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Manga / Baoh

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"His touch signifies death! This is... BAOH!!"
Baoh, also known as Baoh: The Visitor, is a short manga series written and illustrated by none other than Hirohiko Araki, of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure fame. It was serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1984 to 1985.

The story details the adventures of Ikuro Hashizawa and Sumire, a boy and a young girl escaping from the evil secret organization that experimented on them: the Doress/Judas Organization. Ikuro is the host of the titular Baoh, a parasite that can transform him in a murderous killing machine.

Was adapted into a 45-minute OVA created by Studio Pierrot and distributed by Toho in 1989, which is a fairly straight-forward adaptation (plus a LOT gorier than the manga) despite its cuts and deviations. Said OVA is also how most people in the West even know of Baoh’s existence and cemented it as a Cult Classic.

Ikuro also appeared in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, as a DLC Guest Fighter.

This manga provides example of:

  • Acid Pool: They try to kill Baoh with one of these, adding a group of acid-proof Giant Spiders for good measure. Ikuro saves himself by using one of the spiders as a protective coat.
  • Adapted Out: In the manga, Baoh encounters a genetically engineered baboon named Martin and his evil trainer. What helps factors Baoh's Character Development was that Martin killed a woman and her son, which made him so angry, he manages to kill Martin. The OVA omits this battle after the Mook Horror Show, and Sumire is kidnapped by Dorudo. An old couple that took in Ikuro and Sumire don't appear either but the ending implies she did get adopted.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The female scientist who lets Baoh escape at the beginning gets a bigger role in the OVA and is given a name, Sophine. In the manga, she's executed early on for her failure to stop Ikuro's escape.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Ikuro.
  • Art Evolution: A downplayed example since this was a very short series and the art is very consistent from beginning to end, but the covers used for the OVA, its soundtrack and reprints of the manga were all made by Araki himself, and since he made them when he was deep into making JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, all of them feature Baoh looking VERY different compared to the manga, essentially looking like a JoJo character from a different Part in each on them.
  • Award-Bait Song: The OVA has the song Eternal Soldier, which plays during the end credits.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: With the Baoh parasite gives Ikuro several gruesome abilities, including acid-secreting palms and flaying people alive with telekinesis.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Duress is destroyed, and Sumire goes to live with the old couple. Ikuro, however, sleeps in an underground lake under a collapsed mountain. However...
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Ikuro's armored form has two blades, one on each arm.
    • Nottso also has retractable claws in his knees.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Than the other titles it ran on in Shonen Jump. Moreso in the OVA.
  • Body Horror: The Baoh parasite weaponizes Body Horror, becoming stronger the more grievously injured its host becomes.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Averted with Ikuro who doesn't speak when in his Baoh Armed Phenomenon form, so all his powers are named in info boxes (subtitles in the OVA).
    • Played straight with Walken and his "Molecular Air-Motion Wave" and "Molecular Seismic Wave".
  • Captain Obvious: In the dub, Dr. Kasuminome continually spouts increasingly obvious exposition.
  • Character Development: Surprisingly, the Baoh parasite itself. Despite being a threat if it reproduces, as it latched on Ikuro's brain, Baoh has saved Sumire while taking out anyone being a threat to Sumire and Ikuro. The manga helps as Baoh managed to avoid killing the old man under hypnotic suggestion thanks to his wife and Sumire's pleading.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: In the OVA, almost nobody can really take Baoh on in a fight, being quickly cut down or killed. The only one to avoid this is Walken, who manages to have a go at Baoh twice.
  • Cyborg: Dorudo.
  • Defense Mechanism Superpower: The "Baoh Armed Phenomenon" activates when the host is injured or in danger.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Some of the major villains die differently in the OVA with Ikuro swiftly killing them all in different gruesome ways.
  • Dub Name Change: The English manga release translates Doctor Kasuminome's name to "Hazyeye", a reasonable translation, as well as changing "Sumire" to "Violet" (A translation of the word "sumire.") and "Doress" to "Judas". The OVA's English dub keeps the names as "Kasuminome", "Sumire" and "Doress" however, and All Star Battle's English localisation retains "Sumire" and "Doress" as well. The OVA also has Sumire point out that her name does indeed mean "Violet."
  • Energy Weapon: The Doress facility has laser cannons as security systems. Ikuro manages to grab one of these cannons and uses Baoh's bio-electricity to power it by plugging it into his arm.
  • Expy: Walken is very clearly physically based on Violence Jack.
  • Facepalm Of Doom: Baoh is capable of producing corrosive acid from his hands which is quite capable of melting people alive, leading to more than a few instances of this.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Everything Doress does.
