Panchi: Oh, I'm sorry, did I interrupt your daydreaming? Try actually paying attention to your surroundings, idiot!
Fist Master is an original animated series created by Stephen Krosecz, best known for his work on Abridged on Titan. Krosecz wrote, animated, and provided most of the voices for the original run of the series, with a few others rounding out the cast, most notably Team Four Star collaborators Jesse Nowack and Amber Lee Connors. The original version of the series ran for two episodes and released a preview of a third before Krosecz's increasing involvement with Team Four Star led him to put the series on hold, an announcement he made in August of 2017. In September of 2018 the first episode of a rebooted series premiered as part of an ongoing series under Team Four Star's umbrella that will feature more of the group's voice actors and resources.
Akio is a young boy being raised and trained by his legendary martial arts master Panchi, and he has a dream: to someday be one of the legendary warriors known as a "Fist Master", whose powers and abilities supposedly far surpass mortal limits. There are just a few issues that might get in the way, however: first, Akio doesn't want to actually hurt anyone and doesn't have an ounce of maliciousness in him, and second, Panchi is a jaded jerkass who doesn't think much of Akio's dream or his potential as a martial artist, especially compared with Panchi's teen daughter Red, the group's voice of reason who is a promising martial artist and has quickly mastered a number of techniques including how to utilize her ki, something Akio has totally failed to do as of the start of the series.
Still, nothing can shake Akio's determination to be a Fist Master and as he undergoes Panchi's grueling training and interacts more with the various powerful fighters around him, he might get a chance to see if he has what it takes... if he survives the experience.
The episodes of the show's original run are now unlisted on youtube, accessible only by direct link. They can be found here and here. The first episode of the rebooted series can be found here. The second episode is available here.
This series has examples of:
- Adaptational Badass: In the original cartoon Red could send Martial Ape flying with a physical strike, (and she says she was still holding back and getting warmed up) whereas in the reboot he No Sells her punch. It's still fairly strongly implied that Red is a more skilled martial artist and would defeat him thanks to Ki usage and other skills, but it's still a few steps up for him.
- Adaptational Heroism: In the first episode of the original series, Martial Ape is pretty much a Card-Carrying Villain who (twice) tried to murder Red when she was off guard, voiced approval for the idea of putting a child's life in danger, and wanted to duel Panchi to the death just because. While he's still a bit of a jerkass and a harsh teacher who doles out needless pain to his students, he's much less of a villain in the reboot, even claiming that he only wanted to hold onto Red and Akio so he could get Panchi's autograph.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Red was a supportive and encouraging Cool Big Sister in the original episodes, in the reboot she tends to be a bit more apathetic towards and neglectful of Akio, often complaining about all the trouble he gets them into and how he makes her life difficult.
- Adaptational Personality Change: Elements of the character Kira were split between two different characters in the reboot. While Kira and Kae are fairly similar (both are cheerful martial artists voiced by Amber Lee Connors), Kari, the other character who got elements of Kira's characterization, is a very different character, being a mischievous Non-Action Guy teenage daughter of a famous scientist and inventor.
- Adaptational Villainy: Panchi was an abusive jerkass in the original, but she's an assassin for hire in the reboot, and one who isn't concerned at all about killing people with young children.
- Adaptational Wimp: Kari is not a martial artist in the reboot like she was in the original.
- Affably Evil: Kae is polite and honest about the things she does and is willing to negotiate saving Akira's daughter in exchange for his drone which she openly admits in wanting to use for destruction.
- An Arm and a Leg: Panchi relieves Martial Ape of a body part in both versions, (a hand in the reboot, his entire arm from the shoulder down in the original) and in both cases she makes a quip by asking him how attached he is to his said body part on a scale of 1 to 10. After he answers "Ten", she replies "Not anymore."
- Annoying Younger Sibling: While Red cares about Akio, she more or less views him this way, especially as he tends to be kind of clueless and get her in trouble.
- Decomposite Character: In the second episode of the original series we meet Kira, a cheerful, older, more experienced and happy go lucky martial artist voiced by Amber Lee Connors that Red develops a crush on. In the second episode of the rebooted series, we meet both Kari, who Red quickly develops a crush on, and Kae, a more experienced, cheerful (and rather amoral) happy go lucky martial artist voiced by Amber Lee Connors.
- Dissonant Serenity:
- In the second episode of the original series, the group meets Kira, a happy go lucky martial artist who is genuinely kind and teaches Akio how to start controlling his Ki. She maintains her bright and sunny disposition even in situations that don't fit it, like in the middle of fighting a match in a Blood Sport of a tournament where people frequently die, or around cruel fighters openly talking about hurting or killing children right in front of a traumatized Akio.
- Kae, who takes most elements of Kira's characterization, also displays this trope. Her version is considerably creepier though, as she appears to be a government assassin who is distressingly at ease with brutally killing people and making light hearted comments about it just before carrying out her deeds.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The person Panchi assassinates in the first episode attempts to get her to spare him by doing the I Have a Family routine and talking about his daughter. Panchi just scoffs in disgust and drops him off the building.
- Fantasy Gun Control: Ki is apparently illegal to wield as a minor, without a special permit unless you work for the military.Master Ape: Panchi seriously taught you to use Ki?! Neither of you should be learning to use it at all! It's completely illegal to teach Ki to non-conscripted minors!
- Forgot the Disability: Because Panchi pretty much gets around like a normal person, (the reboot strongly implies she can use Ki to at least see the general shapes of people and possibly sharpen her other senses) people have a tendency to forget that she is, in fact, blind. When people give her a piece of paper or point somewhere, she gets considerably irritated when she has to remind them of her handicap.
