'''Tropes A To H''' | FistOfTheNorthStar/{{Tropes I To P}} | FistOfTheNorthStar/{{Tropes Q To Z}}
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!!!''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* OneHundredAndEight: The number of branches of Nanto Seiken.
* EightiesHair: Apparently the nuclear holocaust caused a mutation that gave almost all women naturally feathered hair. The men without mohawks also mostly tend toward mullets and big hair.
* AbandonedCatchphrase: One of the most notable elements of ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' is Kenshiro's line "YouAreAlreadyDead," delivered to those due to [[LudicrousGibs explode]]. However, this catchphrase was only really around during the Southern Cross arc, and disappeared after Shin's death. It does get uttered again on rare occasions, but by then its catchphrase status had practically died out.
* AbductionIsLove: Juza and his men invade bandit villages and carry off the women. Since these are always previously-abducted women being saved from rape or worse, they're generally happy to become part of his harem. When he finds out one group are all married women who want to return to their husbands, he gives them supplies and lets them go (with a bit of grumbling.)
* AbnormalAmmo: Guns are relatively common in the wasteland, but apparently making ''bullets'' is a lost art. Guns tend to shoot knives or other weird projectiles instead.
* AbsurdlySharpBlade: Rei has absurdly sharp ''fingers.'' His martial art style is based off of creating a cutting force right at the tips of his fingers or the edge of his hands, allowing him to slice men in half with a simple clawing motion that seems to miss them by about an inch. All the Nanto styles qualify for this.
* AfraidOfBlood: Mr. Heart goes batshit, when he sees his own blood, attacking everyone in sight, friend or foe. Joker triggered this intentionally, so he'd have an edge against Ken.
* AdaptationDyeJob: The original anime version by Toei changed the hair colors of some of the characters. Most of the later anime productions by North Stars Pictures reverted back to their manga hair colors.
* AdaptationExpansion:
** The 1980s anime TV series, although it toned down some of the violence and had [[OvertookTheManga lots of filler]], also actually [[CharacterDevelopment develops many characters beyond what they were developed in the manga]]. Shin, in particular, is given a much more prominent role and exploration of his backstory and motivations, making him a much more sympathetic character. They also add in a lot of variations of the Nanto schools, many interesting min-bosses and civilians (including several [[BadassBystander Badass Bystanders]]), new towns (and even naming random locations visited in the manga), and show more of the daily lifestyles and cultures that emerged after the nuclear war.
** Part of Buronson and Tetsuo Hara's involvement in ''Hokuto Musou'' was to create new moves for every character so they'd have an expanded move list. This actually means that not only are said moves canon, they also show what many characters that didn't get a chance to really showcase themselves were capable of. This is especially welcome with the Nanto characters, like Shin and Thouzer.
** For all the omissions and changes they made, the ''True Savior'' [[TheMovie movies]] and {{OVA}}s feature plenty of new story elements as well. The first four installments did so by retelling events from the manga from the perspective of characters other than Kenshiro, while the fifth movie was actually a {{prequel}} to the manga.
* AdaptationInducedPlotHole: A filler episode has Uighur send a female martial artist (Bella) to assassinate Kenshiro, believing that he would never hurt a woman. Ironically, he actually did so in an earlier filler when he fought against Patra the Sorceress. Another episode has a villager recognize Kenshiro as the man who defeated Devil Rebirth, despite nobody outside of Jackal's gang being aware of his existence (in the manga, the villager mentions Jackal instead).
* AdaptationNameChange: Shin's flying kick technique of ''Nanto Gokuto Ken'' (Hell Butcher Fist), which he uses to defeat Kenshiro during their mutual origin story, became ''Nanto Gokusatsu Ken'' (Hell Slaughter Fist) in the anime in order to avoid offending the Buraku people (a historically ostracized ethnic minority in Japan known primarily for working in butcher shops). Other changes include renaming the Golan organization to God's Army and Misumi (the elderly farmer whose life is saved by Kenshiro in the second episode) becoming Sumisu (or [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Smith]]).
* AfterTheEnd: The series takes place after a nuclear war, with a few characters being affected by radiation poisoning. The prequel, ''Fist Of The Blue Sky'' takes place in pre-World-War-II Japanese-occupied China.
* AirJousting: Ken and Shin engage in a splash panel's worth this in their first fight, and it became the most famous single panel of the series (which is saying a lot). Anime parodies of ''Fist of the North Star'' frequently refer to this panel, with Ken and Shin's legs crossed in midair. Also, Ken and Raoh jump straight up to do a little air jousting later. Usually, though, jumping attacks are carried out against opponents on the ground.
* AllBikersAreHellsAngels: Not to mention screaming hooligans with tattoos and mohawks who have a delightful tendency to pick the exact same afternoon Kenshiro is passing by to abuse people.... and explode.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Hand in hand with the tragedy that befalls the heroes and villains of the franchise
** Yuria's many admirers include Shin[[labelnote:*]]who steals away Yuria in an effort to keep her safe from the wastelands, convinced that Kenshiro's kindheartedness would get himself killed and put Yuria in danger[[/labelnote]], Toki[[labelnote:*]] who on behalf of Kenshiro during a flashback makes Raoh stand down when he tries to strongarm Yuria into loving him instead[[/labelnote]], and Raoh[[labelnote:*]] who, after witnessing Toh of the Sea kill herself in front of him, is rather upset at coming to the conclusion that his feelings for Yuria; much like Toh's feelings for Raoh; are entirely one-sided. There, he [[IfICantHaveYou declares Yuria as good as dead]] if she won't love him back[[/labelnote]]. Mamiya is both impressed and intimidated from hearing about the many hearts Yuria had inadvertently broken just by existing.
** Lin and Mamiya both harbor crushes on Ken, and of course, who could blame them? Ken of course views Lin as one would a little sister, even post TimeSkip when she co-leads the North Star Army with Bat. Mamiya squashes the idea of pursuing Ken entirely when she realizes Ken only has eyes for Yuria and would never love another, even after believing her to be dead post Southern Cross arc.
** Speaking of Mamiya, by the time she realizes she feels for Rei as Rei feels for her, [[spoiler: it's during an agonizing three day death sentence for him courtesy of Raoh]].
* AllThereInTheManual: The name of Shin's Nanto Seiken branch was never mentioned in the manga (partly due to his role as Kenshiro's TokenMotivationalNemesis). It would later be retroactively established in the 1986 special issue of ''Shonen Jump'' titled ''Hokuto no Ken Special: All About the Man''.
* AllYourPowersCombined: Another one of the effects of Musou Tensei[[note]]"Nil Thought Rebirth"[[/note]] is to commune with the souls of dead friends and allies and harness their strength and skills.
* AloofBigBrother: Raoh, although this is eventually subverted.
* AndThisIsFor: Kenshiro does this to Jagi in their rematch.
--> '''Kenshiro:''' This is for Shin! (asskicking ensues) [...] The fists you are about to feel... (more asskicking ensues) ...IS FOR YURIA! [...] This is for the little child that you killed! (stabs an arrow into chest) [...] And this last one...this is for the man whose life you have stolen! This...is...'''THIS IS MY RAGE!''' (punches Jagi and sends him flying ass over head)
* AnimeThemeSong: "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnBpjDOZblE Ai o Torimodose]]", the theme song for the original anime series is one of the most well-known anime theme songs ever, and it is absolutely synonymous with the series. Any adaptation of the series in other media that uses ANY song from the anime '''''will''''' use ''Ai o Torimodose''. It is also considered by many to be one of the most {{hot blooded}} anime theme song ever, and apart from that if you go through the lyrics - you'll find yourself shedding ManlyTears.
* AnnoyingArrows: Zig-zagged right into FridgeLogic territory. Shooting any of the primary characters is normally completely ineffective due to them all being MadeOfIron... unless it's time for their PlotlineDeath, in which case arrows work just fine.
