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Baki the Grappler is a shonen manga revolving around Baki Hanma's quest to become the strongest grappler in the world, thus taking the title from his father, Yujiro Hanma, in addition to gaining the love of his psychotic mother.

It was originally serialized in Weekly Shonen Champion from 1991 to 1999, lasting 42 volumes, and followed by two sequel series, New Grappler Baki and Baki: Son of an Ogre.

New Grappler Baki directly follows the climax of the previous series, as the results of the Maximum Tournament unknowingly and inexplicably catch the attention of five death row inmates, and their escape and arrival in Tokyo looking to face the strongest fighters in the world. There is also Muhammad Ali Jr., who is trying to prove himself and the art of boxing.

Baki: Son of an Ogre (also known as Hanma Baki) follows the road to the final battle between father and son, as Baki trains fighting the most physically remarkable antagonists in the series yet: Biscuit "Unchained" Oliva, and Pickle the defrosted caveman.

Probably one of the most over-the-top fighting mangas to ever be written. If it didn't take it self seriously you would swear it was a parody of martial arts shonen manga.

A 24-episode anime adaptation aired in Japan from January 8, 2001 to June 25, 2001, followed by a second 24-episode series called Grappler Baki Maximum Tournament, released on July 22, 2001.

Tropes used in Baki the Grappler include:
  • Acquired Poison Immunity
  • A Handful for an Eye - Pretty often, the nature of the series considered, but Gaia takes it to ridiculous extremes.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap
  • Badass - Pretty much every fighter.
    • Badass Grandpa - Age doesn't matter much if you're a top fighter in this universe.
  • Bald of Awesome - Orochi Doppo and Ryu Kaioh.
  • Balls of Steel - Katou tries a Groin Attack against Orochi, and nearly gets suffocated for his trouble. Orochi then goes on to explain a martial arts technique that pulls the testicles up into the body.
  • Beware the Nice Ones - Baki, when fully clothed (so that his muscles and scars are hidden), looks fairly non-threatening and even cute. He also prefers to avoid unnecessary fights and repeatedly spares various punks who try to attack or mug him. However, if you have managed to make him serious, you better be prepared for some broken bones at best. After a certain point in the series, however, the local toughs start wising up.
  • Beyond the Impossible - You'll be hard-pressed to find a more over-the-top fighting series, and it doesn't even have any supernatural powers in it.
  • Blood Knight - Yujiro, the five supercriminals. Most of Korakuen stars are fighting junkies as well, but have more regard for human life.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer - Che Guevara throws toy windmills, urinates on his opponents and lets them stomp on his face. He's one of the strongest fighters in the world, as well as politically formidable. Dorian also qualifies - singing Charles Aznavour songs while vandalizing Doppo Orochi's house.
  • Calling the Old Man Out - Pretty much the reason Baki fights.
  • Can't Catch Up
  • Cat Smile - Not how you'd expect; Most older fighters, when particularly excited, give a rather vicious and eager smile that looks positively leonine. Baki tends to have an odd version of this a good deal of the time as well.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower
  • Combat Pragmatist - Most of the cast would qualify for this trope by normal standards, as the only thing that Korakuen rules forbid is bringing weapons into the ring (using whatever you find on the ring as a weapon is OK). Fighting dirty is practically expected - see Eye Scream and Groin Attack below. To be perceived as a dishonorable Combat Pragmatist in this series, you need to use weapons left and right and refuse to accept defeat after being knocked out and spared, like Dorian and Speck.
    • Gaia is the master of this; it was said in combat tactics he was better than Yujiro.
  • Contemplate Our Navels - Any time people are not beating each other to a bloody pulp is mostly spent expounding on the psychology and philosophy of beating people to a bloody pulp.
  • Counter Attack - Kaku Kaioh.
  • Covered with Scars - Baki as well as several supporting characters.
  • Curb Stomp Battle - Retsu vs Katsumi, Baki vs Ali Jr, Baki vs Shunsei are just some examples.
    • Yujiro vs anyone
    • Including an earthquake.
      • And the United States military.
  • Death Glare - Baki is the frikking king of this trope. Who else can manage to frighten a super-powerful Ax Crazy murderer with a Death Glare while kissing? Oh, and Baki's girlfriend didn't even notice that there is someone else around.
    • Previously he had stopped a foe who was over him, on her knees, punching Baki on the face in a No Hold Barred Beatdown.
  • The Determinator - Broken limbs, profuse hemorrhaging, cut ears or hands, and getting your face ripped off won't stop fighters in this series.
  • Did Not Do the Research or possibly They Just Didn't Care - The whole Pickle arc, so so much.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers - Some techniques can only be achieved through imagination. Become liquid, a thousand of extra joints... imagining it can make it real. Also, Baki's "shadow training" invokes the figure of a foe so realistic that he is hurt by the "shadow" attacks.
  • Eye Scream - Doppo loses his right eye fighting against Yujiro. Later, during the Maximum Tournament, Koushou Shinogi attacks Shibukawa Gouki's eye as a last resort, but it was an already fake eye.
    • Baki's opening move against the Yasha ape is to run up and claw one of its eyes to ribbons. The Yasha Ape's opening move is to tear out and eat its own useless eye, thus causing an epic Oh Crap moment of the 'Why the hell did I think this was a good idea?!' variety for Baki.
  • Faux Death - Kaku Kaioh fakes his death to survive his fight against Yujiro.
  • Fighting Series
  • Fluffy the Terrible - A bestial neanderthal man who doesn't mind getting the lower half of his face ripped off is called....Pickle. Also a guy who gave Baki a good run for his money is named Biscuit.
  • Game-Breaking Injury
  • The Giant - Mount Toba, who stands at least two feet taller than Baki. Artemis Regan, meanwhile, is a full head taller than Mount Toba!
  • Glasses Pull - The prison director is looking kinda cool.
  • Good People Have Good Sex
    • Averted in the case between Yujiro and Emi as Baki's conception occured literally minutes after Yujiro killed Emi's husband, a yakuza boss, automatically making her mob leader and covering for her ex's murder by claiming a short guy did it.
  • Groin Attack - Both for comedy and serious battling, as Korakuen fights only forbid the usage of weapons and allow below the belt attacks.
    • Also used in the Yasha Ape fight, for a serious example. The Yasha Ape has Baki in a Bear Hug, crushing him, and Baki unloads seven fully cocked kicks to the groin. The Yasha Ape decides to fling Baki away shortly after.

