• Keisuke Itagaki
• Gutsoon! Entertainment (2002–2004)
• Akita Shoten (Weekly Shônen Champion, 1991–1999)
• Shônen, Martial Arts, Action
• Unrated/16+ (mild language, graphic violence)
Gruesome, stripped-down shônen fighting manga that, in Japan, was adapted into numerous spin-offs. The series is mostly nonstop fights, starring Baki (his name is the same as the sound effect for something breaking), a fearless and ever-smiling teenage martial artist, who fights in underground tournaments against opponents such as “cord-cutting Shinogi,” who rips his opponents’ nerves out of their bodies with his bare hands, leaving them paralyzed. The human figures—the focus of the manga—are drawn in contorted cartoony poses with thick lines delineating the major muscles, a more fluid (but not necessarily more attractive) art style than the stiff processed realism of Fist of the North Star or, worse, Tough. Blood splatters, veins pop, and the series chews on the edge of perversity like a dog gnawing a bone; Baki has a little boy’s face on a ripped, scarred body, and his opponents are sadistic types with rouged-looking lips, who prior to fighting him think such thoughts as “I feel like a young boy about to lose his virginity to a beautiful woman.” Although it was serialized in every issue of Raijin magazine, it was never released as graphic novels.