Baki the Grappler OVA (1994): The Ultimate Fighter
グラップラー刃牙 (Gurappurā Baki)


Baki, a new grappler on the no-holds-barred fighting scene, is flying up the ranks. All that is left in his wake are the dead and the defeated. However, no one can tell whether he can keep this up against the previous champion, a fierce fighter who severs his opponents very nerves to win.
Directed by
Written by
Screenplay by
Music by


  • The overall rating of the show.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • Animation quality and consistency for that time. 

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


  • How well the story flows and keeps you engaged.

Poor < Fair < Good < Great


Character design




Grappler Baki is a 45-minute original video animation (OVA) that was released in 1994. The story is a close adaptation of the first few volumes of the original manga, in which Baki Hanma fights Shinogi Koushou.

Alternative title

– Baki the Grappler
– Grappler Baki
– O Último Combate
– باكي الخطاف
– グラップラー刃牙
– Grappler Baki: The Ultimate Fighter

TL;DR Review

Grappler Baki (Japanese: グラップラー刃牙 Hepburn: Gurappurā Baki), known as Baki the Grappler in North America, is a manga series written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki.

The animation is pretty good for the time (1994). The action is visceral and brutal. The art style is pretty traditional compared to the manga version.

The ending theme is “Baki no Theme” (刃牙のテーマ) by Tamotsu Mizutani.

Baki is a likable character, despite very little backstory or dialog is given to him. We see he is a happy and almost innocent boy, if not for the gory martial art competition he is participating in.

The story is a simple one really if you can even call it a story. It focuses mainly on the fight between Baki and Shinogi. This show isn’t concern about story or plot, it is an exposition driven narrative used to set up a sequence of gory combats. Oddly enough, it does a good job at it.

I recommend this OVA to fan of the competition shows. Please be warned, the combat can be gory and hard to watch at times. Grappler Baki contains graphic violence and is intended for mature audiences.

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Closing Theme

– “Baki no Theme” (刃牙のテーマ) by Tamotsu Mizutani



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Photo by Nicolas LB, Jon Flobrant, and Yvette de Wit on Unsplash.

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