Shingeki no Bahamut: Virgin Soul – The show that crapped on on everything good, especially the previous season.

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Above is a photo of Azazel from Genesis. He is not amused by the shit that went down in VS. In fact, no one is. Or at least, not people who actually think character development and plot coherency matter in a series. I’ve read a few other reviews now that the show is over and basically it boils down to (most, not all) fans feeling betrayed, depressed, disappointed, angry and annoyed at what happened in the second cour. For those who don’t like my generally rambling bitchings about what happened to this show, please feel free to read these two reviews that do a better job of it.  FYI, spoilers ahead.

So, what happened since I last wrote about it? Basically, I was right. And I HATE IT when I’m right when it comes to anime shows because that means there’s some sloppy ass writing going on. One thing I’ve always loved about anime is how it can surprise me. Sometimes I think I’ll know where a show is going and then it surprises me in some way to take a different course that I’d not considered before. I won’t say it always ends up being for the better or even a good ending, but at least it gives me something to think about in how it differs from what I predicted might happen. But with VS, although I didn’t write any of it down here, I predicted practically every single scene that happened in the last three episodes and that pisses me off because what I predicted was the worst possible way the show could end, destroying all aspects of it ever having a chance at being good.

In my last review I wrote: “Could [Charioce] have been making Dromos deliberately to ensure that Bahamut is without-a-doubt destroyed? If so, then that is one super shitty plot line.” That is exactly what happened. And my total rant about how awful that is and demeans everything else this season and the last season have built up was validated.

After the fall of Bahamut in Genesis, an Orleans Knight, who would become leader of the Onxy Knights (who was never given a name), found Martinet’s writings [Martinet was mastermind villain in Genesis] and realized there was a way to completely and utterly destroy Bahamut – probably.  The King’s court then decided they needed a BAMF to take charge after the last weak-sauce King’s reign so they took orphaned bastard child Chris and made him Charioce,  The Genocidal Asshat. Charioce takes technology supposedly learned from Martinet’s writings (this is never explicitly stated or made clear how the hell they got the green magic crystal things because that was necessary to beat the shit out of the angels/demons first) and sacks the angel headquarters for more of the green powerful stuff. I’m assuming the only reason why he sacked the demon base was to use the demons as slave labor to create Dromos and build up the capital’s economy. All the while, the court takes note of some rift of sorts in Eibos where Bahamut supposedly died or was contained in Genesis. Therefore, time was of the essence and the past few years were a race against Bahamut’s re-awakening during the making of Dromos, aka hand-puppet-death-star.

Favaro pretty much explains Charioce is more of of a victim than a villain to make Nina feel better about not having the guts to kill her precious Chris. In doing so, the show basically neuters Favaro’s character entirely from what he was in Genesis and somehow justifies the King’s rather racist and violent means-to-an-end. It’s literally one of those sacrifice the few (angels and demons mostly) to save the greater good (humans, mostly). Charioce releases Bahamut from Eibos and somehow leads the dragon of all world destruction to the capital where Dromos is waiting, because, you know, of course Bahamut is going to follow Charioce even though it singed the shit out of Beelzebub in Genesis when trying to be controlled. [Reminder: any sort of plot logic and consistency is null and void in VS.]

Angry parents Jeanne and Azazel take their revenge war to the capital and realize the King isn’t even there. Alessand is killed in a very dramatic and drawn-out scene by some random demon child. If Alessand had been built up to be more of a villain beforehand, then this scene would’ve been fantastic and moving. However, the show spent zero time on make Alessand into a character worth two shits, so his death just wasted 10 minutes out of an episode. Kaisar tries to stop the revenge war, but is ignored, as usual. It’s not until Jeanne and Azazel are about to put the smack-down on Charioce together that Kaisar acts and finally chooses a side – and it’s the wrong one because HE DIES. Yep, another wonderful character from Genesis, who showed some decent growth in the first half of VS, also had his balls chopped off by the end of this season. Rita’s concern for him was great, but the scene just had zero impact on me because I saw it coming as well. AND I dreaded seeing him return – as a zombie bitten by Rita – at the very end.

