Shingeki no Bahamut – 12 (End) and Series Review

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Best “Shingeki” anime ever.

Fall 2014 wasn’t a great season by any means, but in addition to the expected sublimity of Mushishi Zoku Shou, it was partially redeemed by two surprises that couldn’t have been more different.  Gugure! Kokkuri-san looks like it will sell around 4500-5000 in the first volume – not bad at all for such an oddball of a show – and if Stalker is right, Shingeki no Bahamut may actually do a bit better than that.  The ending of the series was fitting in many ways, and hopefully the “I’ll be back” end card will be prophetic.

When I say “surprises” I really mean it, because both these series were off my radar screen prior to the start of the season.  I wouldn’t say either of them were classics, but both of them were highly entertaining and very successful at telling their story – in the case of Gugure! a bittersweet comedy adapted from an ongoing manga, and in Bahamut an “adaptation” that may as well have been an original.  Being derived from a card game it was obvious huge changes would be necessary, and I think it’s better to view Bahamut as being for all intents and purposes an original series.

I think this show got the ending that every good anime deserves, but very few get.  It had plenty of action without stepping on the character moments.  It struck a perfect balance between tragic and happy (though the shippers might not think so) in giving us real sacrifice without it encompassing the entire cast.  It was exciting and involving from start to finish, and as with most of Bahamut it was executed with a great deal of flair and style.  And if it was mostly predictable in terms of the seeming mysteries of the plot, that kind of fits the series’ vibe of an old-school Hollywood epic anyway.

You don’t get a chance to use words like “epic” too often with TV anime, but I’ve wanted to more often with Bahamut than with any series since Zetsuen no Tempest, probably.  This was a show that never stopped going big – lots of shouting, lots of crashes and fireballs, giant Cthulhu airships, Gods and Demons fighting over a plot with the fate of the entire world at-stake.  The visuals were big, the emotions were big, and the soundtrack from Ike Yoshihiro – maybe the season’s best – soared to match them at every turn.

The finale was pretty self-explanatory – and mostly lacking in surprises – but the joy was in watching it play itself out. Lavalley turns out not just to be a bad guy, but the bad guy – Martinet himself, pulling everyone’s strings (even Beelzebub’s).  And we get Gilles de Rais’ name dropped in anime again (I admit I didn’t specifically see that coming).  Favaro did indeed turn out to be the fated knight (Jeanne looked pretty bummed).  Kaisar’s bounty hunter wristband did indeed prove key in apprehending Martinet.  And Kaisar did have a trick up his sleeve when he shot Favaro – an antidote-tipped crossbow bolt.

That last bit somehow suits the nature of Kaisar and Favaro’s friendship perfectly – one shoots the other in the chest to save him, and in return the other chops the first one’s arm off to save the world.  Amira and Rita had their moments, and Amira and Favaro as a couple too (including a very tender one here) but in the end Bahamut was really a buddy picture about two mismatched heroes and their love-hate relationship.  It was fitting that it should end in the way that it started – with the two of them riding across a causeway – and that we got a couple of final “Favaro!” in before the final whistle.

The only real downer here, then, is the fate of Amira – though things looked pretty bad for Favaro there when Bahamut self-destructed and we never did find out how he survived (though light one leg, to match Kaisar’s arm).  I hated to see her (seemingly) go, but this is the sort of series where a happy ending for everyone feels like a bit of a cop-out.  And I thought Amira was sent off in grand style with that final conversation and kiss with Favaro (try not to thing about her chronological age).  Like pretty much everything else in Bahamut it had the feel of a movie ending from the middle of the last century, and not a hair of it seemed out of place – right down to the movie-style credits crawl we got after the epilogue.

It would be too dismissive to call Shingeki no Bahamut a simple pleasure, but it’s certainly a very straightforward show.  A good old-fashioned swashbuckler with a rogueish hero, a damsel-in-distress, a delicious stew of myriad mythologies and a great friendship as its spine.  It’s nice to see MAPPA involved in a series that looks as if it might actually make a few Yen, and they did stellar work here – clearly Cygames and the production committee felt comfortable that the promotional value of this show would be considerable, because the budget was commensurate.  Big budgets don’t always equal big production values though, and director Satou Keiichi and his ultra-experienced team imbued the entire enterprise with a great sense of hybridized anime-Hollywood style.  This series was a blast, and one of the real pleasant surprises not just of Fall but of 2014 – and here’s hoping there’s a few more “Favaro!” in our future.

