Bastard!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy - Part II

Alt title: Bastard!! Ankoku no Hakaishin - Part II

Web (11 eps x 24 min)
3.47 out of 5 from 805 votes
Rank #6,924

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Disclaimer: Most of what I wrote ended up being a comparison to the older version, since on its own the current Bastard is nothing special, just another action show in a sea of action shows. The 90s OVAs on the other hand were special. Not only they came out at a time when sakuga was rare in the medium, they also did the smart thing and trimmed the fat, leaving only the juiciest parts. There was a lot of crap in the source material that is simply not fun to read. The more faithful new adaptation carried over those bits, and as a result we got an average action schlock show that most will ignore or will be annoyed by, because of the horndog protagonist. And now for a more detailed breakdown.The previous adaptation of Bastard was one of the first anime OVAs I had watched on VHS during the late 90s and at the time it was the best thing ever. Fast paced, non-stop epic action, hot babes, amazing animation, cool characters, anti-hero protagonist, a captivating post-apocalyptic fantasy setting inspired by D&D, Jojo-esque references to heavy metal names, and a very basic but functional plot that both embraces cheesy fantasy stories while also making fun of them. It was schlock, don’t assume I thought it was a masterpiece or something, but it was the best possible schlock of its time.The new adaptation is far more faithful to the manga it was based on (yes, I have read it) with far more polished artwork and a super cool opening song (the previous version lacked one). It still lacks the best thing the older version had, which was the skipping of the secondary fights. You see, in the manga every big boss had several underlings who would get their own mini arcs and battles. Those parts were just stalling the final showdowns, meaning the most spectacular parts. The 90s OVA said ‘screw it’ and ignored them completely, focusing only the highlights. The new version doesn’t do that and as a result most of the episodes became a dull waiting game for when these useless mini bosses will be defeated and the big bad will finally make his move. It just wasn’t the same.Along with that came another big issue many others had with the show, and that is the constant sexual harassment scenes. Schneider is a horndog, that cannot change, but too much of something becomes a detriment. He constantly grabs tits and ass during the lesser fights. Since the 90s OVAs skipped those parts they also removed most of those scenes, so he doesn’t come off as THAT much of a creep. Also people nowadays are offended way easier and having dozens of molestation scenes in a row only manages to multiply the negative backlash, so again, removing them altogether was the best move.Something I noticed people defending in those lesser episodes was the importance of world-building. Although the anime is mostly a mindless action flick it also has its share of lore and flashbacks which can make you appreciate it more for not being generic warrior archetypes in a generic setting. So yes, a more faithful adaptation fleshes out the world and the cast much better. The issue is, it did it at the expense of the pacing, it had a lot more tasteless molestation, and it felt dull since you were just waiting for the big bad to come in and for the real battle to begin. Let’s also be honest, nobody gives a shit about the story in such types of anime. You only want to see action and hot babes. Several dull episodes that exist just to fill your brain with lore are just out of place, thus entertainment-wise they were a detriment.Lore and molestations stuff aside, the new version is also not as cool as the older version. It doesn’t have the same super-cool hand-drawn sakuga animation, spell incantations lack the impact of the older version, and in general everyone moves in a more stiff way because newer technologies use android animation and CGI that tends to make everything feel plastic and robotic. All that took away most of the cool factor and the result is a rather average-looking action flick.

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