GOOD HIGH FANTASY
One of the genres anime never seem to get right is high fantasy. Berserk and Claymore don’t count, since they are dark fantasy, Attack on Titan doesn’t count because it is a typical zombie apocalypse with shonen characters, while Lodoss War that counts is as dry as the chamomile leaves we gathered last year for tea. Most others that claim to be high fantasy are more like slapstick comedies set in a pseudo-medieval setting, thus they do close to nothing when it comes to capturing that 2nd edition of Dungeons and Dragons I grew up with, back when everything are great because it was retro. And of course there are also light novel adaptations, which are complete garbage, regardless of what genre they deal with, high fantasy included.
So here comes this show to finally break this curse by capturing exactly the magic of what high fantasy is all about. A strong sense of adventure, really high stakes, cheesy dialogues, random enemy encounters, unexpected plot twists, emphasis on character fleshing out, and epic showdowns with dragons, gods, demons, or all of them at the same time.
BEATS THE SOURCE MATERIAL
Despite being based on a virtual card game, not only it doesn’t feel like it promotes it by using its gameplay mechanics, but it also does not use cheap tactics like fan service, in order to simply sell, and doesn’t even resort to an episodic structure, so it can be nothing more than an aimless adventure with pretty colors. You want more? There is a plot, and there is a finale, which is solid. You want even more than that? The protagonists are not beta males and sexualized lolis but dynamic men and women you can show respect for, since they don’t constantly act like horny sluts.
This is not a lifeless adaptation, made solely to advertize a game. Studio Mappa did a splendid job in making it stand on its own, and at the same time being far superior to its source material. As much as I don’t care about pretty colors, I can’t deny the effort they put into the presentation. The attention to detail when it comes to backgrounds, character motions, and dynamic music, is enough to make even the dullest of episodes fun enough to watch.
The worst part of the show is the script and I am not sure if that even matters in high fantasy, but let’s pretend it does. From a critical standpoint it’s garbage, since just like most actual pen and paper role playing games, stuff happen because they need to happen at that particular moment, and not because there is a reasonable chain reaction of events that lead to them. If you dislike characters appearing out of nowhere, doing something, and then flying away without anyone being able to do the slightest thing about it, well, too bad, because Bahamut could have easily be called Teleportation, the Animated Series. It is completely chaotic in its story structure, so any strategy the characters have, means absolutely nothing. In other words, this is a show that lives and dies by the rule of cool. Trying to look for depth or underlying messages can only damage the experience. It is meant to be loud, flashy, shallow, exciting, and nothing more.
If you stick to the action and adventure parts though, you won’t be able to get enough of it, since it is made with such passion that it grabs you in seconds and doesn’t let you go. Enjoy a cursed rogue with a tail, as he is chased around by a guy who wants to avenge the death of his father, while he escorts a half demon woman with the mentality of a little girl, through dungeons, and haunted forests, and stormy oceans, trying to get to hell and prevent the dragon of the apocalypse from awakening and wiping out everything, as gods and demons are fighting for supremacy all around them. Also, there is a talking duck.
If you are wondering why I sound so positive about it, when I keep bitching about the script being more important than entertainment, it’s because it avoids all the done to death anime stereotypes modern anime are full of. No schools, no sexualized sluts, no beta males. It stands out from almost everything else and the character chemistry helps to mesh everything together in a satisfying way. If that is not a good enough excuse for you, then see it this way: It is also the only good high fantasy anime ever made. And even if that is not enough, at least it’s very fun.
Oh Hell yeah, you lookin' for some fantasy action adventure?
This is a fast paced, mother fucking bad-ass, well drawn, awesome action title! I am just going to say if there was ever a title that required, no, demanded a review to get people to check it out, Rage of Bahamut deserves it. A one word review to describe it? "fun."
Right from the start we are introduced to: huge high fantasy dragons, angelic magic powered glowing women on steeds, and a raging battle just this side of Middle Earth. Dont want that type of action? How about a clever horseback chase as they literaly rip the roofs off the joint? As the horses race across the tops of buildings, terra cotta shingles be damned, we're introduced to two plucky characters as a vindictive Kaisar Lidfald is chasing the funky fro wielding Favaro Leone. However, it never lets up in the first episode, and keeps it simple to the end.
This is odd because the story is way more than I expected, It is a time travel story, a high fantasy story, and a quest (Amira looking for someone) all at the same time. The interweaving of story plot works perfect to the quick pace and action. It is not mind blowing, It is simple, but it feels fresh somehow.
There is no reason why this is the best animated title of the season, but it is. It is just gorgeous. The action, with the fluidity of water, has not dropped. If you look at the detail in the outfits, you will understand that someone is cracking a whip above the animators studio as they render the next set of frames (computer enhanced) to look as amazing as every other shot in the title. The character designs are all recognizable and hardly interchangeable. The off model rate hardly ever happens. For a standard TV title, devoid of a movie or OVA budget, this looks amazing so far.
Bump out that bass, the rolling water wheel rolling down the street in episode 1, or any number of shots with the crackling energy of the demon girl, sounds fantastic. There is also the well timed, perfectly cast voice actor group. For instance, the actor for Favro, who taps his inter Lupin for a character that is lecherous, crass, and fun. He is high energy and fits his calling. The voice actor for Kaisar is also brilliant, in one dimensional anger at Favro. Finally there is a subtle, yet ultimately smooth line delivery of Amira's voice actress. Another character later joins the group, and her dead pan delivery is spot on.
