Netflix has managed to produce some of the best shows in the past decade, and has done so in the field of action anime too. To many, aside from being an action anime, this could be another tale of a red-haired father and son duo similar to the anime Shokugeki no Souma.
Baki’s Father ( Left)
Unlike most other martial arts anime Baki tends to take a different approach towards action anime. Most martial arts anime tend to have a central protagonist around whom the whole plot revolves and the other characters seem to cater to the character development needs of this central character. But in Baki, almost anyone could be taken as the protagonist even though it is not so. Baki seems to be the main character solely because of his father, Yujihiro Hanma aka The Strongest Creature!
The plot’s ignition point is when miraculously all psychopathic mad-skilled criminals with inhuman physical strength and an expert knowledge in some form of combat decide to find a worthy opponent for themselves. All of them coincidentally escape from prison around the same time and intend to travel towards the east (Japan) where they presume all the action is.
The anime gives us a taste of the crude nature of the world of underground combat through Mitsunari Tokugawa in the first episode. Tokugawa is an eccentric billionaire who owns an underground arena, and even as a high school student, Baki seems to be well acquainted with the man. This brings in the idea that maybe Baki has been into the world of brutal underworld combat since a very tender age. The anime is filled with such elements of mystery and intrigue. New characters crop up almost every episode and if not new characters existing ones get an insane character boost and the pace of the story keeps up with the mind-bending fighting scenes.
Every character has a unique skill and every death row inmate (needless to say, the villainous characters in the anime) was imprisoned in a way specifically designed to combat this skill. There are characters who can climb the smoothest walls and there are characters who can turn anything into poison. Some characters seem to have messiah-like abilities to persistently give the good-guys a fight.
Personally, my favourite character has to be one of the villains called Dorian. This super level-headed giant has earned the title Kaioh but resorts to using cheap tactics with his gadgets to bring his opponents down. This cheap trickery is due to his lack of faith in martial arts, although this is largely due to his ego which is shattered by another Kaioh ( Kaioh Retsu) in the anime.
There is a tremendous difference between the 1994 version of this anime, and the current 2018 version. Primary difference being better animation. What I personally don’t like about this anime is mainly how some parts of the anime have nothing to do with the plot. Also, the use of sciency-sounding terms like to give the anime an effect is misleading and makes the viewer feel a little stupid,( although Star Wars did the same to be honest).
Save a few major messy storytelling debacles, the anime is overall quite fun to watch and does justice to his predecessor from 1994. This one gets 6.8 Turnips out of 10.
Reception and Soundtrack
imdb.com gives Baki (2018) a 6.8/10 with around 1000 votes.
myanimelist gives baki a 7.45/10.
The opening soundtrack is here – Youtube
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