1. Favaro Leone
In an epic, sweeping tale about the never-ending war between good and evil and apocalyptic dragons, you'd think the main protagonist of such a story would be a stalwart knight pure in character and deed, or maybe even a simple farm boy who rises above his station when the call to adventure is made. That's how these kinds of things tend to go, right?
Instead, in Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis, or Rage of Bahamut for short, we get Favaro Leone. A bounty hunter without a cause, chronic liar, and self-proclaimed ladies-man, Favaro is about as selfish as they come for protagonists, at least when we first meet him. With nothing but a little crossbow and his wits he travels the world, hunting dangerous bounties and avoiding the wrath of the vengeful Kaisar Lidford. When the plot shows up, he's more or less dragged kicking and screaming into it thanks to his own lies and misunderstandings.
Favaro was born into a family of thieves, taught from a young age by his father to value his personal freedom more than anything else in the world, a lesson that the orange afro-wearing son takes to heart. In fact, he even rejects becoming the heir of his father's band of thieves, something that they all had wanted, simply because he wouldn't be as free to do what he wants if he did. Favaro repeatedly states that he's only looking out for Number One, and whether or not it is intentional, all of his actions are colored by this ideal.
But why is he of all people the designated "hero" of this story? Their world is filled with brave knights and heroic figures, so why does the fate of the world rest on his shoulders?
Well, deceitful protagonists are hardly something new when it comes to anime, but Favaro is unique from those examples at the beginning because of two reasons: he has no personal supernatural aid for his intentions, and his aforementioned intentions were not initially good.
He's a scoundrel, but a normal scoundrel, at least by the standards of the world he inhabits. Seeing how he overcomes challenges like monsters and demons is a treat, thanks to his wit and overall fun attitude. These two things are important, because they breathe refreshing life into what could have been a generic fantasy anime. Thankfully, Rage of Bahamut shines the brightest when it comes to its characters.
Favaro is not your typical fantasy hero because you've already seen the typical fantasy hero done dozens, if not hundreds, of times. That's not a knock against typical fantasy heroes by any means, and Rage of Bahamut still has that in the form of Jeanne D'Arc and, to a lesser extent, Kaisar, but the writers clearly wanted a little something different to be the leading man.
Favaro is a goofball, but a smart goofball. His antics, brought on by very human desires and needs, ground the mythological war raging around him without making it less impactful. He's someone that the audience can relate to more than the stoic and pure knight, even if he's a scoundrel.
2. Kaisar Lidford
Nicknamed the "Hammer Head" to Favaro's "Bomber Head" by their mutual employer Bacchus, Kaisar Lidford could not be more different from his fellow bounty hunter and rival. His every action is meant to emulate the class and chivalry of the typical heroic knight, and he always tries to maintain dignity and poise in any situation he's in, unless Favaro is involved. While it can be at times comical how much he tries to adhere to the knight's code, there is actually a tragic reason for his overcompensating behavior.
Unlike Favaro, Kaisar was born into nobility, his father being an esteemed knight of the realm. To the audience's surprise, it turns out that Kaisar and Favaro were actually childhood friends despite their differences in class, although Kaisar seemed to be unaware of his friend's connection to the underworld. Still, those early years are fondly remembered, up until disaster struck. Kaisar's father was in charge of protecting a caravan, which was attacked and robbed by bandits despite his efforts. Shamed and dishonored, his father was hung as punishment for his failure. His family lost its noble rank, and Kaisar's dream of becoming a knight were forever out of reach. Afterwards, Kaisar learned that it was Favaro's father who led the bandits and, believing that their friendship had merely been a lie so as to get information, he vowed to make his former friend pay for his house's decline.
Which brings us to the beginning of the show, with him screaming "FAVAROOOOOOOO!" and in hot pursuit of the Bomber Head.
Kaisar is constantly at conflict, both with himself and the world around him. He feels bound by a set of rules that are self-imposed, in hopes of bringing honor back to the Lidford name, but the knight's code is at odds with his lifestyle. In order to make ends meet he became a bounty hunter like Favaro, which is a profession that tends to be looked down upon by those of a higher class. This only leads to further issues when he genuinely strives to be that chivalric figure despite his lowered station. People are quickly impressed by his knightly bearing and noble speech, but those feelings just as quickly turn sour once they realize he's a bounty hunter. His behavior is considered delusional, since a bounty hunter and a knight are polar opposites in the eyes of the people.
Despite everything going against him, Kaisar is easily the most compassionate and kind out of the main protagonists. He always stops to help someone in need and easily resists the honeyed words of demons that promise power. He's the heart of the cast, a man that values family and honor above everything else. This sets him up as a perfect foil to the self-centered Favaro, with their clashes not only being physical but also ideological. The conflict between the two former friends is easily one of the highlights of Rage of Bahamut and adds a more personal feel to the overall story.