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Azazel’s reaction here mirrors mine in how fucking shitty this all turned out. I loved Kaisar from the beginning and I did rather like the dynamic he had going on with Rita, but to make them zombies together by the end? UUUUGGGGHHHH. No… just…. NO.

So while Kaisar is dying, Jeanne and Azazel pretty much stand still since they are technically the ones who killed Kaisar as he jumped in front of Charioce to save his life. They stay frozen like that with pained expressions doing nothing until the end while Charioce uses Dromos to kill of Bahamut and fulfill his destiny. He declares that if he survives, they can do with his life as they see fit.

So… where the fuck is Nina in all of this? You know, the so-called protagonist of this season? Oh right, she’s just watching everything and when she sees her precious Chris go sacrifice himself to use Dromos she flees to his side. Favaro of course gave her a pep talk first because he sacrificed his beloved Amira in Genesis and he doesn’t want her to make the same mistake he did. He tells her: CHOOSE YOUR WAR MONGERING LOVER OVER THE FATE OF THE WORLD. And so she does. And supposedly there is some romantic parallel between Amira/Favaro and Nina/Chris but damned be if I can actually give a fuck about it because it’s so horribly written. Anyhow, Nina uses Dromos with Charioce and kills Bahamut in one blast. Considering both Bahamut and Dromos are considered world-obliterating things I’m hard pressed to think that either is that powerful based on what I saw. Bahamut seems to have been neutered power-wise this season compared to Genesis.

In the end, Charioce is justified and allowed to live although he’s now completely blind. Nina lost her voice in the battle so even though both of them have suffered for their love together, they still get it and even get to dance one last time because dancing is everything. Jeanne lives with the gods and mourns her dead, pointless plot point, El/Mugaro. Azazel is seen with her and then wanders off and no one knows where he went. Favaro continues on with his dickless self to seek other adventures he’ll never follow through on because he’s a sentimental old man now. Rita gets to take care of zombie Kaisar and the enslaved demons are now getting paid by the humans for their labor – yay?

Oh and guess what? Bahamut didn’t really die. Dun…. dun….DUUUUUUUNNNN! Not as if anyone gives a fuck at this point.

I’ve felt this for a long time and read a lot of people say the same thing: this show feels like it was written by two different people. One person wrote the first cour with fantastic character development and a cohesive plot line that gave greater meaning to the events of Genesis. The next person wrote the second cour and that person took a shit and smeared it over everything that had happened before and all over Genesis. The second writer destroyed character credibility, muddled plot information, and wrote an ending that they wanted (hint: it’s a shitty romance!), completely disregarding everything else and only suiting the plot to that end game.

Here’s my extra two cents on how the second cour should’ve been played out or at least made tolerable- in case anyone is still reading this:

  • Just keep Charioce as a one-sided villain. Fuck any sort of redemption or reasons for his need to kill angels and enslave demons. Make the fucker evil for evil’s sake – even if the source of it was his boring mother’s death. Make him egotistical and power hungry to the very end. Use Bahamut’s destruction in Genesis as a motivator for his need to control everything.
  • Kill the Charioce/Nina romance. Sure, let her fall for him at first, but then when she sees what he’s really like – open her eyes. Even if she doesn’t end up with anyone at the end that’s fine. Let him be an asshole that let her on and then spat in her face to show how people can be two-sided when they want to be. Better to have the experience under her belt for dealing with people in the future and better evaluating them.
  • 86 Dromos. The death star is not needed. Let Bahamut come back via Charioce’s need to control everything and have it bite him in the ass. I realize this is just a rehashing of Beelzebub from Genesis, but I still think this would play out better than the shit storm that actually happened.
  • The heroes of VS would be Azazel and Jeanne. Nina was pretty much pointless entirely. Based on how well written the first cour was of the show, these two characters (and Mugaro) deserve much better. Let the three of them fight off Charioce’s genocidal war together.

Pat yourself on the back for reading this far. I’m done with this shitshow and now ready to dive into better worlds, mostly The Ancient Magus’s Bride.

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