Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
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|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)
|Genre||Martial arts, Comedy, Romance|
|Written by||Syun Matsuena|
|Magazine||Weekly Shōnen Sunday|
|Original run||August 9, 2002 – September 17, 2014|
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Hajime Kamegaki|
|Licensed by|| Funimation Entertainment
|English network||Funimation Channel|
|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|
Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple (史上最強の弟子 ケンイチ Shijō Saikyō no Deshi: Kenichi?) is a Japanese manga by Syun Matsuena serialized in the weekly manga magazine Shōnen Sunday from August 2002 to September 2014.
This manga is a remake of Tatakae! Ryōzanpaku Shijō Saikyō no Deshi (戦え!梁山泊 史上最強の弟子?, lit. Fight! Ryōzanpaku, History's Strongest Disciple), which was serialized in the monthly manga magazine Shōnen Sunday Super, publishing five tankōbon between 2000 and 2002.
The first tankōbon was published on August 9, 2002. An anime adaptation by Tokyo Movie Shinsha aired 50 episodes from October 2006 to September 2007. Brain's Base produced OVAs for the series, which continue from the Ragnarok Arc. The first OVA was released on March 14, 2012, the second OVA was released on June 18, 2012, and a third OVA was released on November 16, 2012. The fourth and fifth OVA were released as a double feature 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 story focuses on Kenichi Shirahama, an average 16-year-old high school student who has been picked on his whole life. However, on his first day of class, he meets and befriends the mysterious transfer student, Miu Fūrinji. Driven by his desire to become stronger, he follows her to Ryōzanpaku, a dojo housing several masters of diverse martial arts, led by her grandfather Hayato Fūrinji, who is known as the strongest man on Earth. After learning basics from Miu, Kenichi is able to beat 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 get stronger and protect himself, Kenichi eventually becomes a full-fledged disciple of Ryōzanpaku, working hard to fulfill his oath to protect the ones in need, especially Miu, with whom he falls in love. Subsequently, Kenichi's daily routine is divided between hellish training under the six masters of Ryōzanpaku, and his fights against the members of Ragnarok, a gang that views him as either a possible ally or an impending threat to their plans.
Some time after Ragnarok is disbanded, Kenichi and Miu are targeted by Yomi, a group of disciples who are each personally trained by a master of an even bigger 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 defeating an opponent is valid by any means including murder (Satsujin-ken). Caught in the struggle between the two factions, Kenichi, Miu and their ever growing team of allies join forces to fight the members of Yomi, while his masters confront the members of Yami in a battle to decide the future of the martial arts' world.
The series makes use of several in-universe concepts including:
- Dou (動?)
- The word "Dou" means motion. A Dou-type martial artist uses raw emotion to exceed their limits. As such, they are usually aggressive in combat, and very rarely strays from the offensive. At some cases, they are even bestial, as seen with Miu and Kisara, after experiencing intense emotional trauma and frustration, respectively. Users seem to rely heavily on instincts and brute strength when fighting. Dou fighters have a technique for reading the opponent's movements which relies on exciting themselves that's an equivalent to a Sei fighter's Ryusui Seikuken. 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. It appears that Dou types are more prone to move onto the path of Asura (the killing path), because they fight with anger, and can hardly control themselves when fighting. However, Sakaki, Apachai and Miu are able to uphold the principles of Katsujin-ken because of their own natural sense of kindness.
- Sei (静?)
- The word "Sei" means silence. A Sei-type martial artist fights not with power or anger, but with finesse, technique and wit. They focus their attention on changes in the environment and unleash their skill in response to imminent danger. These traits are evident in Kensei, Akisame, Hayato, and Kenichi. This principle requires a state of calmness and clarity of mind. Ryūto Asamiya also seems to usually be a fighter of the Sei class, but due to an experiment conducted by his master Ogata, he tried to embody the ki of both Sei and Dou styles at the same time, with severe consequences to his body.
- 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 as well with no success.
- Killing Fist (殺人拳 Satsujin-ken?)
- Literally "the Death giving fist". The yin belief that generally bare-handed martial arts were created to kill and destroy. The general term (for both bare-handed and weapon based martial arts) is Satsujindo. Depite this a follower is not obliged to kill an opponent. Yami embodies this principle and recognizes that it cannot prove that satsujin-ken is the true meaning of martial arts without defeating Ryozanpaku, who embodies the principle of katsujin-ken.
- Saving Fist (活人拳 Katsujin-Ken?)
- Literally "the Life giving fist". The yang belief that generally bare-handed martial arts were created to save and protect lives. The general term (for both bare-handed and weapon based martial arts) is Katsujindo. Despite this the only 2 guidelines are to not kill and to not be killed. Even without the resources and manpower of Yami, the masters of Ryozanpaku are bent on upholding this principle.
The manga series is written and illustrated by Syun Matsuena. The manga is serialized in Shogakukan's weekly shōnen manga magazine Shōnen Sunday from August 2002 and currently more than five-hundred chapters has been serialized. The series ended with the release of its 583rd chapter, on September 13, 2014. The story of manga focuses on Kenichi Shirahama an average 17-year-old high school student who has been picked on but after meeting mysterious transfer student, Miu Fūrinji and following her advice of joining a dojo named Ryōzanpaku (梁山泊?) which changes his life.
The manga is a remake of Tatakae! Ryōzanpaku Shijō Saikyō no Deshi (戦え!梁山泊 史上最強の弟子?, lit. Fight! Ryōzanpaku, History's Strongest Disciple), which was serialized in the monthly manga magazine Shōnen Sunday Super.
Shogakukan has released chapters in tankōbon format under Shōnen Sunday Comics (少年サンデーコミックス?) imprint and as of now 57 volumes has been published. The first volume was published on August 9, 2002, and the latest on August 18, 2014. Kodansha also released limited edition versions of several volumes beginning with volume 35. The series is licensed in France by Kurokawa.
An anime adaptation of Kenichi: History's Strongest Disciple animated by Tokyo Movie Shinsha first started airing 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. FUNimation has dubbed the series. All 50 episodes have been released as of May 25, 2010.
The series made its North American television debut when it aired on FUNimation Channel starting October 26, 2009. All 50 episodes have been shown.
An OVA produced by Brain Base was released 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 have been announced and 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).
- "史上最強の弟子ケンイチ / 1" [History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi Vol. 1] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- "史上最強の弟子ケンイチ/ 57" [History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi 57] (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "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.
- Official Kenichi anime site for TV-Tokyo (Japanese)
- Official Kenichi anime site for TMS (Japanese)
- episode list (Japanese)
- Official New White Union site (Japanese)
- Official Syun Matsuena site (Japanese)
- Official Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple site
- DVD Kenichi: Box Set DVD site (Japanese)
- " release date for Shijō Saikyō no Deshi Kenichi (OAV)" (Japanese)
- Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple (manga) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia