I’m a huge sucker for anime that involves martial arts. Heck, for anything that involves martial arts. I dream about one day becoming a disciple of a certain martial arts form, but that day may be behind me (my only training was trying lethal moves out on my sister, in a joking manner of course). But the adrenaline and inspiration that martial arts injects into me makes me feel like I can do anything. And a character like Kenichi: History’s Mightiest Disciple proves it.
Although this anime boasts 50 episodes (and OVA’s to come), it is rather simple and extols the teachings and techniques of martial arts. Kenichi “Weak Knees” Shirahama (Josh Grelle) is just what his nickname suggests. Picked on all the time at school and always outcasted, Kenichi joins the school’s Karate Club in order to become stronger. After being
Kenichi and the masters of Ryozanpaku!
threatened by the biggest kid in the club, Kenichi is worried for his life. And his alien looking friend Haruo Niijima (Todd Haberkorn) confirms this.
Until one day when Kenichi’s entire life changes. Rescued by a new transfer student to the school, Miu Furinji (Carrie Savage), Kenichi discovers a way to fight back against all those bullies. Joining the Ryozanpaku dojo, Kenichi becomes the sole disciple and strongest hero by story’s end.
Miu, the boob action in the show. Pretty ridonk fighter though.
What I liked most about this show, other than the martial arts, is the sensei’s of the dojo. There’s Hayato Furinji (R. Bruce Elliott), the wizened leader of the gym who is basically unstoppable. Although he’s not around, he supports Kenichi and his granddaughter Miu. There’s Shio Sakaki (Christopher Sabat) the drunken comedy and Karate master. His punches are fierce and so is his standoffish personality. He likes Kenichi like a father (although he already has one) and pushes him to do better. Apachai Hopachai (Sonny Strait) is the dumb guy in the group. He’s lovable and friendly, but he doesn’t know his own strength. Always kicking Kenichi into the atmosphere, he loves calling out his name when he performs Muay Thai (my favorite. Period.) Shigure Kosaka (Trina Nishimura) is the weapons expert of the group. She doesn’t talk much, but makes up for it with quick sharp wit with her blade. Kensei Ma (Vic Mignogna) is an interesting old man. Bald and brazen, he brings the pervert aspect into the anime. Always taking pictures, he still finds time to teach Kenichi Chinese Kenpo (softer martial arts). And last but not least, Kenichi’s main teacher, Akisame Koetsuji (Kent Williams). His intelligence and artful technique pervade every aspect of his life. He can usually be seen forcing Kenichi to tow him around on a tire attached to a string through the city streets.
The Shinpaku alliance!
And there are far more characters than that that add spice to this show. As I mentioned before, Niijima is a wonderfully slithery character. His art of running away never fails, and his PDA never fails on recon. Todd Haberkorn brings a wildly raucous character to life with his evil alien features. And then there’s Ragnarok. Considered all to be Kenichi’s arch rivals, Kenichi must defeat them in order to keep from dying (or anything else terrible). One of my personal favorites is Hermit (Eric Vale) this solemn and quiet character has a masterful technique and an iron will. Eric Vale does a wonderful job as usual as a character who never gives up with a great dramatic voice. Jerry Jewell plays a ferociously sinister character I can’t really talk about, but he’s worth waiting for. And J. Michael Tatum does a voice I didn’t recognize at first with Ikki Takeda, the boxing beauty with shiny blue hair.
With all of these wonderful Funimation voice actors and so many characters, nothing could be better. And then you get down to all the fighting. Although some of it may be unrealistic and come with explosions of light and unheard of power with your fists, the technique is there. I’ve learned more from watching Kenichi than I have from anything else. I know moves, fluid techniques, and trick moves too. I know their names and why they’re significant, I might as well have just
Niijima and his wonderfully alien good looks.
watched a Discovery Channel show on it. And from so many different countries! China, Japan, Thailand, and any other Asian country that may have been mentioned. This show displays a sort of U.N. like congregation of the wonders and majesty of martial arts and brings them together in one wonderful show.
This show may floor you.
