Baki the Grappler was another one of those shows that was on the Funimation Channel when I was watching it religiously. Although I did not watch quite as much of it due to the fact that Baki was showing on the weekends. There just weren’t many of the shows that peaked my interest on the weekends so I rarely went out of my way to watch. However, I did manage to catch a few episodes here and there, and the episodes I did manage to catch stuck with me forever. So, when I saw that Netflix had release Baki, I had to check it out. At first I thought it was a remake but the more I watch, I think it is a continuation (Don’t quote me on that because I am not 100% sure).
Episode 1 starts out in a high school classroom. Throughout the room, everyone is shaking uncontrollably….everyone except Baki. We quickly learn that this is because he can radiate his strength as an intimidation method. As we are being introduced to Baki, we discover that he is obviously a fighter and that he is a very special teenager. Soon, Tokugawa shows up at the school looking for Baki. Now, Mitsunari Tokugawa is the head of his family and runs an underground fighting arena for martial artists. He has come to the school looking for Baki.
Now when the two of them sit down, Tokugawa begins to tell him of the synchronicity phenomenon. Synchronicity is when a group of unrelated material or organisms undergo changes at the exact same time. He then explains that the phenomena is happening again, this time death row inmates from all over the world are heading for Tokyo.
First is Dorian. He was sentenced to death by hanging. A person must remain hanging for 10 minutes before the death is confirmed by a coroner. When those ten minutes are up, the coroner begins his examination as he does, Dorian breaks the ropes and murders everyone who was present in the room. As he is escaping, he leaves a message stating, he is leaving for Tokyo. He wants to taste defeat.
Second up is Doyle. He is in Karios Prison, Scotland. He has been sentenced to death by the electric chair. Again, as the officers carrying out his sentence, he broke out of the chains holding him to the chair and he murdered all the people present for his execution. He then states that if they would have only kept the electricity on for ten more seconds his dream would have been fulfilled. He then also leaves a message saying he is going to Tokyo to get a taste of defeat.
In Evans Prison, Russia, Sikorsky escaped the prison after climbing 100 meters straight up from an old missile base. Of course, he has left the same message as the other two. We do not get anything else for Sikorsky’s background.
Spec is quite the brute. He is being held in an underwater prison somewhere off the shore of the US. There is a professor who has come to interview him. When the professor approaches the cell, Spec is nowhere to be found. Spec then appears out of the ceiling and murders the professor using the professors golden tooth as a lock pick. He escapes leaving the same message and begins to swim 200 meters to shore. We learn through this that he can hold his breath for 5 minutes.
Finally we meet our last inmate who is known as Yanagi the poisoner. He has killed ten convicts in an instant with gas. His cell is a military grade glass cage received by the ministry of defense which can withstand a blast from a missile. Yanagi, however, has different ideas. He creates a vacuum in the palm of his hand and shatters the glass, killing the two guards on duty. As he leaves, he has the message that he’s leaving for Tokyo to taste defeat as well.
Once we learn of all of our antagonists, we then go back to Baki and Tokugawa talking. We learn that the phenomenon of synchronicity has begun again this time with criminals.
Overall, this episode was nothing but amazing. I was pleasantly surprised. For being a first episode that was meant for introduction to the characters. Everything about this episode made me want to watch more. Although, for a introduction episode, it was super gory. There is a ton of blood and guts in this series. I expected it to be pretty rough with those elements simply because Baki The Grappler was quite heavy on the blood and gore.
Every meeting with a convict resulted in a cringe moment for me, and I love that. Everything about the opening episode was unexpected. I don’t know why, but I was not expecting neither Dorian or Doyle to get out of their sentences alive. Although, if they didn’t, I don’t know what kind of purpose that would have played, so I guess I should have seen that one coming. I am rather happy though, no one wants to watch something that they can predict the outcome to.
The episode was more of an introduction to the antagonists, but that was okay because the brutality and suspense that the escapees gave me was well worth the time. I will certainly continue to watch the series as they come out to watch the developments of Baki. Not only him, but also to see just how these convicts will end their stories, and to see if they truly get to receive the taste of defeat.