Grappler Baki OVA (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, December 01, 1998
Release Date: Tuesday, December 01, 1998
What They Say
In the world of Karate, Baki Hanma - Grappler Baki - is a complete mystery. No one knows where he came from or where he learned his unique fighting style. But he knows you. He knows all the fighters - their styles and their weaknesses. When you make your first move, he'll know how to block it. He can defeat an opponent with a single blow. If you blink, it's all over.
Now, Baki's in for the fight of his life. At the Shinshinaki organization's private arena, anything goes and the odds are always stacked against you. For the first time, Baki must fight an opponent he knows almost nothing about: Kosho Shinogi - The Cord Cutter. He possesses the ability to penetrate the opponent's skin, grab their nerves, and rip them out - leaving the victim paralyzed or dead. It will be Baki's greatest challenge, and possibly his last. But he might just survive if he doesn't lose his nerve first...
Baki Hanma, otherwise known as Grappler Baki (though never actually called that in the show), is, yes, you guessed it, Yet Another Fighting Anime. That being said, there's not a huge amount to set it apart from many other fighting anime shows over the past several years.
On the plus side though, this latest release from Central Park Media shows some serious promise. The video is exceptionally clean and clear. I noticed a few, maybe three, rainbow shimmer effects, but they are far less noticeable than the couple I saw when watching Mission: Impossible the other night. There is practically no detraction from the show, and it was only because I was looking hard for them that I saw what few I did. This might have to do with Baki being a more recent release (1996 domestic) and thereby having better source materials on hand for a DVD transfer as opposed to a title like Area 88 or Gall Force, and so on. I'm very pleased with the video transfer.
There's not a heck of a lot to say about the audio transfer. It's a solid Dolby 2.0 mix, with the occasional throw to the rears, but very few and far between. The dialogue was always where it should be and clear, which is all one can really ask for with an OVA. I'm not expecting 5.1 for anything less than a movie or the occasional special OVA series like Darkstalkers.
Grappler Baki is packaged in the usual CPM Keepcase with the branding on the right side. While not terribly eye-catching, if facing forward, fight-show fans will definitely give this one a look.
The menu though is the same as it has been in the past. Slightly sluggish, nothing too terribly exciting. It's functional and serves it's purpose.
Overall, this was a pleasant diversion. Not as much so as Ayane's High Kick, but both the wife and I had several chuckles throughout it. There were several icky parts, as one of the fighters, nicknamed Cord Cutter, has a rather distinctive form of attack. There were a few subplot elements that were there, but never utilized (a girlfriend or sister and a potential mother as well as the Director's own background and the guy who came along with him) that basically seem like they hoped to do more, maybe. Either way, pleasant, not crucial for a collection, but not bad at all.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles
Toshiba CF36H50 36" TV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Monster S-Video cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: C
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Central Park Media
Running time: 45
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Baki the Grappler