The plot is simple and straightforward, pulling no punches (pun-ch intended). Kenichi must systematically defeat and conquer enemies and his fears in order to become the best. What more of an archetypal story do you need? Throw in a whole lot of comedy, boobs, and amazing fighting technique, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is one of the best shounen out there. Get some of that kick ass. 8.3 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 50 episodes, action anime, add spice, adrenaline, Akisame Koetsuji, alien, Apachai Hopachai, arch rivals, archetypal story, artful, bald, become stronger, become the best, blades, blue hair, boobs, boxer, bullies, Carrie Savage, China, Chinese Kenpo, Christopher Sabat, conquer, conquer your fears, defeat, disciples, Discovery Channel, doesn't know own strength, dojo, dramatic voice, drunken comedy, dumb guy, Eric Vale, explosions of light, father figure, fierce, fighting, fists, fluid technique, friendly, Funimation, granddaughter, Haruo Niijima, Hayato Furinji, Hermit, History's Mightiest Disciple, huge sucker, Ikki Takeda, inspiring, intelligence, iron will, J. Michael Tatum, Japan, Jerry Jewell, joking, Josh Grelle, Karate Club, Karate master, Kenichi Shirahama, Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kensei Ma, Kent Williams, kicks, lethal moves, life changing, loveable, Martial Arts, martial arts teachings, masterful, Miu Furinji, moves, Muay-Thai, names, never give up, nickname, old man, outcast, OVA, PDA, pervert, picked on, pulls no punches, pun, punches, R. Bruce Elliott, Ragnarok, raucous, runs away, Ryozanpaku, sensei, sharp wit, Shigure Kosaka, Shio Sakaki, shonen, shounen, simple plot, sinister, sister, slithery character, soft martial arts, solemn and quiet, Sonny Strait, standoffiish personality, straighforward, strong hero, systematic, takes pictures, technique, Thailand, tire, Todd Haberkorn, transfer student, trick moves, Trina Nishimura, UN, unheard of powers, unrealistic, unstoppable, Vic Mignogna, voice actors, Weak Knees, weapons expert, wise old leader | posted in Anime/ T.V.
I have to say at first I was a bit skeptical about this movie. From the get go, the Iron Monkey/Robin Hood hero is flying through the air pulling off some ridiculous kicks and spin moves. It reminded me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but in more of a comical way. And then I let all those inhibitions go and enjoyed the movie for its technique and visual thrill. By the end, I was pumped up, and inspired to go downstairs and try out some moves on my little sister. But it was 2 in the morning, and I was to lazy to beat up on a sleeping person.
Iron Monkey is the epic tale of a man with a hidden, superhero-like identity. Yang Tianchun (Yu Rongguang) is a medical doctor. He treats the poor for no fee and makes the rich pay what they feel is necessary to heal their ailments. Nights, Yang
Donnie Yen, the master.
moonlights as The Iron Monkey. He sneaks into the evil Governor Cheng’s (Jean Wang) chambers and steals from him. He defeats a dozen guards and four Shaolin monks. It is apparent that no one can stand up to the power of The Iron Monkey.
Wrought with despair at having any of his massive plunder taken, Governer Cheng orders the head of his guard, Fox (Yuen Shun-yi) to search and find anyone who could be the Iron Monkey. When a foreign physician/rapist martial artist rolls into town, Wong Kei-ying (Donnie Yen) and his son/disciple Wong Fei-hung (Angie Tsang) are arrested. Noticing Kei-ying’s power, the Governor enlists him to find the Iron Monkey, or he will leave his son in the dungeons forever. It is up to Donnie Yen in his fight for his son and the well being of a town who benefits from the one man he is trying to capture. Let the chase begin.
Angie Tsang, what amazing things she did with that stick.
After getting over the wire propelled stunts and kicks, I came to really enjoy the characters and the setting for this film. A remake from back in the 1970’s, this movie went farther and more elaborate than I’m sure the other film did. Based on a myth of the Wong father and son’s interaction with an “Iron Monkey” like character, a real mystery is placed around a Batman like character.
All of the fight scenes are dope. Every one is unique and takes place in a different location that utilizes the surroundings to pull off a spectacularly choreographed fight scene. And there are 4 martial artists whose skills are showcased. It’s not all about the Monkey. I
An evil power looms…
found that to be a relief from films that focus on the protagonist and no one else. The Iron Monkey actually had less fight scenes than anyone else!