* AntagonistAbilities: Due to Ken's near-invincibility against anyone that isn't a successor of the Hokuto or Nanto styles, many of his opponents fall into this trope. For example, one of his earliest opponents is Heart, whose blubbery body makes opponents LeftStuckAfterAttack. There's also Patra, who uses [[MasterOfIllusion illusions]], VillainTeleportation, and SmokeOut abilities. Even against more capable opponents, such as Thouzer, there is usually some sort of gimmick that Ken has to overcome before he can fight at his best. But the trope isn't as effective as it could be, thanks to the Hokuto Shinken style giving Ken NewPowersAsThePlotDemands.
* AnyoneCanDie: The only three completely safe recurring characters are Kenshiro, Rin, and Bat (and even they have their moments). Everyone else, in a manga spanning hundreds of chapters with a cast of hundreds if not thousands, is fair game. In some arcs, this is taken to KillEmAll levels. [[spoiler:The only character still breathing by the end of ''Kenshiro Den'' prequel movie is Kenshiro himself!]]
* ApocalypseAnarchy: After the world gets devastated by nuclear war, practically all forms of government have been abandoned. The highest sort of organization the villages have are little communities headed by an elder. Meanwhile, there are either random gangs of mohawked thugs or armies organized under one very powerful individual, and either are more than willing to take what they want from the villages without remorse.
* TheApunkalypse: AfterTheEnd, the punk lifestyle seems to be all the rage, as is PostApunkalypticArmor.
* ArcWelding: As the manga went on, it was not uncommon to weave in earlier and seemingly unrelated story arcs into current ones. When Jagi was first introduced, it turns out he was the one who brainwashed Shin into betraying Ken.
* TheArtifact
** The original theme song, "Ai o Torimodose", is about Kenshiro's quest to rescue Yuria from Shin. It's still used as the anime's opening theme after the end of the Southern Cross arc until the switch to "Silent Survivor" in the fourth story arc.
** The Golan theme is still used throughout the series, even after the God's Army arc is over. It most notably becomes the theme of the Holy Emperor's army.
* ArtisticLicense: The Southern Cross is closely associated with Nanto Seiken, to the point that it's even used as the crest for the school. In reality, the Nanto constellation is an unrelated Chinese constellation roughly equivalent to the Milk Dipper asterism that forms part of Sagittarius.
** ArtisticLicenseMartialArts: The martial arts featured are not exactly realistic, but they are certainly [[RuleOfCool cool]].
** ArtisticLicenseBiology: Ken claims that his strength comes from being able to acess 100% of his muscle's power. While this ''[[TruthInTelevision would]]'' [[TruthInTelevision make him stronger]], it would also cause horrific damage to his muscles even if used in short bursts.
* AscendedExtra: Some of the side characters from the manga are given more exposure in Toei's anime version than they had in the original manga. Most notably Shin, who was promoted from TokenMotivationalNemesis to BigBad.
* AttackAttackAttack:
** Take Kenshiro (or some of his allies, like his friend Rei or his brother Toki). Take an army of {{Mook}}s. One or several mooks will attack Kenshiro, and they [=SHALL=] die in a awful and extremely painful way, usually by exploding, as Kenshiro remains unfazed and nearly always untouched. Most of time their partner's reaction will be attacking Kenshiro in spite of having just seen that this is suicidal. [[TooDumbToLive Very rarely will they choose fleeing, even if Kenshiro suggests that option. And then you have the exceptionally dumb, arrogant mook who knows what Hokuto Shinken and Nanto Seiken martial artists are capable of, and ''still'' wants to fight them.]]
** Let's talk about Spade. In the second chapter Kenshiro ran into him and his goons while torturing an old man to steal a bag full of rice. When Kenshiro intervened, Spade shot an arrow at him, and Kenshiro stopped it easily. Kenshiro informed him that he would only take his eye - instead of killing him - if he tried that again. Spade tried it again with predictable consequences. Kenshiro, though, still spared his life... and Spade attacked him ''again''. Spade, lad, there are less painful ways to commit suicide!
* AudienceSurrogate: Bat and Lin in the early chapters mainly existed for Kenshiro to have someone to provide exposition to.
* AwesomeByAnalysis: Amiba plans to become adept in the Hokuto Shinken style by experimenting with human guinea pigs to discover the pressure points that are quintessential to it.
* {{BadPowersGoodPeople}}:
** Kenshiro is the successor to the deadly martial art known as Hokuto Shinken, which relies on hitting pressure points to kill your enemies in very gruesome ways (usually by making their heads explode). Ken also happens to be one of the kindest people in the entire Crapsack World he inhabits, and uses the pressure point techniques of the art to heal as well as to kill.
** This applies to his adoptive brother Toki as well, who uses the same assassin's art that Kenshiro does. He does so as a kindly, almost messianic doctor, using Hokuto Shinken to heal diseases and afflictions even though he himself is sick with terminal radiation poisoning.
** Shew, a benevolent blind warrior who looks after orphans, uses the Nanto Hakuro Ken style, which involves the ability to carve people to pieces by kicking them. In one instance he performs a Hurricane Kick so potent that it cleanly decapitates everyone in a ten foot radius.
* {{Badass}}:
** Kenshiro is one of anime's first and foremost examples. Of course, there's also [[BigBad Raoh]] and [[TheLancer Rei]]. Shin, Thouzer, and Kaioh get props for being the only fighters in the series to beat Kenshiro. Ken is so BadAss his primary way to teach the bad guys an important lesson is to kill them.
--->[[AC:Kenshiro]]: You won't learn unless I kill you.
** The final test for the would-be successors to Hokuto Shinken, was an encounter with a ferocious tiger. In the presence of Raoh the tiger desperately lashed out and Raoh killed it, but in Kenshiro's case, the tiger had backed down through his sheer badassery -- leading to Ryuken picking Kenshiro.
** Mad props have to be given to Falco, who was SO badass that he kung-fued off his own leg to convince Raoh to spare his village. And then calmly stood there and talked about it with Raoh for several minuets.
* BadassNormal:
** Jackal. In a world of flesh-melting kung fu megapowers, he becomes an important villain by knowing how to manipulate people and never facing anyone stronger than he is.
** Ein is a well-known and feared bounty hunter. His combat skills boil down to basic brawling, and hitting things really, really hard.
%%** The adult version of Bat.
* BadMoonRising: The Star of Death. When it appears in the sky, those who see it are doomed to die within a year. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule. [[spoiler:Only one character has been spared this fate, and it involved ThePowerOfLove to intervene.]]
* BarbieDollAnatomy: For a shonen series, the men have no visible nipples when shirtless. Subverted with women in anime and manga where they do, especially Mamiya.
* BareFistedMonk: Endemic amongst the main cast and villains, given all the superpowered martial arts going around. Anyone fighting with weapons is a {{mook|s}}, a RedShirt, or some other kind of minor speed-bump for their unarmed opponents.
* BashBrothers:
** Famously Ken and Rei, but at one point Raoh and Toki (who actually [[SiblingTeam are brothers]]) teamed up on their way to see Kenshiro's second confrontation of Thouzer.
** Raiga and Fuga, the SiblingTeam gatekeepers of Cassandra Prison, who end up joining Kenshiro to destroy the place.
* BattleAura: ''Hokuto Shinken'' allows its practitioner to increase their strength by using an inner energy called "touki", which literally means "battle aura". Taken a step further with the art itself: A character's presence is directly reflected in the size they're drawn. This of course means that the noisy, reckless, and above all else, LOUD henchmen are rarely less than twice as large as any other character, with [[BigBad rare]] [[GentleGiant exceptions]]. As a side effect, characters' actual sizes are impossible to tell without reading some [[WordOfGod supplementary]] [[AllThereInTheManual material]].
