The martial arts of Kengan Ashura

Some say that 3D anime action is not dynamic. then there is kengan ashura. There’s a reason this series has gained so many fans for its brutal, kinetic fights: the manga it faithfully adapts was written by Yabako Sandrovich, a true martial artist. Like the afternoon, great Sonny Chiba practicing karate in the 70s Toei action movie, Sandrovich and his illustrator darromeon meticulously constructed kengan ashuraThe fights of in the original manga, based on the experience and study in the field of martial arts from around the world.

Martial arts have been a major element in many anime over the years and have left a lasting mark on the medium. Fist of the North Star drew on Chinese kung-fu to create one of the founding series of ’80s anime, filled with over-the-top violence and muscular experts in martial techniques. Those same descriptors can easily be applied to kengan ashurathe successful manga written by Sandrovich and drawn by darromeonlater adapted to a popular Netflix-anime series distributed by the director seiji kishi and Larx Entertainment which stays remarkably close to the original material.

Yabako Sandrovich he’s an interesting guy. One of his previous works before writing manga, which also includes the feeling of everyday life. How heavy are the dumbbells you lift?, it was like a digger of ruins. most relevant to kengan ashurahe also has at least fourteen years of martial arts experience.

in the world of Kengan, international companies do business employing fighters to participate in a secret tournament of the world’s deadliest fighting styles. The selection of martial arts from around the world on display is not only a veritable buffet for those connoisseurs of fighting techniques, but comes from a background of understanding of what makes them tick. Let’s dive into some of the main fighters in the series and take a look at the way they fight.

The basis of the mixed martial arts fighting style practiced by the main character Tokita Ohma is a combination of two of the most popular and widespread Japanese martial arts: karate and jiu-jitsu. Developed by the Ryukyu kingdom in Okinawa, karate is known for its sudden, explosive strikes that release pent-up force in the form of powerful punches and kicks. Jiu-jitsu originates from the mainland of Honshu and focuses more on using the opponent’s momentum against him, redirecting his attacks and movements. The exact style Ohma uses that fuses these practices is the fictional “Niko style” of Sandrovich’s own invention, named after the famous city in Tochigi Prefecture. The Niko Style applies secret techniques to the standard karate-based punches and ax kicks that Ohma regularly performs to unleash a variety of superhuman abilities, and in the spirit of jiu-jitsu, to return enemy attacks back at them. Not only are the move types of these two Japanese martial arts correctly represented, but their core ethos is intact in this new fantasy-tinged mashup. I like Fist of the North Star before that, kengan ashura has taken actual martial arts and added a layer of prowess that only a manga character could possess.

Various styles of karate and jiu-jitsu form the basis of disciplines of choice for other notables, but let’s head south for a look at a fighter from Thailand, the home of another world-famous fighting style: Muay Thai. Kaolan Wongsawat is known as the “Thai God of War” in the world of Kengan. His moves incorporate the direct strikes of Western boxing, but are primarily based on the native Thai martial art dating back to before the 16th century. Using a combination of kneeing, elbowing opponents, and shin kicks, this close-quarters style has become a favorite of MMA fighters and was popularized in world cinema by the dazzlingly fast athleticism of the fighter. actor Tony Jaa Kaolan’s superhuman prowess with Muay Thai and ultra-fast “blink” jabs make him a dangerous man for any of the tournament participants to get close to.

Staying in Southeast Asia, let’s take a look at the martial art practiced by the boisterous character Saw Paing from Myanmar. Lethwei is a brutal type of bare-knuckle boxing that originated thousands of years ago in the ancient Pyu Empire of Myanmar, is used for both sport and warfare, and is still practiced to this day. According to Sandrovich’s author notes on the back of a manga issue featuring Saw Paing, he had heard in martial arts circles that Myanmar lethwei fighters were especially strong, which inspired him to create the character. Saw Paing’s exuberant personality balances the annihilation techniques he uses, making him a fan favorite.

Crossing the Pacific, we arrive in Brazil, a country home to a sizeable population of Japanese immigrants. This cultural exchange resulted in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the basis for the style used by Kengan’s character Imai Cosmo. Cosmo’s reputation as the “king of chokes” stems from a grip-focused aspect of the Brazilian style. desired position, placing them in a choke or padlock. It is this method that allows Cosmo, a smaller fighter, to dominate larger opponents.

The endearing and serious American street fighter Adam “The Emperor” Dudley uses a type of mixed martial arts geared towards forceful attack, and relies more on sheer force than any specific discipline. Hilariously, he fights on behalf of the “Boss Burger” corporation, whose CEO is a literal clown named Ronald. Very American!

Hailing from England, Mokichi Robinson uses Bartitsu, an archaic British martial art. Yes, there was a martial art developed in England in the Victorian era, although it has fallen into obscurity and is now best remembered through a misspelled reference to “Baritsu” in one of Arthur Conan DoyleSherlock Holmes novels. Its real-life inventor was an Englishman named Edward W. Barton-Wright who visited Meiji-era Japan when it was just opening up to the West and fell in love with Japanese martial arts. Barton-Wright modestly named Bartitsu after him, combining his last name with “jiu-jitsu”. It was a mixed martial art that incorporated the aforementioned Japanese style, Western boxing, French Savate, and others. Robinson’s use of it is a deep cut, showing the kind of research that went into creating it.

Returning to Japan, we meet one of the series’ darker characters, former police officer Akoya Seishu. Akoya uses taiho-jutsu, literally “the art of arresting,” a restraint-focused martial art taught to Japanese policemen. While the use of taiho-jutsu is intended as a non-lethal subjugation alternative, Akoya’s personal extremism led him to turn it into a deadly execution technique. Police brutality is a loaded topic, and kengan ashura dives headfirst through one of his most horrific characters. Is there a thinly veiled subtext? Is it pure exploitation? Regardless, Akoya stands as one of the most thought-provoking characters in the series.

On a lighter note, the pro wrestling “fighting style” used by charismatic fan-favorite Sekibayashi Jun isn’t (sorry to burst everyone’s bubble) real. The organization itself describes WWE-style wrestling as “sports entertainment,” a form of scripted theater that uses the illusion of wrestling to tell a story. in the world of kengan ashura, Sekibayashi is able to successfully take on world-class fighters using methods that wouldn’t work in reality, which shows Sandrovich’s true attitude towards all of this. The fighting technique is important, but what is more important is the entertainment for the audience. kengan ashura it’s a world where you can suspend your disbelief that a professional fighter is actually fighting and winning against people trained in deadly martial arts styles. It’s a fantasy that incorporates enough reality to be dynamic and interesting, but is heightened and deliberately ridiculous in a way that you can’t get from watching an MMA fight. Yes, there are unrealistic things in kengan ashura, and a martial arts fan like Sandrovich knows it. He put them there because a character like Sekibayashi is fun, and by extension, so is this wild and entertaining series.

As of this writing, a long-awaited third season of the anime has been announced to finish adapting the original run of the manga. It’s been a hiatus of a few years, but martial arts are timeless, and in the meantime the manga is worth reading. As exaggerated and crazy as its narrative and aesthetics become, kengan ashura was born and thrives on a reverence for the world’s fighting styles in whatever form, a respectful celebration of martial arts and its appeal as much as a fantastic exaggeration of its entertainment value.

Raffael Coronelli is an out-of-practice First Dan Black Belt in Taekwondo, author of How to Have an Adventure in Northern Japan, Daikaiju Yuki, and other books, and has contributed essays to Blu-ray releases of arrow video. Follow: @raffleupagus