Baki is a martial arts Shounen manga by Keisuke Itagaki. The story revolves around a teen boy Hanma Baki who trains to fight to be the best grappler surpassing his father. The manga was adapted into an OVA in 1994 and later into an anime series in 2001, the original Baki the Grappler.
The animation was done by Group TAC (studio) and licensed by Funimation. Further on, TMS Entertainment animated the reboot, Baki: The Grappler 2018, along with Hanma Baki, which came out in 2021. The complex watch order brings attention to the contrast between the two series and the finer one between the two. This is a thorough analysis of the Baki original vs Baki reboot and which one does it better.
Difference between the Two shows
- The major difference lies in the visuals, the visuals are far apart because of the gap of over a decade. The animation of the original series is also diverse with distinct season 1 and season 2 art styles. The deterioration in the season 2 visuals were also a result of time constraint.
- The Baki reboot, or the new Baki series, is visually smoother with the technological advancements in anime production since the original series came out.
- Another major difference is the story covered by the two. The original series covers the first three arcs of the manga up to The Maximum Tournament and the new version covers from arc 4 to arc 8, making the new version a sequel to the original series.
Even if it’s a sequel, both the parts are loosely attached and you can watch either of the parts before or one without watching the other. Watching the original series before the new series will give you a background of some of the characters such as Baki himself, Doppo Orochi, Hanma Yujiro, and Hanma Jack.
If you choose to skip the original series you might not get hooked to the new series instantly. But with the prior knowledge of characters from the original series, it can be easier to get into the Netflix version.
Which Baki is better?
Both versions have different fan bases according to the art style preference. Some people prefer the classic old animation of the 90s. Whereas others find it hard to watch. Baki is here to serve both sides with the 2001 and the Netflix adaptation.
This is only the case if you’re watching the anime for its fights and adrenaline rush. If you’re watching the anime series for its story, it’s recommended to watch the Baki series in their release order.
Some fans watched the series following the release whereas others watched the Netflix one first and watched the original one later. The experiences were different as some felt the story has more depth if you follow the correct order while others didn’t see a problem with directly watching the reboot.
The reboot is better in terms of production quality. It is more consistent visually and follows the manga as well. Apart from that the original Baki is crucial to the storyline. The absence of the original series weakens the plot of the reboot.
Baki 2018 does a good job introducing all the characters, but the prequels provide an in-depth start to the characters, making them more likable. It’s better to watch both as one combined unit.