* BattleStrip: It is kind of hard to ignore the fact how just about every time Kenshiro goes into [[LimitBreak Rage mode]] (usually for emotional reasons), his touki incinerates his shirt. This similarly applies to major villains in battle against them. Kinda makes you wonder how their [[LimitedWardrobe Clothing magically reappears]] in a latter time, considering the post-apocalyptic nature of their world. The only thing in fact to change as such are Kaioh's or Raoh's helmets. Raoh tends to remove his cape when fighting, and one or more of his shoulder pads usually burst off his shoulders when the pressure points in them are activated.
* BeardOfSorrow: In the 1986 film version, Ken grows one after losing to Shin, which makes him look totally like an 80s-era Creator/ChuckNorris. Its presence in the scene where he meets Bat and Lin by saving them from bandits makes him all the more badass.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Attractive villains are treated with sympathy when they die even if they aren't actually sympathetic (looking at you Yuda and Thouzer). Ugly villains are killed with no remorse. On the other hand, the handsome villains are more likely to actually show remorse in the first place.
** That might be the same hand, poking the Trope Reinforcement {{pressure point}}. The two named examples are especially gratuitous since their [[PetTheDog sympathetic qualities]] are completely [[{{Narm}} arbitrary]]. [[labelnote:*]]In [[TheFightingNarcissist Yuda]]'s case, being a mass murderer with an [[WomenInRefrigerators unwilling harem of branded women]] is counterbalanced by [[GreenEyedMonster admitting Rei is prettier]]. Mamiya was one of his victims, but her entire existence is [[PutOnABus dismissed]].[[/labelnote]] It takes very little for them to be [[DeathEqualsRedemption redeemed]] all the way to the status of [[ThePowerOfFriendship friendship]] in the heroes' eyes.
** In the second ''Raoh Den'' movie, Fudoh attacks Kenshiro, but the latter does not attack Fudoh's pressure points. When asked, Kenshiro replies that Fudoh has "the face of a good man."
* BerserkButton:
** Hurt innocent people in front of Kenshiro and heads ''will'' pop.
** Mr. Heart flips out and attacks people indiscriminately if he [[BloodUpgrade sees his own blood]]. One of the other villains uses this fact to his advantage during Heart's fight with Ken.
** Boogal absolutely despises being dirty at all, and will take as many baths as possible to keep clean, if it means literally bathing all day. When one of his henchmen politely tell him he's using too much water, Boogal demands that the villagers' already pathetic water portions be cut in half.
** Morgan hates having his driving criticized at all, and sought to murder Bat after he passed Morgan on the road.
* {{BFS}}: Four mooks team up to swing one gigantic sword in order to kill Shu/Shew. They fail and get horribly killed for their trouble.
* BigDamnHeroes: The series has a specific formula for this. [[KickTheDog Mook does something horrible to a hapless innocent]]. Mook tries to do a similar horrible thing to a second hapless innocent. Kenshiro steps in, kills mook in brutal and often [[DeathByIrony darkly ironic]] manner. Surviving hapless innocents express gratitude.
%%* BigOlEyebrows
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The first series ends with Kenshiro defeating Raoh and riding off with Yuria...who is dying of radiation poisoning]].
* {{Bookends}}: The final story arc takes place in the same village Chapter 238 (the third chapter in the final volume) ends just like how the very first chapter began with [[spoiler:Ken staggering through the desert, begging for water -- but this time, with Bat and Lin right there]].
* BolivianArmyEnding: The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo7jH23J1h0&feature=related intro]] shows Ken [[spoiler:about to deliver a flying kick to a giant mutant gorilla thing]].
* BlackAndGrayMorality: The thugs and warlords that populate the wasteland steal, murder and rape to their heart's content, and any attempts to keep them in line tend to be marginally less brutal. Even Raoh looks good compared to them.
* BlackBlood:
** Being made before the days when violent anime is screened during midnight, desaturated, black or white blood was the ''only'' way that ''Fist of the North Star'' could air on television ''at all.'' Over the course of the first season, this appears to have gradually been phased out for normal red coloured blood, with the black and white bursts of blood being used primarily for when the fluid spurts out of wounds.
** There is still ome genuine red blood in the anime TV series, most notably when Shin cripples Kenshiro in their first fight. You will never see it when Kenshiro makes a random mook's head violently explode, however.
** In the 1986 film, red blood is present throughout. And plenty of gore and entrails to go with it.
* BlackHumor: Kenshiro's treatment of many villains oozes that, like when he killed a {{Mook}} with a GroinAttack so strong that sent him flying and beating the hammer throw record of the head mook and his assistant.
* BloodierAndGorier: The 1986 film had high amount of violence than the series itself (which is funny, since the original manga was a bloody and gory mess itself).
* BloodUpgrade: Seeing his own blood makes Mr. Heart flip out, and more dangerous.
* BornLucky: [[FridgeLogic Curiously enough]], the BigBad Raoh of the series. He should have been dead several times over before the end of the series but survives long enough for his final battle with Kenshiro. Oh, what the hell, let's count all of the lucky breaks he got.
** First of all, [[AssPull his improbable emigration]] from the Land of Shura.
** A chance encounter with [[Characters/FistOfTheNorthStar Juza]] in his childhood which gives him just the right {{A|nAesop}}esop that he uses to avoid a fatal ass-kicking.
** The second person who could stop him, his father Ryuken, suffers [[DiabolusExMachina a fatal heart attack]] right before he stopped Raoh from assuming the mantle of BigBad.
** The third person who could stop him, Toki, suffered crippling radiation poisoning and was just shy of having enough strength of finishing Raoh off for good.
** A trap meant as a last-ditch resort to finish off Raoh actually ends up allowing Raoh to escape ''and'' kidnap Yuria.
** In terms of his reputation, he also "died lucky" in the sense that he's ''lionized'' for the rest of the manga after his death too, both in and out-of-universe (that is, both by characters' words and in the context of the manga's events).
* {{Bowdlerise}}: The violence from the manga was toned down considerably in the TV series, with many of the violent deaths and blood being rendered in black and white and scenes involving children's deaths (such as Bat's adoptive brother Taki or the kid who ate poisoned bread in Shuh's hideout) were rewritten to have Kenshiro save the child at the last minute. In spite of this, the show still attracted the negative attention of {{moral guardians}} ''in Japan''.
* BrattyHalfPint: Bat is practically the Ur-example of this.
* BringMyBrownPants: In the first chapter, after seeing Kenshiro fighting for first time -and making his adversaries' body explode-, Bat pisses himself.
* BrownNote:
** Inversion: [[spoiler:Fudoh of the Mountains]] instantly experiences a HeelFaceTurn after holding a warm puppy in his hands.
** Played Straight: The Star of Death, a star next to the big dipper. Anyone who sees it is going to die very soon.
* BruceLeeClone: Kenshiro, especially evident with his high-pitched battle cries.
* BurningTheShips: While in the process of mourning the fallen Hyui, Shuren, one of the Five Chariot Stars, incinerates his army's fortress as a memorial to his fallen comrade and as a means to force his men to attack the killer, Raoh. Shame that it does very little to help him survive his fight with Raoh.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: During his confrontation, Kenshiro accused [[CainAndAbel Jagi]] of killing an innocent child. Jagi does not remember it even though it happened a short while ago. When Jagi finally does, he replies "Who cares if I've wasted a kid or two?".
* CallingYourAttacks:
** Complete with the kanji for the attack name printed on screen, which is subject to lots of parodies. It is, however, an inversion of this trope: most of the time, they call their attacks ''after'' using them.
** The fact that Ken's iconic Touch of Death has a delay also helps, since he can tell his victims the name of his attacks ''after'' it's too late for them to do anything about them.
* CampGay: Juda. Also very harshly subverted when we get into his backstory.
