Hokuto no Ken Manga Plot Summary
By Marc H. Miyake
The Hokuto no Ken manga is (c) Buronson and Hara Tetsuo.
(First pilot, from BOYS' JUMP SPECIAL EDITION, April 1983. 51 pages. Reprinted in THE IRON DON QUIXOTE, Vol. 2 and as MEMORY OF HOKUTO NO KEN in ALL ABOUT THE MAN. Since these two reprints and the original JUMP issue are rare and out of print, this story will probably always be a 'lost story' for most HTnK fans. Hence I will give an extremely detailed synopsis.)
This story takes place outside the mainstream Hokuto no Ken universe. Any
apparent contradictions are not the results of errors in translation.
Opening narration, against the background of the twin Niouzou statues:
Kenshirou's father makes Yuki swear not to reveal the Liu family secret to anyone. Ken complains that in this peaceful age, the Hokuto God Fist is useless. "That might be true," admits Ken's father. "But this secret art, passed down only to me by the 21st Master of the Hokuto God Fist, Liu Zheng...I have a duty to pass it on. And evil will never perish. You never know when it will be useful!" Complaining that he wants to live a normal life, Ken zooms off on a motorcycle with Yuki.
After dropping Yuki off at her apartment, Ken bumps into a giant with a mohawk, Gouda, who ignores him and walks into Yuki's building. Yuki witnesses the giant ripping her neighbor, a politician named Sasaki, in two. After Ken returns home, he receives a phone call from Yuki informing him of the murder. Ken realizes that the giant who bumped into him must have been the killer. But before Yuki can even hang up, she too is shredded by Gouda's Bear Claws. Ken jumps onto his motorcycle and arrives at Yuki's place far too late. He picks up her corpse. His father, who had been tailing him, is shot in the shoulder by a gunman. Ken kills the gunman with a single kick to the neck. Ken's father realizes that Yuki had been murdered by someone's bare (no pun intended) hands, which could only mean...
Policemen enter Yuki's apartment. Ken's father suggests that Ken should leave the matter to the police. A crooked detective arrests Ken for murder, claiming he has a witness. Ken and his father end up in prison.
Ken's father reveals that he knows who really killed Yuki: a master of the
Taishan Temple Fist (Taizanji kenpou): "The Taishan Temple Fist is
the only assassinating fist that is equal to the Hokuto God Fist. The Taishan
Temple Fist, based on Mount Tai (Taishan) in China, on the surface, teaches
healthy boxing, but in reality is an a fearsome group of assassins. Armed with
their assassinating fist, today they have joined forces with the political
authorities of the world, making their organization extremely powerful. And
finally their hands have even reached Japan! It looks like we've been somehow
trapped by those scum."
Gouda attacks Ken with the Taishan Temple Fist Bear Claw Double Cut Fists. Ken doesn't have to try very hard to defeat him. The Hokuto God Fist's Five Finger Violent Shots blow apart Gouda's hands. "Don't mess with the Hokuto God Fist." Ken's muscles expand, blowing apart his clothes. Ken punches Gouda's chest with both fists simultaneously, using the Hokuto Twin Dragon Waves technique. Ken explains, "This is the secret technique of the Hokuto God Fist that you wanted to know about. Normal people only use 30% of their power, but the Hokuto God Fist unleashes the remaining 70%, destroying the insides of the body." Unable to believe Ken's lecture, Gouda explodes.
Ken taps the police chief on the forehead and walks out of the office. Before the police chief can shoot him in the back, his head explodes. Ken carries his father out of the police station. "Dad, I've opened my eyes...there are too many evil scum in the world who deserve to die."
(Second pilot, from BOYS' JUMP SPECIAL EDITION, June 1983. 49 pages. Reprinted in THE IRON DON QUIXOTE, Vol. 2. Since this reprint and the original JUMP issue are rare and out of print, this story will probably always be a 'lost story' for most HTnK fans. Hence I will give a detailed synopsis.)A young couple, Ryuu and Youko, are on the run from the assassins of Taishan. They had disobeyed their orders to assassinate and had turned renegate. Ken, somewhat older (perhaps by a few months?) than in his last appearance, saves the couple. For the first time, he is clad in a leather outfit close to the one used in the regular HTnK series, though he has a very long right sleeve and as yet no scars on his chest. For the first and last time, he introduces himself as KASUMI Kenshirou. ('Kasumi' is Japanese for 'mist'.) After saving Ryuu and Youko, Ken walks away and then suddenly collapses. Ryuu and Youko discover that Ken is sleeping, tired from being constantly pursued.
The Supreme Leader of Taishan bemoans the deaths of five of Taishan's B Class killers, including Gouda, at Ken's hands. He summons the A Class killer Kinbu Baiken to kill Ken. Baiken demonstrates his strength by beheading the Supreme Leader's pet tiger with his teeth.
Ryuu and Youko despair in an abandoned warehouse over their future. Can they really succeed in escaping their former masters? Ryuu hates himself for having dragged Youko, once an ordinary woman, into the dark world of assassination. Youko is naive enough to believe that the police can help. Ryuu explains, "We can't even do that...those in charge in this country, in order to keep themselves in power, make it appear as if their opponents committed suicide and in turn have to defend themselves from their enemies. The authorities who reach the top are supported in the shadows by the assassin's organization of Taishan. Because of that, Taishan has grown to enormous proportions by joining forces with the great powers of the time. You could say it's the state assassination organization." Ryuu sees his and Youko's sole hope in Ken. In order to see whether the sleeping Ken is the real thing or not, Ryuu attacks him with a knife.
Of course, Ken awakens in time, catching the knife between his thumb and index finger. "What, is this the way they wake people up at Taishan?" Ryuu and Youko want to fight alongside him, but he considers them a burden. He recalls Yuki, who like Youko wanted to live a normal life, and turns away. Ryuu gives him an address book revealing the details about Taishan's Japan Branch and its officers. Ken thanks him and steps out of the warehouse, only to be confronted by armed police and Baiken. The cops blow apart Ryuu and Youko with their guns. The couple holds hands before dying on the pavement. Ken speeds away from them in a stolen police jeep.
Baiken arrives at the Supreme Leader's throneroom at Taishan Japan Branch headquarters in search of Ken. He does find Ken...sitting in the Supreme Leader's throne! As an A Class killer, Baiken is much harder to kill than B Class Gouda was. But the multiple blows of the Hokuto Hundred Slashing Shots cause Baiken to crack apart: "It...it can't be the fist of the god of death, the Hokuto God Fist--?"