Review by: Brenda Gregson
Publisher: FUNimation Entertainment
MSRP: $49.98 US
Running Time: 280 minutes
Rating: TV PG
Release Date: Available Now
It’s the battle of the mightiest disciples and the gloves are off.
Ever since he joined the martial arts masters of the dojo known as Ryozanpaku, Kenichi Shirahama has been the target of the Ragnarok gang composed of the best fighters that want nothing more than to test the skills of the one that might actually be the mightiest disciple of martial arts. Strangely enough, with every member Kenichi defeats, those that were once his enemy becomes his greatest ally. In Part Two of Season 2 of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Kenichi faces off against the leader of the group and things will never be the same after this fight.
If anything, Part One of this season gave us a brief glimpse into Kenichi’s past and the childhood friend that – for reasons that weren’t explained fully – was transformed into the leader of Ragnarok. In this second part, the reason behind Ryuto’s anger as well as the reason he became Odin, the First Fist, is revealed as Kenichi begins his most difficult challenge yet. Before he does that, though, he arrives in time to find Ragnarok’s own Kisara going up against a group of girls calling themselves the Valkyries. Seeing her hanging out with Kenichi and Miu, the gang of girls believe that Kisara has betrayed Ragnarok as well as their mentor named Freya.
While Miu rushes off to save the cute kitten that is behind Kisara’s change of heart, Kenichi just isn’t able to raise a fist to a group of girls. The result of this is the Valkyries comically chasing Kenichi and kicking him around until the beautiful and lethal weapons master Shigure Kosaka shows up. Instead of whipping out her trademark blades, Shigure takes out the enemy with wooden cooking utensils. Shigure not only defeats them but humiliates them all including their leader, Freya. As Kisara cuts ties with Ragnarok, Niijima tries an embarrassing (and downright hilarious) tactic to get her to join the Shinpaku and it actually works. Watching Kisara get all goofy over kittens is one of the comical highlights of Part Two.
In fact, Niijima nearly steals the show in this second half of the season and shows us that he’s more than just a creepy guy but he’s a true tactical genius and a genuine threat to the enemy. While he continues (and fails) to recruit Hermit to fight for the Shinpaku Alliance, he does get Kisara as well as the opera-singing Siegfried to join. This fact has the remaining members of Ragnarok surprised and a bit confused as to why the once loyal members of this group have jumped ship to join Kenichi and the Shinpaku Alliance.
Revisiting and old neighborhood with Miu, Kenichi runs into Odin who is trying to get Kenichi to remember what happened in the old neighborhood and why that badge he always wore was so important to Odin when he was then just known as Ryuto. As the two talk and relive a particularly important moment involving a vending machine and a cute little blonde-haired girl, Kenichi comes to the realization that said blonde-haired girl is somebody he knows very well. It is their chance meeting with this little girl and watching her beat up two grown adults that makes both Ryuto and Kenichi make a promise.
Sadly, Ryuto has twisted a childhood promise and turned it into something else more sinister. While Kenichi tries to convince him that there shouldn’t be any hostility between them, Ryuto sees things differently and they fight. Within seconds, Kenichi experiences the true power of the First Fist and the aftermath has a badly injured Kenichi trying to deal with defeat. His depression catches the eye of the Elder himself as the Master of Ryozanpaku decides to train Kenichi out in the forest. Kenichi’s training suddenly becomes a test of strength as well as a battle for survival. Oh, and there are bears and a stranger who has a connection to Ryozanpaku and the Elder.
Meanwhile, the Shinpaku Alliance is in trouble when Ragnarok sends Berserker after them. Berserker is a formidable fighter who not only takes down Takeda and Ukita but a number of Shinpaku members as well. Niijima makes an impressive attempt to take Berserker out only to have Siegfried save him. As Ragnarok and the Shinpaku Alliance clash in a battle that has some surprising allies show up to take on some personal business (e.g. Freya and Kisara face off but so does Berserker and another surprising ally). Loki even reveals his master plan.
Kenichi, sensing that his friends are in trouble, cuts his training short to make it to the battlefield in time to have a rematch with Odin. I don’t want to spoil what goes on in this battle but it is one of Kenichi’s bigger fights that gets even more impressive as Kenichi takes all that he has learned from the Elder, Shigure, Akisame, Sakaki, Apachi, Kensei and even Miu and applies their techniques in the fight of his life. It is their fight that will decide the fate of the Shinpaku Alliance as well as Ragnarok.
With more funny moments and a grand battle near the end, Part Two of Season 2 of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple might not be the best part of this season but it is a monumental and memorable moment for Kenichi and the Shinpaku Alliance. Where the series will go from here has us very intrigued as Ragnarok’s true face is shown and the fate of both groups is soon to be decided.
DVD REVIEW BREAKDOWN
As Ragnarok members begin to abandon the gang to join the Shinpaku Alliance, Kenichi runs into the First Fist (aka Odin) who holds a grudge for something that occurred in their past after a surprising meeting with a character that changed their lives. This encounter leads Kenichi to push his training to the next level with none other than the Elder himself. Meanwhile, Ragnarok and the Shinpaku Alliance finally clash.
VIDEO QUALITY: B+
The fights in this second half of the season will most definitely stand out over previous battles and the clash between Odin and Kenichi in the end of Part Two is – by far – one of the series’ finest moments.
AUDIO QUALITY: A-
The voice acting in this series has always remained consistently good for both the Japanese and English dub side and the score equally good. The new ending theme song, “Kokoro Kara no Message” is even better than the last one.
All you’ll find here are the usual assortment of trailers and the option to watch the opening and closing animation without ending credits.
With a bigger emphasis on comedy in the beginning of Part Two of Season 2 of Kenichi, the real excitement comes in the final episodes as the Shinpaku Alliance and Ragnarok clash in a battle that will pit friend against friend. The series has seen better episodes but, with no shortage of good fights, there’s much to like about the second part of this season.
Review copy provided by FUNimation Entertainment