* CanonImmigrant:
** Filler character Saki, a servant of Yuria, appears in the ''Yuria Gaiden'' manga.
** Movie characters Reina and Souga are main characters in the ''Ten no Haoh'' manga.
** The character Sakuya was created for the anime ''Legends of the Dark King'' and was incorporated into two manga specials by the original manga's author.
* CastFullOfPrettyBoys: In the original series only Rei and Jyuza were considered to be handsome, but of course that was only in-universe and fans had more choices to pick and argue about; the spin-offs though, tends to scale up the cast's beauty by a notch, Yuria Gaiden in particular makes ''every single character'' a fine piece, if some were already pretty to begin with, they got even more handsome, ''even'' Jagi out of all people didn't look disgusting in this particular spin-off.
* {{Catchphrase}}:
** ''"Omae wa mo shindeiru"'' ("{{You are already dead}}"). Memetically mutated into a general statement of badassery. There's also the ''"Omae wa sude ni shindeiru"'' variation, which means the same thing, this one is almost forgotten by most fans, some even accuse to not even exist in the first place, due to how rare it is. One example of its use is found in the episode "Villains! Finish your prayers before you die!" Patra's henchmen are at the receiving end of an attack that breaks their spines.
*** Made even more awesome by its continually being translated as the more defiant: "You don't even know you're already dead."
** Many of the villains Kenshiro kills have a tendency to utter an onomatopoeia such as "ABESHI" and "DAWABA" when they die. The most notable is "HIDEBU", a corruption of "ite yo!" (it hurts) which was first uttered by Mr. Heart in the manga and was uttered very often in the anime adaptation (even by Zeed, who precedes Heart in the story).
** Rei's "KISHAO!" upon successfully slicing an opponent using his techniques, immediately before said opponent explodes or falls into pieces.
* CharactersDroppingLikeFlies: The manga has so many people die that it would be easier to count how many people are still alive at the end of this series, even if one discounts all the random mooks that get massacred throughout the series. Driving this in further is the fact that these people are still remembered, to the point that the Toei anime had the credits of the GrandFinale had the images of about every named character (Aside from the most important of them) scrolling by.
* CharlesAtlasSuperpower:
** Even though being an Asian martial arts series somewhat obviates this trope (i.e., the genre demands it of everyone anyway), there's still Ein. This American-flag clad bounty hunter employs no fancy techniques, defeats enemies (and barriers) by simply punching them, and claims to know the vaguely named Kenka Kenpo ("brawling martial art"). One could argue that being so strong, despite a lack of formal martial art skills, puts him in this category in a setting where Chinese martial arts generally lead to superpowers.
** Kenshiro explains early on that most humans only ever use a small portion of their total potential for strength, and Hokuto Shinken teaches you how to utilize it 100%. Presumably the same can be said about a whole lot of other styles in the series.
-->'''Kenshiro''': Most people only use 30% of their natural strength. That's not much. The secret to Hokuto Shinken is controlling the other 70% as well.
* TheChosenMany: Nanto Seiken, the rival school of Hokuto Shinken, has OneHundredAndEight branches.
* ClothingDamage: Kenshiro lives in a world where you sometimes must ''literally'' give an arm and a leg for basic necessities like food and fresh water, and yet can still afford to shred his expensive jacket '''every''' single episode '''and''' get a good-as-new replacement the next episode. Episode 23 shows Ken repairing a shoe though, so perhaps Ken uses what limited resources he can find to repair his outfit. Though then again, most of the time they're seen not just ripping but outright disintegrating.
* ColonelBadass: The Golan Colonel. [[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters Heidern]] and [[VideoGame/FinalFight Rolento]] took notes from him.
* CombatBreakdown: Enforced and commented on in [[spoiler: Raoh's final battle with Kenshiro]]. Since both have [[spoiler: mastered Musou Tensei]], the use of all orthodox [[spoiler:Hokuto Shinken]] techniques have become useless gestures. Because they're evenly matched, there's nothing left to do but to slugfest it out like infants.
* CombatPragmatist: Jagi made a career out of doing this. And him using a gun arguably isn't even the worse thing he did.
* CompetitiveBalance: The most deadly techniques from the series are downplayed to fair levels in many game adaptations:
** ''Hokuto Zankai-Ken'': The move where Kenshiro hits the pressure points in both sides of his foe's head with his thumbs, the given time before death is 3 seconds, in games it becomes 30 seconds or more, and ''can'' be interrupted, as seen the Arcade Fighter game and ''VideoGame/JumpSuperStars''.
** ''Hokuto Hyakuretsu-Ken'': The famous RapidFireFisticuffs, it only reaches the titular one hundread cracking fists when the attack is a special or desperation move, if not, it barely reaches 20 hits.
** ''Any Nanto Seiken Technique'': Nanto praticioners are shown to dismember lesser mooks easily, literally a OneHitKill, it's only downgraded against other Nanto and Hokuto fighters, where the move just cuts instead of outright dismembering, although in games, the mookiest of the mooks can't be killed instantly by the Nanto attacks.
** ''Musou Tensei'': The ultimate Hokuto Shinken art, the user becomes immune to ''everything'' thrown against him, it also channels the Hokuto Shinken MegaManning powers to its maximum, the user can use all the techniques from his fallen comrades and foes at any time; in games, it's just a temporary SuperMode that is immune against ''everything'' but another Muso Tensei user and does not channel Hokuto and Nanto arts in one go, in certain cases it's just a counter-attack, a great one but still, as seen in ''VideoGame/JumpSuperStars''.
* CompletelyDifferentTitle: ''Hokuto no Ken'' is officially translated as ''Fist of the North Star'' in English when it really should be "Fist of the Big Dipper". This is an artifact from when Viz translated the manga in 1989. Instead of explaining what the names Hokuto and Nanto meant (the Northern and Southern Dippers, two Chinese constellations roughly corresponding with the Great Bear and Saggitarius), they changed the names of the two main martial art schools to North Star and Southern Cross respectively. The North Star is still somewhat related to the Great Bear, as the Big Dipper is used to locate it, but Southern Cross barely has anything to with Nanto other than the fact that it happens to be the name of Shin's city. Later translations stick to the styles' original names, but the English title remains ''Fist of the North Star'' for recognition. Toei originally proposed the name ''Ken the Great Bear Fist'' and almost used that title for the NES game until they went with Viz's chosen title.
** ''Fist of the North Star'' can be considered more of a localization than a direct translation of the Japanese title. The North Star and Southern Cross have historically been used as navigation aids. Considering that one of the themes of the story is who will lead the ruined Earth, it is fitting that the martial art schools of the main warriors would be named after beacons of guidance.
** In Italy and France, the title was localized as ''Ken il guerriero'' (Ken the Warrior) and ''Ken le survivant'' (Ken the Survivor) respectively.
* CommutingOnABus: Mamiya and Airi [[spoiler:following the death of Rei.]]
* CompressedAdaptation: The 1986 [[TheMovie movie]] roughly adapts the initial 72 chapters of the original manga (or the first 49 episodes of the TV series) into a 2-hour film. This was mainly done by rearranging the order of events and focusing the plot on the franchise's now-iconic rivalry between Kenshiro and his brother Raoh, reducing the role of every other villain to [[DemotedToExtra extended cameos]] (with only Shin and Jagi getting sufficient development due to their importance to the plot). However, Toki (the second of the four Hokuto brothers) was left out completely with not even a hint of his existence, and while Rei still appears, his love interest Mamiya does not, and [[spoiler:he dies without his final challenge to his nemesis Yuda.]]
* ContinuityDrift: The latter part of the manga revealed that Kenshiro, Toki and Raoh were originally refuges from the Kingdom of Shura, where Raoh and Toki's mother was also buried. However, the first half of the manga already showed the ruins of Raoh and Toki's hometown, as well as the graves of both of Raoh and Toki's parents. Some adaptations choose to stick with the first origin story for Raoh and Toki, and others go with the Shura origin.
