It’s that time again, we’re having another Retro-Review, this time we’re going over the OVA of Grappler Baki! The Ultimate Fighter. In 1994, Baki Hanma made his Anime debut in an Original Video Animation; this was the closest adaption of the first few volumes of the Manga Series where Baki fought Shinogi Kosho aka “The Cord Cutter” where he would sever people’s nerves, muscle tendons or rip out them out entirely. Let’s get into the review!
At the beginning of the OVA, we’re seeing Baki already fighting an opponent named Owada, quickly being defeated at ease, for it’s the time the animation is well-drawn, the detail in the fighter’s stances along with their attacks are spot on when showing how serious the Damage is; for example, in Baki’s fight with Atsushi we saw the younger fighter’s flying kick connect with the older fighter’s shoulder, dislocating it from the socket immediately. Atsushi putting his shoulder back in place was extremely gruesome but it showed how fierce he could get. Later on, you get a look at the Underground Arena that is run by Mitsunari Tokugawa, the Thirteenth head of the Tokugawa Clan; immediately you would think he would be your typical, heartless rich snob but surprisingly he is not.
Doppo Orochi showed off his karate skills before the fight between Baki and Atsushi, it is clear to see that Keisuke Itagaki, the Creator of Baki the Grappler drew inspiration from Street Fighter’s Muay Thai Fighter, Sagat; similar in size and height.
If you haven’t watched Baki the Grappler or read the Manga, I would recommend watching the OVA first before jumping into the series first hand, it might seem like the OVA show’s its age (not to mention the voice acting isn’t that memorable.) But it is still a worthwhile watch for someone who loves Karate and enjoys a good show.