This post is part of the 12 Days series.
A big part of my 2010 anime consumption was taken up by Hokuto no Ken. The show, while not magnificent in terms of production values, still delivers the best in manly melodrama. It is shounen distilled into its simplest formula: the triumph of good over increasing power levels of evil.
So what does it mean when Raoh, the strongest villain, allows himself to be defeated by Kenshiro’s fist?
Prior to their final showdown, Raoh learns Musou Tensei (the ultimate technique of Hokuto Shinken) by understanding true sorrow: that of which is achieved by discovering Yuria’s terminal illness. Instead of killing Yuria as he initially planned, Raoh prolongs Yuria’s life by pressing a pressure point, but rendering her in a temporary coma.
Killing Yuria would have made Raoh’s Musou Tensei perfect. But he willingly denies himself that. Raoh, who would never accept love, finds himself incapable of hurting this woman.
When Raoh fights Kenshiro, he was already at a state where he could never win. Raoh’s knowledge of Musou Tensei is incomplete, and with it comes his acceptance that love is indeed stronger than his own fist. On his death throes, Raoh proudly proclaims that he had lived his life without any regrets, and performs his final miracle.
Raoh, who called himself Ken-Oh, King of Fists, throws his life force into the sky, parts the heavens, and allows light to shine on the stricken world once more. Is there a better way to end your life, and assert your own badassitude?
No, there isn’t.