The plot of Rage of Bahamut has to start somehow, and Amira is the one the who kicks off the events of the story by literally falling from the sky. While the bandits who first run into her believe she's just some beautiful yet amnesiac girl (not to say she isn't those things), it's quickly revealed that there's a great deal more to her than meets the eye. When the need arises, she transforms into a one-winged demon that can easily rip apart any threat that she encounters.
She soon meets our hero Favaro, whom she'd previously overheard bragging about going to Helheim, and begs him to take her there, saying that's where her mother is. Favaro, who'd been lying just to impress a few ladies at the bar, does what he does best and lies again, promising to tell her how to get to a place he's never been to so long as he gets a kiss from her. After a brief interruption by a bounty hunt gone awry where Amira reveals her demonic power, she kisses him, sealing the contract. Thus starts the long series of misunderstandings and adventures that is Rage of Bahamut.
Amira is an enigma of a character. When we initially meet her, she seems like she'll be a cold woman that will be aloof and mysterious for most of the time, but that changes instantly once Favaro, and the audience, gets to know her a little better. Despite looking like a young but mature woman, her behavior is outright childish. She's easily distracted, finds joy in the simplest of things, and is automatically very trusting of Favaro, taking everything he says at face value. Whatever her origins were, it is quickly clear that she either had an extremely sheltered childhood or a received a rather unconventional method of being raised.
She also has the most voracious appetite of the entire cast, possibly to keep up with her unique half-demon physiology, as well as an extremely high tolerance for alcohol, especially for someone who supposedly never drank before.
What's also interesting about her is the effect she has on Favaro and Kaisar. Initially, Favaro just sees her as yet another naïve girl for him to take advantage of, but that attitude quickly changes once she turns out to be half-demon. Once that's revealed, he eagerly looks for a way out of their contract, even if it means killing her, but through circumstance and her own stubbornness, it turns out to be no easy task. Stuck with her, Amira's personality eventually starts to grow on him, sparking his own development arc. As for Kaisar, he crushes on her at first sight and his chivalric code obligates him to help the fair lady at any cost, although he's unaware of her demonic nature at first.
Amira is the driving force of the main characters, the one that inspires them to take action. Without her, the two bounty hunters would have continued their feud without any resolution. The story certainly would've been less interesting if not for her.
Despite being an incredibly prominent and important member of the main cast, Rita is actually a relatively minor character when it compared to the rest in terms of development. Aside from when we first meet her, she doesn't go through any great changes or have any deep inner conflict that needs resolution. However, that doesn't mean she's not fun or interesting, by any means.
Perhaps the sassiest ten-year-old/two-hundred-year-old necromancer girl in all of fiction, Rita has lived most of her (un)life in her ruined village, where she tries to lead some measure of a normal life with the undead villagers. Kaisar then stumbles into her life and, after destroying the cursed book that was really behind the zombies in her town, he decides to spare her, unable to kill a little girl even if she's undead. Rita takes a liking to him as a result and chooses to join him on his adventures.
Even though she looks ten years old, Rita speaks and acts like an old woman and brings a no-nonsense mentality that keeps the main cast on track whenever the "youngsters" get caught up in their personal feuds. If Favaro is the wit, Kaisar is the heart, and Amira is the driving force, then Rita is the brains. She brings a vast knowledge of the inner workings of magic as well as necromancy and potions to the table, making her perhaps the most independently competent out of the main cast.
What keeps Rita tethered to them is Kaisar, who seems to be the only person she genuinely cares about. To her, he's the only family she has in the world and his kindness warmed her unbeating heart, even if she almost never shows it.
She is also objectively the best character in the whole show.
Gods, Angels, and their Allies
5. Jeanne D'Arc
Easily the strongest human character in the entire series, Jeanne D'Arc is the captain of the Orleans Knights and was chosen by the gods to carry out their will. She frequently leads the charge against the demons and their armies, successfully laying waste to entire hordes with her blessed spear, Maltet. When interacting with the main cast, she is always respectful despite who they are or where they come from, although she tends to be a little cold in demeanor. Jeanne is the epitome of the holy warrior, supposedly destined to be the one to finally kill Bahamut and end the war with the demons once and for all.
However, one could take a guess at what may happen to her just by looking at her name. Being one of the most famous French figures in history, it is very easy to pick up the parallels between the real life Jeanne D'Arc and her Rage of Bahamut counterpart. Both were peasant girls that heard the voice of their gods calling them to action, and both became saviors of their people. Unlike the Jeanne D'Arc of reality, however, the gods of Rage of Bahamut go out of their way to give her their blessing, going so far as to even gift her with otherworldly powers to better fight the forces of evil. Despite said powers, the tale of Jeanne D'Arc is a tragic one, so one could only hope that the writers don't follow the history too on the mark for her character arc.
6. The Angels
The angels that guard heaven and generally considered the purest of the pure in Rage of Bahamut. There are hundreds of them, but only four of them are named, each with varying degrees of importance.
