10 years after the world escaped destruction due to the revival of Bahamut, humans at the royal capital gather wealth, the demons are enslaved to assist with the capital's revival, and the gods lose their power due to a decrease in religious piety. The world is thrown off balance as humans, gods, and demons hold their own ideas of justice.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul is the top anime of the season, and I don't say that statement lightly. Whereas Genesis was all about having a fun adventure that amounted to the anime equivalent of The Princess Bride, Virgin Soul seems to be about fleshing out the world of Shingeki no Bahamut, with elements of suspense, drama, and romance, in addition to making the action more intense and dazzling.
Stories involving humans rebelling against the divine powers is nothing new. After all, Shin Megami Tensei made an entire franchise out of the concept. What makes Virgin Soul different is that anime follows the
angels and demons point of view. The divine powers aren't simply the bad guys because humans are the ones fighting them. Instead each side is signifigantly more complicated and all sides have a reason to fight with none looking like they have the moral high ground.
A throwaway line made by Azazel mentions how there is a balance between demons, humans, and angels. Demons torment humans to feed off their despair and fear. Feeling in need of divine guidance, the humans worship the angels which provides them with sustenance. From an objective point of view the demons and angels live parasitically off of humans, with the divine war between them comes off as being a con to retain this equilibrium. So Charoice the XII has enough of humanity being a plaything of cosmic entities and declares war on both sides.
Humans win big on both fronts and in a more cliche anime, this would be the end, but Virgin Soul takes chances and shows that humans really aren't any better morally without divine forces as they were with them. They enslave demons, abuse them, and force them to fight each other in gladiatorial blood sports. The audience can understand the humans' anger but at the same time, see that blind hatred against a perceived enemy transforms a crowd into worse monsters than the ones they were fighting.
Not all demons deserve it, either. Only a small portion of demons actually attack humans while rest live ordinary lives. Yet humans treat all demons the same, like they are worthless. The human city of Antae is a gilded hell for demons and humans are the jailers.
Angels get less prominence but it doesn't change the fact that they are victims as well. Angels were hailed as the guardians of humanity but their failures in preventing the plots of demons and a human and stopping Bahamut from wreaking havoc on the human city of Anatae has caused Charoice to lose faith with them. He seeks to destroy them, thinking they deserve death since human technology has surpassed their power. Secretly, of course, as much of the population still approves of angels.
And this is just the setting, the characters each have their own motivations and conflicts that seem small at first but weave together well into this tapestry of divine conflict.
The scenes in the show are just amazing. Every establishing shot in this anime feels like a masterpiece leaves the audience excited about the wonders in store. The main setting of Anatae is a wonderful setting of reflective lakes, shining palaces, and gorgeous trees.
The fight scenes are fast paced without being disoriented. The magic effects are straightforward without being overdone. The dragon scenes are both terrifying and awe-inspiring as even the fire effects seem to make the screen obscure and boil, to reinforce its terrifying ferocity.
Horns, strings, and vocals seem to perfectly capture action scenes, changing beat and rhythm to perfectly match action scenes. The audience can feel scenes build up, simmer down, and sometimes suddenly explode to accompany how a scene will play out. It is a very impressive coordination of both visuals and sound, making dramatic scenes absolutely breathtaking.
Virgin Soul excels at showing classic archetypes strengths and merits, before adding a dose of realism that adds faults and consequences to their behavior. It is not power levels or super powers that defeat characters, but rather adherence to the ideals once that gave them power.
Nina Dobrev is the comic relief. She, initially, provides the cynical plotline a breath of fun to prevent the audience from being to apathetic to the drama. From accidently knocking out the Kaisar to running around Anatae in nothing more than a bed sheet she is the perfect heroine for romantic comedy. Only Virgin Soul is not a romantic comedy and Nina becomes dreadfully more aware of that fact as she becomes exposed to Anatae’s seedy underbelly of abuse and violence. Nina reluctance to be involved in the conflict represents bystander syndrome and its hard to blame her. We all like to think we would help someone in trouble but when faced with overwhelming odds, we accept our helplessness and move on. It isn’t until Kaisar shows true heroism and selflessness, that she realizes she needs to get involved. Only to fail because her role as comic relief means her powers are activated by perversion, not virtue.
