Hey guys, I know it’s old but I just finished watchin it so I’ll copypaste a lil review I did elsewhere on the net. I thought it would be relevant because…well because you guys like SF. Baki reminded of Ryu at times lol.
Ok so I just finished Baki season 1 and can give it a hearty recommendation. I’ll most likely watch season 2 because even though the animation isn’t as good, I really want to see what happens next (I’ll also watch the OVA). A short review.
WARNING: VERY MINOR SPOILERS!
Art: Mixed bag since this series really looks like it was done by 3 different teams. I mean, it’s obvious that different episodes were farmed out to different studios or something like that. None are bad, but it ranges from pretty good to excellent. Like I said earlier, I feel the highlights are the Street Fighter Zero-like episodes.
Animation: Pretty much same deal as above. Again the SFZ-like episodes really shine. Less moves in fights but much more well animated. Overall though, this is quality stuff for a shonen TV anime.
Choreography: Mostly excellent. These are some of the best fights I’ve seen in anime. I’d say it’s a good mix of MMA brutality and traditional MA artistry. Nobody learns hadoken or anything but there are plenty of awesomely outrageous techniques along with stuff you’d see in real MMA, Muay Thai, Boxing, Karate, and grappling.
Music: Good, even if there isn’t much variety. The standouts are the trancey track that accompanies Baki as he kicks ass and the sinister tune when something foreboding is revealed. The trancey track is actually pretty generic but it fits well.
Story - Characters: Very interesting. Not very original but more than serviceable because the character development is great. I found Baki’s mother pretty original actually. Her struggle between being loyal to her husband and caring for Baki (Baki’s dad is the strongest while Baki aims to dethrone him) is actually something I haven’t seen before. Baki is a pretty standard hotblooded shonen hero but very likeable. There are times when he faces very difficult situations outside of battle and so you see more to him which is nice. The antagonists are great (yes, Joseph, Yujiro (Baki’s dad) is awesome). They bring to the table unique fighting styles; different philosophies, personalities and motivations; and interesting even if brief background stories. Sure, you see this in a lot of anime but the execution here elevates it.
Story - Plot: Has a terrific pace. I don’t think there was a single fight that lasted more than one full episode (unless you count him fighting a group of 5 supersoldiers as one long fight). I could be forgetting something but definitely no DBZ length battles here. At the same time you feel as though a lot happens in one fight so it’s great. Outside of battles is paced well too. Things happen to frame the fights obviously but it’s never really dragged out to the point where you lose interest. It’s certainly enough to hype the fights though.
I’ve been very positive thus far so my complaints: I’ve already touched on this but I wish all the animation was handled by the SFZ-style studio. Another thing, some things are difficult to watch as in it’s kinda weird to me. But really, I think it helps give this series its character. Specifically, I’m thinking of Baki’s mother and her relationships again. And yes, there were a few fights (the one against Gaiya, the supersoldier leader in particular) where I felt, yawn, I’ve seen this before somewhere.
But all in all, this is shaping up to be one of my all time faves. Joseph, here’s hopin the animation in season 2 isn’t THAT bad.