A long time ago, the media space was not so saturated with commerce and the authors could afford stupid but funny things. Netflix is known for sometimes going too far with modern agendas, and it was personally unexpected for me, to put it mildly, to see a teaser trailer for the adaptation of the Bastard!! manga in early February. For a second, the thought flashed through my head that the media giant would once again screw up one of its projects for the sake of modern trends. But it’s nice to be wrong sometimes.
Plot in the shonen? Seriously?
Mankind has become so full of all sorts of obscenities that, as a reward for the hatred and lies that overwhelm people’s hearts, it has managed to summon great Darkness. Having seen the true essence of people, the Darkness decided to hell clean the planet from a disease called humanity. But something in her plans went wrong and a strange dragon-like creature appeared from heaven to Earth and fought the Darkness. As a result, our world, although not destroyed, has changed beyond recognition.
The greatest wizard of the new world named Dark Schneider at one point decided to use his exclusivity and power in order to become the ruler of the Earth. Having gathered loyal apprentices-comrades-in-arms and an army of dark creatures of incredible proportions, Dark Schneider began to put his plan into action. But in the best tradition of the genre, evil failed.
But even the great heroes could not just kill the greatest magician on Earth, so the failed tyrant was sealed in the body of a baby. But after 15 years the world was destined to see the rebirth of the dark magician.
Whom to even look at?
The protagonist of the anime, Dark Schneider, is a prime example of an antihero. He is strong, unencumbered by morality, and extremely greedy for the female body. But bright doesn’t mean best. In addition to incredible strength, the protagonist boasts an IQ level inversely proportional to his lust. Periodically, Dark Schneider tries to clumsily break the fourth wall with stupid and unfunny jokes, constantly declaring that he is the hero of a shounen manga.
Yoko Tia Noto is one of Dark Schneider’s primary love interests and also a guardian of sorts. It was Yoko who for many years cared for and raised Rush Renren, an extremely annoying and nasty kid, in whose body the strongest magician was locked. The girl is perhaps the only person in the world who is able to calm Dark with a savory slap. Nevertheless, Yoko has always been an authority for Rusche, and this could not but affect the personality of Dark Schneider.
Nei Arshes is a dark half-elf, the mistress of lightning, the best swordsman of the new world, one of the kings and just a beautiful Komsomol member. At one time, she was a student of Dark Schneider, as well as his adopted daughter and mistress.
Bastard!! soaked through and through with what I personally call metalheadism. Any fan of old heavy metal bands should be in awe of the sheer amount of thematic references.
How do you like Metallicana-the name of one of the human kingdoms? Weak? Well, yes, I agree, you never know what metal it is connected with. An ordinary fantasy kingdom whose prince was Lars Ulu Metalicana, who gave his life in a fight with Dark Schneider. Fans of Danish heavy metal band King Diamond will instantly recognize him as one of the supporting characters. I’m talking about the greatest vampire, Di-Amon.
But the author of the manga Hagiwara Kazushi, of course, did not limit himself to only the distorted names of the characters. Since our work is about the greatest magician, the protagonist (and all the others capable of witchcraft) skillfully, in the best traditions of Japanese culture, casts spells using lines from the compositions of metal teams or simply listing their composition. At the end, of course, you need to pronounce the name of the spell itself, which can also be a reference. For example, Venom and Def Leppard.
Well, where is heavy metal anime without heavy music. Tense action scenes delight with guitar cuts, Dark Schneider periodically turns into squeals in his lines in the spirit of the vocals of Al Atkins from Judas Priest. Special thanks to the creators for the opening from Coldrain.
Spirit of the 90s
Dark fantasy, heavy metal is, of course, good and I personally like it, but most of all I was happy with the atmosphere of the old anime series from the 90s. You know, when anime was not afraid to show half-naked female characters, pumped alpha males, blood, guts, dismemberment. Personally, I myself grew up on such works as Devilman, Demon City Shinjuku, Youjuu Toshi and Souryuuden.
Everything that happened on the screen seemed to bring me back to my childhood, when not the best examples of Japanese animation were shown on the local TV channel Asia-TV, but I still recorded them on video cassettes with great pleasure and often reviewed them.
Someone will say that the protagonist is incredibly stupid. To this I will answer that this is how the hero of a shenen manga of the 80s and 90s should be. Reveal a character? Why, then they practically did not do that. Another may express his fee about the female loins in thongs on the screen, but this is exactly what female characters looked like 30-40 years ago. And anyway, who said that half-naked girls in anime are bad? Throw potatoes at him, please.
The Netflix Bastard is doing its best to convey the spirit of that time, which many fans call the Golden Age. The time when creators created, and did not subject themselves to self-censorship. The time when we were not yet overfed with titles. The time when fantasy was fantasy, not fucking isekai. The bastard should also have a filter in the spirit of old VHS cassettes on top, so that it looks exactly like the work of the 90s.
Watch or not?
A definite recommendation for everyone to watch Bastard!! I can not to give. Still, those who started their acquaintance with anime in the 10s or just watch a couple of titles in a season will definitely consider the Bastard a waste of time and will be right in principle. Also, the anime is way too long in my opinion.
But if suddenly you are such a repulsed person like me that you watched Devilman before you learned to read and if you like heavy music, half-naked anime waifu, stupid jokes, then you should pay attention to Bastard !! your attention. Still, it’s not often that Netflix releases something that does not correspond to modern agendas and trends in media culture. Oh, why the hell do I use such rhetoric?!
Hey, you! Yes, you, old fart, who exchanged his forties. Go and look at the stupid pumped-up bastard, magic and half-naked girls under metal-washed down.