CONTENT WARNING: BASTARD!! -Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy- features scenes of sexual assault
Much like Spriggan, this Netflix Original Anime, BASTARD!! – Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy- (BASTARD!! from here on out for obvious reasons), is based on an existing franchise, this time from a manga of the same name published in Shueisha’s Weekly Shōnen Jump and spurred a six-episode OVA in 1992 to 1993. Embracing its legacy and not deviating from it, this new BASTARD!! ONA (original net animation) is animated by Liden Films and directed by Takaharu Ozaki, with scripts written by Yōsuke Kuroda, character designs by Sayaka Ono, and music composed by Yasuharu Takanashi—and let me tell you, the music is a heavy metal fusion that absolutely rocks.
I have to preface everything I’m about to say in this review with a disclaimer. BASTARD!! is excessive in like, every 80s to 90s shonen way. There is violence, sex, a weird soul-binding thing where the main character is also somehow a kid but not really, dubious consent, and a slime-melting clothes moment that is, for lack of better words, sexual assault. But if you know that going into this remake of the 90s BASTARD!! OVA then well, you’re buckled up and about to enjoy the ride.
In BASTARD!!, the Dark Rebel Army, which plans to resurrect the god of destruction Anthrasax (this is just where the heavy metal puns begin), continues to expand its power in a bid to rule the world, led by the overwhelmingly powerful Four Divine Kings. The Kingdom of Metallicana on the Central Metallion Continent is assaulted by the sorcerer-led Dark Rebel Army. In order to save the kingdom, Tia Noto Yoko, daughter of the Great Priest, makes the decision to resurrect the ancient great wizard who once plotted to rule the world, and who is sealed within her childhood friend Lucien Renren (the age thing is weird here). But, the only thing that can undo the seal is a virgin’s maiden kiss. Facing imminent danger, Yoko puts her lips on Lucien’s and wakes up Dark Schneider. Strong, chaotic, and extremely attractive, the legendary wizard Dark Schneider is somehow the only hope to save the world.
Okay, I’ll be honest, I didn’t keep watching BASTARD!! for the story. In simplest of terms, it’s unhinged chaos that just kinda snowballs on itself to find footing and bring as many attractive characters together in as much fanservice as possible. Cramming 400 years of Schneider’s history into the season and somehow adding heavy exposition to describe the magic being used, because it couldn’t just be heavy metal references being screamed at a villain, the series is simple but also overstuffed. While the story gets from point A to point B it makes a lot of pitstops, all to put Schneider in the path of a hot lady who is either going to fight him, bed him, or both.
Effectively the most explicit anime offering on Netflix, BASTARD!! pushes high camp, high dramatic flair, and does it all with a stunning animation style that makes everything—even the weirdest of beasts—look entirely out of this world. Additionally, while the series features either sex or ecchi jokes that mimic a type of sex (like sucking poison out of the side of a very naked male lead), it isn’t only the female characters that show off their bodies.
In fact, I want to unofficially say that Dark Schneider spends more time without clothes or with a very high-slit robe that continually shows off his body, shielded only by strategic shadow placement. But isn’t just the animation style that is absolutely stunning when paired with a bonkers story. The music of the series is perfect.
As the title shows, this series is about rock. It’s about heavy metal, and it’s about a dramatic entrance, exit, and battle sequence. To top it all off, the opening and closing themes are songs to play on repeat and the animated sequences are the perfect type of sexy heavy metal blending that capture the spirit of the series perfectly.
To be honest, I binged BASTARD!! and I’m not entirely sure what I just watched. I’m in love with the animation, cringed hard at a lot of the choices, specifically by having one of the female leads handcuffed in a pit a clothes-melting slime groping her (oh and the whole Schneider sharing a soul with a kid) and the dialogue is whole other level of cheese that I let out many an audible “what the fuck” while watching it. But somehow, I love BASTARD!! – Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy- even with all the made-in-the-80s and 90s asterisks. Absurd, loud, and pure unbridled sexy chaos energy, BASTARD!! is going to the right series for a very specific audience, and well, I guess that’s me.
BASTARD!! – Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy- is available now exclusively on Netflix with a second part in the works.
BASTARD!! - Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy-
To be honest, I binged BASTARD!! and I’m not entirely sure what I just watched…But somehow, I love BASTARD!! – Heavy Metal Dark Fantasy- even with all the made in the 80s and 90s asterisks. Absurd, loud, and pure unbridled sexy chaos energy, BASTARD!! is going to the right series for a very specific audience, and well, I guess that’s me.