Azazel is the lone wolf. Arguably, one of the few true lone wolves. Often times, lone wolves are portrayed oxymoronically in fiction, starting out as social outcasts, before suddenly possessing leadership skills and unparalleled insight about social understanding (coughWolverinecough). Azazel, refreshingly, shows the good and bad qualities of lone wolf characters. In a fight, Azazel’s fight scenes are incredible, swooping through the sky like an angel of death, his strength bending metal like its paper, his snake powers ripping through flesh and bone with ease. Yet his my way or the highway attitude is his downfall. He acts self-righteous without acknowledging the sins he committed in the previous season. When put into a leadership position, his inability to empathize with others leads to utter disaster. Azazel is one of the best deconstructions I’ve seen of an anti-hero/villain protagonist because the faults are shown through an unquestioning ego, a trait central these archetypes.
Kaisar is back, and while I initially did not like how his history with demons was swept under the rug, I can understand why they focused mainly on his archetypal role as a knight in shining armor. Virgin Soul shows how the romanticism of knights is conflicted with their main role as serving as a militaristic tool of the king. Kaisar spent most of his life longing to be a knight only to realize that the virtues are meaningless drivel and Charoice’s orders are all that matter. This is presented through the faceless legions of knights that unquestioningly support his every command while Kaisar seems lost in this turbulent storm of moral conflict. Kaisar shows the strength of knighthood, but like Azazel is brought down because he cannot get any of the knights to remember the romanticism that motivated them to join the first place.
Charoice is, interestingly enough, the evil overlord. He’s a vain, self-righteous, ambitious, conqueror, that happens to be human. What makes this twist interesting is that the setting makes his role less apparent. His evil empire is a city of music, beauty, and festive engagement. Yet it is capable of being every bit cruel as a fortress of spikes and dark clouds. Like any conqueror, Charoice categorizes his population into two groups, a society of true citizens and an inferior slave caste. Fortunately for him the slave caste have horns to tell them apart. His characterization shows the “history is written by the winners mentality” that is shown throughout the ages, permitting leaders to whatever they want because the weaker minority doesn’t have the strength and the greater majority doesn’t have the will to oppose them.
All in all, this one of the best anime I've ever seen. The fight scenes are fantastic, the plot is deep and morally complicated, and the characters are engaging and fun. I feel I could recommend this anime to anyone and they would enjoy it.
I really enjoy the deep plot and characterization that go with this anime. Its not afraid to have its heroes fail or portray its villains sympathetically something that's uncommon in anime. Eight episodes in and I'm excited to see where the story goes next.
Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul aired in spring 2017, Animation by studio MAPPA.
I'll write this review presuming that the reader has watched the prequel.
The story of SNB:VS takes place in the same world as its' prequel, but 10 years after the events of Bahamut's ressurection and fall.
During those 10 years, Charioce XVII (the new king) has destroyed the demon capital of Cocytus as well as invaded sanctums of the gods. The demons are now enslaved and the Rag Demon (Azazel) is seeking revenge and to free his brethren.
We currently follow the dragon/girl Nina as our main character, but have yet to see much
plot development except for her being thirsty for young men, stupid and extremely powerful.
The plot of SNB:VS is not as immediate as it's prequel, but I daresay that it might have more potential. It's a 24 episode show and we are most certainly missing something in the current story as well as a few characters that are bound to show up later. The reason for me saying this is that the prequel packed an extreme amount of content into a 1-cour show, it was executed well but it could have been more elaborate if given the time.
The plot is not generic, it could be regarded as an anime original due to its' source material being quite unclear. There is a manga called Twin Heads but it's a prequel to Virgin Soul. The story originates from a card collecting mobile game.
What will happen in the end? Will Bahamut rise again? It's not as clear what exactly will happen compared to the prequel.
Studio MAPPA did a great job in this department, it's quality throughout the episodes and I have trouble finding anything to complain on. So far, they've improved on the art of the prequel, although we have yet to see any extremely high-qual scenes like the scene with Lucifer in the prequel yet. Looking forward!
Great OP and ED songs. the OST of SNB "Chorus of Despair" is also a gem.
The sound effects are almost all high quality.
Characters have good voice actors, especially Rita.
An interesting point about the sound in this series is how it uses different sound filters depending on the environment, same with prequel. Just one easily regognizable example of this would be that you can hear echoing in the throne room, and the voices sound a bit more metallic. It's clear that Studio MAPPA didn't cut corners on neither Art/animation nor sound.
The only VA I could "complain" slightly on is Azazel, it might also be that either the character has changed slightly but he definitely doesn't sound like he used to in some moments.
