This was a thoroughly pleasant TV show to watch. It was not amazing, but it was merely better than being good. Available through Netflix, I’ve watched this on-and-off over the last few months whenever I go to the blood bank to make a deposit. When I go to the blood bank I rarely watch the same video/series on a visit-by-visit basis, but I made an exception for this show. While there were parts of this show I didn’t like, overall I enjoyed my time watching this and looked forward to watching more on a week-by-week basis.
The visuals of this anime are spectacular. While at times I was brought out of the flow of things by the choppy nature of the animation, I was inevitably brought back in by the lush detail and focus of the imagery. There’s a saying that in good animation that every frame should be beautiful enough to be a painting; this show passed that test. Simply put, whoever made this are masters of their craft (except for that choppy animation bit).
The art style was good as well. The characters had clear inspiration from ancient Greek frescos and vases in the deep DNA of their character designs. It was really special to watch ancient Greece come to stylized life. Added to that deep DNA was also gore. LOTS of gore. If this wasn’t animated I’d be a bit grossed out by it, honestly. This show is DEFINITELY targeted at teens and adults.
At first I was not sold on the changes to the original mythology made by the studio who created this. As I was raised on the Greek Myths, having the anime studio come up with a brand new mythology for the gods and world frustrated me. In particular, it took me several episodes for me to buy into the whole existence of ‘demons.’ (The demons in the show are different from the mythological ‘daimons’ of actual Greek mythology, where ‘demons’ are evil people while ‘daimons’ are morally neutral spirits.) In the end I just decided to view this show as fanfic of the original mythology, and have some innocent rompy fun watching this show. When treated in that light, this show was a great time.
Finally, I really loved the villains. The demonic antagonist had a great backstory and motivation, and I loved every moment he was on the screen. You feel a sense of creeping dread when you hear the electronic wail of the demon prince’s theme music before he even appears on screen. He has great fight scenes, which make it seem impossible for him to be defeated. The studio handled him well.
But the primary antagonist Hera is spectacular. Between her voice acting, character design, and inhuman power, Hera was a force of nature every time she was on the screen. But contrasting against that inhuman power is her human vulnerability, caused by her anger at Zeus for fathering yet another bastard child. She wants revenge, and she’s going to get it. Frankly, I’m going to watch season 2 for her alone.
The series had a theme of mistreating innocent people coming back to bite you. It was fairly well implemented, with both antagonists (demon prince and Hera) both having revenge sub-plots due to being wronged, as well as the protagonist having a minor revenge sub-plot as well against the aristocracy of his home town.
Now let’s talk about some of the bad parts.
The human characters were bland. The protagonist Heron had less characterization than his twin brother/antagonist the demon prince. What characterization he did have was frontloaded in the first few episodes, and it wasn’t enough to carry him completely throughout the show. Similarly, the amazon character had basically no characterization, even though she was the secondary protagonist. They both need to be fleshed out in a BIG way come season two.
The story’s plot was a bit ‘ehh.’ The studio made a ‘good vs evil’ story, even though ‘good vs evil’ isn’t really a theme in Greek Mythology. Part of the reason why I liked Hera so much was because her conflict WAS NOT based on the ‘good vs evil’ dialectic, making her the most morally complex character in the show. The plot was about a bunch of human/demon hybrids trying to resurrect the Giants, who the gods slew in the Gigantomachy. The Giants, and their demon-worshippers by proxy, were malevolent monsters who are enemies of both gods and humanity for no reason. Their evil-for-evil’s sake-ness made them uncompelling. I was happy when Hera highjacked the demonic rebellion for her own ends, because it short-circuited the ‘good vs evil’ dialectic and made it more like ‘jerk god vs jerk god.’
Finally, while I thought the visual art was very well done, the narrative art needed some focus. For example, one of the early episodes was spent with the protagonist forging a magic sword. He never fights with that sword, ever. At the end of the story, the protagonist fights with his fists and a bow. Why? That seemed like a dropped narrative thread. I hope that the writers of season two take more time to write the scripts.
Net total, I had fun watching it and am looking forward to watching more. While they take MAJOR liberties with the source mythology, if you come into the story with a relaxed attitude you’ll probably have some fun. Check it out if you’re curious.
STARS: 3.75 OUT OF 5 STARS (5 stars=perfect, 4 Stars=Great, 3 Stars=Good, 2 Stars=Fun but Flawed, 1 Star=Not Recommended)
GRADE: Come for the pretty visuals, stay for the villains
Overall Rating: Recommended (How I Rate Books)
Genres: Anime, Greek Mythology, Action, Adult, Gore