The Bloodsport of Anime
- Episodes : 26
- Genre : Action, Martial Arts, Shounen
- Airing Date : June 25, 2018 - December 17, 2018
- Studios : TMS Entertainment
Taking place right after the Maximum Tournament, Baki and his fellow participants now have a new challenge to face, a challenge that defies the laws of traditional martial arts. This time, a bunch of death row inmates from around the world have escaped confinement, head for Japan just so they can know what it’s like to be defeated. Now Baki and his fellow martial artists must prepare for the most insane fight of their lives because these inmates show why they’re on death row (even from countries where the death penalty is banned) with their tactics that would make wrestling (and cheating) legend, Eddie Guerrero, proud.
What We Liked About Baki
For nearly two decades, fans who enjoyed the previous installments of Baki and later went on to read the long running manga series have been wanting to see a new anime for a long time. For those that have read the manga, you finally get to see the Death Row Inmate arc in anime form and it sets up the next story arc.
3. Ultimate Fighting Anime
Though the action isn’t as over the top in let’s say DBZ, nor the realism portrayed in Hajime no Ippo, Baki kind of has something in-between, but with its own injection of steroids from Russia and Mexico. Every punch and kick thrown is with the worst of intentions. Imagine an MMA fight as a street fight and times that by over 9,000, and that’s what you get with Baki. When punches or kicks connect, bones are shattered and teeth fly out all over the place. And don’t worry, quality medical care is available for them!
As for the inmates, they offer a new novelty to the fights where it goes over the top, but in a different kind of way than what fans have been used to. Considering that some of these inmates are from countries where the death penalty is banned except for active duty military, we have to assume they’re military considering some of the crazy tactics they pull off (such as hidden weapons and explosives).
2. Large and Balanced Cast
What’s great about this anime is that it has a huge roster of characters. Not only does Baki get the spotlight, but so do some of his friends and allies. You learn about the villains, and other new characters. There’s a character for everyone to enjoy when they get their turn to shine, and the anime does a great job of balancing them.
1. Based on some real life figures
Some of the characters in Baki happen to be based on real life martial artists. Returning from the previous seasons are Doppo Orochi and Kanji Igari. Doppo Orochi is based on Kyokushinkai Karate founder Mas Oyama, and Kanji Igari is based on Antonio Inoki, who fought Ali to a draw in a boxer vs. wrestler match. Speaking of Ali, he’s actually introduced in this anime towards the end where his fictional son, Muhammad Ali, Jr., is portrayed as a new rival to Baki. The anime takes into account Ali’s fight with Inoki/Igari, his contributions to the civil rights movement, and how taking time out of the ring due to refusing induction to the armed forces affected his performance upon his come back.
1. Teenage Sex
Yes, there is a sex scene between two (consenting) teenagers, Baki and Kozue. Though it isn’t as graphic as your typical hentai, but the fact that minors are engaging in sex may turn some viewers off. It may be romantic, but we understand that not all cultures and individuals can condone that, and we want to be respectful to anyone with such beliefs and give a heads up before anyone considers watching Baki.
2. Change of Seiyuu
Though this is officially the third season of the anime, the seiyuu cast of this installment has ENTIRELY changed. For those that enjoyed Masami Kikuchi (who also voiced Tenchi in Tenchi Mayo and Keiichi in Ah! My Goddess) as Baki, unfortunately he has been replaced. This time, he is played by Nobunaga Shimazaki (Ryo in Kuroko’s Basketball and Satoru in Ace of Diamond), who does a decent job. But if you’re a purist to the core when it comes to seiyuu cast (just like how Gundam fans only view Shuiichi Ikeda as Char and no one other seiyuu), some of the new voices may be a turn off for some viewers coming into this series familiar with the older seasons.
3. No confirmation of next season
Upon the drafting of this review, the next installment of a Baki anime has yet to be officially confirmed. With the way the season ends, if Netflix does not renew this series like it has been doing with the Marvel shows, fans have to riot like French citizens have been in Paris! The ending perfectly sets up the next story arc and fans need to know now! If not, we should petition to President Donald Trump (or maybe lead a Twitter campaign?), an MMA fan, to keep Baki going (and great)! Or, we could petition to Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well. Keisuke Itagaki, the original creator, served in the JSDF, and it’s time Japan gives back to him!
All we can say is, ANIMATE THE REMAINDER OF THE BAKI MANGA! There is more than enough material at this point to anime. We want to see the Pickle story arc, or when he fights Miyamoto Musashi, or the time Baki kidnapped President Bush just to purposely go to prison to fight Che Guevara, etc. The manga has a lot of exciting material that would look awesome in anime form and they have years before they could catch up. So TMS Entertainment, LET THE SHOW GO ON!