Art of Fighting DVD Cover

Art of Fighting (バトルスピリッツ 龍虎の拳, Battle Spirits Ryūko no Ken) is a Japanese anime television movie directed by Hiroshi Fukutomi and produced by Nihon Ad Systems (NAS), based on the first game of the Art of Fighting series. Art of Fighting was produced by Kenji Shimizu and Yoshiro Kataoka and aired on Fuji TV on December 23, 1993. It features a script by Nobuaki Kishima, character design by Kazunori Iwakura, and was distributed in English by US Manga Corps in 1997. The ending theme song is Yasei no Kaze performed by ROKUJI.


While looking for a cat, Ryo and Robert (two karate experts) witnessed a murder related to a stolen diamond. After fighting the murdering mobsters, they discovered that the top mobster, Mr. Big, had kidnapped Ryo's sister to exchange her against the diamond, which he believes to be in the possession of the protagonists. They then have to defend themselves anyway they can - mainly through kicks and punches. They both attempt to break into Big's hideout to save Yuri but their plans are foiled by the sudden arrival of the police force. Forced with no other options, they spend the night searching for the diamond. When they find it, they go to meet Big and give it to him. A big fight ensues, complete with an exploding helicopter and a bout with King and Big, but they are able to save Yuri and head back home. Ryuhaku and the police force arrest Big and his men. They also confiscate the diamond, which is somewhere at the bottom of Big's pool.

Voice cast

Character Japanese seiyū English voice actor
Ryo Sakazaki Tetsuya Bessho Alden Crews
Robert Garcia Masanori Ikeda Nick Sullivan
Yuri Sakazaki Ayumi Hamasaki Veronica Taylor
Ryuhaku Todoh Takeshi Aono Carter Cathcart
John Crawley Kaneto Shiozawa Eric Stuart
King Masako Katsuki Sharon Becker
Mr. Big Iemasa Kayumi Cliff Lazenby
Jack Turner Ginzō Matsuo Eric Stuart
Ruffian A Kazunari Tanaka n/a
Ruffian B Michitaka Kobayashi n/a
TV Caster Miyako Aoba n/a


  • Yuri's Japanese voice actor, Ayumi Hamasaki, is a famous J-pop singer. She preformed Yuri's role four years before her singing career. Curiously, her voice credit is replaced with Kaori Horie, Yuri's longtime voice actress in the games, for the title's DVD release ten years later. Iwakura adds that Hamasaki was also the visual model for Yuri's appearance in the anime. Ryo and Robert seem to resemble their appearances from the live action commercials.
  • Takuma Sakazaki, Lee Pai Long and Mickey Rogers have been omitted from the anime. Contrary to his original concept, Ryuhaku is an odd-ball and outspoken police lieutenant who carries around a bokuto (wooden sword) at all times. He makes the bold proclamation of finding the criminals in three days; if he fails, he'll commit hara-giri. Unlike the games, everyone recognizes King as a woman and she is loyal to Mr. Big.
  • The anime's choreography for fighting scenes and use of skewed perspective shares several similarities to the anime series, Shadow Hunter.


Art of Fighting had a very bad reception by most American websites. It was billed as stupid, idiotic and plodding,[1] and compared to a Saturday morning cartoon.[2][3] It was said it had "Choppy animation, illogical perspectives, uninspired art, badly choreographed fight scenes, and most of all horrible voice acting",[1] and none of the interest of the video game or its sequels translate into the anime.[4] The film gathered a 14% rating at Meta Anime Reviews,[5] placing it in the bottom 3% of the reviewed titles. It should be noted that the terrible lack of any quality has pushed some critics to argue that it is good material "to make fun of it in a group setting",[3] although that has also been debated.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Review by Anime Jump
  2. Review by Animeworld
  3. 3.0 3.1 Review by THEM Anime
  4. Review by Anime on DVD
  5. Reviews at Animecritic


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