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Grappler Baki (グラップラー刃牙 Gurappurā Baki), or Baki the Grappler, is a manga series written and illustrated by Keisuke Itagaki. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Champion from 1991 to 1999, and later collected into 42 tankōbon volumes. It was followed by two sequel series; Baki (バキ Baki), aka New Grappler Baki, which was serialized from 1999 to 2005 and later collected into 31 volumes, and Baki Hanma: Son of Ogre (範馬刃牙 Hanma Baki), which was serialized from 2005 to 2012 and later collected into 37 volumes.
A 45-minute original video animation (OVA) was released in 1994. A 24-episode anime aired on TV Tokyo between January 8 and June 25, 2001. This was quickly followed by a second 24-episode series, from July 22 to December 24, 2001. The 2012 comedy film Graffreeter Toki (lit. "Toki the Freelancing Grappler") is based on the March 2011 play of the same name, which in turn was inspired by Grappler Baki. The OVA was the first to be licensed and released in North America, in 1998 by Central Park Media, followed by the original manga series, in 2002 by Gutsoon! Entertainment (incomplete), and finally both anime series, in 2005 by Funimation Entertainment.
Baki is raised by his wealthy and obsessive mother, Emi Akezawa, who also funds his training in the hopes that he can be a powerful warrior like his father. Around the start of the series, Baki outgrows traditional training and heads out to follows the path of his ruthless father's training and meets many powerful fighters along the way. Eventually, Baki fights his father and is beaten without a challenge.
After being beaten, Baki travels around the world continuing his training. Years down the road he finds an underground fighting arena where he fights some of the most powerful fighters of all styles of martial arts. It is here he truly begins to hone his martial arts skills.
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