Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple Review
Released by: FUNimation Entertainment
Length: 50 episodes
Everyone dreams of “being the hero” and “defending the weak” from bullies or any type of villain that threatens another person. Altruism is a characteristic that not many people have and it is always reassuring to see someone express that trait. Kenichi Shirahama, however, has the principles and believes of wanting to fight for justice, but lacks the skill in doing so.
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple centers on one high school student’s ambition to become a great martial artist, in hopes of carrying out his goal of protecting the innocent. The 50 episode series portrays the character as a weakling, who needs training to obtain a level where he cannot only defend himself from the constant enemies he has to face, but fight for his loved ones as well. Kenichi’s journey takes him to a dojo where various martial arts masters live with different abilities and techniques. Eventually, the young student becomes accepted into the dojo, and his quest in being the best disciple begins.
The series is a martial arts comedy that has an array of characters for anime fans to enjoy. I personally think the show does a good job in being realistic of showing a weakling become a mighty warrior even though the training regimen is often not achievable in life. But the best part about anime is the feeling of wonder and the use of imagination that allows fans to see a perspective of reality and feel for the characters when a situation occurs. Kenichi’s struggle with his own insecurities and hopes of love for a friend is a good example of the human condition that all men and women face.
The voice cast for the show really fleshes out the characters. Each character has a unique personality and the show’s comedic premise and hijinks becomes frequent as the show progresses into the later episodes. Funimation selected a good English cast for this series.
But not everything about the show is perfect. Toward the end the show starts to fail and the appeal that made it great in the beginning. I won’t spoil anything, but the fight leading to the end of the series and the ending shows that there is more to the story. The anime series does not cover the entire manga storyline, so viewers will only see so much of the show that portrays the actual major plot points of the manga. This is a disappointing, in my opinion.
I have seen various fighting shonen anime and Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple provides entertainment to an extent. The main character is honorable and respectable, which helps the show drive onward with the story, but viewers will get a sense that a lot of the episodes repeat themselves with the same antics and motifs that occur throughout.
Some of the motifs are a person is in trouble, Kenichi arrives to fight, rinse, wash, and repeat. But a lot of fighting animes are like that and so it is hard for the genre to break the mold and create an original storyline that doesn’t follow stereotypical conventions of fighting anime. If fans are looking for more depth in story, Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple is not a show that will fill that void. But if you are looking for a good laugh and seeing a weakling become a mighty martial artist that changes his perception toward himself, then this is a good show to watch. I recommend people watch Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple to see main character grow and become what many of us dreamed of as a kid, but the story near the end loses its luster and becomes also forgettable…like a dream.