Baki, a new grappler on the no-holds barred fighting scene, is flying up the ranks. All that is left in his wake are the dead and the defeated. However, no one can tell whether he can keep this up against the previous champion, a fierce fighter who severs his opponents very nerves to win.
Let's review the 1994 OVA titled "Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter".
Welcome to the random world of Baki the Grappler.. where and what is going on in terms of development? Your guess is as good as mine. This OVA throws you right into the action with no explanation. Having viewed the English dub of the OVA I can say.. DON'T. I think most people that wish to go back and watch this will enjoy it much more in Japanese. The 90's was a brilliant time for many things.. you name it: Music, Sports, and even Entertainment. Falling into the entertainment
category is anime. Along throughout the 90's we received the not so notorious OVA for Grappler Baki. I want to start and say I'm a huge fan of the TV Series for Grappler Baki. Having watched this after the TV series was a huge help. This OVA throws you right into the action like I said. It's setting is based around the Tournament arc. For fans of the franchise this is brilliant. I'm quite happy to see all characters in place and acting out as they should. Nothing seemed outta place with this OVA. THANKFULLY. Not much is explained about the story but the setting is right. Story: 5. The animation is old school of course and quite fluid (but don't take my animation review serious animators) I know not much about the ways of animating. I like what I see and in my eyes that is all that matters. Animation: 8. What would be any anime wouldn't the soundtrack? Sound is everything! Captivating ones emotion and deliver the correct feeling at the right time and truly make or break a show. Specially more serious toned shows. The soundtrack will probably differ in both English and Japanese versions. The English version: Suitable to say the least. Sound: 5. Moving on let's talk actual characters.. A LOT OF DEVELOPMENT GOING ON HERE. Let me say that is sarcasm.. be it this is text form I don't know how many of you could pick that up. In all seriousness Grappler Baki is a strict fighting show. It's known for it's gruesome yet intensifying fights. Be it characters like Shinogi, Kosho the cord cutter or protagonist Hanma, Baki. Each character is brutal and delivers that pump when fighting. The OVA set itself up nicely.. and even if you haven't seen the TV series or read Grappler Baki I believe you will find yourself enjoying the characters and design. Character: 6. Now boiling down to the final bits of this overly extended review due to me being completely bored one night. Come say hello on my page if you read this. Let's now talk enjoyment however.. This anime is FIGHTING. If you like fighting animes that focus on the fighting ONLY.. You will enjoy. I fell in love with Grappler Baki for it's style and unique approach. It truly does offer something unlike any other in the anime world. Enjoyment: 7.
That wraps in my review of Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter. Thanks for reading and for the overall score I give this a: 6.
Oh boy, another seriously underrated OVA. Truly a shame how so many great OVA from the 90s don't get the praise they deserve on this site.
So after watching the first season of Baki I decided to check out the older OVA before continuing with Season Two. But let's review this beautiful piece of art step by step:
Story: 9/10 The OVA covers up the Karate tournament which was animated as well in season one of Baki the Grappler (TV). Nothing outstanding but a simple and great tournament setting which I love and in my opinion one of the best ways to present great fights and Baki
is a pure-blooded fighting series.
It doesn't show anything from the main overall plot of Baki (one day beating his dad) but it decided to focus solely on this Karate tournament. Good choice.
Art: 10/10 As a fan of old school anime I just loved it. It fits way better than the new school animation style. The animation was ON POINT, I was really shocked - in a positive way. Incredibly fluid movements, realistic facial expressions, even minor things like a woman cutting vegetables with a knife; the sharp knife mirrored the cut vegetables. The colors are also perfect, Baki has black hair like his mother in the OVA whereas his hair is red in the TV series like his father. I prefer black hair.
All those things I mentioned are things the TV series unfortunately lacked to some extent probably because of a low budget. Not to mention they cut off the blood in Baki for the most part which isn't the case with this OVA.
