-Protect the Thunderbolts of Migdol!-
- Episodes : 12
- Genre : Action, Martial Arts, Historical
- Airing Date : October 2, 2018 – December 18, 2018
- Studios : Polygon Pictures
Souten no Ken: Regenesis 2nd Season Introduction
Continuing from the previous season, Kenshiro and his friends are entrusted in protecting Erika, a little girl with a photographic memory, from Nazis and other interested parties who wish to use what she has memorized for world domination! Now they must leave Shanghai and go into hiding in South East Asia. In addition to those after Erika, that are some that wish to defeat Kenshiro and become the strongest warrior in history.
What We Liked About Souten no Ken: Regenesis 2nd Season
The great thing about Souten no Ken is that you’re not obligated to have any prior exposure to its predecessor, Hokuto no Ken, or Fist of the North Star in English. Since Souten no Ken takes places 60 or so years prior to Hokuto no Ken, it’s easy to watch this series with a fresh mind. Though it does share its similarities, they are pretty distinct and tell distinguishing stories with its unique cast of characters (despite largely borrowing from Hokuto no Ken).
1. Kung Fu Fighting
If you’re a fan of the Carl Douglas classic disco track, then that’s what you’re getting with Souten no Ken. Despite most of the combatants in this series having the bodies of heavyweight pro-wrestlers on steroids, they have the agility and speed of Mexican luchador wrestlers. Though there are some energy oriented techniques portrayed, a lot of it is physical, and it does get bloody. Though it isn’t as explosive as Hokuto no Ken, Souten no Ken is more hand-to-hand oriented and offers a (lot more) closer sense of realism.
2. Great voice cast
Souten no Ken has an excellent voice cast, starting with Kouichi Yamadera (who you most likely know as the voice of Spike from Cowboy Bebop) as the voice of Kenshiro. Try to think of him as a friendlier version to Spike and that’s what you get. Sumire Uesaka (who you may know as the voice of Sanae in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai), as the voice of Erika, brings out an appropriate sense of fear of always being on the run, and developing a sense of conviction after being inspired by the people who risked their lives to protect her. Lastly, Rikiya Koyama (the voice of Takamura in Hajime no Ippo) as the voice of Kenshin, the villain, is very maniacal and threatening, but also captures his drive to stick to his understandable morals.
1. Cel-shading is a turn off
Like the newer Berserk installments, this version to Souten no Ken is cel-shaded. It works well as a video game like in Jet Set Radio, a more active form of entertainment, but when it comes to passive entertainment when you just watch it, it doesn’t really resonate. The frame rates are choppy and work better if you speed up the video. The proportions to the bodies look awkward, especially when Kenshiro wears his traditional Chinese robe. If anything, the cel-shading in the Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise PS4 game, is a better representation of the manga’s original style. Now that we mentioned it, Ryu Ga Gotoku Studios should make a Souten no Ken game in the same style as Lost Paradise, which would work more effectively since it has a story and setting that would work within that engine.
2. The Ending is Vague
The ending to this anime is way too vague and a lot is unresolved. As to what is still unresolved, it relates to how the ending negates Erika’s role beyond knowing how to make an atomic bomb. What happens to Erika in the ending is for a good reason, but there was a lot that was still unsolved with her. The series never really gets to expand what The List of Hope (a list she had memorized) was, and how it was supposed to create this paradise that Kenshiro’s friends were hoping to create. From the looks of it, they never got around to it in the anime. The anime never explains how they were related in doing so. Also, in the original 2007 pre-cel-shaded series, there was this monk that would narrate the series and sometimes meet Kenshiro just to see what’s happening. In this anime, you don’t see or hear from him again.
3. You Have to Read the Manga for the True Story
As previously stated, the anime ending does give a conclusive but unresolved ending, but the manga offers way so much more in terms of story and characters. Around the same time Yasaka shows up in this series, so does Zongwu, a character based on Raoh from the original series. Zongwu we have to say is a very awesome character who would have been a great addition to the anime. Beyond Zongwu, a lot of material is LARGELY removed.
Other than the voice cast, there’s really no reason to watch the anime. If you want to enjoy Souten no Ken for what it really is, you have to read the manga. The original art is very distinct, which is very hard to capture in anime whether it would be cel-shaded or traditional, and it has an amazing cast of characters beyond what we see in the anime. Plus, the pre-existing characters are given more development in the manga material as well. All we can say is, watch this anime as a preview to the manga instead so you have an idea of what the characters sound like if you want to put voice to them.