Rage of Bahamut (Shingeki no Bahamut)

Rage of Bahamut (Shingeki no Bahamut) 2014

Okay, here’s a challenge for me – can I review a series in four paragraphs only? Let’s see.

Demons, Angels, Gods and Humans clash (and sometimes work together) in this supernatural fantasy, one that’s based on a card battling game from Cygames. You can expect a lot of modern, flashy animation (which is not a bad thing) and a memorable cast of characters too, along with a well-paced story. At the end, I was definitely left curious about the follow-up series, so I went away from Rage of Bahamut invested in the characters for sure.

Since I missed this show at the time of release, I did a bit of reading and apparently some folks were down on Naoyuki Onda’s character designs but for me that was a highlight – here they seem ‘off the wall’ for a fantasy setting, especially Favaro’s afro. The rest of the visuals are great, the settings and the creatures all memorable for me, evocative of what they represented with what felt like welcome modern touches – I’m thinking of the angels especially here.

I suspect at times folks might question a few character choices that suggest inconsistency but for me I was more thrown by a certain reveal that explained a sharp twist in one character. She started off kinda mysterious before transforming into tediously immature… but that was only a few times and it definitely makes sense considering the storyline.

In terms of audience, Rage of Bahamut is not so light-hearted as another Cygames/MAPPA collaboration (Granblue Fantasy). The tone here is at times closer to ‘Lupin’ only with more bounty-hunting, blood and demons too. If you’ve played the game you’d probably enjoy what seems like a proper fleshing out of the characters and if you like the genre, give this a look if it’s still streaming somewhere.

*I’m not counting this note as a paragraph – but since my discs for this series are not playing nice, I’ve had to source the images from online.

Granblue Fantasy The Animation Season 2 (Guranburū Fantajī Ji Animēshon)

Granblue Fantasy The Animation S2 (Guranburū Fantajī Ji Animēshon) 2019

Only a few episodes in and I realised that the pacing of the series was going to really stretch.

I know it’s a big story, and I certainly don’t mind a few side-quests or the delving into backstory of characters (like in the Katalina episodes) but boy I do wish this season decided to check in with the main storyline more often.

Still, it’s not awful or anything, but it didn’t grip me either.

Having said that, I was able to dip in and out of season two without feeling that I’d be lost after a long gap and that was nice, and ultimately I enjoyed these new Granblue adventures but I’d love some more main plot progression next time. (I assume there will be another series, especially with the release of Relink coming closer and I’m certain, high engagement with the franchise all around.)

This time MAPPA handled the animation instead of A-1 Pictures and there is a noticeable lift in quality – I saw this mostly around the lighting. It seemed a lot more dynamic lighting was used this time, like with the ‘Noah’ episodes or again, the Katalina arc.

Having said that, I don’t think the show will win over any doubters – the final episode felt a little flat compared to last season too, but it’s still fun and I’m enjoying the way the confrontation between Eugen and Apollo is being built.

3 Stars

Granblue Fantasy The Animation (Guranburū Fantajī Ji Animēshon)

Granblue Fantasy The Animation (Guranburū Fantajī Ji Animēshon) 2017

Granblue Fantasy is a fun (if too-short) fantasy-adventure series I reckon, but thankfully there’s another season coming, which should continue the main storyline.

It’s a bright, kinda cheerful animation that seems to really evoke the game’s characters, setting and feel – though I’m not able to do much in the way of comparison here, since while I did try to play the game, parts of it were just buried by pop-ups and flashing loot-box bullshit distractions.

I put it down fairly quickly, even though I was enjoying the story (compare to the upcoming Relink, which I’d love to play).

And maybe I enjoyed the anime adaptation because it’s a straight forward ‘underdog hero’ or ‘quest’ narrative but there’s a lot of imagination on display, a whimsical setting and some great battle sequences to go with fun characters, most with enough backstory and secrets to keep me interested.

On that note, I can’t decide if the overload of new characters appearing during the climactic episodes was kinda madcap fun or just nuts, but it’s memorable at least 😀

In terms of unresolved plot threads, I’m quite keen to see how things with Eugen’s past play out in season two and of course, I’m hoping Katalina and the rogue Rackam end up ‘together’ as it were, as I think a relationship between them could add some extra depth to the show but also introduced a few extra comedic elements too.

So I’m looking forward to the next part of the story but might finish the review by recommending that curious among you to wait for season two before starting this one – especially if you like to binge a show.

4 Stars

(Also worth watching for the ace design on Rackham’s beautiful ship!)