When it comes to manga and anime series about martial arts, arguably the most popular is the Baki storyline, which follows the journey of a young MMA prodigy named Baki Hanma, who is on a quest to become the best fighter in the world. While the original Baki the Grappler series was released decades ago, Netflix revived it with the 2018 Baki series that continues the manga’s story. Of course, the same streaming giant also released the Baki Hanma series. So, do you need to watch Baki before Baki Hanma?
It is important to watch Baki before Baki Hanma because Baki Hanma’s story directly follows the Baki series’ conclusion. That’s because Baki Hanma follows Baki’s preparation to fight his father, who he challenged at the end of the Baki series. As such, they are directly connected.
Some people wonder why there are different series titles for the Baki anime shows released by Netflix. Of course, this might just be a creative choice for the animation company. But the fact is that all of the Baki anime series are connected to one another. That’s why you need to watch all of the Baki anime series in order.
What Is Baki About?
Baki the Grappler anime is one of the most popular anime series for pure action, as the storyline follows the journey of a young MMA prodigy looking to become the best fighter in the world. So, while it isn’t realistic, the Baki anime still has a sense of realism that is often ignored by many anime series. And the original Baki the Grappler anime ended in 2001 when Baki won the Maximum Tournament and became one of the greatest fighters in the world.
Still, in his high school years, Baki’s story continued in the Baki anime series released in 2018. There is a 17-year gap between the end of the original Baki the Grappler anime and the Baki series, including the events of the Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts anime special released in 2016. The storyline starts with the battles between the world’s greatest martial artists and the world’s most dangerous death row criminals.
As such, while there are 17 years between the end of Baki the Grappler and the release of Baki, the events of the Baki anime take place just days after Baki won the Maximum Tournament. Now, he and the other martial artists have to fight the death row criminals looking to fight the strongest people in the world.
The art style and storyline of Baki took a huge departure from Baki the Grappler, which focused more on real-life combat and martial arts. In Baki, the fight scenes have become more fantastical, although the series tries to explain the unrealistic elements.
Of course, while the storyline of Baki focused a lot on the fight against the criminals, Baki Hanma eventually became strong enough to win a Chinese martial arts tournament. Ultimately, he challenged his father, Yujiro Hanma, to fight to determine who was the strongest martial artist in the world.
What Is Baki Hanma About?
Three years after the release of the 2018 Baki anime, the 2021 Baki Hanma anime series was released by Netflix. This time, it follows Baki’s journey to becoming a better fighter to prepare for his upcoming fight against his father, who is still the strongest fighter in the world. And Baki had to get himself imprisoned in the Arizona State Prison to face Biscuit Oliva, one of the few fighters strong enough to face Yujiro in the past.
In that regard, much of the 2021 Baki anime Hanma anime series focused on Baki’s fights in the Arizona State Prison, where he was able to train well enough to eventually face Biscuit. This was an important part of his journey as a fighter because Oliva was one of the strongest fighters in the world due to his immense muscle mass and innate durability. So, if Baki wanted to defeat his father, he needed to be strong enough to defeat Biscuit Oliva.
The second part of the Baki Hanma anime focuses more on another opponent Baki must defeat to prepare for his battle against Yujiro. This time, it was revealed that an eight-foot caveman that fought and ate dinosaurs countless years ago was revived. Considering that this man was strong enough to battle gigantic creatures in the past and possessed innate abilities that allowed him to stand out as a fighter in the modern world, he was the next challenge Baki needed to beat to prove himself strong enough to face his father.
Baki Is Important to the Events of Baki Hanma
With all that said, there’s no doubt that the storyline of Baki Hanma is directly connected to the events of Baki. While some fans can enjoy the events of Baki Hanma without necessarily watching the 2018 Baki anime, it still is best to watch the entire Baki series before watching Baki Hanma as some of the characters featured in Baki Hanma were introduced in Baki or even the series before it.
Even though the Baki anime series’ titles are different, they are all connected. The 2018 Baki anime is also connected to Baki the Grappler. That’s why Baki Hanma can only be fully comprehended and understood if the one watching it has seen the entire storyline from the very start. Of course, if you’re only in it for the action and the raw masculinity in the fight scenes, you can watch Baki Hanma without necessarily watching the Baki anime series.