Anime Review - Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple Collection 1
This series may very much tick the boxes in relation to the old “loser guy, pretty girl, fighting hero” genre but what makes this series shine is in its execution. For one thing, you won’t find ludicrous amounts of fan service just for the sake of it. Sure, a little bit here and there is great, but when it is so blatantly overt and serves no purpose aside from tingly-down-stairs-feelings I find it offensive. So in this story we see Kenichi Shirahama getting a beat down from a rag-tag group of Martial Artists from a variety of different disciplines. The character designs represent these disciplines in a stereotypical, tongue in cheek manner with the Karate experts solid and stoic while Muay Thai fighters are brash and dim witted.
The animation of the series is adequate for the time and it important to remember that this series was first released in 2006. Although this was only 5 years ago, those 5 years have brought about some great advancement in animation and animation techniques. The 4:3 aspect ratio makes the series feel older than it actually is. It took me back to the days of Saturday morning cartoons or Agro’s Cartoon Connection before school. That being said, the animation is sharp and vivid with some well choreographed fight scenes that are amazing although not outlandish. This realism is essential when it comes to comedic areas of the series that use that realism to reinforce incredibly over the top gag sketches. Steam blowing out of the usually serious guys ears is so much funnier than if he were the clown all along.
The story plods along with no great urgency or goal in sight. From episode one it is obvious that Kenichi will become a great fighter and win the girl, sadly there aren’t too many obstacles or plot twists along the way to makes us doubt his arrival at that preordained destination. There isn’t anything particularly wrong with the writing, however, it certainly doesn’t shine.
The music is generally unremarkable with the exception of the opening title “Be Strong” by Yazumi Kana, a catchy, fast paced tune which is well matched with the opening animation and the following series.
Kenichi: The Mighty Disciple Collection 1 is a good fun six hundred and fifty minutes that shouldn’t be short changed. Sure, it’s no “Summer Wars” or “Xam’d” but it is a very fun, light hearted series that is well worth your hard earned cashola. In all honesty, looking over this review I realise that I shouldn’t have enjoyed Kenichi as much as I did. But for some reason, I’m hooked.
Kenichi: The Mighty Disciple Collection 1 is available now on DVD from Madman.