Bastard! (don't blame me, it's the name of the anime)

Our hero, ladies and gentlemen

I really don't know what I feel about this anime. Alternatively silly and overdramatic, both rushed and full of filler, this is a 6 episode fantasy anime based on a much longer manga.The general story has the Four Lords of Havoc, four very powerful and evil wizards, attempting to destroy four magical kingdoms, each of which has a seal keeping the evil god Anthla-Sax imprisoned. If the seals break, Anthla-Sax wakes up, and things get very bad very fast.

These four tried this 15 years ago, headed by an even more evil wizard with the more than slightly ridiculous name of Dark Schneider. However, Dark Schneider was defeated, presumed killed in a battle with the priest Geo of the kingdom of  Meta-Rikana. As Meta-Rikana comes under fire again in the first episode, Geo reveals that Dark Schneider was in fact not killed, but imprisoned in the body of a young boy named Luche, who can only be released by a virgin's kiss. As the city is about to be blown up by a wizard, Geo decides that releasing Dark to fight the wizards is the only way to survive, volunteering his daughter Yoko as the virgin (despite the fact that Yoko finds the idea of kissing her childhood friend incredibly embarrassing). 

When Yoko finally does release Dark Schneider, the rather obvious flaw to the plan is revealed: Dark Schneider kind of hates Meta-Rikana, specifically Geo, and doesn't really want to help. However, because Luche loved Yoko, Dark does as well, and that's apparently enough to get Dark on the side of good.

The rest of the series has Dark Schneider taking down the Four Lords and their various underlings. The series was apparently going to be 8 episodes long, but the last 2 were never made, so the show ends before all the plot threads have been resolved. This all makes the series as a whole seem more than a little bit of a cheat, as we spend so much time futzing around with underlings (although some of them, such as the vampire Di-Amon, are actually kinda fun) that the overall plot is never resolved.

Dark is unabashedly the best thing about this show, in both the sub and the dub. Extremely cocky and arrogant, he pretty much only does what he wants to do. He clearly sees himself as being inherently superior to everyone around him, which just makes it satisfying when he proves this to be correct. He's just fun.

As for the other characters...most are barely developed.Yoko is your typical anime girl, prudish, easily embarrased, and a frequent dealer of the Armor Piercing Slap (tm), she is (of course) besotted with the hero, although, in an interesting variation, she seems to be in love with Dark Schneider as an extension of Luche....who's a little kid (shudder).

Ninja Master Gara is perhaps the most entertaining of the Four Lords of Havoc, possibly because his personality is the most like Dark's, and he's actually kinda sympathetic and understandable in an odd way. Arshes Nei, on the other hand, I found to be the Kikyo of the series--a former love interest of Dark's brought into the series purely and only for drama's sake. The fact that we spend the most time with her of any of the Four Lords makes this even more annoying. As for the other two Lords of Havoc, they are completely underdeveloped, Abigail your typical "evil just for evil's sake" villain and Kall-Su barely seen (presumably he would have been dealt with in the episodes that weren't made).

For being such an important character, Geo is pretty much not used except for in the first and last episodes, making him just a waste of a character. Princess Sheela is basically a less tsundere version of Yoko, and so is therefore pretty much superfluous as a character. A character I actually kinda liked who was criminally underused was Meta-Rikana's champion, Van Jobina, who just kept on getting curb-stomped by villains much too powerful for him to deal with. He's a very interesting character, but spends about 99% of the show in the background.

I should also mention that the series is chock full of references to rock & roll and metal music, for example magical kingdoms named about Jonas Priest, Metallica, and White Snake. Since I'm not a big metal fan, I didn't really get much out of this, but I guess it's largely harmless. As far as I can tell, there's no real reason for it (besides to show that the creators like American rock music from the 80s), but it doesn't really detract from the show.

All in all, this is a show with an interesting main character which is tragically too short and which therefore seems underdeveloped. It's not bad, exactly, but I get the feeling that if my time watching this show could have been taken up reading the original manga, I would have gotten more overall entertainment.

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