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  1. #1
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi


    General Info:

    Series Name: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi (Shijou Saikyou no Deshi Kenichi) - 史上最強の弟子ケンイチ

    Year of Serialization: 2002

    Author(s): Matsuena Syun

    Artist(s): Matsuena Syun

    Genre(s): Martial Arts, Action, Comedy, Romance, Harem, Ecchi, School Life, Shounen

    Current Status: Ongoing

    Moment of Reviewing: 574th chapter

    Other Formats: Anime (50 episodes)

    Series Summary:

    Kenichi Shirahama is a typical just below average 16 year old high school student. His physical abilities are below average, his school results are below average, his looks are average, he has no particular talents and, as you can guess, he has no friends with the final result him being bullied all the time. However now that he has entered a new school, Shirahama is determined to change all that, but it already goes wrong the very first day of the new year. He arrives late because he accidentally got KO'd by a new transfer student named Miu Furinji. Strangely enough she still arrived on time. To become stronger Kenichi also entered the school's Karate club, but he soon realizes that the senior member simply use the juniors as slaves and punching bags. To make matters worse some of his older bullies also entered the same school. Kenichi losing all hope then sees the girl Miu again standing up against some Yakuza hoodlums who were harassing an elderly man. Terrified Kenichi wants to run away, but on the other hand he doesn't want Miu to get hurt. On the spur of the moment he attacks the Yakuza, but with little success. Annoyed the Yakuza launch an attack of their own, however in a matter of seconds Miu beats them all. Apparently Miu's grandfather is one of the strongest persons in the world and has got a dojo called Ryozanpaku where several other martial artists live, each of them a master in a specific martial art. Kenichi then had to choice to remain bullied for the rest of his life or to 'be thrown into the abyss of masterhood', meaning there is no turning back. To stand up for himself and to protect the ones he cares about, Kenichi reluctantly takes the latter choice, but because of his complete lack of talent, he has to make up for it with endless torturous training. What follows is a story about how Kenichi falls deeper and deeper into the world of martial arts, struggling to remain living, to change himself and to win Miu's affection.

    Critical Review:

    HSDK is one of the series I have been reading the longest and still despite it having nearly 600 chapters, it's the type of series that has been stuck in an endless limbo. It's too large to be considered an unknown series, however it never reached the caliber and status of a series like Naruto or One Piece either. In comparison I started reading HSDK quite a while before I started reading Fairy Tail, which was at the time an unknown series. But while Fairy Tail by now gets mentioned in the same breath as OP and Naruto, HSDK never reached that point. One of the reasons is probably the limited amount of episodes the anime has and that the anime isn't that recent either. Another explanation is that the amount of anticipation you get for the new chapter after reading the latest release is quite limited. Personally I don't find that a bad thing as it's less stressful. I follow the series weekly, but it always comes shortly after Fairy Tail. All my attention always goes towards FT and as a result I regularly forget HSDK will follow shortly. It's entertaining enough to follow, but doesn't get enough to you to have your mind wonder about it for an entire week. Just like how wednesday means the releases of OP, Bleach and Naruto, friday means to me the releases of FT, HSDK and The Breaker: New Waves. For many people HSDK is probably the type of series you can read once, let the chapters pile up for a while and then read the entire series again.

    HSDK is a typical, almost stereotypical, shounen manga. The male protagonist is a 'loser' with no talent, but due to hard work and an extremely naive personality he sways many of his opponents, which then become his friends, and gets likewise the attention of several girls while often not being aware of it. It's not really a surprise that Kenichi eventually becomes really strong, however he never loses his cowardly nature. He avoids fights when he can and it often takes a while before he gets warmed up in a fight. He is the eternal underdog. But as is customary for a shounen character, he gets a boost whenever his friends are in danger. This makes you instantly think of characters like Naruto or Natsu Dragneel, though you shouldn't compare them too much with each other as they are still very different. HSDK also edges on the 'fantasy' genre because the physical feats many characters accomplish are beyond the scope of regular humans, however it isn't of the caliber either that it's incomprehensible.

    Potentially another reason as why this manga never was able to really break through, might be the plot. For the longest time it seemed to be going nowhere in particular. Long arcs got followed up by short arcs that don't seem to be that much relevant. When you have read the entire series though there is some kind of a larger underlying plot, but it's not that easily noticeable when you read it for the first time. Towards the end also all the used techs don't get explained very well anymore. While at the start they still bothered giving some kind of reasoning behind the workings of specific techs, currently it's more like a spam fast of flashy and powerful techs. Visually very strong, but plotwise it doesn't really carry much weight.

    Artwise it's a series that's drawn with a lot of dynamics. There's a strong emphasis on the movements of the characters and considering there are a lot of fights, these dynamics are very prominent. Often they take up entire pages. Putting that aside there's also quite a large amount of fanservice present >.> If you thought FT was bad in that regard, well HSDK is ten times worse. Of course this depends on whether you like fanservice or not, it doesn't really bother me though. The way how Syun draws the eyebrows of many characters might be one of the most 'personal' characteristics of the artwork. You also know it's going to be messy when characters start shooting 'lasers' from their eyes.

