The grappler Baki Hanma returns in the trailer for a new Netflix anime series set to debut outside of Japan on December 18. Simply titled Baki, the series tells the story of a skilled martial artist who seeks to surpass his father as the strongest fighter on Earth. For the first time in a decade, the latest trailer shows off the first meaningful glimpses of the long-running manga series in motion.
Keisuke Itagaki's Baki has been releasing in manga form since the early 90s and consists of several main arcs. The upcoming Netflix series will be adapting the second arc, titled “Most Evil Death Row Convicts”. This storyline pits Baki Hanma against five death row convicts, each of whom has never lost a fight and crave the exciting embrace of defeat. Of course, being the most single-minded fighter in existence, Baki sees their challenge as the final bit of training he needs to be able to take on his good-for-nothing (and crazy strong) father.
Netflix released an English-dubbed version of the Baki trailer (which can be viewed below), but a translated version of a previously released teaser revealed the team behind the show. Toshiki Hirano, best known for his work directing the Magic Knight Rayearth series, helms the new series. Hirano worked with veteran character designer Fujio Suzuki and head writer Tatsuhiko Urahata. Suzuki has a long history working in anime and has worked on creating characters for franchises like Inuyasha and even did some of the animating on Trigun. Urahata, meanwhile, has lent his writing and editing skills to productions like GATE, Monster, and Violet Evergarden, another Netflix anime series. The anime has been produced by TMS Entertainment, a studio with a pretty great track record between Lupin III and ReLIFE.
If you need a basic rundown on Baki Hanma’s history: He was a kid living a pretty great life with his mom, a woman who pushed him to be a great fighter like his dad, a legendary unarmed combatant named Yojiro Hanma. A problem arose when he eventually mastered all of the techniques that traditional teachers could impart to him. So, naturally, he hit the road in his father’s footsteps and began traveling the world in search of a better way to train. Along the way, he fought a bunch of opponents, got stronger, and eventually encountered his dad - who utterly destroyed him in combat. Recovering from defeat, Baki continued his travels. Eventually, he stumbled upon a secret underground fighting ring that attracted some of the most talented fighters in the world. He proceeded to fight through the ring's world tournament and became its champion after many trials and tribulations. All of that brings us to Baki Hanma attracting the attention of five undefeated death row convicts who all want to know loss at his hands.
In the new trailer, one of the characters asks, “Who gives a hoot about rules?” And he’s got a point. Just in the minute-long peek at what Baki has in store we see grenades, a laser, a kusarigama, and even a guy straight up breathing fire into someone’s face. If this adaptation keeps some of the weirder parts of the manga, those weapons might just be the tip of the iceberg. At various points in the series, Baki fights a thawed-out caveman, throws himself off a cliff to master a technique, and even shadowboxes against a giant praying mantis. When the trailer says there are no rules - there really are no rules.
The Netflix series will consist of 26 episodes. A 15-minute teaser released back in 2016 that seemed to hint at the upcoming Netflix release. If you can find it, maybe the teaser can ease your anticipation for brawling during the week-long wait for Baki to enter the arena.
Baki debuts December 18 on Netflix.