The anime Baki has raked up a huge audience within the community of Shounen fans. The fact that it has had a whopping 75 million volumes in circulation by 2018 is a strong testament to its status and popularity.
The anime features lots of violence and destruction while also educating you on the numerous martial arts and fighting styles that exist in the world. However, the anime is guilty of an exaggeration to a certain extent.
Baki does a brilliant job of captivating the viewers with its elaborate shows of fistfights, violence, and the protagonist’s desire to surpass his dad and ultimately become the strongest fighter.
1. Quick Review
The anime is very good, the plot is captivating, the characters are fun, tough but not particularly memorable. Since the number and intensity of fight scenes outweighs the plot development, Shounen fans will love it.
But non-Shounen Fans are likely to turn their noses up at the mention of it. However, even for this category, they could end up loving how the fights often involve a lot of psychological elements and strategies.
2. Is it worth watching?
The anime is worth your time. It’s littered with important moral lessons highlighted through struggles and fights. It also highlights certain ideas of masculinity from a philosophical viewpoint.
Also, unlike other Shounen anime whose fight scenes feature more of magic or weapons, most of the fights in Baki are solely done with hands and muscular force. If you are a fan of such anime like Hajime No Ippo, there is a good chance you’ll like this anime too.
The plot of the anime revolves around the ambitious teenager Baki Hanma who aspires to be as strong as his father, Yujiro Hanma. His equally ambitious mother, Emi Akezawa, has made him undergo rigorous training for him to become as strong a warrior as his dad.
As he becomes frustrated with the traditional training in the gym, he decides to leave that in a hurry as he desperately wants to get stronger. As he challenges his dad to a duel at the start of the anime, he is easily defeated.
But he doesn’t lose hope and decides to travel the world. Along his journey, he meets many talented and strong fighters who follow different fighting styles and are trained in various martial arts from different parts of the world.
The plot of the anime progresses on a clear, logical pace and is divided into clearly different story arcs. It has a very unique premise and doesn’t fail at entertaining you. With the usage of fight scenes, the anime documents the various processes of how Baki Henna grows as a character in strength and courage.
It also shows philosophical and psychological themes about the pain and frustration of dealing with being in the shadow of an enormous father figure. It also gives quite rigid but popular ideas of masculinity like a man needing to be muscular and super strong.
While the execution of the plot, art, and character designs are done well, the dialogues and the arcs can get quite repetitive and thus boring. Like many other Shounen anime, Baki is also guilty of boring dialogue, over-explanation of the techniques used and very similar plot arcs.
The main character Baki is an interesting one. He is so strong that he can knock out a couple of adult men on his own. That he wants to get much stronger than he already is, is not relatable and quite baffling.
Though he is just a 13-year-old boy, his ripped and overly muscular physique is unbelievable. Since the story itself is a coming of age story, the anime shows the progression of his character and also the physical changes as he matures.
But the character development of the characters are not very elaborate. Prime importance is given to the fight scenes but not to the character development aspect. Though it is shown, I found that it was not as detailed and elaborate as it should be.
3. Final Thoughts
The anime does have many of its good points. Its fight scenes fought only with sheer force, and brute strength are a refreshing break from many Shounen anime. I also liked the vintage vibes of the art and animation of Baki.
I’d definitely recommend it. That being said, it is not an anime that will appeal to everyone.