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Baki Hamna vs. Kengan Ashura





Kennedy Unthank

TV Series Review

Alright, settle down folks! Take a seat and hold onto it. Have we got a show for you!

In one corner, we have fighters from the Underground Arena, where the title of World’s Strongest Man is decided! These animals are muscular, dangerous and will stop at nothing to win a fight—especially Baki Hanma, the martial arts champion who aims to one day best his monstrous father in hand-to-hand combat.

In the other corner, we have representatives of the Kengan Association! These men are gladiators hired to fight on behalf of powerful companies in order to settle business disputes! And the scariest among them is Ohma Tokita, a fighter for Yamashita Trading Co. who, like Baki, wants to be the strongest there ever was.

But those aren’t the only combatants climbing into the ring! Yes sir, it’s certain that “an arena chock-full of absolute monsters” (as described by one of the arena’s security guards) is sure to have some impressive fights—especially when the only official rule is “no weapons allowed!” Were we less organized, you might be here all day. That’s why each group is putting forth three fighters—that’s right, just three—to represent them in the three-match competition.

Last chance to grab your popcorn from the concessions stand. Because the first match is about to start—and you won’t want to miss it.

Or will you?

Kick, Punch, Spit Blood, Repeat

It’s like Netflix has been planning this all along.

First, Kengan Ashura premiered on the service in 2019. Then, having given viewers enough time to get into that show, they premiered Baki Hanma two years later. Now, in 2024, they’ve released the crossover event that’ll be more than enough to excite all the fans they’ve made via hosting those two shows.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Baki Hanma vs. Kengan Ashura won’t be a show you’ll want to hop into prior to watching at least one of the anime referenced in its title. The release is meant for in-the-know fans, and it won’t stop to explain who its large cast of characters are for anyone who hopped on late.

And that’s somewhat helpful for us at Plugged In. It suggests that if you are reading this review, you’ve probably seen one of the shows. And if that’s the case, you’ll already know, generally, what to expect to see in Baki Hanma vs. Kengan Ashura.

Even if you don’t fall into that category, I’ll bet you could guess the main issues with relative accuracy. Imagine the most muscular people in the world, multiply their muscle size by three, and hypothesize what might happen if those people collectively agreed to punch each other in the face. With that mental exercise, you’ll have deduced roughly 80%—including broken bones and torn flesh—of what you can expect in this animated tournament.

The other 20%? Well, we hear a reference to extreme doping. We hear a few crude words used, and a few characters are described in spiritual terms.

But otherwise, it’s just an hour of animated characters punching each other until someone collapses.

In summary, kick, punch, spit blood, repeat.

(Editor’s Note: Plugged In is rarely able to watch every episode of a given series for review. As such, there’s always a chance that you might see a problem that we didn’t. If you notice content that you feel should be included in our review, send us an email at [email protected], or contact us via Facebook or Instagram, and be sure to let us know the episode number, title and season so that we can check it out.)

Episode Reviews

June 6, 2024 – S1, E1

Fighters from Baki Hanma and Kengan Ashura come together to determine which group is the strongest.

The muscular men are often seen in nothing but speedos or similar garb, fighting in as little as possible. A couple women wear outfits that expose their cleavage. One man tells another that he won’t be attractive to women due to an undeveloped muscle.

As the fighters clash, they punch, claw, kick and bite at one another, causing blood to spurt everywhere. One man bites chunks out of another man’s arms and legs. We hear bones crack, and we see one fighter’s broken fingers. Another person’s arm is degloved, and we see the underlying muscle tissue. We’re told that one man’s training consisted of hitting his head with hammers and rocks in order to obtain a skull “harder than metal.” Someone is choked. A creepy doctor is nicknamed “the Dissector.” A security guard is nicknamed “the Genocider.”

Baki contorts his back muscles to look like the face of a demon. He also trains by fighting a spirit-like apparition. Ohma is described as “the Ashura,” a reference to the Hindu asura, a kind of power-seeking demon. A man is nicknamed the “Devil Lance.” One technique is described as like being “possessed by a god.” Someone describes a pain as like “being in pure h—.” A couple fighters let off a colorful aura. Two fighters are described as having “reached the final stage of evolution in strength.”

One man owes part of his muscle mass due to “extreme doping.” We see him swallowing some pills and see flashbacks to syringes full of drugs. People smoke and drink. One man admits that he may have had a little too much to drink.

A man vomits. We’re told that one man’s strength is a result of selective breeding. Two men have to use the restroom but believe being the first to go would be a sign of weakness. They remain locked in a tense stare down, and we never see the conclusion of this extra “battle.”

The f-word is scrawled as graffiti on a house. We hear a couple instances of “h—” and one vocal use of “d—n.” “D–n” is likewise tattooed on one man’s mouth.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”

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