- Handicapped Badass: Panchi is blind, but she's also the deadliest fighter you're ever likely to meet.
- Idiot Hero: Akio is a particularly gullible and clueless child who doesn't seem to have ever been taught (or shown interest in learning) much in his life besides martial arts.
- Inner Thoughts, Outsider Puzzlement: The original first episode begins with Akio zoning out during a sparring match with Panchi, during which he imagines becoming a Fist Master. Panchi notices that Akio is caught up in an Inner Monologue/Imagine Spot and, being Panchi, first hits the kid hard enough to knock out a tooth and then mocks him for being distracted by his dream.
- Ironic Name: Red has blonde hair and manifests blue Ki.
- Monster Clown: One of the assassins introduced in episode 2 of the reboot is a clown who abducts Red and Kari and plans to assassinate Akira. However, he and his partner meet their demise at the hands of Kae.
- Mook Horror Show: Kae cheerfully slaughters the hired assassins in episode 2, and is so much more powerful and ruthless compared to them that it's all but impossible not to share their dread as she kills them with a smile on her face.
- Ms. Exposition: In the original second episode, Kira stops in the middle of a match against Akio in an underground tournament in order to explain how Ki works, (including that people with different personalities have to tap into it using different emotions) and then encourage Akio to manifest and try to use his Ki.
- No Social Skills: Due to having virtually no experience interacting with people her own age in a way that doesn't involve fighting, Red gets very nervous and easily flustered trying to talk to Kari.
- Not Me This Time: When Kae tells Dr. Pantsu that his daughter Kari has been kidnapped, Pantsu quickly assumes that Kae, who was attempting to make him give his inventions over to the government for military usage earlier, is behind the kidnapping and did it to blackmail Pantsu into doing what she wants. Kae calls the assumption hurtful and points out that she's not at fault this time.
- Only Sane Woman: This is pretty much Red's role within the family, balancing between Panchi's harsh, bitter, and jaded ways and Akio's clueless optimism. At one point during the original run Krosecz credited fan love for Red to Nowack's performance, saying that on the page Red was pretty much written strictly as The Reliable One/Straight Man.
- Precocious Crush: Red immediately develops a big crush on Kira, a female martial artist also participating in the dangerous tournament that Panchi puts Akio into during the second episode of the original series. She has a crush on Kari in the reboot as well, and the feelings appear mutual.
- Rabbit Magician: The magician assassin in the second episode of the reboot is a rabbit.
- Reality Ensues:
- Akio and Red race out of the mall after being chased by the karate master who is intending on kidnapping them. Once they get outside Red celebrates their escape and as they stop to catch their breath, the ape appears and asks the kids "Did you think I was going to stop chasing you because you stepped two feet outside the building?"
- In the original, Akio is thrust into an underground tournament where many fights result in death. In most anime or animesque shows, it doesn't matter that The Hero is an inexperienced child with incomplete control over his powers, he'll find a way to either win or get into the late rounds, all the while unlocking more powers and learning more control over them. Not so much in this case; Akio just barely lucks his way through his first fight and is no match for Kira in the second round. The only reason he survives at all is because Kira uses Super Speed to save him from a lethal Ring Out, and while she does teach him the first steps to using Ki because she's a ridiculously generous and benevolent person, his actual attempt to use it literally blows up in his face and would have been the cause of his own demise if Kira hadn't intervened.
- Simple Staff: Red manifests her Ki as one in the reboot. She acknowledges that theoretically she could manifest it as anything, but has never been able to do anything except a staff. Panchi notes that Red kind of figured out Ki manifestation on her own, so it's likely she could manifest it in other ways but simply hasn't figured out how to use it any other way.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Panchi tends to put the kids through grueling training, sparring with adults, and/or into dangerous situations to teach them. The potential risk to them doesn't seem to phase her much. She makes absolutely no move to save Akio when he almost blows himself out of the ring, for example.
- Skilled, but Naïve: Red and Akio. Both are actually very skilled and strong fighters, but both are also sheltered and cut off from the world. This is particularly true of Akio.
- Stage Dad: Ted from the original series comes off this way, proudly talking up his son while blithely ignoring pretty much anything Panchi or Red say to him. As he's Panchi's ex and appears to do a better job of teaching than Panchi, the whole things just serves to tick Panchi off.
- Starter Villain: Martial Ape's role in the original was to be an easy to defeat first villain who would start fleshing out the world and establish how strong figures like Red and Panchi truly are.
- Stone Wall: Akio almost never does any actual offensive moves when he's in a fight. In both episodes of the original series he dodges his opponents and they wind up Hoist by Their Own Petard; when Akio stands still and lets Chad hit him, Chad mangles his hand while Akio is completely unharmed, and Akio's first opponent in the underground fighting tournament winds up accidentally hitting himself with his own Ki attack. Besides his ability at evading attacks, he also shows himself to be quite resistant to damage as well. In the reboot he does eventually lose his patience with Chad and throws him to the ground, but before that had been content to simply dodge his would-be attackers.
- Stylistic Suck: All In-Universe commercials and shows that are shown have absolutely terrible effect and/or badly off-key music.
- To Be a Master: Akio wants to be a legendary Fist Master. Panchi frequently craps on his dream, but Red is somewhat more encouraging, even if in the reboot she tries to tell him that Fist Masters are just a legend.
- What the Hell, Hero?: After seeing that a Ring Out results in death in the underground fighting tournament, Red is aghast and furious that Panchi signed Akio up for such a tournament.
- World of Funny Animals: The world of Fist Master is filled with such figures. For example Martial Ape is a pretty much a gorilla with human intelligence and the ability to talk.