If you’ve ever watched a Baki anime, you should know the drill by now. For those unaware, Baki is an anime that’s light on the story but heavy on the action, with bombastic fighting, larger-than-life muscles and a whole series of eccentric characters to pad the run-time out.
The focal point here is Baki Hanma, son of the “Ogre”, Yujiro Hanma, who happens to be the strongest fighter on Earth. The first two seasons (and the Raitai tournament follow-up) essentially depicted Baki’s journey to try and take his dad on in a one on one fight, and Baki Hanma follows that same tradition.
This show essentially serves as a sequel to all of that, featuring our plucky protagonist in a slower story, with much more build-up to the big fights than we’ve seen before.
For the first few episodes, Baki’s power and abilities are showcased through a doey-eyed elementary school kid, who’s bullied into taking Baki on in a fight. This works pretty well in truth, showing how far Baki has come and his insane shadow boxing skills, fighting a giant praying mantis in his imagination.
Yeah, it’s all pretty silly stuff but within the universe of Baki, where men have muscles bigger than doorways, it’s hard to grumble too much.
The main plotline across these 12 episodes features Baki turn his attention toward Biscuit Oliva, the infamous fighter who has been a mainstay on the show since season 1. He’s currently locked up in a dangerous prison known as “Black Pentagon”, so naturally Baki gets himself arrested to bag himself a fight.
It’s all pretty standard stuff and the main drama here undoubtedly comes from the fighting. There’s a plethora of interesting characters inside the prison, coming in all different shapes and sizes. Of course, all of this feels like the lower and mid-card brawls before Baki finally takes on Oliva at the end.
Those expecting Baki to take on his father this season will be left disappointed. The ending predictably leaves things wide open though, teasing another season to come where Baki may finally take him on and prove his worth.
Aesthetically, most of the art style here is similar to season’s past, with lots of slow-mo shots of muscles, colourful panels and extreme close-ups during moments of stress or surprise. It’s standard anime fodder and those who have seen the previous seasons will recognize this immediately.
Baki Hanma holds no surprises – not really. This is a big dumb brawler that’s unashamedly a guilty pleasure. It knows exactly what sort of show it wants to be and across the previous seasons – and this follow-up – Baki leans into the fighting and brawling that makes it so fun to watch. It’s certainly not perfect, and the show isn’t exactly deep, but if you’re in the mood to watch some fighting then you should find enough to like here.
Verdict - 7/10