And here’s another thing that blew my mind. Donnie Yen’s son in the film is actually played by a girl! Angie Tsang is on Hong Kong’s national Wushu martial arts team. She won silver in the Asian Games and Gold in the Wushu Championships. And the whole time I thought she was some malnourished little boy. I’m always thrilled to see a young woman destroying big burly guys on camera with skills she actually can do and will do in order to defend herself and utlimately kick you ass (i.e. Chocolate). A big bravo and props sent Angie’s way.
What a great last fight scene. Get some of that.
With an almost over the top plot with lots of great comic relief and fight scenes, this movie is something I would recommend to a lot of first time martial arts movie watchers. It has the plot in order to draw you in and then blows you back with the martial arts action. Donnie Yen is a martial arts destroyer as usual, and I plan to do a lot more reviews of his movies in the future (most likely his Ip Man films). This movie inspires you to fight for the weak and poor, and rightly so. It is the true way of a master. 8.2 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: 1970's, Angie Tsang, Asian Games, Batman, blow you away, Chocolate, comical, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, different locations, disciple, Donnie Yen, dope fight scenes, draw you in, dynamic characters, epic tale, first timers, Fox, girl fighters, Governor Cheng, great choreographed fight scenes, great comic relief, great technique, healer, Hero, hidden identity, Hong Kong, in flight, inspiring, Ip Man, Iron Monkey, Jean Wang, kick your ass, kicks, Martial Arts, masterful, medical doctor, myth, over the top, physician, pumped up, remake, Robin Hood character, Shaolin monks, showcased, skeptical, skills, son, spin moves, the chase, The Iron Monkey, the poor, theft, thief, unique, visual thrill, wire rigs, woman, Wong Fei-hung, Wong Kei-ying, Wushu Championships, Wushu martial arts team, Yang Tianchun, Yu Rongguang, Yuen Shun-yi | posted in Movies
Cover of the first manga.
Naruto. What is there to say about Naruto? What is there to truly say about one of the most ballin’ animes currently running? Well there’s a lot more to say than that it’s just balling. This show fulfills every young boys’ dream of becoming a ninja. And not just any ordinary ninja, but a true Shinobi with Ninjutsu and Thaijustsu for days. You got the Kunai and Shuriken, and the classic substitution technique. These young children Shinobi put legitimate ninjas to shame. They are unstoppable. And this show is infectious.
But there’s just one debate we have to deal with before we move on to the plot of Naruto. And that is: Naruto Dubbed vs
Naruto and the power of his Nine-Tailed Fox.
Naruto Subbed? There are those younger kids who would argue dubbed, due to an ability to watch a show (not read, though not a valid argument) and a lot of younger kids watched this on Cartoon Network. There are a handful of good voice actors in the show that make it worth watching it. But there’s the flipside of the coin. The subbed version, when it comes down to it, is better done. There’s swearing, and Rock Lee’s secret technique isn’t called Loopy Fist. That was a bit of a disappointment. For a more serious tone for the older fans of Naruto should watch the subbed version. But it all comes down to a preference of English vs Japanese. It’s the same show, just a different feel. It’s all up to you.
The starring team: Sakura, Sasuke, and Naruto!
So, Naruto is a show about Naruto Uzumaki (Maile Flanagan). He is a ninja in training and hoping to become the leader of the village he lives in one day, known as The Village Hidden in the Leaves. The Third Hokage, leader of the village, sees much promise in Naruto and hopes that his sensei’s, Iruka Umino (Quinton Flynn) and Kakashi Hatake (Dave Wittenberg). With his teammates Sasuke Uchiha (Yuri Lowenthal), the cool calm-headed prodigy out to prove himself, and Sakura Haruno (Kate Higgins), the hot-headed and pretty much useless book smart girl, Naruto can’t fail in his mission to become the best. Believe it!
So many great characters in the world of Naruto!
