October 20, 2010

Baki The Grappler Season 2

So after about a week of watching I was finally able to get through the second season of Baki the Grappler (or Baki the Grappler II). The truth about this one is it felt fairly long to watch in comparison to the first season. As you will notice from the earlier post on Baki The Grappler Season 1 the show had a lot of varied action and more street fights.

The second season was based completely off of the Supreme Fighter Underground Tournament, which is a couple of years after season one's ending point. The story here is again a continuation of season 1; Baki is looking to fight Yujiro and beat him for killing his mother. There really isn't much else to the story itself, but there are a number of elements that still make this season worth watching.

Many fan favourites return to compete in the tournament from the first season. The unfortunate part is that many of them don't make it too far into the tournament because of new characters being introduced into the show. It would have been nice to see some more of the carry over characters from the first season win more fights. In this respect, it felt like the writers were introducing stronger characters into the show who were for the most part all better than the original cast.

As a character Baki has aged significantly and scarcely resembles the short orange haired kid we all came to admire in the beginning of the series. He is much older and very serious. Many of the comical expressions and lines that he uses are removed. Because of this, it almost felt as though I was watching a completely different show, especially since characters such as Hanayama and the Kosho Brothers still strongly resembled, if not remained unchanged in appearance from their introduction into the show.

Near the end of the season there is a lot of back story being explained with regards to Yujiro and his origins as a fighter. Although it was interesting to watch and helped to answer some of the questions I had as a viewer, it didn't really seem to fight with the story itself or the time line by this point.

I was disappointed by the lack of resolution between the feud Baki and Yujiro had. It would have been nice to see a final fight. I won't go into details about how the series ends because nothing sucks more than a spoiler. But I will say that the ending did not tie in well to the rest of the story.

Looking back on it, perhaps had I not watched all 48 episodes of the two seasons as a marathon the change in chronology of Baki and his development as a fighter might not have felt quite so disjoint. But that's the price you pay when you watch series on DVD that have already completed.

Despite what might sound like a negative review, I do actually find that this whole series, both seasons together, were worth watching. I did enjoy the show thoroughly and do feel that my time was not wasted. That's always a good thing when looking for an anime right? For someone who enjoys martial arts tournaments the second season will be something of interest then. Personally I preferred the first season, but that is largely due to my enjoyment of watching Baki develop as a fighter while still remaining a kid punk.

For those who are interested in picking up a copy of this series, both seasons can be found together as a box set on I'll post the link below for those who are interested.

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