Welcome back to another week of BAKI episode recaps! We had a pretty exciting first week getting introduced to a new show and now that we’re smack in the middle of the fighting I’d expect the action and excitement to only rise to another level.
When we left off, Spec and Hanayama were in the midst of battle with Hanayama looking for Spec to yield. Spec has no honor, of course, so as he said he’d had enough, he shoved a handful of bullets into Hanayama’s mouth and punched him in the face setting them off. We closed with an explosion, not knowing whether one or both men were injured or killed.
Credit where it’s due: that’s a pretty damn ingenious method of attempted murder.
We’ll see the fallout of this fight and whether the herd has been thinned and jumpstart plenty more, I’m sure. If there’s one thing this show has mastered, it’s how to engineer a fight scene.
Season 1, Part 1, Episode 6: Sergeant Katahira’s Report
We pick up right where we left off. Hanayama is showing the affects of having a handful of bullets explode in your mouth. By that, I mean that he’s missing some face around his mouth as a significant portion of his jaw is exposed. Spec is reveling in his accomplishment, but Hanayama straightens himself and asks again, “Had enough?”
Spec laughs until Hanayama delivers a crushing punch to Spec’s face sending him soaring into the air where he is greeted by electrical wires that send a power surge through his body. Hanayama collapses and we cut away thinking both men may have made early exits from the tournament.
At the police station, the inspector is browbeating a lowly cop for having his ammo stolen. As this is going on, another cop comes running in telling the inspector that he needs to come quick. Waiting for him downstairs is a ragged Hanayama holding Spec’s lifeless body which is still smoking from his meeting with the power wires.
Now in a normal setting, I don’t think a police station would be a great place for a Yakuza boss to just drop in and make a delivery, but I’ve never been to Tokyo so I’m not familiar with the protocol. The inspector is grateful for what Hanayama has done and regretful that the stolen ammo was used against him and orders his whole squad to salute Hanayama as he tells Katahira, a subordinate to prepare a car to take Hanayama for medical attention. This has been a pretty wild opening four minutes.
As Katahira tries to drive off with Hanayama, his car refuses to move. He’s shown stepping on the gas with the gear in drive, but to no avail. He looks in the rear view mirror and gasps as it fades. I guess Spec isn’t as dead as we thought.
We got to Sergeant Katahira giving his incident report which indeed features Spec pulling at the car until he turns it upside down. A precinct full of dead cops is behind him as he pulls Hanayama from the car and begins beating the everliving shit out of him with a pipe. Hanayama tries fighting up, but Spec pulls out one of the dead cop’s guns and starts firing round after round into Hanayama before stomping his head into the pavement.
Katahira recites the details as Spec looks to put a final bullet into Hanayama who turns his head at the last second and the bullet goes through the opening already in his face. Spec’s surprised and Hanayama capitalizes and mounts his comeback. Katahira tells of Hanayama’s exploits like a fanboy would, with awe for Hanayama’s fighting spirit.
Spec is desperate and shoves a finger into Hanayama’s ear, but Hanayama – who is the owner of a vice-like grip – reaches out and grabs Spec by the throat, squeezing the life out of him until finally he drops like a sack of potatoes. Hanayama then let’s out a visceral growl over Spec’s carcass as I sit on my couch doing a guffaw face over what the fuck I just witnessed.
Spec is shown in the hospital still not dead, but withering away as he’s kept on life support. It’s revealed that he’s actually 97 YEARS OLD!!!! Wait…what?!
You heard that. Ninety-seven. Years. Old.
A doctor theorizes that Spec’s body is finally giving up now that he’s reached his life’s dream. He wanted to taste defeat, remember.
Baki is blissfully unaware of these happenings, though, and is sleeping through a test in school. His teacher is getting on him for not realizing that the real world runs on brain power and not muscle power. Of course, on cue, Hector Doyle, another one of our escaped death row inmates, comes busting through the window, ready to challenge Baki who, despite having a show named after him, may have done the least amount of fighting thus far of any of the people on this series.
Baki at first pretends to be scared of Doyle which catches the convict off guard long enough for Baki to kick his desk up into the face of Doyle leaving us with our cliffhanger for the day and setting up a showdown for tomorrow.
Look, I don’t know if this needs to be said, but I don’t think these fights are very realistic.
OK, I’m joking, but seriously, that entire sequence between Spec and Hanayama that sprawled over two episodes was in-fucking-sane. The brutality, the gore, the innovation was like nothing I’m used to seeing in the usual cartoons I watch and I know that there’s a whole community of people who are laughing and calling me a n00b, but this shit was bananas.
Now, let’s not act like I’m some kind of prude. I grew up on Arnold, JCVD and the action legends of the 80s so it’s not the content that has me wild’n. It’s seeing it presented in an animated fashion that has me aghast. Just as the 80s action shaped me, so did the cartoons of the era which – despite fighting being a centerpiece for most, if not all – was never presented in such graphic a fashion. Hell, nobody from G.I. Joe ever got hit with a laser until Jeff Winger shot down and killed Destro 30 years after the fact on an episode of Community.
I’m with it, though. This isn’t me shitting on this show or style by any means. I’m interested, I’m invested and I’m actively looking forward to seeing more (or anything) of Baki and what makes him the guy to beat in this gimmick.
Speaking of, I’m glad we’re finally getting Baki in some serious action. Up until this point, his whole aura has been built around hearsay and the moments we’ve seen him involved in have been against the local jobbers of the fight scene and not actual competition. It’s about time we’re getting to see what he’s about.
This was a helluva way to start the week. The show is really rolling now as we get to the approximate midway point of Part 1 of the season. Tomorrow should hope to be just as wild.
Until next time.