AKA, That adventure anime based on a card game, starring the afro guy from Ideon.






(image source: https://thehybridone.wordpress.com/2...hamut-genesis/

and https://thehybridone.files.wordpress...157.png?w =1200)




RELEASE DATE: 2014.



EPISODES: 12.



STUDIO: MAPPA (Yuri on Ice).



DIRECTOR: Keiichi Sato (Tiger and Bunny).



PLOT:

2000 years ago, in a world where humans, demons and gods can interact, a destructive dragon known as Bahamut ravaged the land and threatened to bring the apocalypse. However, he was then sealed away.


Flash forward to the present, an Afro-sporting bounty hunter (and Ideon survivor?) Favaro spends his time catching bounties, getting his paycheck from the drunk deity Bacchus, and then partying all night. He also deals with his former friend-turned rival, the disgraced knight Kaisar (Space Dandy?), who blames Favaro for his family's ruin.


One night, he bumps into a mysterious girl named Amira, who overhears his claims of going to the frozen wasteland Helheim, where she believes her mother is hiding. Being a womaniser however, Favaro claims he'll offer a shortcut in exchange for a kiss.


But then it turns out she's a demon. OOPS!


And she has put a contract spell over him, giving him a tail that will only go away when he's done her request. DOUBLE OOPS!


And she has just escaped from the Land of the Gods, where she has stolen the God Key, an important item that if in the wrong hands, will awaken Bahamut from his slumber.


FFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU UUUUU-


And so the two begin a journey, with knights, demons, Gods and Kaisar all after them for one reason or the other.



PROS:

- It is one of the most gorgeously animated tv anime I have seen to date. The action is so fluent and even the Cgi (with some exceptions), doesn't look too out of place. It's perhaps helped by the character designs, which despite being a little more western in aesthetic are still very expressive and remain on model for most of the time.


- The characters are pretty memorable and help carry the story along. Favaro is perhaps the biggest stand out, being a charismatic, wisecracking, bounty hunter rogue, who's morally ambiguous enough to avoid the cookie cutter hero role. Adding to his charm is one of the best dub performances of Ian Sinclair's career (ironically not playing the bounty hunter with the pompadour).

Elsewhere, Kaisar is a solid foil, who despite being a potential butt monkey proves to kick ass on his own, and ends up getting some solid characterisation. Amira is childish and naïve, but is powerful, cute and you do have some sympathy for her plight. Even the supporting cast stand out, whether it's the sarcastic necromancer Rita, the conniving demon Azazel, or the over-the-top hammyness of the manipulative sorcerer Martinet.


- It certaintly helps that there are some solid character development from the cast with the standout being between Kaisar and Favaro. I liked how their dynamic changed throughout the series, and how they were able to go from rivals to comrades in arms in the space of 12 episodes.


- For an anime based on a popular card game, it sure manages to put together a solid plot where just about every scene is important and everything keeps clicking at a solid enough pace without feeling rushed. Granted it's not the most original plot, but with the well grounded characters, exciting action scenes and twists, there is never a dull moment.


- Whilst the show has its usual fantasy tropes, it does have enough unique features to stand out, combining different mythologies (there are demons named Lucifer, Azazel, Beelzebub and Cerberus, and angels such as Raphael, Michael and Garbiel), with historic figures (especially the knight Jeanne d'Arc).



CONS:

- On a technical standpoint, some of the CGI can look really jarring (for example, a dragon that Rita flies on in the climatic battle is especially jarring).


- Some of the villains are a little cliché, and in the case of Martinet, there is not really a motivation for his actions beyond “CHAOS!” Having a chaotic villain can work (see the Dark Knight), but here I was confused why someone would want to cause the end of the world.


- Some of the lore I felt would've been understood better if I played the game. For example, they bring up how the bracelets the Bounty Hunters wear can be broken, meaning they are just thieves. This made me go “Ok, so do they get a replacement? If not, why?”


- Amira I feel becomes more of a McGuffin in the later half of the series, which is a shame considering her asskicking in earlier episodes. There are also other characters who are sort of set up but are wasted to cameos in the last fight. However considering a sequel was since released (along with other planned anime projects), this may make sense.


- If you want something more original, this might not be your cup of tea. The story itself is basically Joseph Campbell's “Hero's Journey 101” with the reluctant hero going on a journey and ultimately playing a role in saving the world.


- On a personal level, I also feel the show could've added a few more adventures before the climax, but it does a solid job with its own self-contained story. Meanwhile, the ending feels a little rushed. Without giving much away, there is an epilogue that only partially explains what happens but seems to leave out details which weren't made clear.



IN SHORT:

This might be one of the most entertaining and gorgeous animated action series I have ever seen. Whilst not the most original story and having some nitpicks, it more than makes up for it with its interesting cast, a tightly paced plot devoid of filler, and great action sequences.



WATCH IT IF: An epic fantasy adventure in just 12 episodes.



SCORE: 4 awakened dragons of destruction out of 5.