Last weekend’s annual Hokuto no Ken championship in Japan was full of incredible moments, but one match stood out thanks to the winner successfully landing the finishing blow right as the timer reached zero.
Hokuto no Ken, also known as Fist of the North Star outside Japan, is a silly, silly fighting game. High-level play often revolves around two key concepts: infinite combos and instant kill attacks. Many of the game’s infinite combos quite literally dribble the unfortunate character caught in them like a basketball. And unlike other games, where instant kills are highly situational, Hokuto no Ken’s can be appended to regular combos for easy wins.
Many of the matches at Seikimatsu Butoukai, the Hokuto no Ken national event held in Japan every year, were decided by one or both of these techniques. Wild moments and showboating are absolutely the name of the game when it comes to Hokuto no Ken, especially when someone mounts an amazing comeback.
During a tournament match between teams whose names roughly translate to “Soft Deadly Weapon” and “25 Yen Per Hit,” the former’s anchor was about to pull off a monumental feat. That player, Shiraueno, was the only thing staving off Soft Weapon’s elimination and looked to be doing a good job of keeping their hopes alive. That said, he was definitely punching above his weight: Jagi, his main, is widely considered the worst character in the game. 25 Yen Per Shot’s Shiru, on the other hand, was using Toki, Jagi’s polar opposite on the accepted tier list.
Still, Shiraueno held his own. He made good use of Jagi’s limited tools and appeared to have his opponent backed into a corner. This opportunity to overturn the power rankings immediately unravelled when Shiru caught Shiraueno in the middle of the screen after an errant air backdash. With very little time left, Shiru’s Toki launched into his lengthy instant kill animation, barely finishing before the round timer struck zero. Jagi’s crumpled body served as a perfect representation of Shiraueno’s defeat.
It was all Shiraueno could do to ask his teammates for forgiveness while the other team celebrated across the stage. That’s Hokuto no Ken for you.