Watching Baki the Grappler through Baki Hanma in order isn’t difficult in theory, but can be a big challenge in practice due to licensing issues and a lack of access to much of the content.
While Baki the Grappler is an institution of manga with more than 30 years of history, the series has struggled to gain traction in the West. This stems from issues with the localization of both its manga and anime. The result is a situation similar to the one that long kept Neon Genesis Evangelion in limbo for American and European audiences.
This made it basically impossible to read or watch the original Baki the Grappler series, even in 2024. Fans may want to watch the Baki series in order but they’ll have to get a bit creative to do so.
Table of contents
- Full Baki watch order
- How to watch all Baki anime in order
- Where can I watch Baki the Grappler?
- Is Baki the Grappler on Netflix?
- Do I need to watch Baki the Grappler before Baki?
- Is Baki a remake of Baki the Grappler?
- Is there a Baki season 4?
- Will there be more Baki anime?
Full Baki watch order
- Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter
- Baki the Grappler
- Baki the Grappler: Maximum Tournament
- Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime
- Baki Hanma
The Baki the Grappler franchise has seen six anime releases, including four anime series and two OVA releases. To get the whole story, fans can just watch both parts of Baki the Grappler, then Baki and Baki Hanma on Netflix. The two OVAs do offer some interesting alternative looks at key events.
Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter is a 45-minute anime that shows the first two fights of the manga, with Baki facing Atsushi Suedo and Kosho Shinogi. Baki vs. Suedo is never actually shown in the 2001 anime, making this OVA the only way to see the first fight in the series’ history.
In 2016, the Baki series was celebrating its 25th anniversary. As a birthday present for fans, a 15-minute DVD entitled Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime brought the opening sequences of New Grappler Baki to life. The DVD was packaged with a special release of the Baki-Dou manga.
Fans can skip both Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter and Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime without missing out on any significant story beats. These are still short and easy to watch, with an interesting history that makes it worth tracking them down.
How to watch all Baki anime in order
Fans looking to watch all the Baki anime releases in order should start with Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter, then move on to the 2001 Baki the Grappler anime, and then check out Baki and Baki Hanma.
Outside Baki and Baki Hanma on Netflix, none of the Baki anime can be watched through official means. Video streaming services, including YouTube, offer fans an unofficial option. Here’s what each Baki anime has on tap and the order in which they were released.
Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter (1994)
This was the first taste of Baki content that was made available to Western audiences, and it would be the only one for a very long time. The 45-minute Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter OVA recreates the opening sequences of the manga, and was given an American release on VHS in 1996.
The original Baki the Grappler manga starred a radically different version of the titular character. The Baki seen throughout most of the series’ history has been a serious, intense one but he was originally written in a way similar to Naruto Uzumaki or any other shonen manga protagonist. Retellings of those early days have retconned that version of the character, but Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter gives fans a look at what Baki used to be like.
Baki the Grappler (2001)
The first proper Baki anime series was 2001’s Grappler Baki, renamed Baki the Grappler in Western markets. The series follows the main character and generally follows the original manga, with a slight twist. It was licensed and dubbed by Funimation in 2005.
Baki the Grappler retells the original manga series, with several changes. The series does away with the bubbly version of the protagonist who starred in the first arc of the manga and replaces him with the more intense version that fans are familiar with. It also rearranges the arcs to take place in chronological order, moving the childhood arc to the start of the series. A number of scenes from the original manga are also removed.
The anime also removes much of the graphic violence from the series. While this might actually make it more appealing for those who got squeamish over the jarring scenes of its successors, it also makes moments like the origin of Baki’s numerous scars and Doppo Orochi losing his eye awkwardly vague.
Baki the Grappler: Maximum Tournament (2001)
The second season of the Baki the Grappler anime received a rebranding. The season was redubbed Baki the Grappler: Maximum Tournament, referencing the massive event that the season centers around.
The Maximum Tournament is widely regarded as one of the best arcs in Baki’s entire history, featuring some of the biggest fights and introducing many characters that become staples of the series. The anime adds number a of new scenes that more closely tie together the events of the Maximum Tournament with the New Grappler Baki manga, which was ongoing during the anime’s initial broadcast in Japan. As with the first portion of Baki the Grappler, the Maximum Tournament arc was localized by Funimation and released on DVD in Western markets.
Similar to the first season, the Maximum Tournament cleans up much of the graphic violence. This leaves some of the fights having strange endings and undermines some of the characters, but the season is still very strong on the whole.
Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime (2016)
The second Baki OVA gives fans a fresh look at the start of the New Grappler Baki manga. The 15-minute special shows the five death row escapees’ prison breaks and arrival in Tokyo, alongside moments from their first fights with the main cast.
The Baki: Most Evil Death Row Convicts Special Anime OVA doesn’t offer fans anything that they can’t see in the 2018 Baki anime on Netflix. The appeal is seeing some of the series’ wildest moments animated by Telecom Animation Film, a veteran animation studio that has worked on a long list of prominent Western cartoons and Japanese anime, ranging from Animaniacs to Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro.
2018’s Baki anime was the first large-scale release of Baki content in the West. After limited releases for the Baki the Grappler anime and the cancellation of the manga’s Western release after less than 50 chapters, American and European audiences got to take in the Baki series’ unique brand of action after it was picked up and distributed by Netflix.
