The saga of Baki Hanma, the strongest boy in the world, continues on Netflix, to the delight of fans of absurd anatomies, forbidden blows and ever more grotesque gimmicks.
In an incredibly packed stadium, two warriors face each other, ready for a fight to the death. On the one hand there is the heir to the largest and most prestigious dojo of karate of Japan, capable of delivering blows at supersonic speed. On the other a hominid from the Jurassic, hibernated during a fight with a T-Rex and brought back to life in our era, and endowed with limitless strength. And if that sounds crazy to you, you haven’t seen anything yet Baki Hanma season 2 part 1the new season of animated series available on Netflix….
The boy and the ogre
Mouth is taken from a long-lived and very famous series mangacreated in 1991 by Keisuke Itagaki and published in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump by the publisher Akita-Shoten, to then be collected, considering the various sequels and parallel stories, in more than 140 volumes (unfortunately, still unpublished in Italy), with an extraordinary success with the public and several million copies sold. The manga was then transposed into several anime series, and the first arc of the “Son of Ogre” series is currently available on Netflix, with the second arc expected at the end of August 2023. The protagonist of the series is Baki Hanma, an experienced boy of martial arts whose aim is to face and defeat his father, Yujiro Hanma, or “the strongest being in the world”a fighter endowed with abilities beyond the limit of the superhuman and nicknamed Ogre, the Orc.
Between Yujiro and Baki there is a big account open, since the orc is responsible for the death of the boy’s mother, who sacrificed herself to save him before his father killed him. Along his way Baki will go up against many other experts in the deadliest and scariest martial arts in the worldundergoing increasingly intense tests and workouts, with the sole objective of acquiring the strength sufficient to beat his father.
The strongest being in history
During an excavation some scientists do a shocking discovery: a T-Rex and a human, perfectly preserved in a saline crystalline structure. What’s even more incredible is that, from the pose of the two beings, it seems that the man was about to attack the T-Rex.
After renaming the human Pickle (pickled cucumber, basically… don’t ask questions, please), scientists assume that he is an evolutionary missing link, an extraordinary being capable of killing even dinosaurs with his bare hands.
The physical conditions of this being are so perfect as to push scientists to attempt an extreme experiment and revive him. And the experiment, incredibly, succeeds.
Humans thus find themselves dealing with the revived Pickle, a completely wild predator with unparalleled strength and skill.
What could possibly go wrong?
After realizing (at the expense of a poor reporter) that common sense and normal morals don’t apply to Pickle, the scientists and military are faced with a new problem: drawn to this deadly savage like moths to the light , the world’s leading martial arts experts rush to the place where Pickle is imprisoned, with the aim of fighting him and thus demonstrating their superiority … even if this means risking being devoured by the hominid.
While various challengers clash with Pickle, often with tragic results, Baki waits, still doubting how to face such a monster.
The noble savage is a myth
Il new chapter in the Baki saga proceeds along its path while maintaining unchanged all the elements that have decreed its success: the tone is always emphatic, the clashes always exaggerated, the anatomies of the characters increasingly absurd. All, into Mouth, is oriented towards only one goal: to exaggerate. Exaggerating the body structure of the wrestlers, their techniques, the effect of the blows on the bodies of the opponents (and, in a couple of emblematic and bloody cases, even on one’s own).
But their character and personalities are no less. Baki oozes testosterone like she’s raining. The fighters are all Real Men (TM), devoted to sacrifice and honour, willing to sacrifice body and soul in order to demonstrate that they are the strongest and capable of displaying macho phrases with the utmost nonchalance that would make all the dialogues of the most disfigured stupid action movies from the 80s.
The emphasis that is pumped into every single action sequence is such as to overshadow the sad reality, namely that Toshiki Hirano’s direction, for the most part, is forced to exploit all the tricks and found possible in order to compensate for the obvious budget limitations.
Still images, cuts and shot changes… the whole corollary of technical solutions developed over decades of low-budget animation but which, in any case, do their dirty work here, above all thanks to a story that proceeds regardless of everything (even of his own, ostentatious absurdity) and a very successful mix of characters.
on which stands, of course, Pickle, the prehistoric man who came from the Jurassic (or from the Cretaceous … the series occasionally gets confused on this insignificant detail). A being in his purest way of him, which feeds only on the prey he fights against and which he kills with his bare hands. The clash between Pickle and the various martial artists thus manages to transcend the mere (so to speak) exchange of punches and first becomes a metaphor of the opposition between civilization and nature, then (even) the representation of what has been lost, and what it was earned as humans evolved. Self the fight between Pickle and the young karateka Katsumi Orochi is a masterpiece of gore and emotional overload, the final clash between Baki and Pickle thus becomes an ideological clash, in which Baki’s respect for his opponent is opposed to Pickle’s will, authentic and uncontaminated, to remain faithful to the own nature.
All of this, of course, while teeth fly, internal organs are crushed and, in general, we get hurt.
Finally, honorable mention for the soundtrack, with the opening The Beast by the extraordinary Wagakki Band.
Our review of the second season (part 1) of Baki Hanma – Son of Ogre ends with an overall positive vote. It is true that the technical quality of this series has never really taken off, but those expecting an overdose of ultra-violence, “WTF” moments galore and machismo by the bucketful will certainly not be disappointed.
Because we like it
- Exaggerated action and fights.
- The “kiss” between Jack Hanma and Pickle.
- The opening of the Wagakki Band.
- The animation is not up to par with the rest.
- You know when they say: “Anime is too violent”? Well, in this case it’s true.