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Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Baki Hanma’ Season 2 Part 2 on Netflix, Building To is a Sluggish Start to the Brutal Showdown Between Father and Son

Baki Hanma (Troy Baker) is one of the anime world’s most formidable fighters. Right up there with the Z Fighters of Dragon Ball Z and Naruto, he’s not someone you want to mess with. He may not have ki power blasts or jutsu skills to blast away his enemies, but he’s still one to watch. That’s why the series has been able to attract so many fervent viewers. It’s slick, it’s stylish, it’s rife with excellent fight scenes and unbelievable match-ups. And now that it’s back for the second round of episodes from Season 2, it’s starting to slow a bit.

The last batch of episodes introduced the world’s strongest man, Pickle, and the aftermath of those who dared challenge him. But with life going back to what feels semi-normal for Baki and the people around him, he now turns his focus to sparring with his father. While there’s plenty of juicy relationship-building to be had here as Baki’s dad awaits a brawl, Baki Hanma’s return isn’t as fast-paced or frenetic as we’d all been hoping. Is it worth hanging in there with to see the thrilling Season 2 conclusion, though?

Opening Shot: Baki is seen coming out of an MRI machine as a doctor comes in to tell him that a full physical exam was in order after fighting the most powerful being in the world. It appears he’s been in severe need of a full battery of tests for some time, fighting the way he does.

The Gist: The first half of Baki Hanma centered around the newly-unfrozen Pickle and his thirst for battle as he ripped through some of the strongest fighters in the world. Now, with things returning to their baseline, Baki is preparing to fight the man he used to hate more than anything in the world: his father Yujiro Hanma (Kirk Thornton).

Yujiro happens to be the strongest man in the world, and Baki spent so much of his time wanting to obliterate the man, as he killed Baki’s mother. Having squashed the beef, however, Baki just wants a relationship with his dad. Yujiro, on the other hand, does not. He has no desire to fulfill his role in life as Baki’s father, and thus the two are at an impasse. The problem there is that Baki wants so badly to make his late mother proud and his father respect him once and for all.

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Baki recalls the turbulent relationship between his parents as he gets his body in shape for what will undoubtedly be a harrowing brawl, all the while looking back on his childhood and how he got where he is today. All the while, world powers find themselves concerned with the dangers of what will undoubtedly be the battle of the century between Yujiro and Baki as father and son will eventually come to blows.

Baki Hanma
Photo: TMS Entertainment

What Shows Will It Remind You Of? Baki Hanma is a tough-as-nails shonen series with action at its forefront. If you love dudes duking it out with ridiculously huge pecs and muscles as big as your head, you’ll feel right at home here. Fans of shows like Dragon Ball Z, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Naruto, and Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba will immediately be glued to the knock-down, drag-out battles that typically occur in Baki-land as well as some of the more outlandish storylines.

Our Take: Seeing a vulnerable side to Baki is a good way to show us that, despite all the strength and prowess as a fighter, he’s still just a normal man. But given the show’s breakneck pace so far, especially with the first half of the series, it’s hard to feel fulfilled when most of the first episode of the second half of Season 2 finds Baki talking about his feelings in a restaurant.

There’s nothing wrong with much-needed character development, especially the kind that shows us exactly what kind of woman Baki’s mother was and how she only really wanted Yujiro to love her, at the expense of actually caring for her son. But when the emotional content is more prevalent than the fighting in a show that’s kept viewers on the edge of their seats with huge battles as a constant, it’s hard to get hyped with this episode as the first one in the lineup after a few weeks’ wait.

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So it’s a bit of a slow start for Baki fans who might be salivating for more action. It’s going to come along, of course, but for anyone who doesn’t care for the family drama or the longer looks back into the past, it might disappoint. Still, in every other conceivable way, it’s the same excellent series it has been.

Sex and Skin: None in this episode, but there’s plenty of violence, just as you’d expect from typical Baki storylines.

Parting Shot: Baki finishes his coffee after speaking with Mr. Kuriyagawa (Chris Hackney) about his past and leaves, running down the street as he contemplated why he wanted to defeat his father, ultimately realizing it was to repay his mother for her love.

Sleeper Star: Cristina Vee does a fantastic job of infusing Baki’s mother Emi Akezawa’s every word with the type of emotion and pain you’d expect from a woman who feels that the greatest love of her life has scorned her. Up until Emi’s final moments her heart beats for Yujiro, and Cristina shows us her incredible range with these varying emotions Emi shows in the middle of the episode.

Most Pilot-y Line: “Compared to any normal human brain, this one has all the signs of being demonic,” Kureha Shinogi (Matthew Yang King) tells neuroscientist Mogi Kenichiro (Greg Chun), who concurs with this unhinged assessment.

Our Call: STREAM IT. Baki Hanma Season 2 Part 2 isn’t quite the sizzler of a return we had hoped for the second half of Season 2, but it’s still worth a watch. It gives plenty of insight into Baki’s childhood and relationship with his parents, but the ultimate showdown between the fighter and his father will require a bit of a wait.

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over a decade for publications like G4, Popular Science, Playboy, Variety, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, GameSpot, and more. When she’s not writing or gaming, she’s collecting retro consoles and tech. Follow her on Twitter: @MolotovCupcake.

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