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YMMV / Baki the Grappler

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  • Accidental Aesop: There's quite a few fighters in this series who have big egos and promptly taste defeat when they underestimate their opponents, inadvertedly creating the aesop that "underestimating your opponent, even if they are "weaker" than you, is a surefire way to be defeated no matter how strong you think you are". The only exception to this trope is Yujiro, and even he is humiliated extensively during Baki's final battle with him by failing to take his son seriously until the final minutes of the match.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Interestingly, the dub. Baki was originally portrayed as dreaming of being the strongest to take down his psychopathic father and for love of fighting. The dub portrays Baki as someone who was born into it, and while he likes fighting, he'd give it up for a nice, normal life.
    • Also in Son of Ogre. Yujiro is just a jerkass, psycho manchild wishing to dish pain and suffering to everyone else, including Baki, or the victim of existential boredom stemming from his status of the Strongest Creature grooming Baki into his archnemesis just to have someone to fight with?
  • Awesome Music: "Dominance", when someone is about get very serious.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Yujiro is either seen as the embodiment of supreme coolness and badassery or a loathesome Jerkass and murderer who doesn't deserve his Karma Houdini status.
  • Catharsis Factor: Seeing Yujiro get cut and profusely bleed by Musashi.
  • Complete Monster: "Most Evil Death Row Convicts" saga: Spec(k) is one of the escaped Death Row convicts and easily the most deranged of the group. Sentenced to death row for several homicides, Speck makes his appearance by brutally murdering a man right before ripping his gold tooth from his mouth. After escaping prison, he goes on a killing spree in Japan in his quest to "taste defeat". Speck would kill numerous cops and a task force who tries to stop Speck's homicidal rampage until he attempted to viciously attack Baki and his girlfriend at night until Hanayama intervenes. Speck responded by violently attacking him while using various objects from rocks to park benches, until permanently scarring Hanayama with a vary of bullets on his mouth that burnt his cheeks off. After his previous battle, Speck reawakens and slaughters many within the police station and shooting Hanayama in the leagues to finish him off. A psychotic killer, Speck expresses glee when committing violent acts of murder and assault.
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  • Crazy Awesome: Not that the series was subtle to begin with but it is after the Maximum Tournament saga that the series officially starts to run on over the topness and Rule of Cool and introducing weird characters like a revived Caveman and a clone of a historical samurai.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Yujiro's constant Karma Houdini-ness after all of his cruelty ended up having this effect on quite a few fans, to the point where it actually turned them off from the series altogether. However seeing Musashi make Yujiro bleed was like someone turning on the lights after spending days in the dark.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: In Son of Ogre, Yujiro decides to give Baki the "World's Strongest Man" title after their fight and walk away content, and Baki is okay with that... but Baki didn't defeat Yujiro (even after all of his training, it's still impossible). Yujiro gave Baki the title because he's the only guy in the entire series that made Yujiro so much as actually break a sweat during a fight. By all means and purposes, he remains a Karma Houdini.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With, of all things, Beastars. Mostly due to their shared over-the-top nature and the fact that Paru Itagaki was revealed to be Keisuke Itagaki's daughter.
    • Fans of Kengan Ashura tend to gravitate towards this series thanks to their similar premises and Keisuke Itagaki's own endorsement. Both shows being advertised together by Netflix helped.
  • He Really Can Act: The Latin American Spanish dub has an interesting case in the case of Alfonso Herrera as Baki: While Herrera had some previous experience as a movie and TV actor, this is his first role in voice acting, and while at first his performance was a little bit off in the first episodes, he really improves later on, especially in the second season when Kozue is kidnapped and Baki goes apeshit against Sikorsky, really showing he can do a good performance, especially when compared with the rest of the veteran All-Star Cast.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In the English Dub for the 2018 Netflix series, Doppo is referred as the God of War while being voiced by Steve Blum who previously voice Ares from the God of War series.
    • A variation of this happens in the Latin American Spanish dub, as Doyle (voiced by Idzi Dutkiewicz) fights against Doppo later on. Dutkiewicz voiced Kratos in God of War (PS4).
  • Memetic Badass: Fans have taken Yujiro being the strongest creature on the planet and ran with it, comparing him to fighters from other media like Street Fighter and Tekken. To the point of calling him the shonen equivalent of Chuck Norris.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • The idea that the Hanma's grow stronger through sex is often named PP Training by the fans, many thanks to AR Manga.
    • So many fans refer it as Ippo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Yujiro's brutal and deadly maiming of Emi, while their son (and everybody else) is incapable of doing anything to stop him.
    • Yujiro is an interesting case as he sees himself as Above Good and Evil. In fact if you look at many of the things he does in contrast to how he generally handles himself in public his actions can be seen to go further straight into Blue-and-Orange Morality territory. While he can be sadistic and mocks others for their weakness, he never seems to relish the pain he inflicts on others in and of itself. Rather, Yujiro loves the ACT of inflicting pain and brutalizing others rather than the agony that follows. Further, he never goes out of his way to just destroy and kill. There are even times when Yujiro is shown to be capable of being honorable, noble, and even outright compassionate (though never call him out on this as he can and may destroy you for it). He is even capable of respecting others and making friends (albeit a small circle of friends). Hell, he can even be downright hospitable in not friendly with the people he has hurt (as seen when he went out for drinks with Doppo Orochi).
    • Earlier in the series Yujiro killed the Yasha Ape after it became Baki's friend and then proceeded to mock Baki with Yasha's decapitated head.
  • Nausea Fuel: Many things in the series, but most of the characters are drawn so muscular and with such little body fat that they look disgusting. It doesn't help that the art style makes them look realistic while simultaneously looking cartoony, making the characters look creepy as hell. Some viewers even compared Itagaki's art style to Rob Liefeld.
  • The Scrappy: Yujiro, for those who don't see him as a Memetic Badass, being such an overblown Invincible Villain and Abusive Parent. Even more so when he ultimately invokes a complete Karma Houdini (see Esoteric Happy Ending).
    • Check most online forums and you'll find that many people aren't fond of Katsumi either. This stems mostly from his early incarnation as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who near-effortlessly beats more fan-favorite characters, such as Hanayama, only to end up getting his ass handed to him inevitably.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Western fans have this criticism of Muhammad Ali Jr. They feel the character failed to live up to the potential several characters in-universe, even Yujiro himself, stated he possessed after Aji Jr. started a losing streak before leaving the series forever. Several viewers even suspect Itagaki changed his mind on the character and decided to write him out with said losing streak.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The Hand Pocket technique of Iai Kenpo is an obvious Shout-Out to the Hiten Mitsurugi-ryū. It would have been nice to see the hand to hand equivalent to its counter style Watōjutsu or even an expy of Yukishiro Enishi.
    • The buildup that Dorian had fell flat when he got utterly curbstomped by Doppo and later lobotomized by Retsu to the point he became a kid who just wants some candy.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: The fighting manga genre on acid. At first the series is fairly realistic, albeit pushing your suspension of disbelief. After the Maximum Tournament though, all bets are off. By the time you reach Son Of Ogre you'll be wondering what the hell the author was on.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Yujiro, after his Noble Demonic Character Development. Needless to say, his sheer Jerkassery and Invincible Villainy still make him such a Hate Sink in the eyes of many fans.


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