If there’s something that’s always been true about Baki Hanma in the ‘Baki’ storyline, it’s that he is actually a lot shorter and smaller than most of the other fighters we’ve seen. Those his age or are, at the very least, just a few years older than he is are quite tall compared to him. Even his father and brother are a lot bigger and taller than Baki. So, why is it that Baki Hanma is so short?
Baki Hanma’s short height is likely a creative choice by author Keisuke Itagaki to make him look like an underdog facing bigger and stronger opponents. As for the in-lore explanation, he is likely short because he was forced to train hard in martial arts ever since his younger days.
Of course, short anime protagonists have never been uncommon, as there’s always a good chance that anime heroes tend to be shorter than most of the other characters. Baki is only one of the many characters made to be shorter than almost everyone in his own manga and anime. So, with that said, let’s look at why Baki is so short.
How tall is Baki currently?
One of the things that has always been common about manga and anime characters is that the main protagonist is almost always shorter than most of the other characters.
We know that ‘Baki’ tells how Baki Hanma is looking to become the strongest fighter in the world. He is up against the strongest martial artists that the world has to offer, and the thing is that all of these fighters tend to be larger than life. They are all big, tall, and incredibly muscular. That makes sense because they are supposed to be the strongest fighters in the entire world.
On the other hand, Baki Hanma has always been portrayed to be shorter than his peers. When he was introduced at the age of 13, he was only 5’2”. Of course, we can understand why he was short when he was 13 years old because he was still a young teenager. In fact, 5’2” is actually pretty good for someone at the age of 13. But as Baki aged, he didn’t really see plenty of inches added to his height.
By the time Baki reached the age of 18, he was only around 5’6”. That means that he had only grown around four inches since he was 13 years old. While 5’6” is kind of average or a bit below average in terms of male height in Japan, let’s not forget that the characters in ‘Baki’ tend to be incredibly big. Baki’s father, Yuujirou Hanma, is 6’3”. There are also a lot of other characters standing over seven feet tall in ‘Baki,’ as this only proves that Baki is actually a lot shorter than most of the other characters in the storyline.
Baki’s height was a creative choice
Many people may be wondering why Baki is so short, whereas most of the other characters in the storyline are incredibly tall and at least six feet tall. And there’s probably a pretty good reason for that as far as the author, Keisuke Itagaki, is concerned.
In most cases, manga authors prefer to have shorter protagonists in their storylines because it is easier to draw short protagonists than they have to draw a lot of times. Of course, shorter characters are also more relatable to the general reading public, as many manga fans aren’t necessarily freakishly tall and big people. But in Itagaki’s case, the fact that Baki is short might be connected to the underdog status of the character.
As mentioned, Baki Hanma is usually up against some of the strongest fighters in the entire world. Most of these fighters are larger than life in the literal and figurative sense. As such, he had to go up against fellow martial artists taller, bigger, and older than him.
For example, Baki had to go up against two characters around eight feet tall, and we’re talking about Jack Hanma and a prehistoric caveman named Pickle.
So, in a way, the fact that Baki has to go up against bigger and stronger fighters could be Itakagi’s way of allowing us to see him as the story’s underdog because he is so much smaller than most of his enemies.
In his fight with Pickle, the caveman was so shocked that someone as small as Baki could match his strength and physical capabilities. As such, by making Baki small, the author can allow us to see the kind of training that he had to go through to match his strength or, at the very least, bridge the gap between him and his much bigger enemies.
This also makes Baki a more relatable character because fans are likely to cheer for underdogs similar to them in terms of physical characteristics. On the other hand, it is harder for fans to want to cheer for characters standing over six feet tall of lean and pure muscle.
Overtraining probably stunted his growth
In terms of in-lore explanation as to why Baki is so short, this can be a bit harder to explain because it was never really addressed why he was short. This can be quite surprising because Yuujirou Hanma is around 6’3”. Meanwhile, Baki’s mother was around 5’5”, which is already above average for most Japanese women.
As such, there’s a good chance that Baki’s short height is a product of the fact that he endured many hardships from a physical standpoint ever since he was a young boy.
Emi Akezawa, Baki’s mother, was so obsessed with turning her son into the ultimate fighter that she would get the praise that she wanted from Yuujirou. As such, Baki was already exposed to hard training sessions at a very young age just because his mother was obsessed with the Ogre.
As a young boy, Baki likely went through periods of overtraining, especially when his father took charge of his training after Yuujirou saw that Emi failed to make Baki the strongest fighter possible. His hardships as a young boy may have pushed his body to the limit. In other words, there’s a good chance that overtraining actually stunted Baki’s growth, especially when you look at the fact that he only grew around four inches from 13 years old to 18 years old.
Does Baki ever get taller?
At this point, it is unlikely that Baki will ever get much taller than he already is. At this point, he is already 18 years old and is 5’6”. In most cases, teens stop growing at 18, but some tend to experience growth spurts up to the age of 21.
What that means for Baki is that he might still grow an inch or two until he reaches his 20s. But it is unlikely that he would become the same physical beast that his father and brother are. Nevertheless, Baki’s height makes him a more relatable underdog than other characters much larger than him.