.
eBay is also good, although you probably should just search on Google
and see who has this figure. Japan imports are odd in that way.
This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer.
Photos and text by Ridureyu.