While there are many manga series that are very important to its history, take for example Astroboy, Champion Joe, Urusei Yatsura, Berserk, and Slam Dunk to name a few, none have left a huge influence and footprint in manga as Fist of the North Star.

The series was created by the duo of Buronson, who was the writer, and Tetsuo Hara, who was the illustrator, and was published in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1983 to 1988 with a total of 27 volumes. The series takes place in a post-nuclear war and with little to no food and water left on the planet there was only one rule in play and that rule was “Only The Strong Survived”. In this world we are introduced to Kenshiro or Ken for short, the successor to an ancient martial art of assassination which was called Hokuto Shinken and we see him going through hell and back, time and time again to find his fiancee Yuria. On his hellish journey, he befriends Bat and Lin who end up joining him as his traveling companions and witness firsthand many of his battles.

In an NHK documentary about the history of Fist of the North Star, Buronson admitted that he was making up the story as the series went on and he even said he was a born liar who knew how to tell a story by making up as it goes, as long as it made sense and the payoff was worth it. In that same documentary, Tetsuo Hara stated that by putting so much effort into the artwork and meeting weekly deadlines that to this day he stated he almost lost sight in his right eye.

What made Fist of the North so influential was the artwork of violence, an incredible storyline, and epic fight scenes. The series inspired the likes of Kentaro Miura, the creator of Berserk, and Makoto Yukimura, the creator of Vinland Saga who both stated that the series had a huge impact on their series respectively. Not only that but after the release of Fist of the North Star, violence in manga went up like crazy, and if you don’t believe it, then take a look at Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, Saint Sayia and so many others after that.

Soon after the manga, the series was turned into an anime series that told the whole manga series and a film that told the first story arc of the manga series. The film also has one of the most bloody detailed fights in anime history and it still stands the test of time.

If you are an anime fan do yourself a huge favor and read the manga, and go watch the series and film.