Kengan Ashura Season 1 Review: This Is Dope

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 31, 2019 (Last updated: November 14, 2023)
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Netflix Anime Series Kengan Ashura season 1


Netflix Anime Series Kengan Ashura season 1 is addictive, flowing the fighting and story together, making it highly entertaining for anime fans.

This review of Netflix Anime Series Kengan Ashura season 1 contains no spoilers.

I can understand why Kengan Ashura is super popular — it’s gritty, fast-paced and violent, and if you are a sucker for competitive fighting, whether underground or within regulations, you will enjoy this anime series. Its popularity is evident; it won a poll in 2015 with 2.3 million votes to make an adaptation out of the manga series.

What’s fascinating about Netflix Anime Series Kengan Ashura is how audacious it is. It’s steeped in legendary stories during the Edo periods in Japan, where Gladiator arenas held fights organised by merchants to settle any disagreements. In the modern world these arenas are still used, but by large businesses looking for a “winner takes all” from their enemy. If you peeled the skin off the story, it’s the same old story of wealthy people who are so frustratingly bored, and they have to find other means of making their money useful.

But in terms of the characters, the Anime series opens up with Chairman Nogi calling low-in-the-food-chain employee Kazuo Yamashita into a meeting to discuss this strange world. He is tasked with taking care of Tokita Ohma, nicknamed “Ashura” and ensuring he is in readiness for upcoming challenges for the company. Strangely, Yamashita met Ohma the night before, watching him beat a beast to a pulp.

And that is the ultimate strength of Kengan Ashura — the violence and absurdity of two characters from polar opposite worlds. Kazuo Yamashita is transparently a weak personality with no confidence in himself until he met Ohma; the night he witnessed Ohma end a man’s fighting career, it spurred him on to finally get laid; his genetics were crying for him to survive and create offspring. In later scenes, you realise Ohma is a weapon, fighting supersized boars and walking away soaked in its blood.

Ohma is portrayed as a man that can crush enemies very quickly, which has caught the thirst of business owners — his entire persona reads devastation.

While some audiences will not appreciate the content, Kengan Ashura opens up various disciplines and personalities in combat — arrogant fighters, pro-wrestlers and absolute brawlers. In fact, in the opening episode, Kazuo Yamashita references how a lean fighter can easily overcome a big fighter if they have the skill set. The anime series is not just a beat by beat of any excuse to show a fight; there’s thought behind the story. In one of the earlier episodes, there’s a format putting 100 fighters all in one room — you can only imagine the scenes that take place.

Out of all of the anime series released on Netflix, I sincerely hope there will be a second season. Kengan Ashura season 1 is dope and is on par with Hi Score Girl.

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