Apr 7, 2019
Preface: New Grappler Baki is a weird beast. Coming from the original anime series and reading the first manga, it feels like Itagaki was experimenting with some things(such as the art, the fight direction, antagonists, etc). I have my issues with it but as of writing this review I am enjoying it for what it is but this is something special and I desperately think it needs a review just so fellow Baki fans/newcomers can get a sense of it.
Story 6/10: As the summary states, this happens during the 15th volume of New Grappler Baki. Baki and Kozue go on some date, which involves Baki
searching for her and finding her in a special place fans of the series will remember. They get to having sex and that is pretty much it. There is an important encounter at the end but if you have read volume 15 you will know who I am talking about. You get descriptions of what is going on from both Baki's and Kozue's point of view. Pretty bland right? So why a 6 out of 10 from me? It is more of the meaning behind the story and encounter rather than the story itself. It really is about Baki becoming a man and that is all nice and dandy but boy the dialogue is something that is just so dang weird. It feels so weird and forced and just bizarre, and not good bizarre. Like seeing them go back and forth trying to describe their parts is just weird. It is so sloppily written that the dialogue just ruins it to be quite frank. It has that Itagaki style of writing and exposition that if you know the series you will be familiar with but put into a sexual setting. I don't even want to quote any of the things that are said in it just because it might be better to see for yourself if you are really curious. It feels like it is trying hard to be serious but also light-hearted at the same time so you get a mixture of amateur writing and goofy metaphors. I know very few people come to Baki for the "deep" story but this here is as shallow as a 2 cm puddle.
Art 6/10: Art is standard Baki affair, therefore it is unique and good but goodness gracious Itagaki's artstyle does not lend itself well to this kind of story. The facial expressions and bodies portrayed in this just look goofy. I want to say there is just one page in particular that looks terrible but none of them drawn bad but just he doesn't do the human body justice in this situation.
Character 4/10: You have Baki and Kozue so that is pretty neat I guess. Nothing really gets developed or do we find out anything interesting or inherently important about either of them. Bottom of line is that Baki is a virgin and so is Kozue so they have sex for the first time and then tons of time later. They also bond over it so that is neat too I guess.
Enjoyment 4/10: I appreciate the translation/scanslation group for translating this into English just for documentation purposes and having this be an actual thing people can look back on but this book didn't really need to be as long as it was nor did it need to exist. This isn't me saying that sexual content has no place in manga or media or anything, but the issues arises in the quality. 150+ pages of poorly drawn out intercourse is just not fun to read or even look at. It falls to the point of being so mundane that I have pretty much forgotten every page and panel in this. I don't want to compare this to another series or make it feel like I am bashing it needlessly but I have seen/read sex scenes less explicit and handled with more care than this one. It isn't even entertaining or enjoyable if you are trying to get your jollies or rocks off and I mean that seriously. You could be so deprived of sex or sexual content and this wouldn't even get you aroused in the slightest of senses and I really do mean that. If you are looking for a good time, stick to whatever preferred medium that gives you excitement and stay far away from this.
Overall 5/10: This could have really been boiled down to a single chapter or a few pages with very intimate or suggestive positions and it could have accomplished the same sentiment. I understand that this is the encounter when Baki becomes a man but boy oh boy I feel sorry for the people who had to buy this. If you have like 10 minutes to waste I guess you can read it but I don't know why you would want to look at crappy sex from a series more or less about fighting and martial arts.
What did you think of this review?