‘Baki Hanma’ Season 2 Review: Baki Fights a Caveman in This Brutal and Epic New Season

Baki Hanma Season 2 Review
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The world of martial arts is a very unique one. While martial arts were mostly designed as self-defense methods, as a way to protect yourself and others, they are also much more than punching or kicking others. Behind martial arts, there is a great sense of fulfillment, discipline, and respect that is not often found anywhere in the modern world. Baki is one of those stories that focuses on what it means to be a martial artist and then raises the volume to eleven, adding some of the craziest elements ever seen in manga or anime. Season two of Baki Hanma, the new Baki show on Netflix, has just arrived, and it is as epic and brutal as always.

Baki is an anime series developed by Netflix and based on the popular fighting manga & anime written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. The series focuses on the character of Baki, a young fighter who, little by little, makes a name for himself in the world of martial arts. Baki is most famous for its art style, which could be described as grotesque or beautiful, depending on who you ask.

The stories or arcs in the series are mainly focused on the cast of characters facing challenges in their quest to become the most powerful fighter on the planet. The series teaches many facts about martial arts and even science, and it has a profound obsession with human potential and the way that potential can be fully achieved.

Baki Hanma Season 2 Review 2

This new season of the show adapts one of the series’ most “out there” arcs, or at least one of the most memorable arcs. We are talking about the often titled “Pickle Wars.” That is a strange name, but once you start watching the arc, everything starts making sense weirdly.

You see, the arc begins with an amazing discovery. A frozen man from the prehistoric era is found in ice, battling a Tyrannosaurus Rex. When the man becomes unfrozen, he is named Pickle by one of the scientists looking after him. This man from 190 million years ago is one of the most powerful creatures to have ever existed on the planet, and when the most powerful fighters in the world hear the news, they all launch their challenge to the newcomer.

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This Baki season mostly does the same thing as the other season. The arc divides itself into a sequence of battles where the character fights one after the other against Pickle. The caveman’s power is unmeasurable, so each new fighter that comes to fight Pickle realizes they are no match for him.

The caveman might not be intelligent, but he isn’t stupid either. With each fight, his behavior also develops into something less primal and more tactical, which in this context means he becomes ever more dangerous. All the fights are impressive, not by how they are animated, but by the meaningful moments they hide behind.

As we said before, martial arts are just so much more than people hitting each other. Martial arts are about values and self-improvement, and are on their way to becoming the strongest. Each character has to do a lot of reflection.

These reflections go beyond their physical strength, which is already at its peak. These fighters can only improve their mental state at this stage. So, the fights go beyond who can hit harder and become more about who can keep them standing for longer. The character development achieved in this season is quite outstanding, especially because the fights really end up marking some fighters forever.

Baki Hanma Season 2 Review 3

The animation in Baki is not something to write home about. You could even say that it is at a level that is serviceable and not much else, which is true to some degree. The battles are more about precise moments than about fluidity. So there is a lot of posturing and static imagery during this fight.

It would be nice if some of the fights could move into the realm of having some sort of choreography, but it seems like the animators are not really interested in that and are focusing only on delivering on the iconic panels of the manga, which effectively are static images. Yet, seeing them enter that other realm in future seasons would be cool.

This season follows the format that Netflix has been using lately: cutting things in half. And so, this first batch of season 2 is only one-half of the entire thing. The second half will come later in August, and we will watch another separate arc being developed there.

This makes Baki Hanma, Season 2, Part 1, almost feel like an auto-conclusive work that can be watched separately. Of course, you will get so much more meaning from the show if you know the characters from previous seasons, but the story still flows pretty well, as everything is pretty basic. You only need to know these people love fighting, and they have found a new reason to do it.

This is the magic of Baki as a manga and why there are so many parts and stages in the manga. Almost anyone can grab that manga at every stage and still have an amazing time with it. If you love martial arts, or seeing people doing things at the highest possible level, then I can assure you that Baki is the anime for you. Maybe the art will be too strange for you, as most of these characters are just a mass of muscles, but you only need a couple of episodes to get used to it and then focus on the characters and what they want. Everything is so pure with these characters, even those who are bad people, that it is hard to misjudge them in any way.

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Baki Hanma Season 2 is a perfect example of what Baki is. Maybe you haven’t seen any of the previous seasons; don’t worry, you can start with this one and then go back. The animation is still trying to be as faithful as it can to the manga, and while there is nothing impressive here on a visual level, it does the job.

However, the characters and their will to improve each time are why we watch and read stories like this one. The second half of the season will sink us into more personal stuff than this one, so watch Baki fight a caveman and return in August for more punching and kicking.

SCORE: 8/10

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