There’s a lot of arcs and sections in this show. There’s the introduction of all the characters, the Chunin exams (the test that sees if you’re ready to become the next level ninja), and the battles between Orochimaru (Steven Blum) and his henchmen. With each trial for Naruto comes more responsibility and more powers. The show culminates in a huge twist and leaves more than 60 episodes of fillers that have nothing to do with the main plot. That’s not to say that there aren’t fillers throughout that aren’t cool and entertaining, I personally found a lot of the fillers to be funny and not so much a detraction from the show as an enhancer of the lesser characters. And how many cool characters there are.
There’s the 12 Ganin, 3 of which I’ve already mentioned. There’s Kiba Inuzuka (Kyle Hebert), the dog master of Akamaru and a master of, well, I’ll let you check everyone’s powers out. Shino Aburame (Derek Stephen Prince) is the master of bugs, and one of my favorite Shinobi in the show. Filling out Team 8 is Hinata Hyuga (Stephanie Sheh), the master of soft palm. She has a huge crush on Naruto but never
Team 10, led by the great Shikamaru.
reveals it in the original Naruto, an unfortunate thing.
Team 10 is made up of some real destructive masters as well. Choji Akimichi (Robbie Rist), the expanding fat kid with a penchant for lots and lots of niblets and chips. Shikamaru Nara (Tom Gibis) one of my favorite characters in the show and one of the only truly gifted in the series. His ability with shadows will leave you… breathless. And then there’s Ino Yamanaka (Colleen O’Shaughnessey), the useless girl who is more useless than Professor X. (You’ll see why.)
Look at Shino back there, bein’ all wiznerd and whatnot.
And then there’s Team Guy, the most masterful of all the masters. Led by Might Guy (Skip Stellrecht), his mastering of the physical Thaijustsu is just too legit to quit. Under Guy’s tutelage is Rock Lee (Brian Donovan), the only kid who will never quit and always fights to the end with his Flying Leaf Hurricane. Tenten (Danielle Judovits) is a weapons master and is always twirling and releasing weapons on everyone’s asses. And the semi-leader of the team is Neji Hyuga (Steve Staley) master of his cousin’s soft fist and intelligent as Hell.
All of these awesome characters flesh out a show about honor and friendship, being the best and doing everything in your power to prove your self worth. There’s self discipline, training montages, and
And Team Guy, they pack a whallup of a punch.
everything you wanna see in a shounen of this magnitude that needs to be seen by all young men out there that need a great role model in their lives, or just a great action cartoon/anime. Oh, and don’t forget the villains! I already mentioned Orochimaru, but there’s the best character and best voice actor that needs to be mentioned, nay, worshipped. Gaara (Liam O’Brien) is a disciple of the Village Hidden in the Sand, and a true beast of a fighter. With a gourd full of sand that does his every bidding, there’s more than meets the eye to this character. And he will completely slaughter you. Two words: SAND COFFIN.
And don’t ever forget Gaara. SAND COFFIN.
So watch this show for sure. The production value gets better as the show goes along, and for those that like dubbed anime, it’s not the worst in the world. And that brings up an issue. Maile Flanagan ruins this show. She may have a similar voice that can mirror the tone that Naruto Japanese version can do, but that’s just a bit of a stretch. Maile Flanagan’s whiney voice and childish lines leave a lot to be desired from a leading role. Oh, and, well, it’s just gross. Sorry there, Flannie old pal, but it’s probably for the best the dubbed version was cut off in the middle of Naruto Shippuden. But, for overall story and deliverance, Naruto as a whole, for all it’s worth, deserves a 8.8 out of 10. Definitely top 10 anime of all time to watch before you die. (You can skip the fillers.)
