Last updated on December 1st, 2023 at 01:25 pm
In the world of cinema and anime, there have been many complex father-son relationships but none have been as engrossing and powerful as Baki and Yujiro Hanma.
The usual stories we all have witnessed revolved around the father-son duet fighting against hostile external circumstances and forces in their quest for thrill and adventure or simply survival. In cinematic history, we have had many such marvels such as The Godfather, The Pursuit of Happiness, Road to Perdition, The Road, and many more films that offer an introspective examination of the father-son dynamic from their deep bond, love, and commitment to each other to their collective struggles for a better future and prospects.
Similarly, we have seen many such cases in anime, most famously: Goku/Gohan, Vegata/Trunks, Minato/Naruto, Naruto/Boruto, and Ichigo/Isshin. The common thread in all these bonds is the father’s expectations of greatness from their sons, which sometimes is shown in a positive light like in the form of Goku, Naruto, and Minato’s father, and often in overbearing contexts like Vegeta and Ichigo.
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Table of Contents
Introducing Yujiro Hanma:
Multiply the overbearing and crushing expectations of a normal father a million times and you will get Yujiro Hanma, the Ogre. The strongest being on the planet and a beast of nature who despises his sons for being weak because of ideals of mercy, camaraderie, and friendship.
He is a father who has always been neglectful of his responsibilities and never considered his son anything more than an offshoot of his brilliant DNA or the famous Hanma bloodline. According to some sources, Yujiro is one of the most sadistic and satanic characters ever created in anime history.
So, it is understandable that he has such feelings and expectations from his son.
Presenting Baki The Grappler:
Baki on the other hand is a very complex character. At one point, he is a son who is trying to be the strongest man on the planet to take revenge for his mother by killing his father, and at the same time, he is your everyday average kid who longs for the love of his father.
For both purposes, he pushes the limits of his body and mind to achieve greatness in fighting and martial arts in the same line as his father despite his small stature and physique. He defeats many strong fighters in his quest, extremely despicable opponents who long to find foes that can defeat them.
But at the end of every victory and accomplishment, he finds himself at the other end of snide remarks from his father for the most of anime series, until the latest anime fight of the century.
The Fight of the Century:
There have been many great fights in anime history. We have had Goku Vs. Jiren, Naruto/Sasuke Vs. Six Paths Madara, Ichigo Vs. Byakuya, Goku Vs. Vegeta, and Goku Vs. Frieza, and though the fight between Baki and Yujiro was nothing close to the aforementioned fights in terms of providing the adrenaline rush for the viewer, the fight did tell us a lot about the evolving father-son-dynamic between the fighters.
The fight compels us to think that maybe just maybe Yujiro is not the monster we believe him to be, maybe he has some feelings for his son or maybe he has had a change of heart, but something very unusual happens in the fight as it is the very first time in his life Yujiro showing some shades of compassion and respect for another fighter, his son.
Similarly, Baki is going through the same unusual feelings constantly questioning his self-beliefs about his father and contemplating whether he has been wrong about the man all along. He wants recognition and the love that he didn’t get a child and at the same time, he doesn’t want to show weakness in front of his father. Puzzled between the two, he finds the middle ground in which achieves recognition while annoying his father.
Closing Note: A Psychological Perspective
Most of us can relate to such relationships that we see in the movies and anime as we all have had our fair share of beautiful and estranged relationships.
However, what is common even in the most estranged of relationships is that the son is always looking for recognition from the father for his achievements and similarly the expectations of the father are always very demanding. What varies is the nurturing process, the bonding, and the degree/lack of expectations.
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