    Overall it's a very entertaining series with lots of action, fanservice and running gags for comedic relief. HSDK doesn't have the most high-quality plot and character development, but overall it's enjoyable to read and visually very attractive. For people who like the martial arts - genre this series is definitely a must and for the people who are occasionally bored and want to read a new manga, you might want to consider reading this one. I reckon HSDK is also running towards its end. It's not something that will come to pass in the next coming weeks, however you feel it's reaching a climax.


    - Reviewed by Caliburn
     
         

  2. #2
    The White Demon Totsuka No Tsurugi's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    I just hope that they released the season 2 already, i mean the OVA is already in its 8 episode, or maybe the OVA is the 2nd season ?
    well its a sequel but the release time of the OVA is killing me.
     
         

  3. #3
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    have considered reading it but never really got to it.
     
         

  4. #4
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Scorps View Post
    have considered reading it but never really got to it.
    It's not an outstanding manga, but I think it keeps you entertained from start to finish. There aren't really any 'dead' moments in the series.
     
         

  5. #5
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    That series is just fan service the max lol.

    I knew about already but, thx for sharing.
     
         

  6. #6
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by SasukeUchiha910 View Post
    That series is just fan service the max lol.

    I knew about already but, thx for sharing.
    How rude. A busty ninja-woman in kimono pole-dancing around a sword should be considered erotica not just meager fanservice.

    And it's for people who don't know it yet >.>
     
         

  7. #7
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    The fanservice is much much better in the anime but that's a given considering the animation behind it. Though it may not be as far into the series with the anime, it's still quite wonderful.

    I'm the reverse in this situation I'm caught up to speed with the anime including the OVAs and I'm aware of a few spoilers (for an anime watcher like myself) of the series but nothing quite pivotal. I'm desperate for further anime adaption to the series. I believe the critical reviews of the anime weren't terrible and considering the long thriving nature of the manga, I would expect a continuation of the anime adaption even if the original voice actress for Miu and gramps both passed away and were replaced T_T. While I agree that Kenichi has not achieved the same level of mainstream popularity as OP, Bleach, Naruto and even Fairy Tail, it certainly has potential and could match them. However I hold a level of bias since the afromentioned series are dwindling in my watch list. OP and Fairy Tale are non-existent to me and Naruto is killing me from the inside out like Sasori's slow acting poison.

    Nevertheless Kenichi is a favored series of mine and I will likely pick up the series from where the anime/ova left off in the manga and pray for a continuation in the anime.
     
         

  8. #8
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Reborn View Post
    The fanservice is much much better in the anime but that's a given considering the animation behind it. Though it may not be as far into the series with the anime, it's still quite wonderful.

    I'm the reverse in this situation I'm caught up to speed with the anime including the OVAs and I'm aware of a few spoilers (for an anime watcher like myself) of the series but nothing quite pivotal. I'm desperate for further anime adaption to the series. I believe the critical reviews of the anime weren't terrible and considering the long thriving nature of the manga, I would expect a continuation of the anime adaption even if the original voice actress for Miu and gramps both passed away and were replaced T_T. While I agree that Kenichi has not achieved the same level of mainstream popularity as OP, Bleach, Naruto and even Fairy Tail, it certainly has potential and could match them. However I hold a level of bias since the afromentioned series are dwindling in my watch list. OP and Fairy Tale are non-existent to me and Naruto is killing me from the inside out like Sasori's slow acting poison.

    Nevertheless Kenichi is a favored series of mine and I will likely pick up the series from where the anime/ova left off in the manga and pray for a continuation in the anime.
    That's what I have been saying, it has the potential, but that potential was never really used and honestly said I think it's too late now as the current arc feels like it's one of the last or maybe the last.
     
         

  9. #9
    ^_^ knightflame's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    I hear'd about this Manga...But 570 Chapters till now....Impossible for me to catch up
    Say,Caliburn Sama,Is it good?
     
         

  10. #10
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by knightflame View Post
    I hear'd about this Manga...But 570 Chapters till now....Impossible for me to catch up
    Say,Caliburn Sama,Is it good?
    Well I wrote a review about it. I wouldn't have written one if there wasn't something that would make the series interesting for me. And I don't really get why you wouldn't be able to catch up. Have a series with a lot of potential and lots of chapter is for me the most ideal scenario when I want to read a new series as it means there's enough to chew on for a while.
     
         

  11. #11
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn View Post
    Well I wrote a review about it. I wouldn't have written one if there wasn't something that would make the series interesting for me. And I don't really get why you wouldn't be able to catch up. Have a series with a lot of potential and lots of chapter is for me the most ideal scenario when I want to read a new series as it means there's enough to chew on for a while.
    How about watching anime & then picking manga?I think that will be Fast....
     
