a.k.a. Grappler Baki: Saidai Tournament Hen
a.k.a. Grappler Baki: Chapter of The Maximum Tournament
If a male is born, he will at some point in his life dream of being the strongest man alive. For thirteen-year-old Hanma Baki, a boy who was raised from birth to do exactly that, it is more than just a dream; it is an obsession. After attempting to take on a hundred opponents at once in a street fight but only being able to defeat thirty-seven, Baki decides he is not satisfied with his strength. Determined to become stronger, he fires his trainers and sets off on his own path. His goal in mind is to defeat the strongest man on the planet… his own father.
summary by Keitaro
Highs: Fun fight scenes
Lows: Looks and sounds awful; plot that goes from bad to worse; no originality
The first half of the Grappler Baki series is a below-average martial arts anime that, despite being flawed in nearly every category, is enjoyable nonetheless. Unfortunately, it is difficult to be that forgiving once the second half kicks in and the show takes one of the worst nose dives in recent memory.
Call me crude, but even though the critic inside wants to condemn this technically awful show entirely, another part of me loves the brutal fight scenes and the who-is-the-strongest-fighter-in-the-world? storyline. While the action and drama in no way can compare to the likes of Hajime no Ippo, watching Baki get his butt kicked by some monster of a man only to train vigorously and in return beat his opponent to a bloody pulp is quite enjoyable. Sure, the idea is nothing groundbreaking, but it’s a fun way to kill a few hours.
About halfway through, continuing to overlook the blunders of Grappler Baki became impossible, and that critic inside started getting frustrated. The story takes a huge turn, and the last 10 or so episodes are an extremely drawn-out remake of Grappler Baki: The Movie, which was released several years prior to this series. Several characters are thrown out, and several more added in with no background or explanation. Baki himself is not a bad character, but the rest of the cast is appalling, both in terms of looks and personality. This brings up the aesthetic problems; this series features a terrible, repetitive soundtrack, and the character art varies from poor to just plain atrocious. A character will be 6 feet tall in one scene and 10 in the next. At least the fight scenes are decent…
Grappler Baki is mindless martial arts and nothing more. There are so many things wrong with this show that I could write pages on the problems alone. Rather than do that, I will simply state that this anime is only for those looking for a good fight and who don’t mind seeing that come at the expense of both style and substance.
Grappler Baki can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.