Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
Plot: When evil forces threaten to resurrect Anthrasax, the God of Destruction, the Kingdom of Meta-llicana calls on a volatile dark wizard for help.
Reboot. No media is safe from the dreaded R word, and while anime might be the least guilty of remaking/rebooting everything under the sun, the art form has its share. Most recently Netflix dropped two new series based on original beloved series, Spriggan and Bastard!! And while I haven’t had a chance to look at the former (It looks so good I want to savour it, so no binge watching this one) I did check out Bastard!! The show that makes writing about it SUPER difficult because that exclamation mark in its title capitalises every word I type after it!
All kidding aside Bastard!! tells the story of Earth four hundred years ago. A demon called Anthrasax almost destroyed the world but was slain by the Dragon Knight. The ensuing battle plunges the world into a second dark age where kingdoms battle using sorcery. When dark forces decide to use magic and demons to break the seals that keep Anthrasax in stasis, a high priest reveals he trapped a powerful dark wizard called Dark Schneider inside of a 14-year old boy. He teaches his daughter the incantation that can unleash Dark Schneider so he can protect them against their foes, but the arrogant wizard cares only for vengeance and power. In other words, he’s a Bastard.
The original series was released in 1993 so the first thing you’ll notice is how good this series looks. The artwork by studio Liden Films does a superb job of keeping the original aesthetics of the OVA (original video animation) while upping the animation quality. This 13 episode series looks great and the dubbing is excellent so even fans who prefer subtitles may find themselves impressed.
The story is also very faithful to what made the original series a fan favourite with its adult themes, heavy metal soundtrack and over the top violence. And then of course we have the character of Dark Schneider. Kisho Taniyma as the voice of the titular character does a wonderful job of bringing this egotistical over-powered man-child to life as does Tomori Kusunoki as Tai Yoka, daughter of the priest and the only person who seems to have any control over DS and his dark tendencies. They all work well together and bring laughter and thrills in equal measure.
But there is a downside. The story and the way it unfolds is extremely dated and would’ve benefited from a bit of a polish here and there. If you’re a fan of 80’s anime you’ll probably enjoy every minute of it but for everyone else the repetitive story beats (evil army attacks the kingdom, Tai Yoka hesitates but eventually releases Dark Schneider, DS acts like an ass but eventually does what the right thing, evil thwarted and so on and so on).
Then of course there’s the harem-having male power fantasy aspect of it all. It doesn’t bother me as the narrative is a product of its time but I’m sure some newcomers are going to find it offensive.
Overall Bastard!! is best for some laughs and for fans who enjoyed the OVA. The art style looks good but the story is predictable and hasn’t aged well, so proceed accordingly. As remakes go I wouldn’t call it must-see but if you’re feeling nostalgic it may be just what you were looking for.
Score 6 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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