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Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – 01

「Red Dragon」

The changes to the world are interesting. The characters are better than they’re not. It’s not totally there yet, but it has my attention.

Shingeki no Bahamut is a series whose first season I loved in part because of expectations. I went in with none, what we got was pretty darn good, so it was a win! So it remains to be seen how a Shingeki no Bahamut series will do when the expectations are higher.

If this first episode is any indication: pretty good, though like it’s predecessor, Virgin Soul isn’t perfect. Instead of starting off as a Western-style bounty hunter adventure—and by Western, I mean the Old West, with horse chases, saloons of ill repute, etc—this dives straight back into the angels vs demons epic that GENESIS transformed into. Except—not the same.

Undoubtedly the element I like the most is the changes they’ve made to the world’s status quo. The angels are dead or dying out, and the demons are enslaved to the Kingdom of Anatae’s will. I’m getting a very Roman Empire feeling, or the Roman Republic before it transformed into the empire—expect the font of wealth (in the form of treasure and slaves) brought about by King Charioce XVII’s (Umehara Yuuichirou) conquests to paper over the problems in Anataen society—until they don’t, and suddenly exacerbate them all. I’ll also admit to a certain twisted thrill at seeing the humans on top of the Angels-Humans-Demon dogpile, even if they’re the aggressors. They might be bastards, but dammit, they’re our bastards.

Plus, then we get a demon freedom fighter, or what the humans would probably call a terrorist. That’s novel.

But what dragged me into GENESIS the most was Favaro Leone (Yoshino Hiroyuki) and Kaiser Lidfard (Inoue Go), and—wait, where’s Favaro!? (Error: Insufficient Favaroooo.) Which is a lesson: when a great deal of your allure rests on the back of a single character, perhaps the underlying series doesn’t deserve all the praise I heap upon it. Can it survive with someone like Nina Drango (Morohoshi Sumire) at the helm?

Maybe! Compared to what’s-her-name from the first season, I like Nina a lot more. She’s cheerful, strong, and more than a little stupid, and her tendency to fall for whatever pretty man she runs into is somewhere between funny/endearing and eye-rolling/frustrating. Still, not a bad heroine to maybe carry a franchise, even her success is unknown. Unless we’re talking about physically carrying it, in which case she’s fine.

Specific praise: I like that Nina getting swept up in the Rag Demon’s escape doesn’t feel as unfair as it could. When innocent parties get caught up in crimes due to misunderstandings, it can be incredibly frustrating. The key is how unfair it is, how avoidable it is, how much the victim deserves it, and how well the victim is able to handle it. In this case, it was only semi-unfair (she did clock Kaiser, and ran off without explaining), it was avoidable (it would have been better if Kaiser was notably dazed, or even unconscious), she kind of partially deserved it (she put herself in the area of the Rag Demon on purpose), and she was relatively well-suited to handle it (she’s strong, fast, and has a flexible personality), so it doesn’t end up feeling all that frustrating. Just a touch, and it’s mostly Kaiser’s fault, as usual.

Specific gripe: they forced Nina’s transformation into a dragon like a sonuvabitch. She just hulked out out of nowhere, for reasons that aren’t clear, and with only limited hints that something would happen and no hints that this in particular would (though it was clear that she’s not normal, see: her strength). I feel like this was the producers trying to frontload her transformation to get the hook in early, and maybe that’s for the best for getting butts in the seats. (That’s why movie trailers so often contain all the best moments.) I don’t think it served the story well, though.

All in all, I definitely enjoyed the premiere, and while there’s plenty of time for this 24-episode series to come off the rails, I remain cautiously optimistic. I’ll probably cover at least another episode to see where it goes. Tell me what you think in the comments below. Cheers!

Random thoughts:

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ED Sequence

ED: 「拝啓グッバイさようなら」 (Haikei Goodbye Sayounara) by DAOKO

Preview

End Card

April 8, 2017 at 8:08 am
27 comments »
  • April 8, 2017 at 8:39 amMisa

    The lack of Favaro sucked, but I am glad that we have a main character in Nina that has a lot of personality to her right out of the gate (similar a bit to Favoro, since thy’re both quirky characters.) And I agree that the dragon transformation could’ve been handled a bit better, felt a bit sudden. But, I see they wanted to establish a few main things, Nina herself and a bit of world building and they succeeded in getting things started. Since this series is going to be 24 episodes, I think everything will fall into place just given more episodes to build upon (which it definitely has here.)

