Martial arts manga and anime are not uncommon, but a lot of them usually incorporate different fantastic elements that make the plot more colorful. With the exception of some aspects, the Baki franchise is, for the most part, a pure martial arts series and we have to admit that it is one of the best in that aspect. Keisuke Itagaki’s manga has been around since 1991 and in this article, we are going to give you the Baki anime watch order.
The article is going to be divided into several sections. The first section will give you an overview of the proper watch order for the show, after which we are going to describe each aspect in more detail. Finally, we are going to answer some important questions about the series.
Baki watch order at a glance
Baki itself is really not that difficult to follow. The only problem is that there is a lot of material and that not all of it has been released in the right order. This is everything that constitutes the franchise, by release date:
- Baki the Grappler (Season 1): Kid Saga/Underground Arena Saga (2001)
- Baki the Grappler (Season 2): Maximum Tournament Saga (2001)
- “Baki The Grappler: The Ultimate Fighter” (1994)
- “Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime” (2016)
- Baki (Season 1): Most Evil Death Row Convicts Saga (2018)
- Baki (Season 2): Great Chinese Challenge Saga/Godlike Clash of the Kids Saga (2020)
- Baki Hanma – Son of Ogre (2021)
Now, as you can see, the franchise consists of two individual OVA episodes (1994 and 2016), the original anime series (two seasons, 48 episodes in total, which aired in 2001), a new ONA anime series (which aired from 2018 to 2020, with 39 episodes in total), and an ongoing ONA series that is set to have 12 episodes in total.
This order doesn’t, sadly, match the actual in-universe chronology of the franchise, which is why we have composed this guide (see below) in the first place. What you have to know now is that all the animated material is part of the same canon anime universe and that the new ONA series are actually a continuation of the original anime series, although the plots are connected only loosely.
This doesn’t matter on a general level, not really, as the ONA series doesn’t really contradict the original anime in any way, which makes it easier to watch. Now, let us see the best and proper watching order for the Baki franchise.
Baki: the complete watch order
This is the section in which we are going to explain how to watch the series in proper order, related to the in-universe chronology.
1. Baki the Grappler (Season 1): Kid Saga/Underground Arena Saga (2001)
The original anime series aired from January 8 to June 25, 2001. It was a faithful adaptation of the manga series, but it did not follow the chronological order of Itagaki’s manga, and some chapters were left unadapted.
2. Baki the Grappler (Season 2): Maximum Tournament Saga (2001)
A second 24-episode season was soon produced and aired from July 23 to December 24, 2001. It followed the same pattern as the first season by faithfully adapting the manga, but not all of it and not in chronological order.
3. “Baki The Grappler: The Ultimate Fighter” (1994)
The first OVA episode aired on August 21, 1994 and forms an integral unit with the 2001 anime series, although the series’ plot precedes the plot of the older OVA. It had a duration of 45 minutes and it adapted some of the initial volumes of the manga, some of which ended up being re-adapted in the 2001 anime.
4. “Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime” (2016)
The second OVA, with a runtime of 15 minutes, was included with the limited edition of the 14th volume of Baki-Dou on December 6, 2016. It adapted the manga arc of the same name, but it was an arc from the second manga series, Baki. This, as it turned out, was a prelude to a new series.
5. Baki (Season 1): Most Evil Death Row Convicts Saga (2018)
Not long after the second OVA, it was announced that the “Most Evil Death Row Convicts” arc would be adapted in the form of an anime series, which aired on Netflix from June 25 to December 16, 2018. The adaptation had a total of 26 episodes.
6. Baki (Season 2): Great Chinese Challenge Saga/Godlike Clash of the Kids Saga (2020)
A second season of the Netflix show, consisting of only 13 episodes, was released on June 4, 2020 on Netflix.
7. Baki Hanma – Son of Ogre (2021)
A third season of the Netflix series, consisting of 12 episodes, was released on September 30, 2021. To gain the skills he needs to surpass his powerful father, Baki enters Arizona State Prison to take on the notorious inmate known as Mr. Unchained.
Do you need to watch Baki in order?
The answer to this question depends heavily on how you like to watch your anime. If you’re a fan of vintage anime, then watching Baki the Grappler, the original anime series, is highly recommended, as it is truly a good anime and it does reveal a lot of plot details.
When Netflix relaunched the series in 2018, Baki was not marketed as a reboot but rather as a continuation of the original 2001 series. The plot is a continuation, but it is only loosely based on the original anime and you don’t really have to watch the one to follow the other.
So, if you like vintage anime and you want to get a complete idea of the series’ plot, you should watch the series in the above-written order but if you don’t want to bother yourselves with that, you can just start from the 2018 series and you won’t be missing out on anything.
Will there be more Baki anime?
Netflix is currently airing a new season of the Baki anime, and from what we understand, there certainly is a lot more material to adapt, which is why we can expect more Baki anime in the future. Since one season of the show is currently ongoing, we don’t have any information on the future of the series as of yet.