  • Gorn
  • Gratuitous English: Some of Baoh's special abilities have some really Word Salad titles (with "phenomenon" added on the end) to them, including "Reskinharden Saber Phenomenon" (arm blades), "Shooting Bees Stingers Phenomenon" (razor sharp hair fired as projectiles from one's head) and "Meltedin Palm Phenomenon" (corrosive acid from the hands.)
  • Guest Fighter: Ikuro shows up in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle as a DLC character.
  • Henshin Hero: Ikuro is a Lovecraftian Superpower variant of this trope.
  • Hollywood Acid: One of Baoh's attacks.
  • Homage: Walken was named after Christopher Walken. Yup.
  • Hulk Speak: Walken, after his Restraining Bolt comes off.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Baoh becomes progressively more and more human, experiencing emotions like sadness and gratitude. In the last chapters Ikuro gets in control of its capacities.
  • Invincible Hero: Good grief. Every time Baoh gets in a fight, he always gets the upper hand and ends it rather swiftly. And it's in the OVA. In the manga, he gets a hard time defeating Martin.
  • Kill It with Fire: How to destroy a Baoh-infected creature, as well as the parasite living inside. Baoh's "Shooting Bees Stingers Phenomenon" also has this sort of property, igniting upon touching another creature.
  • Lamarck Was Right: Professor Kasuminome invented a serum that allows the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Baoh was the end result of subjecting experimental serum-dosed animals to one hostile environment after another over multiple generations
  • Last of His Kind: Walken's the last surviving member of the American-Indian Skookum tribe.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Baoh gives Ikuro a whole arsenal of these. His attacks are Meltedin Palm Phenomenonnote , Reskiniharden Saber Phenomenonnote , Shooting Bees-Stingers Phenomenonnote , and Break-Dark-Thunder Phenomenonnote 
  • Made of Plasticine: Holy crap... For a series that ran on Weekly Shonen Jump, it's incredibly violent. Compare Fist of the North Star, where mooks die by their heads exploding or cut to pieces, Baoh kills enemies in rather brutal ways. Especially the OVA.
    • Walken is no better either, having his fingers sliced off when he's previously caught Baoh's Bees Stinger Phenomenon attack with his left hand.
  • Magical Native American: Walken is the last of the Skookum Tribe and has tremendous psychic abilities.
  • My Name Is Not Shazam: Of a sorts. "Baoh" is the name of the parasite implanted in Ikuro's brain, not his actual name. That said the name "Baoh" is used by Dr. Hazyeye/Kasuminome to refer to other Baoh-implanted creatures as well.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Ikuro
  • Precocious Crush: Sumire has one on Ikuro.
  • Prophet Eyes: Baoh, thanks to his super sense of smell that makes human eyes useless. When Ikuro gains control of Baoh, he keeps his human eyes.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Walken, last of his tribe, and Doress's trump card.
    • Blow You Away: Or rip you to shreds.
    • Dishing Out Dirt: Or rather melting it.
    • Mind over Matter: Down to making each individual atom vibrate indipendently. He can melt or disintegrate anything he touches.
    • Power Limiter: His headband (headphones in the manga). After Ikuro!Baoh damages it, everyone around Walken dies, and his powers are able to punch though a kilometer of solid rock.
  • Psychic Powers: Sumire has precognitive abilities.
    • Walken's telekinetic powers are so powerful, they can disintegrate matter by vibrating molecules.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Baoh parasite is this at first.
  • Restraining Bolt: Walken has an ESP-dampening device place on his forehead to keep his ability and sanity in check. Then it is damaged in a fight with Baoh.
  • Sequel Hook: Although Ikuro is buried underneath the ocean and a ton of rock, Sumire states that she had a vision of him returning to her, which occurs when she's seventeen.
  • Smug Snake: Dorudo. He meets his ends rather brutally (Hoist by His Own Petard in the OVA and You Have Failed Me in the manga).
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Baoh, at first.
  • Team Pet: Sunny Stephan Nottsuo, a mutated lorisid.
  • The Nose Knows: Baoh perceives the world around him thanks to an advanced smell-sensing organ to his forehead. It's also his Achilles' Heel, since disabling it leaves him completely blind.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The bad guys. On one hand, they have a dominant Baoh, who is compared to a nuclear bomb should he wake up. On the other hand, they have a girl with precognitive abilities who have attempted to escape multiple times. And they decide to put these two on a train together and hope nothing goes wrong...
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ikuro starts with little control of his Baoh instincts, causing him to become an Unskilled, but Strong fighter that struggles against Weak, but Skilled enemies. Once he gains control, he displays quick thinking on par with the Joestars, allowing him to escape several deathtraps and defeat a far stronger psychic.
  • World's Strongest Man: Walken is considered to be "the most powerful psychic on Earth".
  • You Have Failed Me: In the manga, Dorudo is executed by Walken on Doress' orders for his failure to kill Ikuro on several occasions. It is also implied that Sophine was executed for the same reason as well early on in the manga.