* CoolHorse: Raoh's horse [[spoiler:and later, Kenshiro's horse]] Kokuoh-Go, who is a black stallion the size of an elephant.
* CourtlyLove: In spite of not being an actual nobleman, this is the way that Rei shows poor Mamiya his love - he never even gets to kiss her [[spoiler:before his tragic death at the hands of Raoh]].
* CrapsackWorld: If you're everyone but the protagonist, your life will be one of miserable squalor and highly probable violent death. If you're the protagonist, even more miserable, but less death.
-->'''Kenshiro''': For nothing but a drop of water... A child's life is taken! What horrible times!
* CrazyPrepared: Kenshiro's martial art is older than most of the nations of the Earth and appears to have a specific attack for every occasion.
** For example, the correct application of pressure points is exactly right for making someone garrote themselves -- or behead themselves with a razor wire in the manga.
** Raging Flame Reverse Flow Punch: for that one occasion you might run into a fire-breathing boss mook!
** In one particularly strange occasion (that set the tone for everything else, including the fire-breathing guy), Shin (who, knowing Kenshiro, knew how Hokuto Shinken worked) had Kenshiro face Mr. Heart, whose [[{{Kevlard}} enormous fat]] [[KungFuProofMook made him immune to all martial arts but Shin's own Nanto Seiken]]. Kenshiro proceeded to use an attack that ''moved away Heart's fat'' before pressing the right pressure point. Shin's face was ''priceless''.
** Among the more bizarre examples there is also a technique for dismantling a tank (developed 2000 before mobile armor was invented), as well as a technique which causes the victim to change skin color and get struck by lightning.
* CriticalExistenceFailure: YouAreAlreadyDead, y'know. An explicit property of some techniques (poor Juuza,) but also abused freely for comedy/drama value. You may have gotten a saw buried in your cranium or been ''completely bisected'', but you still have time for a few final words before the HighPressureBlood.
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: Most people get cut to ribbons or popped like blood-filled balloons, but two particularly nasty deaths stand out:
** Rei gets hit with a technique from Raoh that will cause his blood to drain from his body in three days and cause incredible agony.
** Shew is forced to carry the peak of Thouzer's pyramid after having the muscles in his legs cut. He is then riddled with arrows by Thouzer's archers and impaled with a spear hurled by Thouzer himself, before ultimately being crushed under the stone as his strength gives out.
* CurbStompBattle: The entire series is based on this. There is only rarely such a thing as an equal battle, even amoung the various martial artists (be it Kenshiro or anyone else), one side will invariably dominate the other heavily. Sometimes this is a setup for a fight-back, sometimes not. It actually becomes a plot twist when Kenshiro actually has to fight on equal ground with an opponent. Curiously enough, the first {{Big Bad}} of the series, Raoh, has the smallest ratio of participating in these kinds of battles of any kind of character. He was on pretty even footing with Toki (both occasions), Juza, Fudoh, and Kenshiro in their second confrontation.
* CryForTheDevil: Invoked frequently. Kaioh and Thouzer come foremost to mind.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The newer adaptations are pretty much exclusively action and drama oriented, with the humor of the old cartoon nowhere to be found.
* DarkMessiah: Raoh as the legendary Ken-Oh.
* DeadlyUpgrade: Hokuto Shinken knows a series of pressure points that will cause one's muscle power to increase greatly but irrevocably shortens one's lifespan. Interestingly, there's a variation where a different series of pressure points actually extends one's lifespan...but the pain is so great one might die from it while it takes effect. Also, the entire Hokuto Ryuuken martial art is arguably a DeadlyUpgrade from Hokuto Shinken, since it drives its users insane with evil.
* DeathByAdaptation
** Mitsu, the younger brother of Raiga and Fuga does not survive his captivity in the anime and gets buried by his big brothers alongside Uighur's other victims, whereas in the manga Mitsu lives long enough to see the twins sacrifice their lives for Kenshiro and his friends.
** The manga spares Gill, the younger Harn Brother, in one of the rare instances in which a major fighter lives, whereas in the anime he joins his brother [[SpellMyNameWithAnS Buzz/Has]] in his {{heroic sacrifice}}.
* DeathEqualsRedemption: Played with several villains, notably Shin, Thouzer, and Raoh. There's also Kaioh, whose atrocities include [[spoiler:murdering his sister, who doubles as his comrade's fiancée, and framing Kenshiro for the act -- then turning on said comrade behind his back while he's occupied with Kenshiro. Kenshiro defeats him with a coup de grâce out of pity for his sad destiny, as [[http://img07.nj.us.mangafox.com/store/manga/243/24-001.0/compressed/24c1pg19.jpg this]] pretty much says.]].
* DeathGlare: This anime is notable for having some of the most ''evil'' death-glares from '''good guys'''.
* DeathIsCheap: The series actually averts this for the most part, but there is one major exception in [[spoiler:Yuria. While she actually survived her fall from Shin's castle thanks to the Goshasei, her eventual death from radiation sickness hangs over both Raoh -- it's what finally teaches him sadness, allowing him to know/use Musou Tensei -- and the opening of ''Kenshiro Den'', which is essentially is an epilogue to the entire Raoh story arc. According to the manga, her passing does greatly affect Kenshiro in the years afterward]].
* DeceptiveDisciple: Inverted with Thouzer: his master tricked him into killing him in order to pass along the succession of ''Nanto Ho-oken'' to Thouzer. Thouzer went AxCrazy and decided to build a shrine to his master in the form of a massive pyramid built by child slave labor.
* DefeatByModesty: Of the StayInTheKitchen type. Rei ripped off Mamiya's clothes to expose her body and "prove" that she had no place on the battlefield.
** The point Rei was trying to make is that if Mamiya had fully renounced her femininity, she shouldn't feel the need to cover up. If that was going to stop her, she should just plain not go get herself killed.
* DepravedDwarf: Little people in this series are universally evil and subhuman, and are used by several warlords as spies and entertainment. Boss Fang's gaggle of 'children' are perhaps the most prominent examples.
* DeusExMachina: Every few episodes, there's a ShockingSwerve, with an enemy that Kenshiro's ''"AHTATATA..."'' doesn't work on. The standard resolution? A ''new technique''[[note]]Generally ''"AHTATATA..."'' with slightly different animation.[[/note]] we've never heard of before that just happens to be custom tailored to his opponent's weak point! SoOnceAgainTheDayIsSaved!
* TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything: The Arcade Fighter by ArcSystemWorks is full of {{Call Back}}s to the original series, specific quotes with some match-ups and FATAL K.O are prone to this:
** The requisite to pull off a Fatal K.O in the first place. Depleting the seven stars meter below the victim's lifebar forms a small star next to it, forming the Star of Death. In the series, anyone who saw it was usually fated to die within a year.
** Kenshiro's ''Hokuto Zankai Ken'' does not work on Thouzer. They even quote the scene word for word, complete with Thouzer counting down for kicks, laughing and Ken wondering what's going on.
** Rei has three variations of his ''Hishou Hakurei'' Fatal K.O depending on whether its performed on Yuda, Mamiya or anyone else:
*** With Yuda, it imitates his final moment where he catches Rei's hands, admits he's the more beautiful one and commits [[SuicideByCop Suicide by Rei.]]
*** With Mamiya the attack goes normally only for Mamiya's clothes to be completely ripped off, referencing the scene wherein Rei did just that to confirm that she was a woman and thus was not suited for battle.
** Jagi has a super where he forces the opponent to say his name. You get two chances to give the right answer, and there are two out of three choices wrong in these two chances. Did I mention he is VERY impatient?
--> '''Jagi:''' Say my name! What?! I will give you another chance!
