Keisuke Itagaki's manga Baki the Grappler
was initially animated as an OVA in 1994; this 24-episode broadcast series followed in 2001. At 13, Baki Hanma is a hot-tempered, red-haired street fighter: when he's attacked by 100 thugs, he regrets knocking out only 37 of them. Baki aspires to match the achievements of his father, Yujiro, by becoming the most powerful "warrior" in the world. He goes to the mountains to train with his father's coach, the gigantic Ando. Ignoring Ando's warnings, Baki tackles a nine-foot "Yasha Ape" that makes the Abominable Snowman look like a plush toy. Meanwhile, his zillionaire mother is arranging a match between him and a monstrous yakuza
offers lots of action (albeit in stilted animation), but little plot or characterization; it may appeal to fans of violent Rocky
-type sagas, but it lacks the warmth of Fighting Spirit
. (Unrated, suitable for ages 15 and older: considerable violence, alcohol and tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
Every warriors life is but a moment. These fearless fighters exist knowing all too well that each moment could be their last. There is always someone stronger, or faster. There is always someone unafraid to go to any length to ensure victory, or survival. And at least once in each warriors life, that warrior wonders what it would be like to be the worlds best. It is this great unknown, this passion for power that drives the Grappler. Each must choose to throw all else aside to achieve their goal, or forever shrink into the shadows, their potential unfulfilled. Feeling his training to be the strongest fighter in the world is going nowhere, Baki Hanma quits his program believing that the only coach he needs is himself. Baki stumbles on his first step into this new world. Will he learn from his errors and achieve his potential? Or will he forever disappear among the millions of fighters who never realized that one must crawl before one may walk? Seize the Moment!