Baki the Grappler

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Grappler Baki
Grappler Baki.jpg
Cover of the English release of Baki the Grappler volume 1.
グラップラー刃牙
(Gurappurā Baki)
Genre Action, Martial arts
Manga
Written by Keisuke Itagaki
Published by Akita Shoten
English publisher
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Champion
English magazine
Original run 19911999
Volumes 42
Original video animation
Directed by Yuji Asada
Produced by Chiaki Yasuda
Tsuneo Seto
Written by Yoshihisa Araki
Music by Takahiro Saito
Studio Sung San
Licensed by
Released August 21, 1994
Runtime 45 minutes
Manga
Baki
Written by Keisuke Itagaki
Published by Akita Shoten
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Champion
Original run 1999November 24, 2005
Volumes 31
Anime television series
Directed by Hitoshi Nanba
Produced by Dynamite Tommy
Written by Yasunori Yamada
Music by Project Baki
Studio Group TAC
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo
English network
Original run January 8, 2001June 25, 2001
Episodes 24
Anime television series
Grappler Baki: Maximum Tournament
Directed by Katsuyoshi Yatabe
Produced by Dynamite Tommy
Written by Yasunori Yamada
Music by Project Baki
Studio Group TAC
Licensed by
Network TV Tokyo
Original run July 23, 2001December 24, 2001
Episodes 24
Manga
Baki Hanma
Written by Keisuke Itagaki
Published by Akita Shoten
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Champion
Original run December 1, 2005August 16, 2012
Volumes 37
Manga
Baki-Dou
Written by Keisuke Itagaki
Published by Akita Shoten
Demographic Shōnen
Magazine Weekly Shōnen Champion
Original run March 20, 2014 – ongoing
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Grappler Baki (グラップラー刃牙 Gurappurā Baki?), or Baki the Grappler, is a manga series written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Champion from 1991 to 1999 and collected into 42 tankōbon volumes. It was followed by two sequel series; Baki (バキ Baki?), which was serialized from 1999 to 2005 and collected into 31 volumes, and Baki Hanma (範馬刃牙 Hanma Baki?), which was serialized from 2005 to 2012 and collected into 37 volumes. A third sequel, Baki-Dou, will begin serialization on March 20, 2014.

A 45-minute original video animation (OVA) was released in 1994. A 24-episode anime aired on TV Tokyo between January 8 and June 25, 2001. This was quickly followed by a second 24-episode series, from July 22 to December 24, 2001. The 2012 comedy film Graffreeter Toki (lit. "Toki the Freelancing Grappler") is based on the March 2011 play of the same name, which in turn was inspired by Grappler Baki.[1] The OVA was the first to be licensed and released in North America, in 1998 by Central Park Media, followed by the original manga series in 2002 by Gutsoon! Entertainment (incomplete), and finally both anime series in 2005 by Funimation Entertainment.

Plot[edit]

Baki is raised by his wealthy and obsessive mother, Emi Akezawa, who also funds his training in the hopes that he can be a powerful warrior like his father. Around the start of the series, Baki outgrows traditional training and heads out to follows the path of his ruthless father's training and meets many powerful fighters along the way. Eventually, Baki fights his father and is beaten without a challenge.

After being beaten, Baki travels around the world continuing his training. Years down the road he finds an underground fighting arena where he fights some of the most powerful fighters of all styles of martial arts. It is here he truly begins to hone his martial arts skills.

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

  • Grappler Baki (or Baki the Grappler) - Original series, serialized in Weekly Shōnen Champion from 1991 to 1999. Collected into 42 volumes, that encompasses The Champion, the Kid, and the Maximum Tournament sagas. From 2007-2008 it was collected into 24 deluxe edition volumes.[2][3]
This series was licensed for a North American release by Gutsoon! Entertainment, who retitled it Baki the Grappler. They published the first 46 chapters in their English-language manga anthology magazine Raijin Comics.[4] The magazine's first issue was released on December 18, 2002, but in July 2004 it was discontinued. 4 collected volumes were planned but it is unknown if they were released.
  • Baki (Baki: In Search of Our Strongest Hero or New Grappler Baki) - Second series, also serialized in Weekly Shōnen Champion from 1999 to November 24, 2005.[5] Collected into 31 volumes, and encompasses The Prisoners, the Chinese Challenge, and the Ali. Jr sagas.
  • Baki Hanma (or Baki: Son of Ogre) - Third series, again serialized in Weekly Shōnen Champion, began on December 1, 2005 and ended on August 16, 2012.[5][6] Collected into 37 volumes, and encompasses the Oliva's Fortress, The Prehistoric Menace, Retsu Kaiou's Boxing, and the final confrontation of Yujiro and Baki.
  • Baki-Dou - Fourth series, will begin serialization in Weekly Shōnen Champion on March 20, 2014.[7]
Gaiden
  • "Grappler Baki Gaiden: Igari vs Mount Toba" - Immediately after the Maximum Tournament.
  • "Baki Saga" (The Romantic Contact chapter) - Side story that develops at the same time as volume 15.
  • Baki Gaiden: Scarface (バキ外伝 -スカーフェイス-?) (or Scarface, The Legend of the Invincible Fist) - Spinoff series, written and illustrated by Yukinao Yamauchi, depicting Kaoru Hanayama's yakuza adventures. Ran from March 2005 to December 2007 in Champion Red, then in July 2009 in Weekly Shōnen Champion, currently 5 volumes.
  • Baki Gaiden: Scarface 2nd series (バキ外伝 創面?) - Spinoff series, written and illustrated by Yukinao Yamauchi, based on Hanayama Kaoru adventures in High school. Began in Bessatsu Shōnen Champion in July 2012.[6]
  • Baki Gaiden: Kenjin (バキ外伝 拳刃?) - Spinoff series, written and illustrated by Kenko Miyatani, representing and describing Doppo's adventures. Began in Champion Red in June 2013.[8]
Supplements
  • Grappler Baki: Red Dragon Side, Grappler Side - Compendium of the characters and events in the world of Grappler Baki, covers until volume 23 of the second saga.
  • Grappler Baki: Blue Tiger Side, Fighting Side - Compendium of every battle fought and its results in the world of Grappler Baki, also covers until volume 23 of the second saga.

