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[ a parent's guide to anime ]

[ rated pg ] Grappler Baki

A Parent's Guide to Anime
Rated: PG
Parental Guidance Advised

Review by David Bingham:

It's difficult to describe the plot in this movie (available dubbed) because it doesn't seem to have one. Baki is a mysterious martial artist who has only been entering tournaments (and possibly has only been training) for a few years yet wins every match, frequently with a single strike. He's an enormously one-dimensional character who lives only for the fight.

In addition to traditional tournaments, he is also champion of Tokyo's underground circuit, a no-holds barrred arena where fighters are routinely crippled or even killed. There Baki must face his most ruthless opponent, a man who's "cord cutter" technique consists of reaching into anopponent's body and snapping their nerves and tendons. After a long drawn out fight, Baki wins, is patched together by the doctors, and remains champion. That's it. The whole plot consists of various muscular martial artists either fighting or showing off their inhuman abilities at exibitions.

There is no plot or character development to speak of. There is one female who is concerned about Baki's obsessive nature, and looks to be a possible love interest, but she immediately drops out of the story. The movie is also filled with all sorts of anatomical errors. At one point, Baki's opponent reaches into Baki's bicep and breaks his "arm nerve," completely paralyzing the arm. No mention is made of the fact that there are four nerves in the arm at that point, none of them directly below the bicep. My personal favorite is where the same opponent reaches into the side of Baki's neck and snaps his optic nerve. In real humans, the optic nerve runs straight back into the brain and never gets near the neck.

On the plus side, the animation is quite solid, and the fight scenes (that is to say, the whole movie) are quite well done. If you like endless violence, this is definately the movie for you. On the other hand, if things like plot, character development, dialoge, and creativity are more your thing, avoid it.

On a side note, I'm not sure why he's called "Grappler Baki," since nobody in the entire movie does any grappling to speak of. I think it's a mistranslation.

Parent's Guide Rating:

yellow (parental guidance advised)

Profanity: I don't remember, but I don't think there was much.

Nudity/Sex: None.

Violence: More or less constant and graphic, but generally not too gory. There is some blood, several broken bones and joints, and of course the "cord cutter" attacks.

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