To mention if Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, a popular anime is an understatement. For a series that started from manga form in 1987 and is still ongoing to this day 33 years later is an impressive feat for mangaka to accomplish. Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure has been adapted to anime more than once during its lifespan, and with the manga being adapted to anime continuing onward, the more Araki can continue its off-the-rails craziness to animation. The series title does not lie to its audience. But before we had Jojo, there was a short-lived manga that became the brainchild to what Jojo would become, and would be 1984 Baoh.
Baoh is the anime and manga you go to if you want to dive into Araki’s creative past beyond Jojo, and Baoh will not disappoint those who wish to discover it or have it being forced upon you. The main plot of Baoh is that a young teenage boy by the name of Ikuro is infected with an abiotic parasite that changes the hosts into a bioweapon. The parasite will alter the body chemical structure to resemble its true form into some kind of murderous Sonic the Hedgehog, but only way cooler than Sonic. Ikuro escapes from the organization that is experimenting on him, which include villains with altered bodies and psychic powers to capture or destroy Ikuro and the girl who helped him escape Sumire.
For those familiar with Jojo in terms of the creativity of Araki villains on what makes each one unique in their way, Baoh has its share of unique villains that Ikuro must battle against. You would think some of these villains are just rejected Marvel villains from the 70’s era comics series, but you’ll enjoy how Baoh battles each one for the story to move to its climactic end. One such villain that stands out is Dordo, a cybernetically enhanced combat soldier meets assassin that is if the Terminator had a jetpack glider fold out from his back and a sniper rifle linked to his eye socket. There is no exaggeration in that sentence, that is his superpowers in this show. One of the other interesting villains is a Native American psychic warrior named Walken. To know how you know this is an Araki series, this was Araki’s attempt to pay homage to a popular figure in pop culture and turning them into a villain. Not a music band for this person, but as the actor Christopher Walken. Sadly the thing that this anime version of Christopher Walken lacked was his powers of more cowbell, which could’ve come in handy when battling Baoh.
Baoh adds in the flavor of a Shonen Jump series regarding how the main protagonists state their attacks in some way. Baoh has several attacks that are followed by a still shot in the scene, then showing the attack name down below in true Shonen Jump fashion. Baoh has distinct attacks regarding giant blades coming from his forearms, shooting needles from his hair, the power to melt your face off from this existence, and powering massive laser cannons by poking the power chords into your arms. The ability to operate a laser cannon IS CONTAINED WITHIN BAAAAOOOHHH!
Since Baoh inception to manga and later adapted to a one show OVA, he’s lied dormant in fandom for many years. America did see Baoh released, with Viz putting out the manga in comic form, then later in tankoban issues in the mid 1990s. Anime distributor AnimEigo released the OVA in 1995 on VHS and DVD in 2001. Since then no other release of Baoh has been available, and it’ll be harder now for that OVA to come out thanks to Jojo’s popularity in Japan and the west. In terms of anything Baoh has been in this past decade, his only release was a DLC character for the JoJo Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle fighting game for the Playstation 3, and he’s a pretty good character to play if you’re down for anime-style fighting games. It was good to see the blue demon once again in the hearts of Araki fans.
Hopefully, this retrospect will convince you to see Baoh, and it better, because you’ll be missing out if you don’t check out this for yourself. The manga story is a bit different than the anime adaptation since the OVA is taking the highlights of the manga and condensing that to an hour-long video, which gives you everything you need to harness the ultimate power of BAOOOHHH!! BREAK DARK THUNDAAAAAAAHHHH!!!