Archive Post: Rage of Bahamut Genesis (1/14/15)

Hello and Welcome to another Anime Chop Block

Today, we review one of the more surprising hits of last year’s anime crop: Rage of Bahamut Genesis

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Released on October 6, 2014 and adapted from a mobile card battle game of all sources, Rage of Bahamut surprised everyone and is considered a hit among critics. Let’s see why.

Story/Writing

Our story takes place in Mistarcia, a place where humans, demons and gods live. Two thousand years before the events of our story, a massive dragon called Bahamut threatened to destroy everything; gods and demons were forced to cooperate to seal him. Cut to the present and the god’s portion of the sealing key has been stolen by a mysterious woman named Amira who drags Favaro Leone, a carefree bounty hunter, along with her to Helheim. All the while, they are persuaded by the demons, gods and an old rival to Favaro, Kaisier Lidfald.

This is a very basic fantasy setup but despite that, I managed to stay invested in proceedings the whole time. That’s because, while the premise is very basic, the details and interactions between each of the characters are well written but not in the normal anime fashion. This show takes more influence from movies like Pirates of the Caribbean for its writing and it displays itself in overdramatic characters and setpieces. It moves quickly from one plot point to another but manages to give us surprising character growth in between insane action that can best be described as old-fashioned swashbuckling. In addition, there are also some very tense moments particularly when some of the bounties that Favaro has to capture along the way to Helheim start manipulating some of the darker magics of this world.

A note of warning is that the show was originally a two-cour run but due to issues was forced into a one-cour episode length. This results in the pacing of the show to really speed up near the last episode. The main plot points are still resolved in a satisfying way but a lot of supplemental plot points are resolved in kind of a thud.

Characters

This section is going to be a bit different from the previous reviews: I will be giving a short cast list describing the main characters of this piece in very basic terms and then giving a brief overview for them, the supporting cast, and their growth.

First, we have Favaro Leone, a bounty hunter with a devil may care attitude, a goofball personality, and a tendency to let his mouth get him into trouble. In particular, he starts stating that he knows how to get to Helheim, Amira’s destination, which causes him to be turned into a familiar and chased by everyone who is in pursuit of the key Amira has.

Dragging Favaro along is Amira, a mysterious woman with a childish personality that somehow managed to break into the location where the gods were storing their portion of the key that seals Bahamut and is trying to get to Helheim.

Finally is Kaiser Lidfald, a former knight and rival to Favaro who blames him for the disgrace of his family. He has been tailing Favaro well before we see them and often gets treated as a metaphorical punching bag for Favaro’s antics.

If you think that these descriptions are too short, that’s because the miracle of this show is that the characters are some of the most overplayed tropes in fiction, the screwball, the mcguffin girl, and the rival, but the script actually gives them a lot more fun than normal mostly through playing it over the top. Everything from Amira’s childish nature to Favaro screwing around with Kaiser is played almost like a comedy with the supporting cast being equally comedic and over the top.
That said, there are slow moments in the story that gives us a chance to know about our trio of characters more and they actually do have emotional weight. Everything from Amira’s backstory to the relation between Favaro and Kaiser all is played straight and yet, despite the crazy comedy, we feel for them.

Art/Animation

The show was animated by MAPPA, a studio who worked on Kids on the Slope, Hajime no Ippo: Rising, and Terror in Resonance. The aesthetics of the show is that of old western fantasy towns with everything from small little wooden houses to massive castles and demonic landscapes. It’s rendered with a slight watercolor feel and is very bright and highly contrasted.

Animation itself is also impressive though it does stumble. The normal animation is smooth with no issues most of the time though at other times, it’s obvious that some stuff is off-model or just stiffer. The CG for the most part is some of the best I’ve seen with Bahamut looking very impressive though the CG does stick out quite a bit.

Sound/Music

The music feels like at home with an old fantasy RPG or movie with everything from Spanish guitars, orchestral blasts and more whimsical tones. It’s varied and sets the tone well while never grating on you

Voice work is also top notch, with veterans like Hiroyuki Yoshino and Miyuki Sawashiro lending their voices to the over the top and goofy characters.

The only real sticking points are the openings and endings. The opening, EXISTANCE by SiM, is a very heavy metal rock piece complete with blasting electric guitar and a screaming singer in both surprisingly well spoken English and Japanese. It fits the crazy that the show indulges in but it can get very loud and it’s not a song that everyone will like. The ending, Promised Land by Risa Shimizu, is a slow paced song with some English, sadly not as good as in the opening, with piano and a focus on soothing. It’s well sung but it also does not fit the tone of the show at all going in the opposite direction of the insanity.

Conclusion

A show that can be considered the new gateway anime for newcomers, it’s crazy over the top nature mixed with surprisingly tense and emotional moments make this a very accessible show to any who want pure fun. Check this show out if you want nothing but pure and utter crazy action and characters.
Rage of Bahamut: Genesis can be found on Funimation

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