Isekai are so ubiquitous these days that there exist genre parodies of famous properties. Whether it’s being reborn as Yamcha from Dragon Ball Z or Kycilia Zabi from Gundam, we have yet another twist to a familiar gimmick. I generally don’t pay attention to such works, but I made an exception for a recent manga that asks, “What if Amiba (aka Fake Toki) from Fist of the North Star got sent to another world?”
That’s Fist of the North Star Side Story: The Genius Amiba’s Otherworld Conqueror Legend. And upon hearing this premise, it felt so perfect. After all, one common trope is that the characters who get reborn and transported tend to be pitiful “losers” given a second chance, and Amiba is among the most pathetic of Kenshiro’s opponents. He’s also a terrible person, so the story feels ripe for both comedy and the possibility of greater development. For the most part, Amiba’s Otherworld Conqueror Legend does not disappoint.
At the start, the manga reveals that the way Amiba gets isekai’d ties directly into the events of Fist of the North Star: Kenshiro makes Amiba’s hands explode, then uses his pressure-points to force the delusional villain to walk backwards off a precipice. What’s worse, he never even hits the ground before exploding into a puddle of goo. Amiba probably wishes he got killed by a truck.
He then awakens in a new world that looks oddly similar to the post-apocalypse he once called home, but there are some notable differences. Namely, fantasy elements like magic and dragons are fairly common, no one has any clue about “Hokuto Shinken” or other martial arts, and a number of characters resemble established FotNS faces. Unlike Kenshiro’s young companion Lin, the girl Amiba first runs into is Lilin, a foul-tempered mage who reluctantly teaches him magic—which he turns out to be awful at. Amiba, of course, insists that can’t be the case because he’s a genius. He does manage to make effective use of his piddling magic by the end of Volume 1, so maybe there is something to his claims, but the manga makes it clear that Amiba is perennially just as much a dumbass as he is intelligent.
The series is quite good at playing on expectations from both isekai and FotNS. Amiba isn’t a terrible fighter—he’s just hopelessly outclassed in his original world. However, in his new world his combination of fairly extensive knowledge of Hokuto Shinken and its counterpart, Nanto Seiken, makes him a unique presence as per the standard isekai protagonist trope. The manga also shows that he got a power-up after reincarnating in true isekai fashion, though the gag here is that the boost is very minimal.
As mentioned, many of the characters are intentional knock-offs of minor FotNS characters: Lilin, Pat, Devil Reversible, and so on. While their appearances are close, their personalities can differ tremendously, and often the “bad guys” aren’t so bad. A fairly major character’s counterpart even shows up at one point. I appreciate the joke, but wonder if it’s being overused, and if the series could benefit from having more characters who are original.
The idea that this is Amiba’s chance to find glory, and the way his arrogant personality both helps and hinders him, is what makes The Genius Amiba’s Otherworld Conqueror Legend work. Is he going to find an odd sort of redemption? Or is he going to repeat the same mistakes? The fact that he likely will end up doing both makes me want to see where the story goes from here.