Posts with the “god” tag


A review of the Rage of Bahamut: Genesis anime series

After three episodes of Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis (Rage of Bahamut: Genesis), I still wasn’t sure what I was watching. There’s nothing particularly abstract (yes Soultaker I’m talking about you) about the story of two feuding friends going on adventures with a girl from another world. Except, in the first few episodes there are so many different ways the series could have gone - monster of the week, Queen’s Blade journey into fan service, Escaflowne adventures in a fantasy world to name a few - but it seems bullheadedly determined not to go with any of them and instead play the whole series by ear.

Peculiarly, it works. And not just because it throws everything, kitchen sink and all, at you and to see what sticks. After all you have an Arabian deity (Bahamut) mixed in with Christian mythology (heaven, hell, angels and devils) with some added Norse flavouring (the heavenly god is in fact Zeus), some Pagan witchcraft and wizardry and some historical persons of note thrown in for good measure. Like the origin of the dragon personification of Bahamut then, Shingeki no Bahamut is a Dungeons and Dragons campaign in anime form. It has the overeager dungeon master cobbling together a piecemeal mythology with narrative abandon, the rollicking tales of a knight, a rogue and someone who wanted to play a female, and by the end of the campaign the adventurers are riding into battle on the back of a giant duck.

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Player of games

A review of the No Game No Life anime series

There’s a fundamental problem with No Game No Life in that when the series isn’t revelling in the games that form the core of its mythos, it’s chronically dull. Like a lot of series this doesn’t become apparent until well into its run and for NGNL it’s the shift away from minute-to-minute, seat-of-your-pants gaming pugilism towards the “long game” that starts being played.

they’ll pull through and they’ll do it with enough self-knowing swagger and pomposity to make it seem like it was all planned

Rewind though. Young man and even younger girl get transported to a fantasy realm of elves and angels where every conflict is resolved with a game. These games cover the spectrum from cards to chess to video games and are governed by a set of rules outlined by the whimsical child-like deity Tet. As I mentioned in my Mondaiji-tachi review, it’s a well realised world that takes its core conceit to its logical extreme: nothing is contested without a game. This obviously puts our heroes, Sora and Shiro, at the top of the pile because of their impossibly prodigious game playing abilities.

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Stray god strut

A Noragami review

We’re told repeatedly that it’s not a tail: it’s Hiyori’s lifeline to her body. Even when she makes cat ears out of shampoo foam, definitely not a tail. It’s how the opening few episodes of Noragami (Stray God) go: what you, the audience, is thinking is not what it actually is. You might think given the episodic, borderline monster-of-the-week format that episodes one through five represent the entire series. They don’t. You might start to postulate how regalia are created once Yukine makes his entrance, going as far as to assume they’re the spirits of people who have committed suicide. They’re not.

from youthful rebellion to a roar of impotent teenage fury

Defying its own premise and the initial evidence presented, Noragami is another example of why you don’t bet against studio Bones. Sure you get the odd dud like Darker than Black: Ryuusei no Gemini or the recent Eureka Seven: AO, but then you get gems like Un-go and yes, Noragami. At only a single season long (thus far), it is the story of Hiyori’s near-death experience and her half-in half-out status in the spirit world that introduces her to the stray god Yato and, eventually, his regalia Yukine. More subtly it’s also a story of family, understanding and sacrifice.

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Cats for the cat god

A review of The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat anime

If you haven’t been hardened by the “singing” of idol groups like AKB48 then you’ll likely be clawing at your ears within seconds of the opening to Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko (The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat or, charmingly, just Stony Cat). So cloying and reprehensibly saccharine is the track that writing the whole series off as sycophantic fluff within minutes of the first episode would be easy. But like Sakurasou no Pet, Stony Cat’s worth is measured many episodes in rather than from gut reactions.

This isn’t to say that you need to wade through episode after episode of dross just to glimpse entertainment - there are plenty of madcap antics and brightly coloured shenanigans to go around. But the emotional and thematic heart of the series doesn’t come until several wishes in to the titular stone cat of the title.

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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

A definitive list of things wrong with Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood: the second half doesn't focus on the Elric brothers enough, the opening episodes move too quickly for newcomers, some of the episode cliffhangers feel forced, the cities are unimaginatively named. With those out of the way, all that's left to say is that this is probably one of the finest, most unspeakably brilliant series to have ever been produced. Flaws are present but they are insignificant in comparison to the wealth of overriding positives - every element is sublimely constructed whether that's the story, characters or animation and for once a series has the budget and creative clout to thoroughly trounce all but the most high-profile productions. It may not be perfect, but it is the closest that any series or movie has yet reached and it transcends its media to achieve something extraordinarily special.

their hubris ultimately dooms them but it is humans and their power that defeats them

Edward and Alphonse Elric are alchemists, gifted from a young age they are the youngest to have ever joined the state military. Their past however is far from blessed, the death of their mother and their subsequent handling was not without its consequences, for one Ed lost both an arm and a leg, now replaced with prosthetic "auto-mail". Al on the other hand lost his entire body, he is now soul-bound to a suit of armour - able to move and talk but not eat, sleep or feel the touch of another. Together they are on a quest to regain their bodies, but dark forces are stirring and their foes - both human and alchemy borne - are many. Their friends are equally numerous though, and with the help of people like Mustang, the flame alchemist, their old teacher Izumi and their childhood friend Winry, they could well triumph over such world-encompassing adversity.

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