** Shin's suicide Fatal KO, which calls back to his death scene where he flings himself off his tower at Southern Cross, not wanting to die at the hands of a Hokuto Shinken fighter like Ken.
** In ''Hokuto no Ken'' for the Sega Mark III/Master System (''Black Belt'' in the West), Thouzer's weak point moves around with every hit the player lands on him to account for his Dextrocardia.
* DirtyCoward: Very, very many, and very prominent due to the fact, that Kenshiro just loves to inflict slightly-delayed painful deaths on villains caught red-handed and then explain to them what he just did. Practically all minor villains break down and panic or plead for their life pathetically. On the other hand, most of the major antagonists face death with courage and dignity, [[HeelFaceTurn because they are usually revealed to be tragic characters]] [[RedemptionEqualsDeath right after the deathblow is struck]]. The most obvious AND unrepentent example though is Jagi.
* DisabilitySuperpower:
** Shew's loss of eyesight allowed him to "see" with his "heart", while Thouzer's [[spoiler:heart is on the right side of his chest, and his pressure points are symmetrically mirrored]].
** Akashachi's eye, hand, and leg have been replaced by weapons.
* DoWithHimAsYouWill: One of Jagi's worst lieutenants terrorized a village by burying a victim up to their neck in sand, then forcing someone else to either cut off the first's victim's head or die. After Kenshiro beats the lieutenant, Ken buries him in sand, then leaves him at the mercy of the villagers he wronged.
* TheDrifter: Ken and Toki. And Rei. And Juza. And...well, if you're not running a corrupt empire, you're wandering around looking for one to crush, basically.
* DuelingMessiahs: Kenshiro and Raoh, both of whom were students of ''Hokuto Shinken''. Kenshiro believes that the world can be changed by example and that he can inspire humanity towards peace, while Raoh is a SocialDarwinist who believes that he can keep the world in check by ruling over everyone. Toki strives for peace and non-violence, which puts him on Kenshiro's side but at odds with Raoh.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: Preceding the serial, there was a two-chapter, rarely-republished "{{pilot}}" done without Buronson's input. It took place in present-day ([=1980s=]) Japan and involved an evil AncientConspiracy known as the Taizanji Kenpō school. Kenshiro also has a DisposableWoman girlfiend who is not Yuria.
* EarthDrift: Early installments clearly show Japanese money and Bat even says that Shin rules Kanto.
* EffeminateMisogynisticGuy: Yuda could count as a valid example: He's extremely effeminate and treats his harem as dolls.
* EnemyCivilWar: In Episode 21 of the anime, General Balcom tries to overthrow Shin and is killed, and the remainder of Shin's army goes berserk and starts randomly burning Southern Cross and murdering slaves as Shin's authority crumbles. This has nothing to do with Kenshiro; Shin's men are simply fed up with his obsession with Yuria.
* EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas:
** Devil's Rebirth was so fond of his mother, that Jackal used this fact to manipulate him by pretending to be his lost brother.
** Kaioh's hatred for Kenshiro was caused as a result of his mother dying to save an infant Kenshiro.
* EveryCarIsAPinto:
** Somewhat justified considering cars in this universe are either cobbled together buggies or leftover pre-war tech. Even so, odds are if a car (other than Bat's) appears, it will explode at some point or other.
** Even ''tanks'' and ''battleships'' aren't immune from this.
* EvenMooksHaveLovedOnes: And that is why there are actually ''decent'' men amongst Thouzer's army of beating and killing children; they are free to refuse if they can accept The Holy [[BadBoss Emperor]] tearing ''their'' children and wives to pieces for their disobedience...
* EveryoneWentToSchoolTogether: With the exception of Rei and Juda, it seems that the Hokuto brothers met each of the Nanto Rokuseiken (Shin, Shuh, Thouzer and Yuria) before the apocalypse. Likewise, Raoh was also acquainted with both, Juza and Fudoh, when he was a child.
* EverythingsDeaderWithZombies: Zaria, one of Shin's filler henchmen, uses a style known as ''Nanto Ansho Ken'' which hypnotizes the occupants of the village he rules over into zombies. Then again seeing how one of them were brought back to normal when Kenshiro pressed her pressure point, [[OurZombiesAreDifferent they're technically not zombies in a way....]]
* EvilCannotComprehendGood:
** If Shin really knew and loved Yuria, he '''really''' shouldn't be surprised that she was DrivenToSuicide by the cruelty and genocide committed in the name of earning her love.
** Ditto for Thouzer, who ''probably'' missed the point of Master Ougai's love...
** After Jackal's gang murdered an old lady taking care of a bunch of little children, Kenshiro swore to track down and kill all of them. Of course, he began to do just that. After finding a corpse of one of his comrades, a bandit said he didn't understand why Kenshiro was doing something he gained nothing from.
* EvilDetectingDog: Lynn's dog does this often, but mostly only after Ken!
* EvilIsBigger: A good many of Kenshiro's foes are at least twice his size. And at six feet tall and 220 lbs of solid muscle, Ken's already huge by Asian standards.
* ExactTimeToFailure: Or in Kenshiro's case, Exact Time Until Your Head Asplode. A mook tries it ON Kenshiro once. A head explodes perfectly on cue. The mook's, of course.
* ExecutiveSuiteFight: Whereas the ''entire'' first season of Fist of the North Star takes place in a fallout-blanketed and crumbling post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, [[TheHero Kenshiro's]] final confrontation with his RivalTurnedEvil best-friend Shin takes place in a cleanly polished, cavernous throne-room of marble and gold.
* ExcessiveEvilEyeshadow: Juda.
* ExcitedTitleTwoPartEpisodeName: "God or Devil?! - The Mightiest Man Who Appeared in Hell!" [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Fist_of_the_North_Star_episodes and many others]].
* {{Expy}}:
** Kenshiro (himself an expy of Bruce Lee) gets an expy in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsOriginalGeneration'' in form of [[VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsCompact3 Folka Albark]]. From the same game, Shura King Alkaid might also be an expy to Raoh in his "Ken-oh" persona, while Folka's AloofBigBrother might be an amalgamation of Toki and Raoh in his non-Ken-oh persona.
** Clone Zero in ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters 2000'', who is an expy of the Rasho Han, and has special moves named after ones used by Kaioh and Hyoh.
** Sakuya from the ''Raoh Gaiden'' anime series, who is an expy of Demona from ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}''. This was less so as time went on though, and in any case was an expy of the look and sound -- they were nothing alike personality-wise or in mindset.
** Goliath, a boss from ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaOrderOfEcclesia'', is basically what you get if you cross Raoh with Frankenstein's monster. [[spoiler:His death animation replicates Raoh's own, right down to the white aura and fist raised to the sky]]. The only difference is that Goliath's body disintegrates.
* EyepatchOfPower: The Colonel. Akashachi. Shachi. Inversion: Spade loses his eye to Ken and gets quickly killed in their next encounter. Eyepatch of Shame?
* EyeScream:
** We see it just at Chapter 2 of the manga, where Kenshiro catches a bolt from a crossbow and throws it back '''straight at the center of the eye of the punk who shot it'''.
** Shew uses his Nanto style to blind himself so the young Kenshiro could be spared.
--> '''Shew:''' I give up my light for his life!
** Shachi. To prove his devotion to Kenshiro before Hyo, he gouged out his left eye AND was willing to gouge his right eye too!
** Patra, a mistress of illusion, gets this when two of her own illusion pearls are rather vividly jammed into her eyesockets. She then proceeds to burn alive and fall off a cliff.
** The Colonel, the first user of a Nanto style faced in the manga other than Shin, gets a version of this when Ken manipulates one of his pressure points into forcing his one eye to vividly roll up in the socket, effectively permanently blinding it. In the manner of the other example above for Patra, his death is also, even by the show's standards, fairly graphic.
