Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dynasty Warriors and exploding heads, together at last!

If you've ever found yourself playing Dynasty Warriors and thought, "You know, this is fun, but it would be a lot better if my character had the power to make an enemy's pancreas dissolve," your lucky day has arrived. Also, seek help.

Koei has announced a forthcoming spinoff of its popular Dynasty Warriors series that will be based on the manga and anime series Fist of the North Star, to be entitled Hokuto Musou. Fist of the North Star is one of the canonical works of the vibrant "huge guys screaming at each other" genre of anime, so let's hope Koei does it justice. True to the insanely violent style of the source material, Koei is promising "a myriad of devastating fighting techniques" that will let the player make his enemies "violently explode on screen." As an extra bonus for those of you who've become bored with wimpy, Disneyfied kiddy games like Mortal Kombat that limit you to mundane atrocities like impalement, decapitation, and bludgeoning people to death with a war hammer constructed from their own spinal column, Hokuto Musou will also give you the power to inflict "instantaneous breakdown of internal organs" on your foes.

(Which isn't as hard to do as it sounds, actually. In the game, you'll presumably be shredding people's insides through the awesome might of the the series' eponymous Hokuto Shinken fighting style, which assails your foe's pressure points to channel chi energy that tears him apart from the inside out, but getting someone to drink about half a bottle of Miller Chill will have roughly the same effect. Admittedly, there are moral concerns raised by this method, since rending someone's bowels asunder with a secret forbidden martial art invented by ancient Chinese assassins is far less cruel and inhumane.)

The Fist of the North Star animated movie was the first anime I ever saw; I stumbled upon it by sheer chance as kid when I was flipping channels out of boredom and reached a local UHF station that would play anime late at night. (Though this was back when people were still calling it "Japanimation.") They had to censor out nudity and graphic violence, of course, which in this case meant that at any given time about three-fourths of the screen would be pixelated out to protect my fragile young psyche from the endless procession of exploding heads and splattering chunks of people that dominate
Fist of the North Star's running time. And yet, it piqued my interest enough to see what they were showing next week, and from that searing crucible of blurred-out violence, incomprehensible subplots, and bellowing post-apocalyptic muscle men, my interest in anime was forged.

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