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Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter

Gurappurâ Baki
1994 / 45m - Japan
Animation, Action, Sport
Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter poster

Another one of those infamous titles I never got around to watching when I was younger. Not that I missed out on an awful lot. Grappler Baki is solid entertainment, but it's also incredibly rudimentary. That's not necessarily a bad thing for a simple sports/action anime, as long as you manage to get your expectations straight.

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There is hardly any plot. We quickly learn that Baki is a formidable fighter who excels in karate. He wants to be the best, and so he is prepared to fight the strongest in order to prove his worth. His first fight is against a reigning karate champ. His victory opens the doors to a more exclusive venue, where he'll be fighting no holds barred.

This OAV only has two fights and that's that. No padding, no additional drama, or lengthy motivations. With those limitations in mind, the film does a good job of building up the tension. The animation is pretty fun and over-the-top, the pacing is perfect and the finale is spectacular. Hardly a classic, but good fun if you can get into the silliness of it all.