* FalseReassurance: Kenshiro and Rei just kill off a huge group of the Kiba gang, leaving the leader. Keshiro has this exchange after subjecting him to a technique.
--> '''Thug:''' (gets pummeled by Kenshiro's Thousand Smashing Fist attack) Huh? I'm not hurt, I don't feel a thing...
--> '''Kenshiro:''' Even so, you'll be dead in five seconds. (walks away)
--> '''Thug:''' NO! I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN FIVE SECONDS!!! (gets diced up by Rei's Nanto Shuicho Ken)
--> '''Rei:''' Then die now.
* FantasticFightingStyle: The Hokuto Shinken and Nanto Seiken styles and their derivatives.
* FauxActionGirl: Mamiya, particularly in the animated adaptation and to some extent Reina from the ''Legends of the True Savior'' movies. Subverted by ''Hokuto Musou'', where gameplay-wise Mamiya's ranged powers make her one of the strongest characters; after [[spoiler:Rei]]'s death she disappears until the events of ''Hokuto no Ken 2'', but in the manga she has one last hurrah as a fighter at the end when out of sympathy for [[spoiler:Bat who's being tortured by an old enemy of Kenshiro's, she tries to sacrifice herself to give him a quick death]].
* FightingSeries: ''Fist of the North Star'' is probably the first major {{Shonen}} fighting series (albeit a quite violent and bloody one)[[note]] though it can be argued that Manga/{{Devilman}} and Manga/{{Dororo}} came first, before the [[UnbuiltTrope concept of shounen even existed]][[/note]], and proved to be quite influential for series to come.
* {{Filler}}: Like any other manga-based anime series, the TV series featured original arcs and episodes between the main story in order to prevent the series from [[OvertookTheManga exceeding its source material]]. The most notorious example is the anime version of the Southern Cross arc, which puts off the final battle between Kenshiro and Shin by more than a dozen episodes.
* FillerVillain: The purpose of Joker, Shin's anime-only right-hand man, was to serve as an informant between Shin and his numerous [[MonsterOfTheWeek henchmen]] that he'd sent out to hunt Kenshiro.
* FinalFirstHug: When Raoh, broken-and-defeated by Kenshiro, holds the younger warrior's face for the first and final time [[GracefulLoser like a big brother]]:
--> '''Raoh:''' Come, let me see the face of the man who has defeated Raoh... You are magnificent, my little brother.
--> '''Kenshiro:''' Big brother...
* FinishingMove: Practically everything the Hokuto Shinken users do is one of these, some of which go as far as involving an on-screen countdown until the victim dies a horrible death. The FightingGame made by Arc System Works made the more notable and flashy moves into instant kill moves or ''Fatal KO's''.
* FourIsDeath:
** Four words that will always lead to death: "''Omae wa mou shindeiru''"/"{{You are already dead}}."
** Kenshiro's name means [[NamesToRunAwayFrom "Fourth Son of the Fist"]]
* ForgottenFallenFriend: A trademark of the series is that Kenshiro frequently reminisces about all his fallen allies and rivals. The only exception to this is Ryuga, who is never mentioned again after Raoh's death.
* FreezeFrameBonus: During certain scenes of the Hokuto Army in the second series, viewers with a keen eye can spot various characters who died in the first series or didn't appear in the second. For example, in one scene where Bat is watching Kenshiro fight Kaioh in their final battle, [[spoiler:Amiba]] can be seen holding Lin's puppy, Pell, in the crowd of onlookers.
* FreudianExcuse:
** Thouzer and Juda. Thouzer's was somewhat understandable since yes, it is traumatic when you accidently kill your own teacher, but what Thouzer did then wasn't a good way to pay his respects to him. But Yuda's on the other hand is just plain silly.
** The insane motivations of many villains can be partly explained by the fact that the series take place [[AfterTheEnd After the Bomb]]: when you're already on the edge from the sheer, mind-blasting horror of nuclear apocalypse, even relatively minor things can push you over the brink and turn into all-consuming obsessions. This is especially the case when you've got a seemingly ''LOT'' of superpowered martial artists, and faced with the chaos AfterTheEnd.
* FromCamouflageToCriminal: The Golan arc has Ken dealing with a former special forces unit who turned into yet another group of post apocalyptic oppressors. The guys were still led by their old commanding officer, known simply as "Colonel".
* FromNobodyToNightmare: This is the way the people of Asura advance through the ranks of their society--in fact, until you have killed hundreds of people, you don't even have a name to distinguish yourself from others.
* GagDub: Famous GagDub situation. While doing the official French dub of the anime, all the cast and crew working on the show were disgusted by the insane levels of violence - especially since they knew it had been bought for a morning cartoon show aimed at kids and would air alongside ''Anime/SailorMoon''. As most of the dubbers didn't think much of [[TheNewRockAndRoll anime]] anyway, they demanded to be allowed to do whatever they wanted and therefore got to narm up the dialogues and add jokes. Basically, the French dub is an [[TheAbridgedSeries Abridged Series]], only not fan-made, and has more TakeThat moments to its source.
* GentleGiant: Fudoh. [[spoiler: He was once enough to make even a young Raoh tremble in fear. But after encountering a young Yuria, [[CrowningMomentofHeartWarming who willing put herself between him and a door where a mother dog was giving birth to puppies and having one of the newborns crawl around on his gigantic hand]], he began to change his ways.]] The only thing that could arouse his fighting spirit is his desire to protect the orphaned children in his care.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: The {{NES}} game (actually the second Famicom game) kept in the fairly gory exploding deaths of enemies when they die from being punched. Interestingly, the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis (which normally had much less heavy-handed censoring than the {{NES}}) port of the UsefulNotes/MegaDrive game removed this, substituting the "fly off the screen" death used for kicking.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere: Some of the more bizarre minor villains tend to show up without any foreshadowing. These include a pair of acrobatic thugs wearing claws and bat costumes, a random underling of Jagi who impersonates Hokuto Shinken so poorly, he ended up making ''his own head'' explode, and a giant crab man. The most blatant example is probably the group of monks Kenshiro encounters while racing to intervene in the Fudo/Raoh fight. They seem to be good guys on Kenshiro's side, but fight him anyway BecauseDestinySaysSo.
* GlassCannon: Kenshiro is this at first, and upgraded later to a full LightningBruiser.
* GlowingEyesOfDoom: For a ''hero'', Kenshiro has a seriously ''evil'' looking pair of ''red-glowing-eyes'' whenever a villains [[TooDumbToLive gets him]] [[WhatAnIdiot SERIOUSLY angry.]]
* AGodAmI: The ''invariable'' mental illness that strikes martial-arts masters in this wasteland world who ''don't'' walk the path of righteousness.
* GoodHairEvilHair: People with mohawks are evil 100% of the time. One GiantMook actually turned his mohawk into a buzzsaw.
* GoodIsNotNice: After the bitter lessons at the beginning of the manga and in the backstory, Kenshiro almost never shows mercy to villains and bandits (a few borderline exceptions are people who managed to avoid hurting innocents on-panel, like Akashachi). He might shed ManlyTears for some of the major villains, but not before they are already dead. And some of his Hokuto Shinken applications are downright sadistic.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: Kenshiro, the hero, has seven scars on his chest in the shape of the Big Dipper, put there by Shin during the latter's FaceHeelTurn. The scars would be a plot point, as that was the only identifying trait Rei knew of his sister's kidnapper. Jagi has a brutally scarred face he keeps behind a helmet, and deliberately matched Kenshiro's scars in order to pass as him. Ditto for the manga's ending, when [[spoiler:Bat inflicts them onto himself to pass as Ken as well -- but unlike Jagi, to ''protect'' Ken]].
* {{Gonk}}: Physically incapable villains tend to be this.