    Other than those two issues, overall I loved this episode, thx Stilts ^^

    • April 8, 2017 at 9:31 amdanes256

      If you looked at the promotional image, you can clearly see Favaro, so he’ll most definitely appear along the way.

      • April 8, 2017 at 9:53 amStilts

        Aye, he’ll come, I’ll just miss him until he’s here. Favaroooo!

        On the plus side, allowing Nina to take center stage with Kaiser as support early on could give her time to grow as a character without Favaro overshadowing her. Still waiting for his return with baited breath, though.

      • April 8, 2017 at 9:55 amMisa

        I meant in this episode specifically. But yep, I know we’ll be getting him, looking forward to how Nina & Favaro meet. ^^ Also on the plus side, we did get Kaiser, so one half of the male duo. :)

  • April 8, 2017 at 9:13 amMagnus

    So far clearly the best series of the season. But I adored the first season, so I am clearly biased.

  • April 8, 2017 at 9:40 amWeird D

    If they were going to trade the gorgeous angel/demon hybrid for a dragon, they could at least made her look good. Ability to rain destruction aside, she looks completely cartoony.

    • April 8, 2017 at 9:50 amStilts

      I think her model is fine. I don’t really pay attention to (or much care) for her physical attractiveness, so much as what her appearance (including clothes, demeanor, etc) says about her character. In that, cartoony/goofy seems to fit the personality they’re trying to convey.

      Could it get in the way if they try to go serious with Nina later on? Yeah, it totally could. We shall see, I supose.

      • April 8, 2017 at 10:58 amWorldwidedepp

        and here Nina was only in Doki doki love mode, i do wonder how she looks like if she is in uncontrollable anger mode. Do she appear more mature? Bigger? more deep red? or stay she in this Dragon pupil state this entire time?

        Sorry, i just got hooked with this. Kaiser’s face told me all what i need to know (emotional)

  • April 8, 2017 at 10:31 amWorldwidedepp

    I do wonder if this anime here have only this “Rag Demon” fighting, i mean in the Bible past the Angels punished the Humans, too. Also they have an ArcAngel with a Sword aka General of the Heaven Armies…

    But of well, Demons have the Rage and Anger bonus, its their turf. It is nearly impossible to show an Angel killing humans for revenge without stamp him into an Fallen Angel

    Its complicated.. Do Jean the Arc survive?

    • April 8, 2017 at 10:49 amWorldwidedepp

      Instand Hook, not only because of the Screen play and characters. No the story catch me.. Humans that want to be their own Gods in enslaving angels and demons…

      feels like an fresh Kaze for me

  • April 8, 2017 at 11:44 amqwert

    When she gets hot and horny she gets REALLY hot and horny.

  • April 8, 2017 at 4:23 pmZJZJ

    I came in excited, and after watching I’m even more excited for the next episode. I really miss Favaro, and tried hard to convince myself that it’s great even without him, but I really did hope for him to suddenly appear and for Kaiser to yell his name as usual. Nina is interesting, though I might not like her choice of clothes. I really hope this gets covered, the potential seems great.

  • April 8, 2017 at 6:31 pmSeth

    http://randomc.net/image/Shingeki%20no%20Bahamut%20Virgin%20Soul/Shingeki%20no%20Bahamut%20Virgin%20Soul%20-%2001%20-%20Large%20End%20Card.jpg

    Baha! Baha! Soul!

    omigod please don’t tainted the image of my favorite summon…to call it baha-chan…it feel so wrong

  • April 8, 2017 at 8:02 pmDude

    No wonder its called virgin soul. If she hulks out when a bishounen gets close to her, I pity the groom on her wedding night.

  • April 8, 2017 at 8:24 pmManly Tear

    What a way to start! No boring info dumps, yet not completely devoid of world building either. We experience it through the eyes of the characters, as it should be. So a king that his own people love & appreciate for what he’s accomplished but it’s at the cost of angels & demons ~ these racial conflicts will be interesting, that’s for sure.

