12 Days of Anime #12: Rage of Bahamut

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Rage of Bahamut or Shingeki no Bahamut was a very good fantasy anime. When it aired, everyone was surprised by how the adaptation of a card game could have such a great first episode. The first couple of episodes did a great job capturing everyone. The anime changed a little in the second half (to the chagrin of many). It went from being a fun adventure to a more somber save the world kind of story.

This shift appears to have upset several folk though I didn’t mind it too much since some of my favorite, individual scenes happened in the second half. More importantly, the anime as a whole featured a great cast, some nice action and all around genuine fantasy greatness.

Note: I realized this while making this post, but despite my attempts at flooding this post with screencaps, it is surprisingly hard to showcase just how good moments in Bahamut were without audio and video. Bahamut was as far as I can tell, a very kinetic anime (more so than other series I think). Both the visual and audio direction were very important in the impact of its scenes.

Memorable Stuff

The Scale

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When Bahamut is discussed, folk normally talk about the characters and this is to be expected because they are its greatest strength and they are very strong. That said, one thing I found very memorable about Bahamut was just the scale of it all.

The very first episode starts with this massive, grand battle that pits humans, gods and demons against one monster. It is a grand battle and sort of sets the expectation for what kind of scale this anime was aiming for. The next couple of episodes are fairly low key and focus on just a few characters, but the large scale is always there, hidden away and sometimes springing forth.

The demons who kidnap our heroes ride atop massive demons. Rika controls massive skeletal beasts for transport reasons. Lade Jeanne fires massive spears while riding her horse and so on.

Then towards the end, the anime moves into the global stuff surrounding Bahamut. Again, the scale is massive. Bahamut itself is massive and there are so, so many angels struggling to keep Bahamut sealed. All of this helps establish just how much is at stake if Bahamut gets loose.

Now, the anime didn’t do the best of jobs with its grand scope and perhaps for some, it transitioned too quickly, but at least it tried and it was accompanied by an epic orchestral soundtrack. It may have been a little rough at the edges, but I will always remember this anime as having this grand, epic setting.

Favaro

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The main cast (Favaro, Amira, Kaesar and Rika) were really all kinds of amazing. The important side characters like Jeanne and Bacchus were also very good. The only characters that did any hard to the cast quality as a whole were the two main villains (sadly enough), but apart from them, Bahamut had one of the most endearing character list in 2014. Still, as much as I like everyone, Favaro was the real memorable standout.

Favaro is one of the most interesting and memorable male characters anime has produced in quite some time. His quick wit, his sense of humor and his “I normally only care for myself” attitude were always a joy on screen.

The conversations he had with Kaisar and with Amira were always hilarious. I love how he tricked people with silly lies and if they came true (e.g. the mothers recognize their children when hugged), he himself would be surprised.

There was actually a surprising amount of depth to Favaro as well. He played the role of the wind blown mercenary, but truth be told, he actually did care for those close to him. He just had a hard time expressing it and rarely felt the need to do so.

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Memorable Scenes

I think I enjoyed pretty much every episode and some episodes like Rika’s introduction were exceptionally good. That said, off the top of my head, these are my three most memorable scenes.

The amazing cowboy 1st episode

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I rewatched the first episode and now I actually do kind of feel that it is a bit of a shame the anime went in a different direction. The first episode with the jumping horses, Amira’s mystical entrance and Favaro’s infinite charm was so, so good. I loved the background music used here (and well its use was excellent throughout the anime).

I also liked how they had a throwback to the horse riding in the first episode at the end of the final episode. It was great.

Jeanne gallops on a horse while launching a massive golden spear attack

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When I first saw this in episode 5 (I think), my jaw dropped because it was so cool. Joan of Arc rides a horse that jumps high in the air all the while she launches this massive spear attack to sink the enemy air ship thing.

Michael kisses Jeanne

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I will be honest; I thought Michael was portrayed as a girl, so the kiss scene really excited me. Well, I just discovered that Michael wasn’t a girl. Even though Jeanne D’Arc’s amazing lesbian moment with a fucking Archangel was a lie, the scene itself was still pretty great.

Jeanne (corrupted into a demon) stabs her protector and guardian angel. Michael kisses Jeanne and feeds her Rika’s medicine and then as he dies, the two fall.

This is a sad scene not only because the cool angel Michael disappears, but also because this war could have started with much better odds had the Angels kept the humans in the loop. Had the Angels talked more to the humans and had they cooperated more, Jeanne would never have turned into a demon (stupid king is stupid) and perhaps Bahamut would have been an easier foe to contain like they did 2000 years ago.

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Favaro says goodbye to Amira

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As he dangles by a rope, Favaro has one final conversation with Amira. He is classic Favaro with his exuberant conversation style, but this time around, he is actually earnest. He actually means it when he says he will take her around (though he doesn’t think he will get the chance to do so).

The conversation is reminiscent of the way the two have been talking with one another since the beginning, but they have grown much closer. They even have a final “you liar” skit.

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I didn’t really feel like there was that much of a romantic connection between the two (and the jump to one was to be honest, a bit too big), but regardless, it was a really sweet goodbye.

I have rewatched this scene several times and I like it more every time. Maybe because the conversation flows exactly as we’d expect from these two, so it just feels so right.

Most Memorable Scene

Amira meets her mother

I have rewatched this scene several times now and it always hits me and hits me hard. I don’t know, I just found it to be such an emotional, powerful scene.

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Everything Amira thought about herself is revealed to be a lie. She doesn’t have a mother, but rather Amira was made in the image of an angel that Beelzebub captured and tortured. The exact plot is kind of silly and likely full of plot holes, but it is also most irrelevant. The revelation of her past and seeing her supposed mother kneel there on the ground screaming in pain brings Amira down to her knees.

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And then, she remembers what Favaro told her. A mother will always recognize her child when hugged by them.

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So, Amira gets up. She isn’t an idiot. She knows it is a trap. She knows bad things will happen if she meets her mother, but she still feels obliged to meet her.

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At this point, we might expect Amira to have changed. Her memories were totally fake and she was just told her entire existence was a lie. But then, she smiles.

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That smile is a 110% Amira smile and it hits like a train carrying trucks. No matter what her source or origin may be, Amira is Amira and that smile is proof of that. So, Amira begins to walk. Against the raging wind, she walks and walks until she finally meets her mother.

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Amira hugs Nicole and Nicole eventually escapes her anguish and recognizes Amira before finally disappearing.

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All of this is accompanied by the most excellent, incredibly epic Bahamut background music. The combination of that music, the fluid walk and the raw determination in Amira’s eyes destroyed my heart.

I don’t know if this scene was as memorable for everyone else, but for me, it was Bahamut’s most memorable scene and one of 2014’s best scenes. I loved it so much and still do.

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