Baki: "And now for your favorite dessert...MASHED NUTS!

  • Hard Work Hardly Works
  • Heroic RROD - Orochi Katsumi perfects a super-sonic karate punch to be used against Pickle. It ends up being too perfect as it ultimately blows the flesh off the bones on his arm.
  • Hot Mom - Emi. Oh dear lord, Emi.
  • How Much More Can He Take?
  • Left Hanging - The anime only adapts the first series; the manga is still ongoing.
  • Luxury Prison Suite - "Unchained" is only in prison because the US government gives him virtually anything he could ask for if he stays there (except for the occasional wetworks). It's less expensive (and safer for human life) than the alternatives.
  • Made of Iron - Just about every major martial artist. Hanayama, in one of the more outlandish examples, once took dozens of very literally iron-shattering blows, then had most of his cheeks blown away, then took repeated blows to the head with a metal club, until the club was bent out of shape, then was shot repeatedly, then the super-strong opponent attempted to break his neck by stomping on it several times, then he got a finger slammed all the way in his ear in a killing attack... then Hanayama still kicked his opponent's ass.
  • Magic Pants - Initially averted, then played straight, due to a strange lack of art continuity — after Dorian gets set on fire, he's initially in his underwear. A couple of chapters later, he's instead in the tattered remains of his sweat pants.
  • Mega Manning - Yujiro encouraged Baki to learn and use the opponents' moves, as it "pissed them off".
    • He demonstrated this in his fight against Kaku Kaioh, using the Xiao-Lee technique after it was used against him once...and then saying he would never use it again, because he didn't need it to win.
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours - Everywhere, but most notably with Yujiro, who beats everyone so stupidly easy it's almost painful sometimes.
  • Never Bring a Knife to A Fist Fight - or a gun, for that matter. Speck demonstrates the futility of it by shooting himself through the face and not even flinching.
  • Nigh Invulnerable - Biscuit Oliva is almost Made of Diamond - point-blank shotgun blasts and sword stabs have practically no effect on him.
    • Yujiro Hanma himself is this too, of course.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed - President Bosh and the Ali family.
    • Igari, the Pro Wrestler in the Maximum Tournament arc is based on legend Antonio Inoki, down to the chant the fans do for him.
      • Others include Mike Queen (the Ultimate Warrior), Mount Toba (Giant Baba), and even Che Guevara, stated in universe to be one of the three strongest humans in the world.
        • In Baki: Son of Ogre, Baki shadow boxes against the image of the former heavyweight champion Iron Michael (Tyson)
          • Say hello to president Obama...
  • Oedipus Rex - So, so hard.
  • Older Than They Look - Speck, 97 years old; Shunsei, 120 years old. But Pickle beats them all, being roughly 65 million years old.
  • Old Master - Kaku Kaioh.
  • One-Man Army - Yujiro and Gaia are explicitely this; by extension, any fighter of a comparable level is one as well.
  • Orochi - Karate master Doppo Orochi, who in a subversion is actually a pretty nice guy. Who once OneHitKilled a tiger.
  • Person of Mass Destruction - Yujiro has been named "the one and only Brute Strenght Country, with the USA having made a pact of amity to him. Through Barack Obama.
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor
  • The Power of Love
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy - Yuri Tchaikovsky, a Russian of Mongolian descent whose stated objective is proving that the people of his particular nomad tribe are the greatest warriors to ever walk the Earth.