    Also, Favaro & Nina should get along. About the dragon part? He already has experience dealing with strange women ^_^

  • April 8, 2017 at 8:59 pmdaikama

    Well, things certainly have changed from before. Again, some disclosure: Like Season 1 (“S1″) early on, but starting about mid-season S1 went downhill for me and never recovered. So I’m not coming into this with any real expectations, but rather will S2 recapture what I liked about S1 early on? The fact that the lead is also a bounty hunter gave me a bit of optimism.

    I agree with Stilts that, while not entirely, Favaro certainly was a big part of why S1 worked. A change of pace from the usual middle-school or HS age ML who has a likable rogue-ish quality to him even if he does trip the “chose one” cliché by the end. The two S1 characters I liked to any significant degree were Favaro and a deadpan, snarky Rita. Amira (S1 FL) I did like early on (IDK – up to Ep. 03 or so). There wasn’t much to her as a mysterious woman, but she held her own & kicked some ass at the start before ultimately devolving into a plot device.

    Kaiser – sorry, but I got tired of his incessant “Inigo Montoya routine” which could have been resolved earlier. We got passed that – he’s OK, but not really a Kaiser fan either. Perhaps S2 is his time to shine. Anyway, I agree that having a strong lead like Favaro served S1 well, and S2 would similarly benefit.

    As for Nina, she’s no Favoro. Not even close IMO. Better than Amira? I’d hope so given how Amira devolved in S1. In terms of first impressions, I honestly liked Amira better. I get that they didn’t want to just insert a “female Favaro” (though that might be fun), but meh. Super genki, baka-clumsy rookie type. That type of character can work (and I do like those at times), but so far I’m underwhelmed and was hoping for better. It’s early so maybe she improves. Personally I did NOT enjoy her furiously blushing over any and every pretty boy she encounters. If that was “comedy”, it didn’t work for me. Actually, to the extent there was comedy in Ep. 01, it didn’t work for me.

    I agree with what Weird D posted above. Nina’s face is just off at times IMO. Her mouth at times is like she’s part sea bass or something rather than apparently a dragon in human form (I expect that will be explained). While it’s not enough to put me off the series, I did find it distracting while watching.

    I did like the “Rag Demon”. He could be a cool “freedom fighter” type character. Not sure if this is a spoiler, but just to be safe… Show Spoiler ▼

    I also thought Ep. 01 had some pretty good action. S1 had that as well. Not sure if visual quality is up to early S1 standards, but pretty good/good enough which helped action scenes. Also, points for Kaiser setting a trap for the Rag Demon.

    Overall, while I can understand why fans of S1 were fairly pleased with Ep.01, it was a mixed bag for me. It reminded me of both things I liked about S1 and things I didn’t like. Again, only first episode, but so far Nina is disappointing as MC. The plot’s OK though. I do have an interest in that, and the “Rag Demon” might be good. Still in for now. 3 Episode Rule.

    • April 9, 2017 at 1:54 amWorldwidedepp

      @daikama

      about the “Rag Demon”, looks like Kaiser has an feeling how he is.. Also i got this message. Someone must been blind for not seeing this. And how is this girl/Boy on his side in the Arena? From his effect he/she can make i think she is in the Angel section, or at last some kind of “Valkyrie”, his/her kiss send him over the other side

      • April 9, 2017 at 6:04 amdaikama

        @Worldwidedepp: Yes, Kaiser does seem to recognize the Rag Demon as well as the hint given in the arena. Not sure about the angel part.

    • April 9, 2017 at 5:09 amStilts

      @daikama, on the Rag Demon:
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Honestly, I don’t think the blushing was supposed to be laugh-out-loud funny or anything. It struck me as them telling us something about her character, and if it got a chuckle as well, that’s fine. More meant to be endearing, perhaps, but mostly to say “Why does she transform into a dragon when she gets too hot and bothered?” It seemed to be hinting at the mystery, or trying to reveal character, even if I don’t think that bit was done particularly well.

