English title: Kenichi - The Mightiest Disciple
Japanese title: Shijo Saikyo no Deshi Kenichi
Note: Based on a Japanese manga of the same title. The manga author is Syun Matsuena.
Year made: 2006
Number of episodes: 50
Genre(s): martial arts, shonen, action comedy
Recommended audience: 17 and up (violence, suggestive themes)
U.S. distributor: Funimation (English dubbed)
Where to watch: Official DVDs, Netflix Instant, Hulu.
Google Trends: Ranks much higher than Hero Tales but lower than Shaman King.
Countries/Regions of Popularity: Latin America (Mexico included), Taiwan and Japan.
Synopsis: 17-year-old Kenichi Shirahama, a popular bully target at school, decides to join a mysterious dojo to learn martial arts in order to defend himself. He soon discovers the martial arts school is run by a group of slightly crazy masters, who employ harsh and unorthodox methods to teach their students. While the training is borderline inhuman, Kenichi is able to persevere through his desire to be stronger and his love for Miu Furinji, who happens to be the granddaughter of the dojo's owner. Using the martial arts he learned, the youngster is able to defeat the Ragnarok -- a group of delinquents with powerful fighting skills. Along the way, he makes many new friends -- some of whom were former members of the Ragnarok.
Story/Direction: The story is very well paced with solid character developments and an interesting plot. There are lots of funny moments throughout each episode, allowing the viewers a breather from all the action. My attention was kept from beginning till the end.
Animation: Kenichi won't win any award for its animation, but the series is competently animated. The action scenes are depicted realistically enough and the character models are rarely off.
Music: Bad music can distract viewers from enjoying a series. I don't feel distracted by the music in Kenichi by any measurable amount. I especially enjoy the final ending song.
My Favorite Character: Akisame Koetsuji. He really reminds me of myself in his demeanor and love for the fine arts. Koetsuji is the most interesting of the six Ryozanpaku Dojo masters.
Final Comment: Even though this is an old series, it is truly a must-see for both fans of action anime and anime in general. You won't regret it.
Verdict: Two thumbs up!