As a precursor of talking about the voices, you can already tell, I enjoy the easy to define standard issue fun characters. I doubt you are going to find much more than solid easy 3 dimensional characters. They are going to probably do expected moves, and have little dynamics. But, lovable smugglers or bounty hunters make for perfect action titles. You only want that third dimension in the fact that they are going to be"good" or "better" in morals than how they started. That is all you need, and as long as they perform in a fun and witty way, what more do you want? I do think Amira has potential to have more dynamics.
Just a quick shout out to the awesome horse of Favaro. He is a great judge of character.
This is not a title that will make you think about how the human psyche deals with trauma, but instead will give a great blueprint of how to mold subject material like a card game, into pulse pounding, fast paced, sharp witted action, and do it in style.
Pretty much this first season is just a fucking stepping stone for the next great season, I'm not saying this season was absolute garbage but it was not that great either. it's like going into the bath and the water is warm, you're not satisfied but you at least say that it's not cold so you just go in but as the time goes on well my people do I even need to fucking explain it gets to the right spot. so If ur watching the first season don't give up and if ur watching the second season, well done.
I consider myself wierd, but I don't share positive attitude towards this anime. Where exactly should I start...
Story is a bit cliché, but when you consider a genre, you'll learn not to expect much. We've got a stupid childish (not her fault but nvm) OP heroine, two stupid guys, that may or may not actually be stupid (hadn't really decided even after 12 eps), few angels and gods that dgaf and demons that have no clue at all what they are doing (heroine included) - trying to resurrect some crazy OP dragon (Bahamut) only to get like "oh sh*t what did we let out" at the end and hurry to help it seal again. Nice.
Animation is best point of this anime. It's fluent - especially fight scenes and has a nice color palette. What annoyed me to no end is that guys are extremely ugly. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen more repulsive male mc (actually all human males in this anime) ...like ever (only one that could compete is Kuwabara from YuYu Hakusho and he's not even main). On the other hand design of demons and angels is brilliant. They were beautiful - especially Amira's demon mode, Lucifer and Michael and Azazel (tho he has some psychological issues).
I can't really judge sound. Modern opening song is a wierd contrast to this pseudo-medieval world. Also I'm heavily influenced by Otaku Lyrics. Ending is nice and calming, but nothing I would really remember.
Characters. To put it bluntly, for 12 ep anime there are too friggin much characters. I talked about them a bit at Animation paragraph. MC Favaro is a bounty hunter - and he didn't catch much during all the eps. His orange afro is distracting and some of his facial expressions I find disgusting. It may sound harsh, but ...my feelings folks! Amira is...too whiny and then badass and then whiny again...geez CHOOSE! The other guy was...not memorable - except his hair and silky long eyelashes.
Overall 6/10. Alright it wasn't so bad. It just messed up some fundamental things and because of that it wouln't let me enjoy this show. If you want to see some high fantasy and you don't really care much about anything else than fighting animation - give it a try.
This could really be viewed as a 4 hour movie if you watch it back to back, the flow is that good and the action and story make it feel like one very cohesive movie, rather than individual episodes.
It is clear that a lot of effort was put into this anime. The story is very strong and moves quickly, but the flow is just right and feels natural. It starts pretty innocently with some light bounty hunter and monster chasing. After a few episodes though, it quickly heads towards the main component which involves the angels and demons portion. The story has a few twists to it and very different from most, it isn't predictable either. You have a lot of the well-known angels and demons represented here, along with some other very interesting bits, such as a thorn in the lion's paw parody, and Joan of Arc. On top of these pieces is also an undead component, which is my favorite addition that I believe made it much more interesting. The ending itself leaves slight confusion as to what the actual result is. There is plenty of action here, and a great feeling of fantasy, especially with the angels, demons, undead, and monsters.
Something else that is really noteable is the atmosphere and feeling given off. You can really see the bits of classic, from certain themes and design, and very apparent in the design of Kaiser, who looks like a character from the 90's. Then, there are the more modern elements. From story, to characters, to overall design, this classic and modern fusion was really appealing.
The overall animation and sound are really worth mentioning. You can see the effort put into both. There is a lot of powerful music and sound that fits really into the whole theme. There isn't much quiet time here, very fitting for all the action. The animation suits everything well too, there are a lot of effects and coloring, with many very nice backgrounds. The setting in Nebelville and the transition was my favorite. All of the effects, colors, and design mixed really well with the themes to make it feel immersive and appropriate.
They did a good job with the characters too. While there isn't much backstory to them, there are some brief bits that cover just enough info to be relevant to understanding what is going on, and why they are doing what they do. The mix between the 2 main guys is interesting since they are so greatly different, yet they have ties that go back to thier childhood. The addition of Rita I think is perfect. She is there to provide some funny moments, but also be the smart one and make the mature decisions while keeping the guys in check. Her power is cool too, so that is a bonus. As mentioned earlier, all the most well known angels and demons are present, which is pretty neat be able to recognize them. Then of course there is Joan of Arc and the knights references which was interesting as they use her in an interesting way, while keeping her reasonably based off the actual person.
I recommend this if you are looking for a fantasy and action anime that has a great story and the sound and animation to do it justice. Perhaps watch it more as a movie than an episode here and there, I think it just makes it better that way.
Oh, and some sites may have an episode "6.5", this is purely a recap episode of 1-6, so skip it as it shouldn't be counted and adds nothing.