         

  12. #12
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by knightflame View Post
    How about watching anime & then picking manga?I think that will be Fast....
    Well that's what I originally did with HSDK and several other series when I just started following manga and watching anime, though that's something I stopped with years ago. I'm more of a manga person. The anime is rather limited, only around the first 140 chapters got animated and then you also have a few OVA's, though I haven't watched the latter yet.
     
         

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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn View Post
    Well that's what I originally did with HSDK and several other series when I just started following manga and watching anime, though that's something I stopped with years ago. I'm more of a manga person. The anime is rather limited, only around the first 140 chapters got animated and then you also have a few OVA's, though I haven't watched the latter yet.
    Only 140 Chapters?
    50 episodes of 20 minutes each = 16 hours roughly.... I can read 300 Chapters max or even more in that time
    Change in Plan...going to read Manga
    Since it was you who suggested it,it will really be worth my time
     
         

  14. #14
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Currently HSDK is my 2nd favorite series behind One Piece. I think the only reason why I like HSDK so much is because I'm also a martial artist and I really enjoy seeing moves I've used/seen in real life in the series(Alexander Gaider's Sambo wtf). I got into the series with the anime and I was hooked ever since. However, the series is getting a little more cliche and its getting worse. The last couple chapters got a thumbs down from me. And by damn is the fanservice excessive.
     
         

  15. #15
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    I really loved this series lol.
    I watched the first episode on a whim, out of boredom. I quickly finished the original series and all the OVA, and still wanted more.
    I considered reading the manga, but it's just...not for me. I prefer to watch anime, although if it doesn't continue I'll begin to read the manga.
    The funny thing about this series, is that I watched it. And before I was completely awful at Taijutsu. After watching I actually really really improved I think. . The way my moves are written is more clear, and I think my description overall is a lot better xD.
    But I thought that it's a really fun series overall, and would definitely recommend it.
     
         

  16. #16
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by TheCloudsBlackLightning View Post
    Currently HSDK is my 2nd favorite series behind One Piece. I think the only reason why I like HSDK so much is because I'm also a martial artist and I really enjoy seeing moves I've used/seen in real life in the series(Alexander Gaider's Sambo wtf). I got into the series with the anime and I was hooked ever since. However, the series is getting a little more cliche and its getting worse. The last couple chapters got a thumbs down from me. And by damn is the fanservice excessive.
    For me it's the exact opposite, the last couple of chapters are a thumbs up for me, but that might just be me. These days many people prefer that villains remain villains and enemies remain enemies, while I've always preferred having them team up at some point, just like they did now.
     
         

  17. #17
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    The anime looks promising i just watched episode one today, it shares a little resemblance with hajime no ippo.
     
         

  18. #18
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    I love kenichi haha i saw first episode and decided to read the manga i think i read all chapters up to now in like two days
     
         

  19. #19
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Minatoxx View Post
    I love kenichi haha i saw first episode and decided to read the manga i think i read all chapters up to now in like two days
    Well today the last chapter was released. The past few chapters also only have enforced my believe that the series is also drawing to a close.
     
         

  20. #20
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn View Post
    Well today the last chapter was released. The past few chapters also only have enforced my believe that the series is also drawing to a close.
    No don't say that!

    It must go on.
     
         

  21. #21
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Valhalen View Post
    No don't say that!

    It must go on.
    The funny thing is that a few chapters ago Kenichi said he has only been doing martial arts for a year, so the entire series timewise covers only a one year period
     
         

  22. #22
    Minato Namikaze Minatoxx's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Caliburn View Post
    Well today the last chapter was released. The past few chapters also only have enforced my believe that the series is also drawing to a close.
    I know . I don't want it to end , kenichi is getting so badass
     
         

  23. #23
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Minatoxx View Post
    I know . I don't want it to end , kenichi is getting so badass
    A series is always supposed to be getting badass when reaching its climax, normally...>.>
     
         

  24. #24
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    yep, next week is the final chapter, a prologue if you will. Kinda makes me sad since a lot of the manga i've been reading weekly for years is going to be ending in the next few weeks and months
     
         

  25. #25
    ロロノア・ゾロ Caliburn's Avatar
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    Re: History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi

    Quote Originally Posted by Ragnaroc View Post
    yep, next week is the final chapter, a prologue if you will. Kinda makes me sad since a lot of the manga i've been reading weekly for years is going to be ending in the next few weeks and months
    You mean epilogue. I hope this 'final' chapter consists out of several chapters spread over some week or in the least that it's double as long as normally, but honestly I fear for it. I love manga, but they seem to have a common decease: they suck at ending series.

    Seriously this is a series that has been running for 12 years, you expect something special to end it, but in most cases they rush through it in a few pages and leave the faith of many characters hanging and end with some kind of philosophical speech that no one understand.
     
         

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