      As we can tell by how we’re discussing it, instead of it being clear, don’tcha know. Still, I feel like Nina has a chance to fall off less than what’s-her-name did, which is hopefully true otherwise a flaw will be repeated.

      • April 9, 2017 at 5:58 amdaikama

        @Stilts: Regarding your spoiler, I’m sure you’re right. Appreciate the correction. Frankly, I didn’t check out promotional material and totally forgot about the character you mentioned anyway. I was just hoping the series did something with the character I mentioned. Oh well. Maybe later in S2.

        As for the blushing, I took that mostly as a trope like what happens with 20498239503 male leads – whole virgin thing and all. As for “endearing”, probably was part of the intent, but YMMV on how effective that is. And yes, there does seem to be some sort of connection – fast heart rate maybe (like the Hulk)?

        I’d be shocked if Nina devolves like Amira. I sure as hell hope not. That would be a repeated mistake. Just a guess on my part, but I’m thinking what we see is pretty much what we get with Nina. Don’t expect her character personality to change much. That being said, I do hope she gets over the clumsy rookie part of her character – perhaps due to being kouhai (bounty hunter) to Favaro’s senpai?

  • April 9, 2017 at 1:52 amWorldwidedepp

    about the “Rag Demon”, looks like Kaiser has an feeling how he is.. Also i got this message. Someone must been blind for not seeing this :)

  • April 9, 2017 at 6:43 amDr. Hochmeister

    It’s baaaack!!! I concur with most of Stilts’ appraisal of this episode; the lack of FAVAROOOO was painful, but it makes sense to keep him out of the limelight to give Nina some time to grow as a character. She doesn’t have nearly as much instant charm as Favaro did, paradoxically because it feels like she fits into the mold of “moe goofy genki-girl” made to pander to me. She also feels uncomfortably disconnected from the world, not even knowing about basic things like demon-slavery and the King, whereas Favaro and Kaiser started out with their own complex place in the world. Still she’s got plenty of time to grow, and if her character’s handled well these issues will swiftly fall to the wayside.

    From a thematic standpoint, I really like how the destruction of the old world order at the end of the previous season has lead to a new world that’s just as screwed up (if not more so), with yesterday’s pawns becoming today’s oppressors. I wonder what Charioce’s backstory is and where his chip against the gods and demons comes from.

    • April 9, 2017 at 12:12 pmStilts

      To be fair, on her ignorance: it could be that demon slavery doesn’t exist outside of the capital, and that the King doesn’t exert much influence, or is mostly ignored, out where she comes from. It might even be more of a city-state situation, where she’s not from territory ruled by Anatae. Info didn’t travel back then well at all.

      That said, she’s been in the city for 10 days, so you’d think she would have run across one or the other. Still might not be quite as irksome as it first seems, though.

  • April 9, 2017 at 2:32 pmJon Oscar

    So Eugene became King in Orga’s stead,and Ichigo came back for his instantly recognizable growls, after which Nina gazes at a familiar ceiling after going berserk.

  • April 9, 2017 at 7:09 pmRedRocket

    Interesting mythology this story and past season have. There seams to be a afterlife with some going in energy somewhere but this afterlife not one the Angels and Devils live in. Instead the angels and Devils seam to be always young but die but along with the humans don’t seam to go anywhere accessible.
    And although their was a Zeus and a Bacchus exists they and the rest of their group don’t have the Greek god immortality, the Abrahamic religion angels do not serve a all powerful god and only Bahamut has a return ability. In all of the mythology and world religions their is a after life and even the humans go there no one actually ceases to exist but here they seam to go away. Maybe the Gods and Devils of this story are more just advanced mortal beings and the real Gods and Devils are where you go after you die.

    And what is humans belief on the after life anyway at least Favaro seamed to think their was one. Normally you would not war with those who determined your fate after death.

  • April 15, 2017 at 6:32 amWorldwidedepp

    Ep 02:

    Looks very promising, 2/3 passed without problems.. I have high hops for this anime…

    But really…
    Show Spoiler ▼

    • April 15, 2017 at 6:41 amWorldwidedepp

      Kaiser should look out for…
      Show Spoiler ▼

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