Toy Wizards Review: Medicos Fist of the North Star Kenshiro

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What is the greatest anime series of all time? If you answered anything other than Hokuto no Ken, known in parts outside of Japan as Fist of the North Star, then you are wrong. The adaptation of the manga of the same name burst onto the scene in fall of 1983 and ran 109 episodes (and a feature length animated film) until the summer of 1988. Written by Buronson and illustrated by Tetsuo Hara, this is a post-apocalyptic tale of a world ravaged by war, famine, drought and ruled by martial arts tyrants across vast territories. Mix Sly Stallone’s Cobra with a dash of Mad Max, a helping of Bruce Lee, and a heap of pressure point inflicted head explosions and you’ve got Fist of the North Star!

The long withstanding series is no stranger to action figures. Many of which have always come on the cusp of what is thought of as modern, inventive engineering and highly sculpted detail. Kaiyodo created a line of FotNS action figures for the Japanese market in the mid-90s just as McFarlane Toys was making its biggest impact on collectors in the U.S. They continued to set the bar with large scaled action figures with unique articulation points and superior posing in the 200X line of toys in the early 2000s. A fairly large cast of characters made their way into the Revoltech Revolution toy line that began in 2009 at a roughly 5.5″ scale. More than ten years later Medicos Entertainment is set to release a number of new Super Action Statue figures in roughly 1/12 scale from the series beginning with our main protagonist Kenshiro.

You can purchase your own copy domestically for $109.99 from BigBadToyStore. It is shipping this month.

Sculpt

Medicos is known for their incredibly detailed character statues and busts. Their foray into action figures isn’t necessarily new, but they haven’t got the history you might assume outside of a series of Kinnikuman and Jo Jo’s Bizarre Adventure Super Action Statues. The sculpt is 100% new and unique as you would expect from a premium collector’s market figure. From Kenshiro’s signature spiked bangs to each individual fold and crease in his leather ensemble, this figure is just chock full of amazing detail and texture. Skin, hair, leather, zippers, cloth, and metal are all treated with care to separate them from one another in unique sculpted detailing.

Capturing the super-heroic body builder frame of Kenshiro is also key. Tetsuo Hara’s character designs are legendarily buff and buxom. Kenshiro is appropriately tall, lean, and muscular. He sets the standard hero build in this universe. Many other characters will be about this size, whereas the second entry in this toy line, Kenshiro’s step brother and main antagonist, Raoh, will be much larger and bulkier. Ken stands at 6 and 3/4 inches tall. Like I mentioned earlier this is roughly a 1/12 scale line. The stylistic anatomy of the manga and anime means that these figures will look dramatically different than most of your Marvel or DC action figures on a shelf even if they are around the same general height.

Paint

Another area that this figure really shines is in the premium paint application. Those loads of small sculpted details need to have fine painted details to highlight them. This is where Medicos does have a long back catalog of releasing completed painted statues and busts with beautiful crisp application. Lines are extremely clean. There isn’t any discernible paint bleed or slop. Tiny painted details like zippers and rivets are precise. The entire figure has airbrushed details on the muscular contours and the clothing. It’s absolutely wonderful.

Articulation

Action figures are always evolving to higher standards of articulation. These days a collector expects a minimum of 30+ points of useful articulation to create poses and displays. While there isn’t anything here that is truly groundbreaking or even that we haven’t seen before in previous FotNS toy lines such as the Revoltech releases, there is more than enough to keep you busy posing and it is implemented in ways that don’t break up the wonderful sculpt of the character. Kenshiro here has:

  • Double ball jointed neck
  • Double ball and hinge shoulders
  • Ball and hinge at the left shoulder pad
  • Ball and hinge double elbows
  • Ball and hinge wrists
  • Ball jointed thoratic joint
  • Ball jointed waist
  • Ball and hinge hips with hidden thigh swivel
  • Double knees with some ability to swivel.
  • Ball and hinge ankles with forward facing rocker
  • Toe joint

Lots of stiff articulation with a good range of movement in order to pull off martial arts madness. Some of the poses might make the shoulders look a bit disjointed, but that can be easily mended with a little twist here or there.

Accessories

  • Alternate “Ah ta ta ta ta ta ta” head
  • Relaxed hands
  • Jeet Kun Do hands
  • Chopping hands
  • One pointing right hand
  • One swooshing punch effect
  • Two Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken fists for that hundred punch effect
  • Display stand

Of these accessories, I am most disappointed with the alternate yelling head sculpt. It just doesn’t look angry enough. I think some of the sculpted detail in the furrowed brow was lost in production so you end up with Kenshiro kind of just opening his mouth with an expression very similar to the normal head sculpt from the nose up. I also wish there were more options with the base body of the figure in general. Armored bits should be removable or maybe give us a separate bare torso for those hulk-up moments. I understand that Medicos can, and most likely will, create an entirely new Kenshiro release for that look, but it would have been nice to have an alternate bare right arm at the least.

Value

I preordered this item as soon as it was available from Japan. Retail was about $75 USD. Not an outlandish price by today’s import toy market. Cheaper than a lot of MAFEX and S.H. Figuarts releases. I’m happy with what I paid and the quality is certainly there.

We also have to take into account the lack of merchandise associated with this brand. It’s been a decade since the last Hokuto no Ken action figures were hitting, so fans of the series have been clamoring for something, anything for quite a while. In 2018 Storm Collectibles announced they had the Fist of the North Star license to create highly detailed 7 inch scaled action figures. They have yet to show anything from this venture as of writing this review March of 2021. Medicos, as previously mentioned, has Raoh scheduled for release in the next month or so. Will we see anything else revealed in the coming weeks that were to be NY Toy Fair? I hope so.

Score

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Four out of five stars for this new Super Action Statue release. I love the sculpt and paint work. The articulation isn’t that fresh and exciting to anyone who owned some of the Revoltech FotNS figures, but the whole package in a new scale with loads of accessories is very welcome. I honestly hope Medicos plans on releasing more than just Kenshiro and Raoh. I’m not expecting the depth of characters that came out in previous, smaller scaled toy lines, but something just beyond the usual fan favorites would do a lot to keep collectors interested.

Enjoy the full Medicos Hokuto no Ken Super Action Statue Kenshiro gallery below!

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