Baki vs Kengan Ashura: Find out about the 2 top fighting anime

kengan ashura vs baki

Kengan Ashura is one of the few ongoing anime that hones in on the raw thrill of mixed martial arts fighting and that often puts it head-to-head with Baki.

The anime industry is currently packed with series that feature exciting hand-to-hand combat including Jujutsu Kaisen, Tokyo Revengers, and Hitori no Shita: The Outcast. Fans of these anime might be interested in Kengan Ashura and its extra emphasis on street fights and realistic brawls. Well, somewhat realistic.

The series is often compared with its more popular sibling, Baki, but they can both be tough to approach due to the low-profile localization of their manga and their changing naming conventions. There are some notable differences that fans looking to make the jump should keep in mind.

What is Kengan Ashura?

Kengan Ashura is an anime and manga franchise that follows Tokita Ohma, a fighter who gets invited to an underground fighting circuit that secretly governs Japan’s business world. The series first debuted as a manga in 2012 and was adapted into an anime in 2019 by Larx Entertainment, which is distributed in most markets by Netflix.

As with Baki Hanma, the story of Kengan Ashura is driven by a combat sports tradition that dates back hundreds of years to the Tokugawa dynasty.

In Kengan Ashura, this tradition was established as a way to settle conflicts between merchants who were competing for the opportunity to directly serve the shogunate. The business competition turned violent over time, which saw the shogun call for an orderly solution. The solution saw business interests choose a champion to represent them in a tournament, with the victor winning leadership over its proceedings.

Shortly after Ohma’s arrival, the start of a new tournament is announced. This sees companies across the country scrambling to find representatives for the chance to run the country’s business sector.

The tournament is full of thrilling martial arts battles with characters who possess superhuman strength and practice both real and fictional martial arts styles. Though the fighting styles and abilities of their practitioners are supernatural at times, there’s a relatively realistic foundation to the series that keeps it from wandering into fantasy territory.

Who is the creator of Kengan Ashura? 

Kengan Ashura is written by Sandrovich Yabako and illustrated by Daromeon.

Yabako studied Kendo in middle school, then moved on to Shorinji kenpo before earning a black belt in karate in just four years. He eventually settled into mixed martial arts and channeled these feelings into the manga he created.

In addition to Kengan Ashura, he has also worked on Fist of the Seeker, How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift, and STAR: Strike it Rich. He has been working on Kengan Ashura’s sequel, Kengan Omega, since 2019.

Tokita Ohma

What is the difference between Kengan Ashura and Baki?

Both Baki and Kengan Ashura feature characters who fight in tournaments with superhuman strength and abilities, but there are some major differences between them.

First, the scope of Kengan Ashura’s story tends to be much more focused than that of Baki. Baki’s story is spread over many sagas and includes story arcs and a broad assortment of characters, while Kengan Ashura mostly focuses on a single tournament for the entire story. Some of this is rooted in the fact that Baki is considerably older, with more than 30 years of history.

Baki is also considerably more violent than Kengan Ashura. In Baki, fights tend to be more gory with people losing body parts on many occasions over the years, ranging from fingers to eyes to legs. Kengan Ashura tends to focus more on the martial arts practiced by the characters, though bones are broken and blood flows regularly.

Is there a Baki and Kengan Ashura crossover?

A one-chapter crossover between the Baki and Kengan Ashura series was published in 2021. The chapter star a young Doppo Orochi, a major character from the Baki series. He is enlisted to represent Mitsunari Tokugawa’s arena in a special Kengan match, with this trip seeing him cross paths with younger versions of characters from both series.

Doppo is tasked with fighting Pa Paing, the father of Yoroizuka Saw Paing. Unfortunately, the fight between Doppo Orochi and Pa Paing is never actually shown and it is unknown who wins the fight.

The chapter closes with Doppo alluding to an ongoing rivalry between the underground arena and the Kengan fighters, teasing a fight between main characters Baki Hanma and Tokita Ohma. Nothing beyond that one chapter is published and it’s uncertain whether a larger crossover will ever occur.

Author image

Written by Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed still treasures his time playing games on the original PlayStation, speedrunning through the Megaman X games and replaying acclaimed role-playing game Chrono Cross countless times. Since then, his love for JRPGs and platformers has only grown and is among the driving forces behind his passion for writing about video games. He has previously written for DualShockers and Same Old Gaming, and he can be found on Twitter / X at @Weltschmerz2887.

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