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Nanto Seiken (南斗聖拳?, lit. "Sacred Fist of the South Dipper" and also romanized as Nanto Sei Ken) is a fictional martial arts style featured prominently in the manga and anime series Fist of the North Star. It is the opposite style of Hokuto Shinken, the main fighting style of the series. While Hokuto Shinken focuses on pressure points to destroy an enemy from within, Nanto Seiken teaches how to defeat opponents externally. This style not only incorporates weaponry, but the more advanced styles allow fighters to annihilate enemies with their bare hands through air pressure. The Nanto Seiken style is named after the Chinese asterism Nanto Rokusei (南斗六星, lit. "Six Stars of the Southern Dipper"), a portion of Sagittarius known as the Milk Dipper in the West. The six primary successors of Nanto Seiken in the story are known as the Nanto Roku Seiken (南斗六聖拳, Six Sacred Fists of the South Star). Other Nanto practitioners include the Golan Colonel, Amiba, Yuda's lieutenant Dagarl, the knife-jugglers Beji and Giji, and the Harn Bros.
In the official English versions of Fist of the North Star it is referred to as the Fist of the Southern Cross or Fist of the South Star, depending on the translator. The former is used in the Viz edition of the English manga and the live-action movie, whereas the latter is used in the English dub of the anime. The Raijin Master Edition alternates between the two names, using Southern Cross in the early volumes and South Star for the rest. While the Nanto asterism is unrelated to the Southern Cross, the Southern Cross itself serves as the symbol of Nanto Seiken in the series and it is also name of Shin's city.
Nanto Seiken was originally the martial art style used by Shin, the first major antagonist in the series. According to the backstory provided, Nanto Seiken, along with the Hokuto Shinken, are the two most powerful assassination styles in Chinese martial arts. It follows a different principle from Hokuto Shinken, in which it has the power to destroy an enemy's body from the outside through powerful stabbing techniques, as opposed to Hokuto Shinken's use of the body's accupressure points to destroy the enemy from within. Its name serves to reflect its opposite nature from Hokuto Shinken (Hokuto is the North Dipper, whereas Nanto is the South). While Kenshiro and Shin were taught to never fight each other, Shin broke the rules by defeating Ken in order to claim Yuria (Ken's fiancée) for his own. The first story arc centers around Ken's quest to reclaim Yuria from Shin.
After Shin's death, many other Nanto styles and fighters were introduced in order to expand the story beyond the initial ten chapters. These styles, such as Nanto Muon Ken and Nanto Suichō Ken, are established as factions of the main Nanto Seiken martial art school. The organization structure of Nanto Seiken school is eventually established in manga chapter 80. There are over 108 branch factions of Nanto Seiken, with the masters of the six primary martial art branches known as the Six Sacred Fists of Nanto (南斗六聖拳, Nanto Roku Seiken). At some point in history, each of the original Sacred Fists was a guardian of one of six gates at an Emperor's castle whose fate was tied to one of the six Nanto stars. After the nuclear war that occurred before the beginning of the series, the Nanto Seiken practitioners, including the Sacred Fists, were largely split between two ideals: to seek peace in the post-nuclear era or to conquer the world for the sake of power. When Juda, one of the Sacred Fists, betrayed the Nanto Seiken school by joining Raoh's forces (along with 27 subordinate factions), the fates of the other Sacred Fists became tragic. It was later revealed that Thouzer, the leader of the Sacred Fists and of the Nanto Seiken school, manipulated Juda into committing the betrayal for his own ends.
The story arc after Juda's and Rei's deaths (chapters 83-97) centers around the rivalry between two of the remaining masters: the benevolent Shū and his arch-enemy Thouzer, strongest of the Nanto warriors. After the death of Thouzer, the Last General of Nanto (南斗最後の将, Nanto Saigo no Shō) appears to confront Raoh. The Last General is revealed to be none other than the previously thought-to-be-dead Yuria, a descendant of the Rightful Nanto Lineage (南斗正当血統, Nanto Seitō Kettō).
Nanto Roku Seiken
Nanto Koshū Ken
Shin's style. Nanto Koshū Ken (南斗孤鷲拳, South Dipper Lone Eagle Fist) is an orthodox style of Nanto Seiken. It focuses on stabbing and thrusting attacks, seemingly being most useful through direct contact. The style also seems to use flying kicks, as seen during a flashback in both the manga and anime, and as the Nanto Gokuto Ken/Nanto Gokusatsu Ken Ougi (special technique) which uses an air pressure wave/ki to cut and disable the opponent. This branch of the Nanto Seiken was originally unnamed in the original manga and anime. The designation Nanto Koshū Ken was first used in the 1986 publication Hokuto no Ken Special: All About the Man and has been used in every official Hokuto no Ken source since then. Shin mentions its name for the first time on-screen in the 2007 OVA Yuria Den.
- Nanto Gokuto Ken (南斗獄屠拳, "South Dipper Hell Slaughter Fist") - The technique Shin used against Kenshiro when he took Yuria away from him. Its actually a flying kick which temporarily disables the enemy by cutting the joints in their arms and legs. It is renamed Nanto Gokusatsu Ken (南斗獄殺拳, "South Dipper Hell's Death Fist"; the original name of the attack was considered offensive to burakumin (traditional butchers of animals)) in the 1980s anime series and movie. In the series Shin performs this technique against Ken during their rematch, but proves ineffective the second time around.
- Nanto Senshu Ryūgeki (南斗千首龍撃, "South Dipper Thousand Dragon Head Attacks") - A series of rapid hand stabbing techniques. The first technique Shin uses in his rematch with Ken. Its name is given in the anime series, as it was unnamed in the original manga.
- Nanto Hien Zan (南斗飛燕斬, "South Dipper Flying Swallow Slash") - A powerful flying kick used against a group of revolting thugs in episode 21 of the TV series. Essentially, an upwards Gokuto Ken.
- Nanto Hiryū Ken (南斗飛竜拳, "South Dipper Flying Dragon Fist") - A series of rapid fists used by Shin against General Barcom in episode 21 of the TV series to counter a technique that gives Barcom the strength of steel. The result of the attack makes his enemy crack all over like rock before Shin deals a finishing blow. It is modelled on Kenshiro's own Hokuto Hyakuretsu Dan from the second chapter of the Hokuto no Ken manga pilot, which in turn was the prototype for Kenshiro's trademark technique, the Hokuto Hyakuretsu Ken.
- Nanto Shishū Zan (南斗施鷲斬, "South Dipper Alm Eagle Fist") - Shin won his successorship at the Nanto Jūnin Kumite with this flying strike. Appears in the Yuria Gaiden manga.
- Nanto Raishinshou - This move is seen only in the Fist of the North Star Arcade Game. Appears to be an aura blast to the ground, resulting in an upward attack.
Nanto Suichō Ken
Rei's style. Nanto Suichō Ken (南斗水鳥拳, South Dipper Waterbird Fist, also translated as Swan Fist or Waterfowl Fist) is the most graceful of the Nanto Seiken styles. With a focus on grace and aerial attacks, its primary usage is for close-range attacks. Like many other Nanto styles, it uses the hands or air pressure to split the body into pieces.
- Nanto Ko Ha Ryū (南斗虎破龍, "South Dipper Tiger Destroys Dragon") - A technique Rei performs after witnessing Kenshiro's Seikyokurin stance. It causes its target to fall into a state of false death. Rei performs this technique in conjunction with Kenshiro's Hokuto Ryū Geki Ko ("North Dipper Dragon Attacks Tiger") to deceive the Fang Tribe.
- Danko Sōsai Ken (断己相殺拳, "Self-Sacrifice Offset Fist") - A technique that kills an opponent at the expense of the user. It would've killed Raoh if it had actually been used successfully.
- Suzaku Tenshō (朱雀展翔, "Expansive Flight of the Red Sparrow") - A face-cutting technique Rei uses against Yuda. Unnamed in the original manga, named in the anime series.
- Hien Ryūbu (飛燕流舞, "The Flowing Dance of the Flying Swallow") - Rei performs this technique in a demonstration in front of other Nanto students, leaving them impressed and Yuda both envious and enamoured.
- Hishō Hakurei (飛翔白麗, "Soaring White Loveliness") - The ultimate Suichō Ken technique. A jumping mid-air double stabbing attack which serves as the killing blow that defeated Yuda.
Nanto Kōkaku Ken
Juda's style. Nanto Kōkaku Ken (南斗紅鶴拳, South Dipper Crimson Crane Fist, also translated as the Flamingo Fist) is an elegant style based on long-ranged, vertical attacks. It has a wide, vertical attack range and seems to cause more damage when used for vertical slices. This style is said to be so fast that the shockwave from an attack can split an enemy from the back.
- Denshō Reppa (伝衝裂波, "Legendary Thrust Split Wave") - A slicing, long-range, vacuum wave attack that could slice an ordinary human to shreds. The effect is such that the ground is split as the attack moves towards the target. This is Juda's best known and most useful technique. Kenshiro later uses this technique against Shū after witnessing its use by Juda in battle. In the anime series, Raoh has also learned this technique and uses it against Kenshiro. This technique is unnamed in the manga.
- Kesshō Shi (血粧嘴, "Blood-Tainted Beak") - The ultimate Nanto Kōkaku Ken attack. In the original manga and TV series, Juda was about to perform this technique on Rei before he was defeated. Due to its uncompleted status in the original manga, this technique was the subject of much speculation by various spin-off material (i.e. manga, video games). In the Fist of the North Star PunchMania game, the technique is depicted as similar to the "crane's break" strike (two-hand finger strike) in the White Crane martial art style. In the 2005 Fist of the North Star fighting game, the technique is assumed to be a psycho crusher-style human torpedo attack. In the spin-off series Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh, the technique is shown as a two-handed rapid hand stabbing attack similar to Shin's Nanto Senshu Ryūgeki. Although the series portrays this as an aerial attack, it can presumably be used from a standing position as well.
- Nanto Yōsō Hazan (南斗鷹爪破斬, "South Dipper Hawk Talon Rip Slash") - A technique that cuts a target opponent at close range in half, vertically, from the back. Juda used this technique to dispatch his lieutenant Dagarl when the latter attempted to attack him in revenge for being betrayed. This technique was unnamed in the manga and anime, having been named in the Fist of the North Star arcade fighting game.
- Tenketsu Baku (点穴駁, "Pressing Point Refute") - A technique that Juda about to use on Raoh from behind, but intercepted by Souga and Ryuga in the manga Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh. Juda began the technique with his arms outstretched towards Raoh and his hands clenched into claws. Other than that, nothing is known about this technique.
Nanto Hakurō Ken
Shū's style. Nanto Hakurō Ken (南斗白鷺拳, South Dipper White Heron Fist) is primarily a kicking martial art, but Shū also displays the use of hand-slicing techniques as well. The user can attack a wide range around them, even a spinning kick that decimates those around them.
- Yūgen Shō (誘幻掌, "Alluring Illusion Palm") - An illusonary move used to confuse opponents. In the film Raō Den: Jun'ai no Shō, Shū is seen striking Kenshiro with a series of multiple images in a redo of the flashback scene (whereas in the original, the move is a series of jabbing stabs).
- Nanto Rekkyaku Kūbu (南斗烈脚空舞, "South Dipper Air Dance of the Fierce Feets") - Shū's primary technique. A spinning kick.
- Nanto Rekkyaku Zanjin (南斗烈脚斬陣, "South Dipper Beheading Formation of the Fierce Feet") - A spinning kick which beheads all surrounding enemies.
Nanto Hōō Ken
Thouzer's style. Nanto Hō-Ō Ken (南斗鳳凰拳, South Dipper Phoenix Fist) is the most powerful martial art style of the Nanto Seiken school. It is a free-form style, without stances or forced routine. Due to the lack of stance, this style has no defense against attacks, instead focusing only on pure speed and offensive power. The user has the ability to glide forward, leading into a powerful scissor attack.
This style is taught in the ways of Isshi Sōden (一子相伝), which roughly translates as 'there can absolutely be only one successor to this style'; this means that the student must kill his teacher once he has learned all there is to know of the style. Presumably, this tradition of having only one practitioner is meant to symbolize the phoenix's legendary ability to be reborn with each new incarnation.
The master of this style is considered to be the leader of the Six Sacred Fists of Nanto and the nominal head of the Nanto Seiken school as a whole.
- Kyokusei Jūji Ken (極星十字拳, "Pole Star Cross Fist") - An attack which leaves a cross-shaped wound on the opponent's chest.
- Tenshō Jūji Hō (天翔十字鳳, "Heaven-Soaring Cross Phoenix") - The style's ultimate technique. Thouzer takes a stance with his arms held out evenly, like a cross. As the name suggests, it is launched into a powerful aerial attack. This is the only fighting stance taken by Thouzer, and is only taken when a worthy opponent appears. This technique makes the user so light and graceful he can glide over any physical attack.
- Nanto Yushō Gaku (南斗悠翔嶽, "South Dipper Distant Soaring Peak") - A rapid hand stabbing attack, used against Raoh in the spin-off manga Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh.
Nanto Saigo no Shō
The Last General of Nanto Roku Seiken (南斗六聖拳最後の将 Nanto Roku Seiken Saigo no Shō?) is a title held by the last surviving member of the Nanto Rokusei. The identity of the Last General is revealed to be the thought-to-be-deceased Yuria, Kenshiro's fiancée. Yuria is in fact a descendant of the Rightful Nanto Blood. As a retcon of an earlier storyline, Yuria survived her suicide attempt, saved by the Nanto Goshasei. With the threat of Raoh's impending invasion, Shin leaves Yuria in the Goshasei's custody. Shin would then fight and die against Kenshiro, pretending Yuria had died to protect her whereabouts. Despite being one of the Nanto Roku Seiken, Yuria has no martial art skills. However, she does display empathic abilities in the manga and in Yuria Den, she is shown to have precognitive abilities as well. Her purpose was to heal rather than destroy; in this case, heal the hearts of even the villainous people such as Shin and Raoh. But, it is implied in the anime that her abilities can do physical healing as well, when she helped Balga and many other injured soldiers in Raoh's army.
The five guardians of the Last Nanto General are each trained in their own unique fighting styles. With the exception of Jūza, who uses a self-taught style, the origins of each of the Goshasei's fighting styles are never fully explained. They are not counted among the 108 sects of Nanto Seiken. However, their techniques can "cut" like the Nanto Technique with the exception of Ocean Style. Hyuui and Shuren manipulate wind and flame respectively to slice their opponents, whereas Fudou fractures his opponents with brute force. Juza's self-taught style focuses on wrestling techniques, contorting and breaking his enemies. In the TV series, Rihaku veritably uses powerful flying kicks and lunges befitting a tidal wave.
Other Nanto styles and techniques
The Nanto Seiken, as previously mentioned, is composed of over 108 sects. However, only a few of them outside the Roku Seiken are featured in the manga. The majority of the Nanto Seiken styles were featured in the Hokuto no Ken anime series, as well as spin-off manga such as Ten no Haō and Rei Gaiden.
In the original manga
- Nanto Muon Ken (南斗無音拳, South Dipper Silent Fist) - The GOLAN Colonel's style. Called by the Colonel as the "strongest assassination technique", the Colonel's fighting style centers primarily around the use of weapons such as claws and boomerangs. In addition, the Colonel is able to move without a sound (hence the name).
- Nanto Jarō Geki (南斗邪狼撃, South Dipper Wicked Wolf Attack) - A Nanto Seiken stabbing and slicing technique Jagi used against Ken during their second battle. It was unnamed in the original manga and anime and its only designated Jarō Geki in the Fist of the North Star arcade fighting game. Kenshiro remarks that Jagi's Nanto Seiken technique is "slow" and an "insult to Shin's style".
- Yōsō Sankaku Kyaku (鷹爪三角脚, Hawk Talon Triangle Kick) - A Nanto Seiken technique used by Amiba, a former Nanto student. An off-the-wall jump kick. Amiba's Nanto Seiken style is never given a name in the original, however in the spinoff Rei Gaiden it is revealed he was a student of Nanto Suichō Ken.
- Nanto Hiyoku Ken (南斗比翼拳, South Dipper Conjoined Wing Fist) - The style of Dagarl, Yuda's lieutenant. One of the 27 subordinate sects of Nanto Kōkaku Ken. Its name is given in the spinoff manga, Ten no Haō. It is named after the mythical Chinese Conjoined Bird (比翼鳥, Pinyin: Bǐ Yì Niǎo).
- Nanto Sōzan Ken (南斗双斬拳, South Dipper Twin Kill Fist) - The fighting style used by Beji and Giji, two of Souther's underlings. This style is composed primarily of juggling the knives back and fort between its two successors.
- Nanto Sōyō Ken (南斗双鷹拳, South Dipper Twin Hawk Fist) - The fighting style of the Harn Bros. Mentioned in the manga, it is only seen in action in the anime and emphasizes on cutting in a cross motion (cutting both vertical and horizontal simultaneously). Its special attack includes a joined aerial drop called the Sō-u Rakusō Ha (双羽落爪破, Paired Feather Drop Claw Rip). As with Fuuga and Raiga, the Harn Bros fight in a paired coordinated formation.
In the anime series
- Nanto Kōmori Ken (南斗蝙蝠拳, South Dipper Bat Fist) - Unique to the anime series. Used by two of Patra's henchmen. The Bat Fist involves the usage of gliders and claws. Mainly involves diving down onto the opponent.
- Nanto Ryūjin Ken (南斗龍神拳, South Dipper Dragon God Fist) - A set of styles used by Patra and Drago in the anime only. Drago's style involves the use of pyrokinesis, in which the user can safely engulf his skin in flames to destroy his opponent, as well as use fire-breathing techniques. Patra's part of this style involves witchcraft. The user apparently could use small crystal orbs to give the illusion of a dragon, which would be hiding knives or flames.
- Nanto Bakusatsu Ken (南斗爆殺拳, South Dipper Explosive Kill Fist) - A Nanto style which exists only in the anime. The Bakusatsu Ken is Jackal's fighting style, which specializes in the usage of concealed blades and explosives. In the original manga, Jackal was only an average thug with no real ties to Shin or the Nanto Seiken school. In the anime, Kenshiro makes a sarcastic remark to Jackal's style and asks if dynamite is a martial art; implying it may not actually be a nanto technique.
- Nanto Hyakuzan Ken (南斗百斬拳, South Dipper Hundred Slash Fist) - Unique to the anime series. Hyakuzan Ken is Dante's Nanto style, who trained together with Shin. Dante's techniques consists of stabbing and boomerang attacks.
- Nanto Anshō Ken (南斗暗鐘拳, South Dipper Dark Bell Fist) - Unique to the anime series. Zaria's style The Dark Bell Fist is based on use of sound waves and hypnosis. The style's sound waves tend to come from bells. It kills by causing the cells in the body to destroy themselves, thus cutting its intended target.
- Nanto Fūsha Zan (南斗風車斬, South Dipper Windmill Slash) - Unique to the anime series. The style of Baron, leader of the Scorpions. It involves the use of a large two headed axe.
- Nanto Jaben Ken (南斗蛇鞭拳, South Dipper Snake Whip Fist) - Unique to the anime series. The style of Junk, leader of the Snakes. As its name indicates, it user wields a snake-shaped whip.
- Nanto Ningen Hōdan (南斗人間砲弾, South Dipper Human Cannonball) - Unique to the anime series. Used by Garekkī and the Gold Wolf army. Closer to a move than a style. It involves the user being equipped with a sword and fired into the air via cannon. The user, upon getting above his target, can hold their sword outwards and drop down suddenly and with great, violent force. This is more of a siege style than a fighting style.
- Nanto Ressha Hō (南斗列車砲, South Dipper Train Cannon) - Unique to the anime series. Used by Tōda. It's not a martial arts at all, but an artillery used against Kenshiro during journey to Southern Cross.
- Nanto Shōten Ken (南斗翔天拳, South Dipper Ascension Fist) - Unique to the anime series. Joker's fighting style. It consist of the usage of playing cards, which are his main forms of cutting; teleportation and mirror imaging techniques.
In the Hokuto Gaiden series
- Nanto Hien Ken (南斗飛燕拳, South Dipper Flying Swallow Fist) - Appears in the spin-off manga series Ten no Haō. Used by Hakka and Riron, two of Souther's soldiers. This style specializes in mid-air stabbing techniques. The secret technique Sōen Ranbu (双燕乱舞, "Paired Swallow Chaotic Dance") enables two practitioners to attack an opponent from two opposite sides.
- Nanto Shunga Ken (南斗隼牙拳, South Dipper Falcon Fang Fist) - Appears in the Ten no Haō anime. Used by Habaki. The secret technique of this style is Senpuga (旋風牙, "Whirlwind Fang"), which decimates enemies with a hurricane blast.
- Nanto Ryūō Ken (南斗流鴎拳, South Dipper Flowing Seagull Fist) - Appears in the Ten no Haō manga series. Used by Ryūrō, a former general once known as the Wise Leader of the South Dipper (南斗の智将, Nanto no Jishō). This style uses several mid-air techniques, including the secret technique Shishōzan (嘴翔斬, "Beak Soaring Slash"), a dive that attacks an opponent as the user passes.
- Nanto Kōjaku Ken (南斗紅雀拳, South Dipper Red Munia Fist) - Appears in the spin-off manga series Sōkoku no Garō. Used by Zan, a mercenary of Asgarzul, the fortress-city of women, and a henchman of Rofū, Rei's former master. The stance of this style gives the illusion of multiple arms in the eyes of opponents. One of the secret techniques of this style was Takusatsu Rappa (啄殺乱破, "Peck Kill Chaotic Destruction"), a rapid hand strike attack.
- Nanto Hisui Ken (南斗翡翠拳, South Dipper Kingfisher Fist) - Appears in the Fist of the North Star Rei Gaiden - The Splendid Avenger one-shot. It specializes in kicking techniques, similar to Nanto Hakurō Ken. The successor of this style is Karen, a female martial artist who was one of the many soldiers in the Ken-oh Invasion Squad. Karen's predecessor was her older brother, Masaya, who joined Shū's rebellion and was later killed by Souther's forces. The only known secret technique of this style was a downward somersault kick named Nanto Raikyaku Zanpujin (南斗雷脚斬風陣, "South Dipper Thunder Kick Slash Wind Position").
- Nise ・Nanto Seiken (偽・南斗聖拳, False Sacred Fist of the South Dipper) - Introduced in the novel Kenshiro Gaiden. Used by Zaimu, a former war criminal turned warlord. Although seemingly formidable, this style is not officially part of the Nanto Seiken school and is actually rather weak when compared to true Nanto Seiken styles. Techniques in this style include Nanto Senjushō (南斗千手掌, "South Dipper Thousand Hand Palm"), a rapid hand strike attack, and Nise ・Nanto Gokuto Ken (偽・南斗獄屠拳, "False South Dipper Hell Slaughter Fist"), a weak imitation of Nanto Koshū Ken's technique.
- Nanto Yakyo Ken (南斗夜梟拳, South Dipper Night Owl Fist) - Introduced in the novel Kenshiro Gaiden. Used by Beaumont, the leader of the Dark Emperor's army. This style has two stances - one imitating an owl's quick, silent wings (quick arm strikes) and another imitating the owl's powerful swooping talons (powerful kicks). The secret technique of this style is Retsujū Shi (裂獣嘴, "Crack Beast Beak"), where the user places his palms together in front of his head while spinning towards his opponent.
- Nanto Kokuchō Ken (南斗黒烏拳, South Dipper Black Crow Fist) - Introduced in the novel Kenshiro Gaiden. Used by the Dark Emperor Shuuma, the current identity of Cohen. This style is extremely violent in nature and can cut opponents to shreds very quickly. Two secret techniques demonstrated by this style are Koku-u Sho (黒羽翔, "Black Feather Soar"), a two-palm attack on an opponent's eyes, and Kokuchō Senbu (黒烏千舞, "Black Crow Thousand Dance"), a dizzying myriad attack with both hands and feet imitating an attacking murder of crows.
- Nanto Hakushū Ken (南斗白鷲拳, South Dipper White Eagle Fist) - Introduced in the novel Kenshiro Gaiden. Used by the descendants of the d'Arda who have preserved this martial art style since it was banished from the main Nanto Seiken school 800 years ago. This style relies heavily on hypnosis and illusions. Secret techniques of this style include Senju Gensatsu Sou (千手幻殺爪, "Thousand Hand Illusion Kill Claw"), a slicing arm attack that seemingly comes from thousands of arms.