The original one shot prototype of Hokuto no Ken, published in the April 1983 edition of Fresh Jump, was set in 1980's Japan and told the story of a teenager by the name of Kenshiro Kasumi (霞 拳四郎 Kasumi Kenshirō), the successor of the "Hokuto Shin Ken" martial arts style, a deadly style which kills or cripples opponents internally by striking pressure points. Kenshiro's main adversaries in this incarnation of the story were a rival martial arts school known as the Taizanji Kenpo (泰山寺拳法, "Taishan Temple Martial Arts"), a secret organization of assassins with influence over the Japanese government and control over the police. Kenshiro's girlfriend, Yuki, becomes a witness in one of the organization's assassinations and is subsequently killed by the culprit named Goda, with Kenshiro being framed for the crime. This event serves as a catalyst for Kenshiro's war against the Taizanji organization.
A second one-shot, titled Hokuto no Ken II, was published in the June 1983 issue of Fresh Jump. Both pilots were collected in the second collected volume of Tetsu no Don Quixote (Tetsuo Hara's prior manga series before Hokuto no Ken). The plot of the second pilot follows from the first, with a slightly older Kenshiro (wearing a Mad Max-type leather costume similar to that of the later series) aiding a pair of escaped Taizan assassins and battling the Taizanji's ultimate assassin, Kinbu Baiken.
Tetsuo Hara has stated that he came up with the idea of Hokuto no Ken from his editor Nobuhiko Horie. According to Hara, Horie suggested to him that he should draw a manga about "a martial artist who destroys his opponents by striking their acupressure points" based on Hara's wishes to draw a martial arts manga and his knowledge of pressure points.
Influences in later worksEdit
Although not part of the later Hokuto no Ken canon, aspects of the pilot were used in later Hokuto no Ken works.
- The Taizan style appear through the manga series as the martial art style of several characters such as Uighur, Ryuga, and Hiruka.
- The scene where Kenshiro saves Ryu and Yoko from Denki was used as a template for a similar scene in episode 10 of the anime series, where Kenshiro saves Sam and Mika from Dragon.
- Barcom, the General of King's Army in the anime series, was based on Baiken Kinbu. The fight between Kenshiro Kasumi and Baiken Kinbu from the second episode of the pilot was used as a template for the fight between Shin and Barcom in episode 21 of the anime.
- The character of Goda was re-envisioned as a nameless minion of Amiba who was granted the strength of a bear through a vital point experiment in episode 33 of the anime.
- The surname Kasumi (霞) is used in Fist of the Blue Sky as the surname for the family of Hokuto Shinken successors (Tesshin, Kenshiro, and Ramon).
- Uighur and young Jagi appear to draw inspiration from Goda and Baiken respectively.