Original video animation[edit]

A 45-minute original video animation (OVA) was released in 1994. The story is a close adaptation of the first few volumes of the original manga, in which Baki Hanma fights Shinogi Koushou.

It was licensed and released on DVD, under the title Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter, in North America by Central Park Media on December 1, 1998.[9] Manga Entertainment later released it in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Anime series[edit]

A 24-episode anime series aired on TV Tokyo between January 8, 2001 and June 25, 2001. It faithfully follows the original manga series. Notably, the anime was produced by Free-Will, a music record label. A second 24-episode series, titled Grappler Baki: Maximum Tournament (グラップラー刃牙 最大トーナメント編?) as it tells the story from that part of the manga, aired from July 23, 2001 to December 24, 2001.

All of the series' music was written and composed by "Project Baki", and all the theme songs performed by Ryōko Aoyagi. The first anime's opening theme is "Ai Believe" (哀 believe?), while its closing theme is "Reborn". For the second series, "All Alone" is used as the opening and "Loved..." as the closing. Baki the Grappler: Original Soundtrack was released on March 27, 2003.

Both series were licensed for a North American English release by Funimation Entertainment. They released both series as one on 12 DVDs, each with four episodes, beginning on June 14, 2005 with the last released on February 27, 2007.[10] Two box sets were released on January 23, 2007 and March 25, 2008, the first included volumes 1-6 (1st series), while the second included 7-12 (2nd series).[11][12] A set including every episode was released on September 2, 2008.

Funimation's English version was one of the launch-shows on their own television channel, Funimation Channel, which debuted on June 19, 2006. Baki was broadcast on weekends at 11:30pm,[13] switching to the 10:00pm slot on September 4, 2006.[14] Dubbed in English, the episodes were edited for time but do not appear to have been edited for content. The opening theme is the song "Child Prey" by Japanese metal band Dir en grey, who is signed to Free-Will.

Reception[edit]

The first 84 manga volumes have sold over 50 million copies as of April 2008.[15] Allen Divers and Jason Thompson, both writing for Anime News Network, briefly described the series as "very compelling" and a "demented fighting manga", respectively.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Baki Manga-Inspired Graffreeter Toki Film Trailer Posted". Anime News Network. 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  2. ^ "グラップラー刃牙 1 完全版 (少年チャンピオン・コミックス) コミック". Amazon.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  3. ^ "グラップラー刃牙 24 完全版 (少年チャンピオン・コミックス) コミック". Amazon.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  4. ^ "Raijin Comics Details". Anime News Network. 2002-05-20. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  5. ^ a b "Baki Restarts". Anime News Network. 2005-12-05. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  6. ^ a b "Hanma Baki Manga to End in 10 Chapters or Less". Anime News Network. 2012-06-12. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  7. ^ "New Baki Manga Series Titled Baki-Dou". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 
  8. ^ "Baki Manga Spawns New Spinoff in June". Anime News Network. 
  9. ^ "Grappler Baki". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  10. ^ "Baki The Grappler Site and Details". Anime News Network. 2005-05-06. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  11. ^ "Baki the Grappler: Season 1 Box Set". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  12. ^ "Baki the Grappler: Season 2 Box Set". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  13. ^ "Funimation Syndicated Block Starts June 19". Anime News Network. 2006-06-07. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  14. ^ "Funimation Doubles Syndicated TV Package". Anime News Network. 2006-08-24. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  15. ^ "グラップラー刃牙:人気格闘マンガが初のフィギュア化 トイザらスで独占販売". Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). 2008-04-02. Archived from the original on April 5, 2008. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ Diver, Allen (December 31, 2002). "Ima, kore ga hoshiin da! - I Want It, Manga Style!". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  17. ^ Thompson, Jason (October 20, 2011). "Alien Nine - Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]