Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
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Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple (Japanese: 史上最強の弟子 ケンイチ, Hepburn: Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Kenichi) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Syun Matsuena. It was serialized in Shogakukan's magazine Weekly Shōnen Sunday from May 2002 to September 2014. An anime adaptation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha aired from October 2006 to September 2007. Brain's Base produced OVAs for the series, which continue from the Ragnarok Arc. The eleven OVAs episode were released between March 2012 and May 2014.
|Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple|
Cover of the first volume of Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple featuring main characters Kenichi Shirahama (left) and Miu Furinji (right)
(Shijō Saikyō no Deshi: Kenichi)
|Written by||Syun Matsuena|
|Imprint||Shōnen Sunday Comics|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday|
|Original run||May 1, 2002 – September 17, 2014|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hajime Kamegaki|
|Written by||Yoshiyuki Suga|
|Music by||Joe Rinoie|
|Original network||TV Tokyo|
|Original run||October 7, 2006 – September 29, 2007|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Hiroshi Ishiodori|
|Written by||Eizo Kobayashi|
|Music by||Keiji Inai|
|Released||March 14, 2012 – May 16, 2014|
The story focuses on Kenichi Shirahama, a 15-year-old high school student and a long-time victim of bullying. At the beginning of the story, he befriends transfer student Miu Fūrinji; and desires to become stronger, he follows her to Ryōzanpaku, a dojo housing several masters of diverse martial arts, led by her grandfather Hayato Fūrinji. After learning basics from Miu, Kenichi overcomes a high-ranking member of the school's karate club, and becomes a target for all the delinquents in the school. While initially training to protect himself, Kenichi eventually becomes a full disciple of Ryōzanpaku, and becomes enamored of Miu. Subsequently, Kenichi's daily routine is divided between training under the six masters of Ryōzanpaku, and his fights against the members of 'Ragnarok', a gang of bullies trying alternately to recruit or to vanquish him. After Ragnarok is disbanded, Kenichi and Miu are targeted by Yomi, a group of disciples personally trained by a master of an organization rivaling Ryōzanpaku, Yami. While the masters of Ryōzanpaku and their allies follow the principle of always sparing their opponents' lives (Katsujin-ken), the members of Yami believe that any means of defeating an opponent is valid, including murder (Satsujin-ken). In the struggle between the two factions, Kenichi, Miu, and their allies fight the members of Yomi, while his masters confront the members of Yami. The conflict between the two factions culminate with the final battle to stop Yami's main objective, which is to usher a new era of chaos and warfare in the world, also known as "The Eternal Sunset". Once the Eternal Sunset is prevented and their main leader is defeated, Yami and Yomi are disbanded as well. Kenichi then continues to train at Ryōzanpaku, and years later he becomes a famous novelist, but it's hinted that he also becomes Miu's husband and a martial arts master more powerful than her grandfather, the Elder, who had always sworn he would only allow Miu to marry someone capable of defeating him first.
The series makes use of several in-universe concepts including:
- Dou (動)
- The word "Dou" means motion. Users seem to rely heavily on instincts and brute strength when fighting; but Dou fighters have a technique of interpreting an opponent's movements. According to James Shiba, a Dou fighter focuses on making their ki "explode" after channeling it through a target to deal damage. According to the manga, Apachai, Sakaki, and Miu are all Dou types.
- Sei (静)
- The word "Sei" means silence. Users focus their attention on changes in the environment and react to imminent danger. These traits are evident in Kensei, Akisame, Hayato, and Kenichi. This principle requires calm and clarity of mind. Ryūto Asamiya also seems a fighter of the Sei class; but in an experiment conducted by his master Ogata, he tried to embody both Sei and Dou styles at the same time, incurring some damage to himself.
- The Path of Asura
- The path of the martial artist who pursues power in order to kill. Isshinsai Ogata walks this path and tries to convince Kenichi to follow him, with no success.
- Killing Fist (殺人拳, Satsujin-ken)
- Literally "the Death giving fist": the belief that bare-handed martial arts were created as killing weapons. Despite this a follower is not obliged to kill an opponent. Yami embodies this principle.
- Saving Fist (活人拳, Katsujin-Ken)
- Literally "the Life giving fist": the belief that bare-handed martial arts were created in defense of innocent lives. Its guidelines are 'not to kill and not to be killed'. The masters of Ryozanpaku maintain this principle.
Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Kenichi is written and illustrated by Syun Matsuena. It was serialized in Shogakukan's Weekly Shōnen Sunday from May 1, 2002 and finished on September 13, 2014. The manga is a remake of Tatakae! Ryōzanpaku Shijō Saikyō no Deshi, which was serialized in the monthly magazine Shōnen Sunday Super. Shogakukan has released the individual chapters into sixty-one tankōbon volumes under Shōnen Sunday Comics imprint. The first volume was published on August 9, 2002, and the latest on February 18, 2015. Shogakukan also released limited edition versions of several volumes beginning with volume 35.
The series has been licensed in France by Kurokawa.
An anime television series adaptation titled Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, produced by Tokyo Movie Shinsha first started airing on TV Tokyo on October 7, 2006. It aired a total of fifty episodes, covering from the beginning of the story to the confrontation against the top members of Ragnarok.
In North America the series was licensed by Funimation in May 2008. The series made its North American television debut when it aired on Funimation Channel starting October 26, 2009. All 50 episodes have been shown. The rights to the series expired in 2018.
An OVA series produced by Brain's Base started on March 14, 2012. The story continues from the Ragnarok Arc entering the Yomi arc. The second OVA featuring later story in the yomi arc was released on June 18, 2012, and a third OVA was released on November 16, 2012. The fourth and fifth OVA were released on September 16, 2013. The sixth and seventh OVA were released on November 18, 2013. The eighth and ninth OVA were released on February 14, 2014. The tenth and eleventh OVA were released on May 16, 2014. The main cast for the OVA series is the same from those of the anime series except for Rie Kugimiya who replaces the late Tomoko Kawakami as Miu and Yuzuru Fujimoto who replaces the late Hiroshi Arikawa as her grandfather Hayato.
|Be Strong||n/a||Kana Yazumi||1-25|
|Yahhoo||ヤッホーYahhō||Diva x Diva||26-50|
|Kimi Ga Irukara||君がいるから Because you are there||Issei Eguchi||1-15|
|Catch Your Dream☆||n/a||Koike Joanna||16-25|
|Run Over||n/a||Koike Joanna||26-45|
|Kokoro Kara No Message||心からのメッセージ A message from Heart||Sakura||46-49|
|Be Strong||n/a||Kana Yazumi||50|
The song titles are from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple Season 1- Complete DVD Set (2010) and Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple Season 2- Complete DVD Set (2011).
- "Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple". Funimation. Archived from the original on May 3, 2017.
- Loo, Egan (May 13, 2008). "Funimation Gets Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
- 週刊少年サンデー 2002/05/01 表示号数20. Media Arts Database (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
- "Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple Manga to End This Month". Anime News Network. September 8, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
- 史上最強の弟子ケンイチ １ [History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Vol. 1] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- 史上最強の弟子 ケンイチ ６１ [History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi 61] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- 史上最強の弟子ケンイチ【特製缶バッジ付き！ 超限定版!!】 / 35 [History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Vol. 35 limited ed.] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved September 16, 2009.
- "KEN-ICHI - T1" (in French). Kurokawa. Retrieved September 27, 2009.
- "Funimation's Case Closed, Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple Licenses Expire". Anime News Network. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
- Loo, Egan (January 27, 2012). "KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple Manga Gets 2nd Video Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Loo, Egan (May 22, 2012). "2nd KenIchi Video Anime's 8-Minute Clip Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Loo, Egan (September 20, 2012). "KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple Manga Gets 3rd Video Anime". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Loveridge, Lynzee (September 4, 2013). "4th KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple Video Anime's Promo Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Loo, Egan (October 9, 2013). "5th Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple Video Anime Has 2 Episodes, Bonus". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Nelkin, Sarah (February 4, 2014). "6th KenIchi the Mightiest Disciple Video Anime's Promo Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Sherman, Jennifer (March 28, 2014). "Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple's 7th Video Anime Listed by Retailer". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- "「弟子ケンイチ」初のガイド本、達人たち秘伝の技が流出". Natalie (in Japanese). May 16, 2014. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Loo, Egan (February 15, 2012). "KenIchi Video Anime Project's 1st 7 Minutes Streamed". Anime News Network. Retrieved August 19, 2019.
- Official Kenichi anime site for TV-Tokyo (in Japanese)
- Official Kenichi anime site for TMS (in Japanese)
- Official New White Union site (in Japanese)
- Official Syun Matsuena site (in Japanese)
- Official Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple site
- DVD Kenichi: Box Set DVD site (in Japanese)
- Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Kenichi (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia