Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rewind: Kenichi

I've watched History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi, or however you want to translate the title, about 1.5 times. It's a very enjoyable shounen action anime. It's got killer martial arts training, crazy sensei, and fun fights. What's not to love?

Okay, so I can actually think of a fair amount of both lovable and not-so-loveable things in this show. I'll list three of each.

Let's start with what I disliked:

1. Fanservice. I actually didn't notice this as much the first time I watched (probably because I was still a starry-eyed new anime fan, easily enamored by even mediocre anime, so long as it was exciting). But it goes a little overboard. I mean, seriously. What kind of guardian lets his teenaged grandaughter go around in a tight leotard? I don't care if she can beat nearly every predator and gawking youth out there to smithereens. And, oh, how convenient it is that the big, slashing blow just ripped cloth, not skin, right down the center of her chest. There's more, but there's no need to list every example.

2. Implied approval (or at least lack of disapproval) of consistently objectifying women. Ma-sensei, one of the six martial artist masters at Ryozanpaku dojo, has some fine qualities. Like the others, he's a great teacher for Kenichi. However, he is also an unabashed pervert, always trying to cop a feel and taking inappropriate pictures of his female acquaintances, without their permission. In real life, we'd call him a predator, especially since one of his favorite subjects is a teen. He's an awful role model for Kenichi, and has even taken his student along in his attempt to view the ladies in the hot spring. These activities, combined with the girls' anger, are used for comedy. I didn't laugh.

Unfortunately, Kenichi is not the only anime that passes off porn and peeping at the women's baths as expected, shameless teen male behavior. But it stood out to me in this show.

3. Sob stories accompanying fights... actually this one didn't bug me too much. It's part of typical shounen fare: battles often come with a free counseling session and/or a new friend.

Things I liked:

1. While Kenichi has some noble ideas about protecting the weak, he's pretty weak himself, both physically and mentally. It takes a while for him to overcome his habit of strategic retreating (or cowardice: whichever you want to call it). He doesn't get brave overnight. It's kind of refreshing when compared to the usual confident shounen warriors.

From episode 47. I remember taking this screenshot of
Kenichi and a former enemy tag-teaming in a fight. I look
forward to re-watching this scene.
2. Ridiculous training (and the fights that result from this training). I've probably mentioned this in one or two previous posts, but I seem to find things like unrealistic sports camps (like the 2,000 km "Death March" in Eyeshield 21) and weapons/ninja/martial art training very entertaining. Don't ask me why. Maybe I'm a bit sadistic. Maybe I just like to see people persevere and do their best.

3. While not all of the show's "comedy" made me laugh, some of it did. I can't remember all the reasons I laughed, but it was probably due to the extreme situations and characters. Kenichi doesn't take itself seriously, and that's good. 'Cause I don't take it that seriously either.

So, overall? History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi is a lot of fun if you enjoy ridiculous characters and martial art fighting, so long as you can overlook the parts you wouldn't watch around your grandmother. Back in the day, I listed it as one of my favorite shounen anime (this was obviously pre-Gungrave and pre-Crunchyroll). I might not hold it in such high esteem anymore, but it still makes me smile.


This marks my seventh "Rewind" post. It's hard to believe I've already been at it seven weeks! I plan to keep up the rhythm, but my schedule this semester is busier than ever. In addition to my studies, I'm working at least thirteen hours each week in my school's dining hall. There's also club duties and, if I can squeeze them in, some of the mandatory volunteer hours. I realize that some people manage to juggle even more, but I've never attempted such a schedule. If I have to choose between my blog and my studies, I will, obviously, choose my studies. Still, if I have to miss any Thursday Rewinds, I'll either a) post something else that I already have written, or b) put up a couple sentence post that basically says "I'm swamped." I probably won't be able to read and comment on blogs as much, either. Those of you with "like" buttons on your posts may or may not see me stop by when I'm too brain-fried to form a coherent comment on what you wrote.


  1. Not one that i've seen, but it still brings up some interesting points. Nowadays i'm incredibly wary of fanservice; there's nothing quite so embarrassing as having to sit through it while watching anime with my girlfriend and constantly wondering what she's thinking >.< If you think that costume you mentioned is bad though, what about Shura's costume in Ao no Exorcist?

    Good on you for being so active. I'm sure everyone can understand that sometimes there just isn't time (or inclination) to write, and there's no reason to force yourself. Real life is always more important than internet life.

    1. Yeah, I pretty much just ignored Shura's costume as best I could. >.> Nothing to make you wary of fanservice like an audience. That stuff can pop up so unexpectedly sometimes in otherwise innocent-seeming anime. I try to think through anime content verrry carefully before introducing a show to a newbie... especially a young or conservative newbie.

      You're right that real life is more important. But this is also kind of an experiment about whether I can write on a weekly deadline. ^_^


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