We have Rita, Nina, Kaisar, Azazel, Bacchus&Hansa, Mugaro and Charioce as our main cast currently. We are still missing Favaro.
Bacchus gets a lot more screentime and even some character development in this season, we now know that he really is a fallen god and that he can reclaim his place in heaven. He's still got a great voice actor and his facial expressions are golden.
Even though Nina is the real current MC, Azazel is fairly similar to it. He has a lot of screentime and the history between him and Charioce with the demon capital being destroyed and the demons enslaved makes him a great protagonist to fight against Charioce who is the current antagonist, I do have a feeling that something will change about this in the future however.
Nina is a sweet girl who has a lot of weirdness surrounding her. We know that she is a dragon, but she can only change into one when she gets aroused. She also has no memories of when she turns into a dragon and is probably connected to Bahamut in some way.
Mugaro (M/F?) is a mysterious character who will receive a lot of attention, but we currently know little of him apart from his powers.
Rita and Kaisar currently fills a supportive role, they are missing FAVAROO to become the unbeatable trio.
Every character in this show is unique and interesting, it truly deserves a 10 in this area.
While the specs of this show are mostly top-notch, the episodes feel quite short. It's a 24 episode show so things are bound to be more elaborate and slowly paced than a 1-cour show, which means that the enjoyment factor will change in the future. The most enjoyable current parts are definitely the comedy in it. The battles are handled well but it's still too early in the series to really enjoy them.
This is a show that has LOTS of potential. studio MAPPA are not cutting corners when it comes to animation and there is a lot of room for the story to develop over these 24 episodes. The characters are all great and unique but we are still missing a few of them, which means that before I can give this show a flashy 10, I need to see more of it. Definitely one of the best shows of spring 2017.
I am glad that we have a sequel to a great anime. OK, so the story takes place ten years after the previous season. Last season carried a tone of comedic lightheartedness with a lot of powerful action and of course some drama in settings of a fantastical/mythic world. In comparison to that, this season starts with a serious tone and the reason for that is – well Bahamut the dragon from the previous season had already depleted the numbers of both angels and demons. In addition to that the humans have lost faith in god (which diminish the power of god/angels).
To put it
simply the old system of angels, demons and humans has been pretty much toppled on its head. Humans have declared an open season on both the angels and the demons. Although the demons have a far worse time facing the humans but it can be assumed that the angels too are not far from suffering the same fate as the demons (which is being captured, tortured and sold as slaves).
Although Kaiser is still there but I still miss Favaro. Frankly the yin-yang of Kaiser and Favaro was pretty much focus of the last season but this season doesn’t really involve them that much into the plot. We also have Nina – a happy go lucky bounty hunter girl who reminds me of Amira, not just in demeanor but also due to her position in the plot. She is also the person who is pretty much providing the comic relief to the story. In general I think she is quite likeable and comes across as a solid character. We also have our boy Azazel (the fallen angel/demon from the last season), who is fighting to protect the demons from the humans and having a pretty rough time of doing it. So far into the story it’s Azazel and Nina who are stealing the limelight during this season.
It would also be prudent to add that the story is taking a different direction from the last season. It is not a complete turnabout from the last series but there are some major changes. From example the last time the king of the city was some minor character that was just there to make some noise but this time we have a new king and he is centric to the plot. There is also the element that it is now the demons and the angels who are on the losing side. Add to all this the fact that we have another child who seems to be on the side of the demons and is being hunted (much like Amira was being hunted in the last season) by the king and the angels alike.
To say it all in one line – We may or may not get to see Bahamut again but I think we would eventually get a big showdown and in the meanwhile we can enjoy the plot as it unravels.
So, the story, is a gigantic disappointment as far as I have watched (Episode 6), I mean the joke with the main character is SO lame that it is BEYOND cringeworthy... But the rest was okay so it gets a 5.
Art and Sound, 10/10
Character, again the main character just sucks... and the disappearence/death of two former characters were both DEVASTATING and made a HUGE hole in the cast.... Its a 3...
And the enjoyment is even less for the reason I just mentioned, and I know I'm being pretty darn ridicilous but I am getting
out my 1 hammer on Enjoyment -_-
Overall, it is not much more than a disappointing sequel to a great anime...
It's a 3...
They are fiery, majestic, powerful, towering beasts... and they are here to make you shiver in your socks! Here's a list of the 15 most epic anime dragons in existence, sure to scare you and bring you a bit of nostalgia at the same time.