Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 325 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
Shinpaku Alliance forever!
The first season of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple introduced a comedy/action anime series that wasn’t afraid to be loads of fun and outrageously silly at times. The result made for a good time with a young disciple who is far from same kind of hero we’ve been seeing in some many other series. Sure Kenichi knows how to fight but he’s still much rather tend to a nice garden instead of exchanging blows with other fighters and training with his unusual masters still gets very scary for him. With this being the first part of Season 2 of Kenichi, we get back to what made us like this series … fights and some of the most hilarious martial arts masters to come along in a long time.
Taking place directly after the final episode of the first season, Kenichi Shirahama is just recovering from his battle with one of Ragnarok’s most deadliest fists … the one they all call Hermit. Also known as Tanimoto, the new classmate that showed up to Kenichi’s class just to meet him, Hermit’s martial arts skills are powerful and this might have something to do with his master by the name of Sogetsu Ma. Thinking there might be a connection between Sogetsu and his very own Master Ma, Kenichi presses the matter but Master Kensei Ma says nothing and takes off in the middle of the night.
Following him, Kenichi discovers that perverted Master Ma not only has family ties to Sogetsu but he also has a daughter by the name of Renka who is also looking for Sogetsu. While seeing Kenichi as a spineless weakling, Renka watches as Kenichi is willing to follow his master into mob territory to locate Sogetsu and becomes just a tad smitten by the young disciple. What results is a confrontation between two powerful masters and insight on who exactly is Master Kensei Ma and why his daughter is determined to take him back to China.
After the confrontation between Master Ma and Sogetsu Ma, Kenichi returns to school only to find that he received a love letter from some mystery girl that wants to meet up with him in a local restaurant. Instead of finding a cute girl waiting for him, Kenichi finds that his scheming classmate (and self-proclaimed General of the Shinpaku Alliance) with a number of Alliance followers that also include Takeda the Puncher and Ukita the Thrower from the first season locking horns with the henchmen of a Ragnarok member called Loki. Wondering whether he should stand up the mystery girl or help his friends, Kenichi makes his choice that results in a new foe to fight and a hilarious twist at the end of the episode.
Hearing about the fight with Loki, Ragnarok sends out another member, this one is known as the Fifth Greatest Fist that is better known as Siegfried. While he looks menacing enough, Siegfried is actually outrageously funny in an oddball sort of way. Known to get up after a heavy thrashing like a zombie, Siegfried also sings while he fights.
Meanwhile, Hermit is back and he doesn’t want anyone touching Kenichi. Determined to beat him, Hermit tries to find a way to confront Kenichi but instead runs into his younger sister, Honoka. Not knowing who she is, though, Hermit finds saving Honoka during a random street brawl and ends up taking her to his house where the girl just won’t leave. A part of Hermit actually does find her endearing because she reminds him of somebody in his past. Plus, the girl is downright adorable.
“I’m not a midget,” she tells Hermit who playfully calls her that. “I’m fun-sized.”
Unfortunately for Honoka, Loki shows up and realizes that the girl is actually Kenichi’s little sister. Using her to get to Kenichi – who leaves training out of fear of his masters – the young disciple faces off against Hermit whose past becomes known. There’s an interesting twist in this part of the story and I won’t reveal what it is but Hermit makes a stand and Kenichi manages to impress his masters. He really has come a long way as a student. Kenichi also gets to meet another Ragnarok member who is even more skilled than Loki and Hermit and who seems to know a very oblivious Kenichi.
There’s also a fun episode at a water park as Renka returns and makes her intentions known to Kenichi that she likes him. This makes Miu a direct rival who – in this first part of the second season – seems to be more and more interested in Kenichi as well. In the final story, Niijima once again has the Shinpaku Alliance look into another Ragnarok member, this one a sumo wrestler. Niijima is actually the one who indirectly challenges the Ragnarok member whose only wish is to see sumo make a big comeback. It’s clear that the Ragnarok opponents are certainly getting tougher.
The first part of Season 2 of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is still – without a doubt – a genuine blast and a good way to start the new season. Those who have been following the series since the beginning will already know what to expect from Season 2 Part One so if you’re looking for a good time and a fun comedy, Kenichi still won’t disappoint.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
After his encounter with Hermit, Kenichi begins to train harder to match his rival’s skills. Meanwhile, he gets into a number of misadventures and misunderstandings as the Shinpaku Alliance grows even more powerful. However, Ragnarok has three powerful opponents that face off against the young disciple.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The fighting sequences are getting a bit more elaborate and somewhat more bloodier this time around and, of course, plenty of light fan service for those who care about that. Kenichi was never a gorgeous-looking series but it’s not a bad-looking one either.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The voice acting for both the Japanese and English dub work beautifully thanks to the talent both options provide. Even the opening and closing songs, particularly the song “Run Over” works well for this series.
Aside from the usual assortment of trailers there’s the option to watch the opening and closing animation without the credits.
Season 2 of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple is, simply put, way too much fun to watch and a good start to what is already starting to look like the best season of this series. As Kenichi continues training and facing off against dangerous opponents, his most unusual and hilarious life will keep you well entertained.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment.