Every day life is harsh for high school student Kenichi Shirihama. Known as the “Olympic Punching Bag” Kenichi has to sneak in and out of school every day to avoid being ejected from the planet by angry martial art thugs, and members of the schools most notorious gang Ragnarok. While at school, he meets a new student named Miu Furinji, who offers to help him seek out the martial arts training he needs to take care of his ever growing problem of foes.
The weakest kid is school also happens to be the most naïve in school. Kenichi is a kid with many names, none of which are good for marketing value. The story starts off in a somewhat typical Anime fashion that gives viewers a prequel type of buffer for the first few episodes. The series itself doesn’t really have anything of special significance plot or action wise until around the 10th episode. However, Kenichi is also a comedy with plenty of ecchi that TMS Entertainment figures will keep people watching until the story picks-up some traction.
Kenichi takes a play from the popular 1984 Karate Kid movie where Mr. Miyagi offers to train Daniel Larusso after being beaten up by local high school bullies. This sets the foundation for the first half of the 50 episode series. After being bullied by the local karate club members, Kenichi gets the opportunity to train from six martial arts masters who all specialize in different styles ranging from Judo to Muay Thai boxing. The training sessions focus on the rigorous exercises each master puts Kenichi through to make him stronger. These training sessions get put into use during each of his fights to help him find ways to eek out small victories against each opponent he faces in the series.
Once the series starts to take off Kenichi gets into fights that escalate into more trouble. The comedy for the series is mostly played out Niijima, who befriends Kenichi mostly for his own selfish reasons to gain information and eventually use Kenichi’s rise to power as a ploy to create his own network of gang members. This leads to Kenichi having to do battle with the leaders of the most powerful gang in town known as Ragnarok. While the fight scenes are set-up to have potential for great battles, they usually fall short in this category with action that degrades into commentary from spectators (usually his masters) critiquing his flaws.
The Good: Enough ecchi to keep fans of the genre entertained with out having to suffer through most of the fight sequences. The comedy starts off stale, but after you get use to Niijima’s antics his character becomes enjoyable to watch.
The Bad: Linear story with one battle leading to the next bigger battle between Kenichi and other people he befriends along the way during the series. Some of the training sessions begin to get repetitive with Kenichi getting blown-up in the same fashion every time.
The style and artwork will probably throw a lot of people off this series. It aired during the 2006-07 seasons in Japan, but looks as if it was animated in the late 90’s. The comedy, characters, and battles do make the series watchable though. This is recommended for anyone who can over look the simple story line flaws, old school animation and likes martial arts, comedy, in addition to ecchi style of Anime.
- Video: 3/5 (Couldn’t find a widescreen version)
- Voice: 4/5 (No character stands out as annoying in the series)
- Music: 1/5 (Nothing special)
- Plot: 3/5 (Average plot with a progressive story line of one battle leading to a bigger battle)
- Overall: 3/5 (Good enough to watch if you can get an inexpensive copy)