I was on the fence with this one for quite a few episodes into it. I found myself thinking "That was awesome!" all the way to "I don't know if I really even like this all that much." My thoughts swayed towards "awesome!" as I kept going though, and I am extremely glad to have come across this one!
Kenichi: History's Strongest Disciple is, at it's core, a martial arts story. There are plenty of training, fighting and power attaining scenes over the course of the series to sate anyone's thirst for battle. That isn't to say that this is a mindless brawler though, K:HSD has a huge amount of comedy.
The story starts with Kenichi being very weak and an over all wimp. However, he dreams of one day becoming a great martial artist. This proves to be a problem for him as he has no talent for fighting at all, and being the wimp he is, he tends to run away and hide at the slightest hint of trouble.
Things take a turn for the better (or worse!) for Kenichi when one day, traveling his usual route to school he is struck in the throat by a seemingly normal girl, Miu. She is portrayed as a cute, caring and average girl. Things aren't quite as they seem, as this girl is actually quite the strong martial artist herself.
After some events, Kenichi is invited by Miu to study at a strange dojo, Ryouzanpaku, which is actually her home. There, we find the masters of several schools of martial arts. These aren't regular masters, but are seemingly the ultimate in the school in which they have trained.
Apachai, master in all things Muay Thai, Akisame the philosophical Jujitsu master, Sakaki, 100th degree Karate expert, Kensei, well versed in every aspect of Chinese Kenpo, Shigure, unmatched in the art of weaponry and Hayato, the absurdly powerful and mysterious elder of Ryouzanpaku.
Hilarious events take place at Ryouzanpaku as Kenichi fights for survival in training that most would consider torture. Over the course of his training Kenichi's progression is nicely notated episode by episode. You can clearly see each new technique and stance subtly but extremely well placed into his fights.
Comedy wise, K:HSD is sort of a jack of all trades, ranging from a hearty laugh to a slap-stick chuckle. There are plenty of instances where you'll find yourself laughing at some "special training" or event Kenichi has to endure. This doesn't push against the serious aspect of the series, though, as the creators seemed to know their placements, and well. Serious fights are portrayed well, adding comedy only when appropriate.
This isn't to say K:HSD is a perfect series, it definately has flaws. There are many times when you just wish that one thing had happened or something had taken a different turn. This, however, doesn't cripple the series, it just makes you want more.
Don't compare this to a Naruto or a Bleach as it is not even truely in the same category. You will find yourself loving it or hating it if you do compare it to one of the above. On it's own feet, Kenichi: History's Strongest Disciple is a great anime to watch, with a good amount of fighting, a good amount of comedy and the flow to bring it all together.
Story Telling: 8/10
Character Development: 7/10
Musical Score: 7/10
Over all, Kenichi is not to be missed for those who are looking for a great fighting comedy. Check it out.