The Baki anime was broken up into three parts and faithfully follows the events of the New Grappler Baki manga. It kicks off with the arrival of the five death row inmates, which is followed by a new tournament arc in China. The series closes with Baki facing a kindred spirit and romantic rival in Mohammad Alai Jr.
Baki Hanma (2021)
Following the conclusion of his fight with Mohammad Alai Jr., Baki is set for a battle with Yujiro Hanma. He prepares for this epic fight by tracking down opponents that can emulate Yujiro’s prowess in different aspects of fighting. This starts with Baki traveling to the United States to take on Biscuit Oliva.
From there, the discovery and revival of Pickle, a frozen caveman who barehandedly killed dinosaurs, fascinates many of the series’ fighters. Though Baki initially shrugs this off, all roads lead to him fighting Pickle. But even though Pickle is one of the most fearsome fighters in human history, the focus remains on the climactic rematch between Baki and Yujiro.
Where can I watch Baki the Grappler?
The Baki and Baki Hanma anime series can be streamed in their entirety on Netflix. The first season of Baki also received a DVD release in some regions with a new dub that differed from the one added by Netflix.
Unfortunately, the original Baki the Grappler anime isn’t so lucky. In order to legally watch Baki the Grappler in 2024, fans need to track down a second-hand copy of the DVD release. The series was licensed, dubbed, and distributed by Funimation in 2005. The details of Funimation’s licensing of the series are uncertain, but the company’s control of the series was seemingly shortlived as it never found its way to Funimation’s streaming service.
It’s unknown what corporate entity owns Baki the Grappler at this point. Japanese record label Sun-krad Co was previously issuing copyright claims against videos that contained footage of the series on YouTube. The series was produced by Free-Will, a separate record label that Sun-krad Co is associated with. It is unclear if these copyright claims are due to its ownership of the series or if Sun-krad owns the rights to some of the music in the series.
Unfortunately, anime being stuck in limbo due to licensing issues is not unusual. Even highly popular and influential series like Neon Genesis Evangelion and Love Hina have had lengthy stretches where they are inaccessible to fans in various regions. The original Baki the Grappler series falls into that same category.
There isn’t really an effective way to legally watch the series. Even if fans try and purchase the DVDs, they can carry an astronomical price tag and there’s no guarantee the copies are legitimate. The only real option out there is to look for a video streaming service that happens to have a fan reposting of the series.
Is Baki the Grappler on Netflix?
The original Baki the Grappler series is not on Netflix, or any other streaming service at this time.
While Netflix has both the Baki and Baki Hanma series available, the original anime is nowhere to be found. That’s not necessarily for lack of trying on Netflix’s part as Baki the Grappler cannot be found on anime streaming service Crunchyroll, Amazon’s Prime Video, or anywhere else.
If Baki the Grappler finds its way to a Western streaming service, it could potentially land on Crunchyroll. Funimation and Crunchyroll merged in 2022, and Funimation licensed and dubbed the series in 2005. Unfortunately, there’s no actual sign of that happening.
Do I need to watch Baki the Grappler before Baki?
Fans should watch the Baki franchise in order, starting with Baki the Grappler, then Baki, then Baki Hanma.
While Baki isn’t an especially story-intensive franchise, it’s still confusing for anyone who starts in the middle. Generally speaking, fighters will wind up against each other for a reason, whether it’s because they have similar styles, intertwined backstories, or serve as foils to one another. These fights will come together with little explanation, which leaves the viewer to put the pieces together.
As an example, the first season of Baki features a fight between Gaia, a character from Baki the Grappler, and one of the main villains, Sikorsky. The fight pits someone who was dismissive of organized fights against a fearsome soldier. It’s the ultimate “put your money where your mouth is” opponent for the villain, but those who don’t watch the Baki series in order will just be left confused when Gaia seemingly appears from nowhere for a fight against a major character.
Is Baki a remake of Baki the Grappler?
Baki is not a remake of Baki the Grappler. Baki is a direct sequel to Baki the Grappler which is based on the New Grappler Baki manga.
The series kicks off days after the conclusion of the Maximum Tournament, the competition that defines the second half of Baki the Grappler. It introduces a number of new antagonists, who are challenged by familiar faces from the first series.
Is there a Baki season 4?
There is no fourth season of Baki, but the story doesn’t end with the defeat of Mohammad Alai, Jr.
In 2021, Netflix premiered the anime entitled Baki Hanma. This is a direct sequel to Baki, following the titular character’s preparation for his fight with Yujiro Hanma.
The series starts with an epic showdown between Baki and Biscuit Oliva. From there, all eyes turn toward a new character whose fights are even more gruesome and dangerous than what the Underground Arena competitors are used to.
Will there be more Baki anime?
It is unknown whether more Baki anime will come after Baki Hanma.
The Baki Hanma anime ended in 2023 with the conclusion of Baki’s fight with Yujiro. That isn’t the end of the story, however.
The Baki and Baki Hanma anime are faithful adaptations of the manga series of the same name, and the story continues on from there. After Baki Hanma are two completed manga series entitled Baki-Dou, and Baki Rahen which started in 2023. Separate from these mainline manga are a long list of spin-offs that star characters including Chiharu Shiba, Kaoru Hanayama, Doppo Orochi, and others.
While there is plenty of existing material for a new Baki anime, it’s unknown if a broadcast partner has ordered it and of so, who would be making it and where fans might watch it. All this is to say that a Baki-Dou anime could hypothetically come out at some point, but it’s uncertain what that might look like.