Bastard!!: Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy – Trashy Teenage Shonen Battle Fun

A Throwback To The Past

I say this for a lot of reasons. The first part is for me, I watched the original Bastard OVA a very long time ago. So knowing that this was randomly announced by Netflix completely out of nowhere, I had some sort of connection to it that made me excited it was happening. I mean, we all know how well they advertise shows on their service usually right? (They don’t or don’t do it well.) So having that sort of random bit of knowledge of this series allowed me that chance to feel nostalgic about a property that I might not have otherwise.

On the other hand, Bastard is a manga from 1988 and was written and illustrated by Kazushi Hagiwara. Surprise surprise, this little manga was a shonen jump property. Something which almost no one really mentions or talks about. The way this anime functions is like an older adaptation of a shonen jump property. Say, Dragon Ball Z since I brought it up already. Characters stand around and stare or talk to each other before they make their big power moves. Other characters narrate what is going on. The style of how the story is presented is very classic shonen battle and somehow that really worked for me. It’s fun stuff.

Bastard!!’s Main Story/Idea

Based on Heavy Metal Music and Dungeons and Dragons, everything about this story is pretty classic battle shonen with a very fun fantasy sort of set up with some possible sci-fi if the show wants to. (Sometimes it does) 400 years in the past, the Earth suffered a giant cataclysmic event by an evil god named Anthrax leading to the world having yet another dark age. Right now, the Kingdom of Metallicana is under attack by the Dark Rebel Army who want to revive Anthrasax Again. The only thing Metallicana can do to save themselves is summon Dark Schnieder who used to be with the Dark Rebel Army a long time ago.

How do you summon Dark Schnieder? That is a bit of where the trashy part of this show starts. A High Priest locked away Dark Schnieder into an innocent boy named Lucien and he needs to be kissed by the HIgh Priest’s daughter Yoko in order to unlock him. The side effect of that is Dark Schnieder is a bit easier to control. It’s a war where Dark Schnieder used to be a part of the Dark Rebel Army and now he is poised against them because of his love for Yoko and his want to be a dashing hero all of a sudden. So yeah, that makes sense and it allows a bit of a meta feeling kind of show because of that and it adds to the corny sort of attitude in the show.

So yeah, this is a classic sort of battle shonen where Dark Schnieder has to defeat the arc’s bad guy. That character eventually joins the hero group in fighting against the Rebel Army. It is that kind of show where it is a bit rinse and repeat with lots of different settings and other sorts of powers from spell slots from D&D. Some of those powers are, once again, attached to heavy metal songs or bands. So it takes some of that JoJo influence in its own way and style and it’s kind of cool. Especially if you know all of the references. That is the feeling of the show. It’s just a lot of enjoyable and cool things if you can get by its obvious flaws which I’m going to get into. 

Teenage Awakening and Horniness

If there is one thing that should be mentioned, Bastard has a lot of nudity in it. A lot of women at some point will be naked on screen and/or get into awkward sexual situations. I could at least say that in some cases for Schnieder who is also a major fanservice character who has to have poison sucked out of his body in an awkward spot or the fact that he is objectified as much as everyone else. So there is some sense of balance there perhaps, but it’s one character on one side versus 4 or 5 on the other there too. What made me think about this show in a more interesting way is the how and why that is. You know, besides the fanservice idea behind it.

To me, it really does feel like a male sexual awakening sort of story. Something that is presented into a lot of Bastard’s text. In a somewhat obvious sort of way honestly. Lucien is a 14 year old boy that is pure and innocent until he gets kissed by a hot girl, Yoko, and turns into a powerful wish fulfillment character who is very open about how perverted he is and how much he hits on girls and mainly Yoko. This really came to light for me when Gara, a general he defeated, and Schnieder talked about their sexual prowess from years ago. It was that sort of juvenile thing that only teenagers would say to boast pointlessly and it made me feel a bit more comfortable with the show. I knew it wouldn’t do anything besides doing some cheesecake. 

The fact that Lucien and Dark Schnieder slowly merge together over the course of the show only makes sense honestly. The seal can be broken and Schnieder can take over Lucien when he is asleep or even awake at some points. Supposedly, Lucien and Dark Schieder joining together means he’s a boy finding that balance between powerful and uncontrollable sex god versus one pure boy that doesn’t know anything about the world. It means he’s growing up and finding out who he really is. This is just a very huge hyperized version of this happening in the form of an anime series? You know what? Let’s go for it honestly. 

Nice Seeing Older Tropes Again

Ok, this isn’t purely true only mostly. I have been watching Urusei Yatsura (2022) recently and that has been pulling back a lot of the older comedy tropes I haven’t seen for a while. Same with Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero that had characters fall down in comedy moments. But I haven’t seen a girl yell at a guy and that guy forming dog ears on his head and just sitting down for a long time. There were just plenty of moments like that which made me feel so at home because I grew up watching anime like this and seeing something nostalgic yet not in 2022 was pretty comfortable.

I also liked seeing a battle shonen series just down in an older style. One where you know what role each character will play, the one on one fights with a lot of standing around, and how much of an impossible task it is to defeat the big bad for that small sort of arc, a new ally joins Dark Schnieder and friends after they are defeated, and the bad guy for the story is the worst guy ever that no one can defeat alone unless characters push each other so hard. Classic battle shonen. It really is like watching a shorter version of DBZ but these are spell attacks and not just a flaming sword. Or how attacks can be lightning dropping from the sky to hopefully ruin a character or not. The fact that a dust cloud forms and characters be be unhurt is good old fashion anime material

Heavy Metal Covers and Final Thoughts

On a visual front, Bastard is mostly ok. It has a lot of cool scenes and moments that do look and feel good. Same with the environments as they go out and get destroyed. Like, the poor Metallicana Castle and surrounding lands as everything gets destroyed in some ways. The character designs are really good too because there are a lot of attractive characters in this show. The attacks look good and there is a good bit of minimalism put into animation that somehow get the maximum out of each still frame. Like, there are so many moments in this show which are still frames that could be heavy metal album covers. It’s beautiful and something that I feel like carries the show full of hard core heavy moments.

The show itself was such a good little bit of work here in this fun sort of show. That’s about all I have to say about it. It’s a fun sort of work that has minimal characters that do kind of what you expect them to do and twists that are obviously expected to. It is that kind of show and honestly, it feels like such a major comfort kind of show that throws in some fun when it wants too. That’s about what I expect from Basard in the first place flaws and all. Sometimes, a person just needs a series like this to fall back on and feel some energy towards. That’s how I see it and I’m glad that Netflix brought back this order property and hope they continue bringing back older properties in the future. 

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