* {{Gorn}}: Probably the most ridiculous example occurs in the fight against the Colonel, where Kenshiro uses a technique that makes his opponent's muscles ''eject the intact skeleton from the body''. To paraphrase SF Debris, the {{Gorn}} in this series is [[NauseaFuel just sickening enough...]] [[NightmareRetardant to be hilarious]].
* GracefulLoser: Raoh, and to a lesser extent Thouzer. Thouzer's death was changed in the movie ''Legend of Raoh: Chapter of Martyred Love'' (which retells the Thouzer arc from Raoh's perspective), in which Thouzer takes a page from Shin's book and decides that it's BetterToDieThanBeKilled. In the original manga (including the events of ''Hokuto no Ken 2'') there's quite a few more.
* GratuitousEnglish:
** The opening song. '''YOU wa SHOCK!!!''' This is probably because "you wa shock" sounds a lot like "you are shock". It's [[MemeticMutation become so prevalent]] that many don't even know that the song is actually called "Ai o Torimodose".
** The other opening themes count too, with Silent Fighter's "DO SURVIVE!" and Tough Boy's "Welcome to this crazy time!"
* TheGreatestStyle:
** Hokuto Shinken, the eponymous style of the series (used by protagonist Kenshiro and his brother Raoh) is the most powerful technique in the world, enabling Kenshiro to defeat the endless number of tyrants and savages in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, and allowing Raoh to ascend to position as ruler.
** A notable subversion: a mook puts his back to the ground, claiming his particular style makes him invincible. Ken agrees, and does the only thing possible: he walks away. The mook, of course, abandons his posture and gets his ass kicked.
* GroinAttack: Kenshiro is not above this. He once [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0DFcmbLJVY punted a mook in the groin so hard]] that he was reduced to a TwinkleInTheSky. Another mook was [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xul39X2rMGc kneed in the groin]] with such force that his head exploded clean off his shoulders.
* GunsAreWorthless: By the time the series takes place, firearms seemed to have become an endangered species, especially since ammunition is hard to come by. Being located in the region of a dried out ersatz Japan with similarly draconian gun laws and prevalence explains why there aren't many firearms in the first place. When they do exist, though, they're no match for martial arts.
* HannibalLecture: Fudoh delivers one to Raoh so crushing that it destroys his confidence for the rest of the series. Blame Raoh for explicitly telling Fudoh beforehand that he was using Fudoh a tune-up fight so that Raoh could work the fear out of his system, vaccination-style. Like Fudoh ''wasn[='=]t'' going to take advantage of that overconfidence?
* HarmlessLadyDisguise: During Rei's introduction, he's disguising himself as a helpless woman with a cloak in order to attract bandits and kill them for their food.
* HealingFactor: Most good fighters in the series have one to a degree, but the Hokuto and Nanto practitioners have it to a much greater degree. Doesn't stop them from getting VERY seriously hurt, though. It is also subverted in that it is not so much that they heal quickly, but that they know how to utilize their body's energy and accupuncture points to facilitate healing. If you're a mook, though, so sad for you.
* HeelFaceTurn: A good number of villains perform these some moments before their death, usually only long enough to admit their remorse. Though once in a while, you get a villain who not only does this to atone for their sins, but lasts long enough to help Ken and gang along the way. The most obvious examples would be:
** Raiga and Fuga, the gatekeepers of Cassandra Prison, who, after their supposedly unstoppable fighting style is beaten, they pledge loyalty to Ken, long enough to fight and defeat their master and assist Ken, Rei and Mamiya in freeing Toki from the prison. Sadly, [[spoiler:they die keeping a crushing ceiling held up long enough for Ken and gang to escape]].
** Falco, who fights for Jakoh at first, though its revealed that he is working for Jakoh against his will due to the fact that Jakoh is holding the Tentei (the Celestial Emperor... or [[spoiler:rather, Empress]]) hostage. Once Ken and the Hokuto Army frees the Tentei, its open season on Jakoh and Falco kills Jakoh in such an awesome way by [[spoiler:incinerating Jakoh's head]]. Falco then jumps at the chance to help Kenshiro clean up the Kingdom of Shura...but sadly doesn't last long [[spoiler:as he is viciously killed by a nameless Shura ''mook'' of all people]].
** In a flashback, Fudoh. He started out as a bandit who used his size and strength to terrorize and rob people, even [[spoiler: causing a younger [[BigBad Raoh]] to tremble with terror]]. But after a run-in with Yuria (plus holding a newborn puppy on his hand), he ultimately turns into a selfless hero who will stop at nothing to protect those he cares about, particularly the children he takes under his wing.
* HereWeGoAgain: The manga ending. As the "credits" is shown, Kenshiro is again wandering the wasteland and making the world a better place, one exploding head at a time.
* HeroesFightBarehanded: Kenshiro himself as well as almost all the other characters, except [[TheChick Mamiya ]] and [[TheCombatPragmatist Jagi]].
* HeWillNotCrySoICryForHim: When Asuka, [[spoiler:Ein's little adopted girl]], was asked why she is not crying at her father's funeral, she replies "If I cry, Daddy won't be able to rest." Kenshiro promptly hugs her with warmth and kindness and weeps TenderTears of sadness in her place.
* HiddenEyes: Sometimes, Kenshiro needs to be more stoic than usual. [[RuleOfCool He can accomplish this by casting shadows over his eyes, at will, even when the sun's directly in his face.]]
* HiddenPurposeTest: Shown in one of Kenshiro's flashbacks to when he was training. Kenshiro and Raoh were both tasked to fight a 400 pound tiger to see which of them had the best understanding of Hoktuo Shinken. Kenshiro was able to tame the tiger with a single stare. Raoh, on the other hand, was almost attacked by the same tiger but retaliated with a DeathGlare that froze the tiger in fear just long enough so he could easily take its head. While Raoh gloated that he was the clear successor because the tiger didn't consider Kenshiro a threat, Ryuken mentally admonishes him. Kenshiro's aura was able to make the tiger submit from fear, while Raoh's aura was so incredibly hostile that the tiger attacked him in desperation to preserve its own life.
* HighPressureBlood: ''In spades.''
** One villain, the Mad Sarge, even has a fighting style based around this, as he throws narrow, hollow needles. Although in real life these shouldn't be all that efficient at removing blood (he makes no attempt to hit any major veins or arteries), it is accepted that the main danger of this attack is the resulting catastrophic blood loss rather than being stuck full of needles.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Ironic deaths have a way of happening around Kenshiro, even when he isn't directly causing them.
** A particularly satisfying death is that of Jackal, who goes out by way of his own dynamite, and with the hand of Devil Rebirth, who has just learned that Jackal was playing him for a fool, around him so he cannot escape.
* HoldingOutForAHero: Justified. It's commonly demonstrated that ordinary people can do ''nothing'' to protect themselves from stronger opponents or armies. Numbers don't help, walls and gates don't help, and very rarely do weapons help. The few ActionSurvivor resistance fighters and armies that ''do'' exist all inevitably die off once the stakes are raised or the bad guys get serious. As such, most distressed citizens can't do anything but submit to the whims of the ArcVillain which conquered them and hope that someone shows up to help.
* HollywoodAtheist: Baran the Emperor of Light, one of the villains from the manga-only final chapter, finds the idea of God absurd due to the fact that his dead little sister Yuka refuse to take a medicine he stole for her due to her moral upbringing, resulting in her death from a preventable disease.
* HonorBeforeReason: To be even a ''fundamentally'' decent person in a post-apocalyptic wasteland is to be this trope; and that's without going into the '''actual''' heroes of this universe.
* HopeSpot: Played for dark comedy in the Jagi/Kenshiro face-off. Kenshiro usually lets the {{Mooks}} he's about to deliver a thrashing to get in a couple before cruelly crushing their hopes. A much more tragic version occurs in the [[spoiler:Jyuza / Raoh fight]], whereupon he gets no less than '''three''' of these.

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