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Baki the Grappler Episodes #37 – 40 Anime Review

4 min read
© Itagaki Keisuke / Akita Shoten / Free Will

With uninteresting fighters in the mix, it’s a bit of a slog to get through without the focus on our favorites.

What They Say:
Yujiro Hanma wreaks havoc in the ring as Baki ushers in the first match of the Quarterfinals. However, both immediately encounter the unexpected. While Yujiro is caught off guard by his opponent’s strength, Baki gets confronted with the most difficult decision of his life. Feel the fury as Baki’s physical battles become mental wars and a frightening conclusion is unveiled there is no turning back.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
As we get into the final run of episodes a bit more, what helps with this batch of episodes is that we are getting down to the nitty-gritty of what’s left of the various blocks. After the previous couple of fights between characters who you have little connection with, it ended in such a way that gave hope that the series going forward would be a change of pace and get back to some very specific kinds of action. Unfortunately, that potential is squandered away quickly and it’s back to more of the same.

After a series of brutal but mildly interesting fight scenes, everything changed when Yujiro decided to throw himself into the ring and went to take on all of the remaining fighters at once. A battle royale of sorts that would have been immensely enjoyable to watch. But such things do not go with Tokugawa’s plans for the tournament and he’s got some sharp eyed sharpshooters with nets out in the audience that quickly take down the Ogre. And he’s taken down just a bit too easily considering some of the things we’ve seen him go through before. If it was this easy to take him down, it’s hard to imagine that he’d actually have gotten along as well as he has in the open world up until now. There’s honor among fighters but surely there’s someone who simply wants vengeance.

When that gets out of the way, we get to take the whirlwind tour through the three block’s of fighters once more to go through another round. Baki thankfully gets to fight a bit and his somewhat humanistic nature gets the better of him. Where the problem lays in the fights in this group of episodes is that through the last episode when they head back to Block C is that we’re familiar with all of these fighters now. While new moves are introduced and their origins are still being explained away somewhat along with their motivations, there really aren’t any new surprises. It’s simply a different series of match-ups as their numbers get whittled away.

The last fight in this batch is the only one that actually seems to be spending a decent amount of time on one of their backgrounds. Some have had mild explanations and a few flashbacks, but the background for Jack Hammer seems to be going a bit deeper. With it being told by the scientist who augmented Jack’s body, it becomes yet another back story that helps to take the show a bit more out of the reality that it’s built for itself. Jack’s not a bad character in that we do see that regardless of how he was physically that he pushed himself hard. His augmentation takes away from some of that though and makes him fairly different from most of the other fighters that have just worked their bodies as hard as they could. While some of them are gifted in certain ways or use their minds to give them the edge, Jack feels more out of place now knowing his origin.

In Summary:
When all is said and done, it’s a real stretch to have much of anything to say about this section of the series. Even when you get the back story for various fighters, there just isn’t as strong a connection to them as you have with the primary people like Orochi, Baki or Yujiro. Even Tokugawa is more fun to watch than some of these fighters. These sets are the kind of fights that other shows do in passing or in very short clips rather than devoting as much as they have here. If you just want to see some brutal fights and watch that play out, this will satisfy that need. If you want that and a bit more, it looks like we’ll be waiting till the next round for it.

Grade: B

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: Novemver 14th, 2006
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterbox Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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