  • Pro Wrestling Is Real - In this series, pro wrestlers are right up there with the rest of them. Well, sort of. Mount Toba, at least, is described as a champion of "show wrestling", and faces off against Baki to prove himself a legitimate athlete and martial artist. It's mentioned that prior to "joining the circus", he really did wrestle in leagues where the fighting wasn't fake, though.
  • Punched Across the Room
  • Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh
  • Rape as Drama
    • Jack Hammer was born after Hanma Yujiro raped his mother.
    • Pickle raped a female reporter, who wanted to interview him. In front of television cameras.
  • Rated "M" for Manly - Pretty much every major character is saddled with an absurd case of muscles (though a lot of them have oddly feminine faces to go with it). In the sequel to the original manga, Baki Gaiden Scarface, an unarmed man wins a deathmatch against a twenty-two-foot shark by shoving an arm through its eyesocket and crushing the brain. It's that kind of story.
  • Razor Floss - Dorian uses one.
  • Redemption Equals Death - Emi finally decides to step up and be a mom, for once. Sadly, she stepped up against Yujiro.
  • Repetitive Name - Robin Robinson, the cocky kickboxer.
  • Shaggy Dog Story - The entire fucking Pickle subplot. He doesn't lose in a fight to anyone except Yujiro (yeah, big surprise there) and the only real changes in the status quo are a couple of guys get their limbs eaten. Of course Baki doesn't, though. And when's all said and done, he simply gets put in suspended animation again and that's the glorious end of the Pickle arc.
  • Suddenly Sexuality - Kureha, in the subs, was obsessed with body building. Kureha in the anime dub, however, is obsessed with body building and beautiful men. The dub also changes the scene Kureha has with Baki after Doppo's loss from Kureha talking about how life and death are natural for a doctor to Kureha going on about how cute Baki is, and gives every line out of his mouth huge amounts of innuendo from then onward.
  • Superpowerful Genetics - The Hanmas' Oni face back muscles.
    • Kinda averted and played straight. The Hanma's back muscles are referenced in old legends because they were developed only by combat training, so anyone so devoted could get them. But there are a lot of references about the strenght into the "Hanma's blood".
      • Grandpa Ichiro Hanma was the same as his son and grandson. He gave the United States in WWII hell single-handedly. On top of that, a hieroglyphic shows a man with the "Oni's Face" back muscles as well. Apparently, the Hanma bloodline goes back millenia.
  • Talk to the Fist - Baki kicks Ali Jr. very squarely in the nuts during their fight in the arena, not noticing and not caring that he was spacing out and having an internal monologue.
  • Training from Hell - Baki underwent many of these as a kid; his body is full of scars due to it.
    • His first memory of training? When he was three, and his dad threw him face first into concrete.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy - A rare mother-son example with Baki toward his mom Emi, who doesn't love him because he doesn't satisfy Yujiro's requirements.
    • Yujiro finally says this to Baki right before the final battle.
  • The Worf Effect - Gouki Shibukawa and Doppo get Worfed by Ali Jr. during the Ali Jr. Saga. They all pay him back for the Worfing.
  • World of Badass
  • World's Strongest Man - Yujiro is possibly the most triumphant example of this trope when it comes to Fighting Series relative to the story.