Of all of the angels in Heaven, Michael is the strongest in terms of raw power. He also interacts with humans the most, since he is the patron of Jeanne D'Arc and provides her with her abilities. The primary force for good in the series, his main concern throughout the show is keeping Bahamut from reawakening, with the rest of the angels following suit. In Biblical lore, he was the strongest of God's angelic warriors and is prophesized to kill Satan during the war in heaven.
Next is Gabriel, the leader of the angels. She doesn't get as much screen-time as Michael due to her limited interactions with humans, though she is as equally driven to stopping Bahamut. As far as Biblical lore is concerned, she (or he) is typically the messenger of God, carrying His word via a horn. This is fitting, considering that at one point in Rage of Bahamut she delivers an epic speech to the angelic host to prepare them for war.
The last two angels are Raphael and Uriel, and frankly they don't do very much besides talk a little bit and help with containing Bahamut. Never seen without the other, they also only appear in scenes with Michael, serving only to increase his presence when necessary. In the Bible, Raphael was known as a healer and guide, while Uriel was the guard of Eden, watching over the gates to Paradise with a fiery sword.
7. Bacchus and Hansa
The patron of bounty hunters, Bacchus is a god, but you wouldn't know it just by looking at him. He appears to be a balding, middle-aged man that is constantly drunk, although there are hints of the wise and old being beneath. He's Favaro and Kaisar's boss, as well as the source of their "Bomber Head" and "Hammer Head" nicknames. He travels in a magical carriage that's bigger on the inside, always seeming to be in the right place to receive bounties and hand out rewards. Accompanying him is his pet Hansa, a talking duck that spends most of his time avoiding getting eaten by Amira.
In Roman mythology, Bacchus is the god of wine and revelry, similar to the Greek's Dionysus in almost every way. He's also associated with agriculture and theatre. Worshipping Bacchus was typically to get as hammered as possible and partake in as much of life's pleasures as possible, forgetting all of your troubles in a drunken frenzy. These bakkheia, as they were called during Roman times, would get so out of hand that they became outright banned by the Roman Senate.
As for Hansa, he's named after the hamsa, an aquatic bird of passage whose name could either refer to a goose or a swan. While there's no direct connection to Bacchus in Roman mythology, the hamsa tends to be associated with knowledge and the creative arts in Hinduism, the latter of which could serve as a similarity to Bacchus with his love of theatre.
8. Azazel, Pazuzu, and Cerberus
A powerful demon sent by his lord Lucifer to investigate who and what Amira is, Azazel is the first real antagonist that the main characters must defeat. As clever as he is strong, he's a formidable opponent that takes equal pleasure in manipulating from behind the scenes as well as getting his hands dirty on the front-lines. There are also hints that he has played a role in Favaro and Kaisar's lives before the events of the series…
In the Bible, Azazel appears as one of the fallen angels and is typically associated with scapegoats. His name is usually referred to when a sacrifice intended for God was instead cast out into the wilderness, wasted and falsely used. As events unfold in Rage of Bahamut, the reasons for why the writers chose Azazel as the name of the first demon enemy will become clear.
By Azazel's side are two lesser demons, Pazuzu and Cerberus. Pazuzu is a hulking warrior that has the looks of a humanoid lion with wings and a vicious blood thirst. Cerberus, on the other hand, is a scantily-clad girl that serves as Azazel's scout, using her other two dog "heads" that look like mittens to sniff out their prey.
Pazuzu's origins come from Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. He was the king of the demons of the wind, and commonly depicted with a man's body, a lion's face, and the wings of an eagle. As for Cerberus, he was the three-headed dog that guarded the gates of the Underworld for Hades, making sure that only the dead may pass through.
There are several other named and important demons in Rage of Bahamut, but everything about them veers heavily into spoiler territory, so they will not be covered.
The titular Bahamut is less a character and more a force of nature. Nobody knows exactly what it is or where it came from, but what everybody knows is one thing: it wants to watch the entire world burn. It has appeared many times in history and each time it wreaked untold devastation, barely stopped by the combined efforts of humanity, gods, and demons. It is the only thing that could unite all three groups to one cause, such is its immense power. Bahamut's latest attempt was two thousand years before the start of the series, where it was only kept in check and imprisoned by the sacrifices of Zeus and Satan. Now, though, there have been rumblings from its tomb, suggesting that it will rise again soon.
The sheer terror at the mere thought of Bahamut's return hangs over the narrative like a dark cloud. Not even the demons, who revel in death and corruption, want the entity to reappear because of the very real threat to existence that it poses. Even while imprisoned, its attempts to escape cause hurricanes in the surrounding areas so intense that boulders and trees are tossed aside with ease. While it was free in the past, it was shown to easily ward off massive armies of demons and angels all by itself.
The name Bahamut originates from Arabic mythology, where it pertained to a giant fish that was so large it took three days simply for its head to pass you by. Even if you saw it, your inability to comprehend what you were seeing would make you lose consciousness, such was its size. While the Rage of Bahamut version is certainly very large, at least the size of a mountain, it has nothing on the Arabic behemoth. Angels, demons, and humans alike can be thankful for that, at least.