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ED Sequence:

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End Card:

Bahamut - 12 -60


  1. A

    To be fair, although it might have ended that way, SnB didn't really bother to offer a protagonist we can root for until at least half a season in. I mean, it took it 6 episodes (and a pirates of the caribbean shout out) to show us that Favaro was not, in fact, an asshole. Were it not for the huge amounts of damn they gave for the animation and production values, I would've been bored out of my mind with that plot.

    Fortunately, picked the pace it did. I couldn't help but cheer when angels and demons worked together to hold him off while they were cruising through the barriers for that last desperate charge against the beast. It was very satisfying.

    My only regret is that there's no sign of Rita anywhere in the epilogue, and we never did find out what price did she pay to stay sentient after dying. Oh well.

  2. I liked Favaro from the beginning – at least for me, it was obvious the carefree asshole thing was a mask. I think he comes from a long line of likeable rogues in the movies this series draws its inspiration from.

  3. C

    Athos, the price she had to pay was being absent from the prologue. 😉 Surprisingly, Rita was one of the most heroic undead characters I've ever seen across all mediums.

  4. A

    Hm… I honestly wanted to believe that deep down he was a good guy, but that became a little complicated when he tried to leave Amira to die on episode 2.

    Then again, it didn't take as much time as I thought for him to have a change of heart, so that's not so bad. Come to think of it, if he had just been another jerk with a heart of gold from the beginning rather than actually repenting and doing what's right only after growing fond of Amira, he wouldn't have been as endearing.

  5. G

    I liked Favaro from the beginning I just hated his hair. What I liked about this series is you never knew what was gonna happen next or where it was going. Everything was a surprise and a shock (for the most part).

    Was sad to see Amira die. Perhaps they can bring her back if they do another season.

  6. C

    If there's any hair to be hated it's that gross goatee at the end.

  7. S

    Man, I loved Favaro's (and Kaisar's) hair. It's sorta like Space Dandy's hair in that's it's too goofy-looking to take seriously, but that just makes it all the more fun 😀

  8. C

    Well waddaya know Kaisar DID use the antidote! I stand corrected!

    And wow that kissu…. made me almost tear up. A great surprise 8/10.

  9. c

    The fact that Favaro still has his tail means that Amira is still alive though, right? I'm guessing we'll have to wait for the sequel then.

  10. r

    That's how I interpreted the ending. Favaro deduced that he wasn't going to be rid of that tail unless Amira either died or removed it herself upon his fulfillment of the promise. Since we know they never had time for the latter course of action, we can only assume that the former did not come to fruition either.

  11. S

    And when Favaro said that Bahamut was still alive, I'm guessing he was referring to Amira as well.

  12. F

    When he said bahamut was still alive he scratched his butt xD i mean he put his hand where his tail was(under the clothes) so there is that and i take as yep she is alive and if the guys who made the anime read this YOU MAY ASWELL DIE IF YOU DON:T MAKE A SEQUEL CAUSE I AM COMING FOR YOU

  13. R

    I also put this series down as my favourite original screenplay of 2014 even though it is said to be an adaptation of a card game. I had a blast with Shingeki no Bahamut — it's simply fun to ride along on all the adventures led by the characters. It also has a better finale than many shows this year. The goodbye between Amira and Favaro was moving, and instead of being slapped, Favaro got a kiss when he asked Amira to look at his eyes — for one last time — to prove that he's not lying. All in all, I enjoyed watching this show, and I'd happy to see a season 2 if they keep the quality and staff.

  14. Z

    I liked how they stopped big bad with the bounty hunter bracelet used in episode one. Brought things full circle.

    Also, could they use more character designs like this please? Would help to balance out how overly cute and uniform designs have become over the last decade.

  15. R

    Yes, the character design is a lot more diverse here, and the way the creator brings the story full circle back makes the finale of the show more interesting.

  16. R

    I love Bahamut for being so different from most of the other series in anime I've grown used to, from the designs (something not hyper-cute in an original series), grand scale (I MISS the epics), and sheer bombast. It isn't an amazing philosophical ride or anything, but it doesn't have to be. I mean, I love a good fantasy epic just as much. So thank you MAPPA and I hope this sells many disks for you.

  17. J

    The only thing I didn't like about Bahamut was the CGI griffin, that's the only real artistic misstep for me, it just looked dumb to me in comparison to the rest of the great 2d and cgi set-pieces and characters.

    As you said it hits all the right notes, I was afraid around episode 5 or 6 it was going to be battle of the week style show (to mimic the card-game). We had some basic bounties and demons, we had Rita, then Pirates, and then Big Bad Foils, and luckily that's when the show started to kick off.

    As others ave said come for the art and the action in the first half, stay for the epic story in the second half.

  18. v

    My only gripe with the ending is that we didn't see Rita after the time skip.

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