Sound: 10/10 Like the TV series this OVA also has very catchy old school fighting games OSTs which I really appreciate. They fit perfectly into the overall fighting theme. Sound effects were also great and gave out a nice martial arts fighting game vibe. Pure nostalgia for someone whose childhood consisted of playing Tekken and Street Fighter on PlayStation 1&2. What is also mentionable is that Baki screamed Bruce Lee style like in Fist of the North Star which was kinda funny, doesn't happen in the TV series.
Character: 10/10 In regards to this OVA alone the character have nothing I can complain about. This is a pure fighting show so there is no incredible plot-twisting character development but rather a beastly Baki who looks so happy when he's fighting. His final opponent is also a very interesting one. Baki doesn't shine in realistic fights but rather in creative over the top martial arts fights.
Certainly unnatural yet not supernatural.
Enjoyment: 10/10 Nothing more to add, it's just very fun to watch a martial arts tournament with beastly fighters in an underground arena with great animation and sound. Pure enjoyment.
Overall 10/10 If you love fighting, martial arts, old school animation style, catchy 90s sound then this is for you! You cannot miss this underrated OVA! I was surprised myself but this turned out a great experience. Rewatch-worthy!
Some of the technics will make you cringe. Good OVA to the series. This was out long before the tv series so animation is a little older looking. Basically, it's a longer episode of the series. The characters are actually the same. I saw this first, and while watching the series, I realized they basically absorbed the OVA into the series. In other words, if you saw the series, you seen this OVA. Still, it's worth a watch, especially if your a Baki fan.
I never liked this anime and time really hasn't done it any favors at all. I decided to rewatch it only because I recently gave the TV series Baki the Grappler a rewatch. I'm not normally a fan of remakes, but this is one title that really needed it through the 48 episode TV series, because this anime is so bland to the point it can barely even fall back on its action.
Yuji Asada did a very poor job directing this anime. There is pretty much no story and the plot is non existent. Before some crazed fan decides to leap and shout out the
short run time as an excuse. I recommend giving Battle Angel a watch to see what a competent anime director can do in a short time. This anime is all about the fight and nothing more which wouldn't be a problem if they were all good.
Baki is competing in a Karate tournament for whatever reason. Then he makes his way off to the underground circuit where he's champion, which explains why he's so tough for people to beat and far beyond black belts in the other tournament he's competing in. There's no real reason on why he's fighting there, these things are all just happening and various characters are making token appearances just to have them. There are at least three characters and a couple of segments that could have been completely removed and the "story" wouldn't have been effected at all. This is just how bare bones it is. Grappler Baki makes Ayane's High Kick look like a masterpiece, and that anime is around the same run time.
Baki is an unlikable character. He was even a bit cocky before his final match against Shinogi Kosho, a martial arts master whose main skill is to pierce his enemies skin with his fingers, and then severe arteries and nerves to cripple them. I found myself cheering on Shinogi to outright kill Baki; and Baki is the main character who's suppose to be liked. This is something that should never happen.
The animation is very grimy. It's very low budget with not much attention paid to the backgrounds. There are quite a few static backgrounds during the matches and a small amount of reused cels. Fortunately, there are times when the action stands out. The fight between Baki and Shinogi is very brutal with some gory, deep penetrations and ripping of nerves. The blows are bone chilling with some high impact. Therefore, there is something to like here even though every fight before this isn't even worth talking about. The BGM really doesn't add much life to this lifeless anime, and I hate the English dub too. Carter Cathcart voices Baki and this guy is annoying. I really hated Baki's shrieks and yells. I wish Shinogi would have just strangled him to death. I recommend the sub which is better but doesn't really help this anime much.
Grappler Baki shouldn't have been made for any reason. This short OVA makes me appreciate the TV series even more despite being unfinished. One can tell that this OVA had a story just screaming to be let out. There was potential every where and I remember hoping this anime would get the series treatment when I first saw it back in the 90's. Overall, I only recommend this title to hardcore anime fans whom must see them all. If you do not fall into that category then skip this completely for the TV series, because you're not missing anything by leaving this alone.
Highs: Some brutal action towards the end
Lows: Nothing else besides the brutal action towards the end