dinsdag 20 januari 2015

Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis - review

Shingeki no Bahamut, or Rage of Bahamut, is a 12 episode long series based on a (digital) Collectible Card Game of the same name.  You know, those ever more popular app games for Android and the likes.

Apparently, in the cardgame you battle it out using cards for the human, angel or demon factions, but I never tried my hand at it, so I stepped in the series without prior knowledge.


When Bahamut attacks the world of Mistacia, the three factions unite to overcome him.  Upon defeating him, a magical key containing the essences of upper angel Zeus and upper demon Satan is created in order that he would never be able to be set free again, as neither of them can enter the others realm.

But 2000 years later the half of the key guarded by the gods is stolen, and the hunt begins.  Some want to open it, and most want to keep it closed.  And at the center of it all are two human bounty hunters, Favaro, a rogueish with a strong Zorro feel, and Kaisar, a former noble knight.

Synopsis

When a girl falls from the sky with a magical compass and magical powers, she seeks out Favaro to take her to a town called Helheim, to where he drunkenly boasted he knew a shortcut.  When they are attacked by one of Favaro`s bounty targets, the girl shows her true demonic form and easily overcomes an immense demon.  She kisses him to seal their contract... causing Favaro to grow a demonic tail.

In the meantime, a knightly order called the Knights of Orleans arrive in town, ordered by the gods to retrieve the key from the girl, Amira, and though Favaro at first sells her out, he never the less comes back on this deal and saves her from capture.  These knights, led by Jeanne D`Arc, are urged to make haste to retrieve her though, as the seals on Bahamut are showing strains of collapsing.  Amira has absorbed the key`s energy, and now she is the actual keypart, so it is imperative she is caught to restrengthen the bonds on the dragon.

Kaisar finds himself in a village in the meantime, that is being assaulted by trolls, hunting Favaro and Amira.  He meets an odd girl named Rita, but when Favaro arrives he manages to break the curse over the village, and it turns out this girl is actually a powerful necromancer and the inhabitants where killed 200 years ago.  When she tries to defend her zombie parents though, she is bitten by them and turns into one herself... and Kaisar takes it upon him to have her accompany him as his new partner.

Amira and Favaro are snuck away into the demon realm where Azazel captures them.  He reveals to Favaro exactly who Amira is and what she has done.  Using trickery, they manage to get the demon vessel to the lines of the knights, and in the ensuing battle escape capture, only to be caught now by Jeanne D`Arc.  She reveals to them that Amira is actually a demom / angel halfbreed, which is why she is able to enter both realms.  The archangels appear and order the release of Amira, and that the knights must keep her safe to prevent the key to be made whole again.

This leads to an invasion by the demon realm on the city, and Favaro duelling Azazel to try and let the others make their escape, but they bond together instead to help him.  As a result, they are knighted and Amira discovers her father is the right-hand man of Jeanne, that she was born from him and an angel called Nicole, captured by the demons and speed raised to her current form in 5 years time.  They go to a secret waterway to get to Helheim, but shortly after their departure the king has been corrupted and Jeanne ordered to the stake.

In a mystical forest, another dragon encounters the heroes, now joined again by Kaisar, and Favaro discovers that in order to prevent Bahamut awakening, he has to actually slay Amira.  Jeanne is put to the flame, but a demon has send whispers in her ear and at the moment she would die accepts his offer, turning into a demonic being.  Another angel, Bacchus, and Rita start unravelling the manipulations behind the screens, and find out it all leads to Beelzebub who wants to awaken the dragon and rule over the realms through it.  Our heroes find Amira`s mom, but learn that instead of being an actual mother, she was captured and used as a genetic template to create the halfbreed girl.  Favaro gets possessed by a demonic force and battles Kaisar, and with the appearance of the Transcendance Key the seals on Bahamut are cracking seriously, requiring every angel to step in and hold up the barrier.

At that moment, Jeanne attacks and slays a couple of the archangels, weakening the bonds.  Bacchus, Azazel, Kaisar and Rita face off against the former champion of light, but it is the archangel Michael, who had chosen her as his champion, that returns her to normal at the expense of his own life.  The gods need to descent now to join in the battle as Kaisar overcomes Favaro at last, and Amira reveals her angelic form.  But Bahamut pulls the key essence out of Amira and he reawakens after two millenia, causing great havoc amongst the ranks of angel and demon alike.  He immediatly turns on Beelzebub, and the true manipulator is revealed to be... Amira`s father, or better said, the demon Martinet.  Favaro cuts of Kaisar`s hand and captures him though, and as angel and demon work together they can reseal Bahamut away with the help of Favaro.  But they couldn`t save Amire though...

What I liked in the series

+ The special take on the story of Jeanne D`Arc was rather well build up.
+ The third episode, introducing Rita, was probably the best of the series.
+ It starts out light hearted and funny, to take on a more serious note afterwards, but this also brings me to...

What I didn`t like about the series

- The transition from funny to serious is to forced at the midseason point.
- The animation and drawing is simplistic, on the level of 300+ episode weekly series like Pokemon, and not like the often shorter 12-26 episode series.
- At first Amira seems to overpowered, then she seems just to weak to even squat a fly.

Conclusion

Though I found it an enjoyable series at first, with rising intrest at the 3rd episode making me willing to look `over` the weak drawing style, the series quickly lost my intrest after that, making it a forceful march to watch it all through.  Luckily, at 12 episodes this makes for only about 4 hours of my time wasted.

My advice?  Watch episode 3 to get an enjoyable spectacle, but repress the need to `learn more` of the series...

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