3 Comments | tags: 12 Ganin, Akamaru, Anime, awesome characters, ballin, beast of a fighter, believe it!, best character, better subbed, book smarts, breathless, Brian Donovan, Cartoon Network, childish lines, chips, Choji Akimichi, Chunin exams, Colleen O'Shaughnessey, cool and entertaining, cool headed, cousin, currently running, Dave Wittenberg, decent production value, Derek Stephen Prince, destructive masters, disciple, dog master, dubbed versus subbed, English, enhances characters, fat kid, favorite characters, fight to the end, filler episodes, fleshed out, Flying Leaf Hurricane, friendship, fulfills dreams, funny fillers, Gaara, good deliverance, good voice actors, gourd, great action cartoon, great role model, gross, henchmen, Hinata Hyuga, honor, hot headed, huge crush, huge twist, infectious, Ino Yamanaka, intelligent, Iruka Umino, Japanese, Kakashi Hatake, Kate Higgens, Kiba Inuzuka, Kunai, Kyle Hebert, leader, Liam O'Brien, Loopy Fist, Maile Flanagan, main plot, master of bugs, masterful, Mighty Guy, missions, more power, more than meets the eye, Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, Naruto Uzumaki, never quit, ninja, ninja in training, Ninjutsu, Orochimaru, physical, powers, prodigy, Professor X, quality of voice, Quinton Flynn, Robbie Rist, Rock Lee, Sakura Haruno, Sand Coffin, Sasuke Uchiha, secret technique, self discipline, self worth, sensei, serious tone, shadows, Shikamaru Nara, Shino Aburame, Shinobi, shonen, shounen, shuriken, Skip Stellrecht, soft palm technique, Stephanie Sheh, Steve Staley, Steven Blum, story arcs, substitution technique, swearing, Team 10, Team 8, Team Guy, teammates, Tenten, Thaijutsu, the realest, The Village Hidden in the Leaves, Third Hokage, Tom Gibis, tone, too legit to quit, top 10 anime of all time, training montages, trials, truly gifted, unstoppable, useless, Village Hidden in the Sand, villains, watch worthy, whiney voice, younger audience, Yuri Lowenthal | posted in Anime/ T.V.
Jackie Chan has officially passed on his torch as the #1 stunt fighting action star in Asia. And who has he passed this gigantic burden of fame and stardom onto? Why Jaycee Chan of course! With this lineage created and the dynasty struck, good things can only come from Jackie and Son. And this movie, Jacyee Chan’s first debut on the big screen, Invisible Target promises great things from the son of a master.
In this cop vs bad guy film with a resonance of Police Story, Jaycee and fellow action stars Nicholas Tse and Shawn
3 Badasses right there.
Yue (the first name thing must be a sign of Chinese stardom) battle hand to hand and guns to guns with 7 of the most feared ex-military/con demons known in Shang Hai (or wherever this movie takes place. Bangkok?) After the intial heist of a armored truck that killed Carson Fong Yik Wei’s (Shawn Yue) fiance, three detective/inspectors are hurled together from differing pasts and fighting/justice styles to band together for one stand against some of the worst crime China has seen.
Filled with corruption of the police force and some badass roundhouse kicks, this film promises actions scenes at an almost intermittent pace, mixed with a few car chases and explosions. I mean, come on, some guy is forced to eat bullets with a straight leg to the face. This movie delivers hard with at least a 35 minute lull between action scenes in one section. For you action fans out there, this may prove hard to move past, but all-in-all there are at least 4 action scenes that are worth checking out, most importantly the final battle. Through this entire 2 hour, 20 minute movie, a plot of intrigue unfolds among scenes of unnecessary violence.
Look forward to a lot of this.
As far as the good and bad things, nothing necessarily sticks out to me. Jaycee Chan, as far as Chinese and English acting, seems to excel in the former and it is yet to be seen if he excels in the latter. Hopefully he’ll be given the chance. What’s strange is that it seemed that Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan all gave children to star in this movie, following their very particular fighting styles. Amazing, if you ask me. Decent, yet semi-cheesy special effects and digital graphics, a decent foreign cast, and some fantastically orchestrated fight scenes. I give Benny Chan (relation?) and the whole crew of this movie a 7.3 out of 10.
Leave a comment | tags: acting, Asia, Bangkok, Benny Chan, car chases, Carson Fong Yik Wei, children, China, Chow Yun Fat, convicts, cops, corruption, detectives, digital graphics, dynasty, eat bullets, ex-military, explosions, fame and stardom, fighting styles, guns, hand to hand, Invisible Target, Jackie Chan, Jaycee Chan, Jet Li, kicks, lineage, masterful, Nicholas Tse, passed the torch, Police Story, robbers, Shang Hai, Shawn Yue, son, special effects, stunt fighting | posted in Movies