Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura Review: An Ambitious Anime Crossover Leaving You Wanting More

By Daniel Hart
Published: June 6, 2024
Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura Image for Review
Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura (Credit - Netflix)


Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura is certainly ambitious and short-lived, but maybe that’s good. Let’s have some more!

In what feels like the first Netflix special film of many to come, Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura is the Wrestlemania of Fighting Anime, and that’s OK. While I question the purpose of the movie format and the predictable ending, the fan service is the obvious angle that will appeal to the community. 

As the title leans towards it, the anime movie pits the toughest fighters from Baki Hanma and Kenga Ashura in a brutal MMA crossover. While unprecedented, the risk is brave, as it requires the creators to pit a winner for the best fighters. This provides a massive task from a storytelling perspective as two anime series join up to provide definitive answers across a salivating mashup. 

It’s a format that everyone will be familiar with in the fighting anime genre. A tournament is heralded (The Underground Arena in this case), and the organizers schedule close matches. However, if you are expecting a 90-minute extravaganza, you’ll be disappointed. This is a 60-minute fare, bringing 3 exclusive fights. Depending on your expectations, you may feel shortchanged, but the main event will be the most compelling either way. 

If you’ve seen the aforementioned shows, then there are no surprises here. Expect lengthy, thrilling, and incredulous fighting that goes beyond the laws of MMA and human nature. When you believe a fight is dead in the water, somehow, a fighter rises from the floor, defying all the gore upon them, to continue a desirable catch-up. Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura is not surprising for fans, but the intrigue of the eventual winners and losers takes precedence over fight styles. 

Admittedly, I am a little confused about why this warrants a “Netflix film,” which proudly labels the title. Was a three-episode special not more sensible? I suppose with the crossover, there’s a slight need for special treatment, yet the entire experience feels like three chapters anyway. There’s no difference in the actual format. 

Either way, Baki Hanma VS Kengan Ashura is satisfactory fan service, but it leaves more to be desired. Who knows if they decide to continue as a series, but for now, we can be excited for the sequel. 

Movie Reviews, Movies, Netflix, Streaming Service