The Baki series starts with Baki the Grappler, but where can fans of the series watch it in 2022?
The Baki series is something of an institution within the manga industry, with a history dating back over 30 years. It’s fascinating to look back on the original manga and compare it with the unique style that’s come together in the decades since.
While Baki is an institution within manga, its presence within anime has long been sorely lacking. Its visibility outside Japan was basically non-existent until the 2018 release of Netflix’s Baki series, which follows the titular character on his journey to defeat his father, Yujiro Hanma.
This scarcity stems from a number of the early rightsholders going belly-up in the meantime, an issue that has made it very difficult to either read or watch Baki the Grappler in 2022. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a workaround to let fans watch it.
At the moment, Baki the Grappler cannot be legally watched outside of acquiring the DVDs from 2005.
At present, there isn’t really an official or strictly legal way to watch Baki the Grappler in 2022. Baki the Grappler anime studio Group TAC created the series in 2001 but declared bankruptcy in 2010. Though Funimation Entertainment secured the rights to the anime in 2005 and released the series on DVD, Baki the Grappler never made it onto a major TV network. When it never arrived on Funimation’s dedicated streaming service or on Crunchyroll after the two companies partnered, it became clear that something was off.
Odds are that the shuttering of Group TAC has left the original Baki the Grappler anime in a sort of licensing purgatory. The studio closed in 2010 and liquidated all of its assets. It’s unclear who owns the rights to the series 12 years later. sun-krad Label, a Japanese record label that serves as the parent company to Baki the Grappler producer Free-Will has taken down videos from the series on YouTube. sun-krad likely owns the rights to the series at this point. The fact that it hasn’t popped up since then through Funimation suggests that the company no longer has distribution or broadcasting rights for the series.
As such, the only official and completely legal way to watch Baki the Grappler is to track down a legitimate copy of Funimation’s DVD release from second-hand sources. Given the fact that these DVDs are both expensive and difficult to find, this isn’t feasible for most fans. Any fan looking to watch Baki the Grappler in 2022 will have to find an unconventional way of doing so.