Kenichi Shirahama has been bullied for as long as he can remember. Yet despite all of his negative experiences, Kanichi deeply desires to become strong and uphold justice. While he attempts to learn martial arts from a school club run by bullies, Kanichi finds himself betting his club position, and possibly his life, on a fight with their strongest and meanest member! In desperation, Kanichi turns to a strange dojo for training…
This show is based on fighting and thus the violence is high in nearly every episode. However, the aftermath of the fights is rarely shown in detail. Blood may be seen, but it is there to show a character has been injured and is rarely overdone (usually characters are simply scratched up). Also, most of the violence is hand-to-hand combat so there is a massive amount of punching, kicking and characters beat up badly. It may not be gory, but it’s violent.
Like the violence, the language in this show is not overwhelming. Over the fifty episode series, damns and the b-word can be heard throughout. There aren’t any f-bombs, but the presence of the b-word defiantly keeps this title from a PG rating.
Probably the strangest part of this series is within the category of “nudity.” Other sites, mainly Animenewsnetwork, list this show as under the category of “ecchi” and “fanservice.” And while I would agree that fanservice is there, “ecchi” (another word for ‘soft porn’) is not. As for the fanservice, the main female lead is the problem there. She has a large, um, chest and unfortunately likes to wear very tight fitting clothing. In one scene she’s fighting and the front of her outfit is ripped. Thankfully, only cleavage is shown. Also, one of the masters at the dojo enjoys “adult” material and is constantly trying to take inappropriate pictures of the females in the dojo. He never really succeeds. Some other notes: there are “panty shots,” all blissfully short and one character wears a loincloth for a swimsuit which doesn’t really show anything, but is disturbing all the same (most of the other characters in the show share my sentiments on that).
“Life force” or “chi” is referenced often, which should come as no surprise seeing as this show focuses on various forms of martial arts. All forms of theology are kept to martial art terms and techniques, however.
Despite the fanservice, I highly enjoyed this series. The fight scenes in particular were pretty amazing. The last time I had been so tense while watching characters fight was in Fullmatal Alchemist Brotherhood, which is a high standard to live up to. The art style and music arenothing extraordinary, but the characters are quite enjoyable, especially Kenichi. As someone who was bullied most of his life, Kenichi is often a coward and avoids fights whenever he can. He also doesn’t become a good fighter overnight, often losing and having to learn techniques the hard way. This makes him far more human than many protagonists because even though he is a coward and not talented in any way, he does not give up, continuing to fight regardless of his chances of success. Of course the vast amount of comedy in the show (usually at Kenichi’s expense) doesn’t hurt. So if you’re sick of seeing a protagonist who’s too talented to be real or you just want to see some classic fighting in a show, Kenichi is a great place to start out!
Personal Rating: Young Adult (14+)
Languages: Subtitled and Dubbed
Official rating: TV-14
Genre(s): Action, Comedy, Martial Arts, Shonen
Legal streaming: Subtiled only via FUNimation’s Youtube channel or website.