Image source: 神撃のバハムート VIRGIN SOUL on Twitter

Azazel from Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is fighting to save the demon race. And watching him do it is captivating.

Ten years after the defeat of the dragon Bahamut, the young King Charioce XVII has reconstructed the city Anatae, the capitol of the Kingdom of Mistarica. But the restoration efforts were built on the backs of enslaved demons. In order to free his people, the demon lord Azazel is murdering those who sell or experiment on demons.

One thing that drives us to certain characters is their goal in the story. Azazel has a goal that is very interesting and captures our attention from the first episode: free his people from the bonds of oppression. It’s a theme we can all appreciate—but what makes him stand out is that Azazel isn’t a hero: While his goals are good, his motivations are anything but positive.

A hero working to free his people is a story as old as time. We congregate to these stories because they’re ones of hope and tearing down oppressors. Azazel’s story is exactly like this in Virgin Soul. And it only takes one scene for us to become invested in his story. It appears in the first episode of the series when a slave trader is selling demon children in the dead of night. It’s a sickening scene because we have an aversion to seeing humanoid beings, let alone children, being sold as chattel. So, when Azazel steps in to rescue the children, it’s not only cathartic, but also informs us where his story is going: freeing his people from the shackles imposed on them. From this one scene, it’s difficult not to root for Azazel because we understand that he’s doing something good.

Image source: 神撃のバハムート VIRGIN SOUL on Twitter

What’s more, the act of punishing humans in the wrong teaches us a lot about his character. Simply put, he’s not messing around. Murder most foul is Azazel’s method of punishing those he believes are oppressing his kind. This is the core of what keeps us coming back to him, too. We want to see him punish those he deems wrong and the catharsis we receive is exceptional. Yet, at the same time, Azazel’s unrelenting nature adds a sympathetic quality to his character. If Azazel were just a cold-blooded killer, murdering at random, it wouldn’t breed much sympathy for him with the audience. But when we see the reason why he murders humans, we instantly feel his plight, and we want to support him even if his deeds are extreme.

However, behind the exterior actions of Azazel saving demonkind lies a dark fact we can’t forget: Azazel is a demon and his nature is to cause harm to humans. So, he could very well be going on a killing spree simply because its his nature. And that’s the beauty of Azazel’s story. We’re so enthralled by his righteous actions we forget he’s still technically a villainous character. By making us question where he stands, this in turn makes us want to find out even more about him. But, in order to find out his true motives, we have to keep watching the series. It’s ingenious and truly the mark of a captivating character.

Image source: 神撃のバハムート VIRGIN SOUL on Twitter

There’s one other key factory that makes Azazel enthralling. It’s his relationship with the other characters in the series, particularly Nina Drango and Kaiser Lidfard. The relationship with Nina is actually quite fascinating because it’s borne from Azazel’s desire to use her in his plans—namely, let her rampaging red dragon form loose on his enemies. But doing so would mean essentially sexually assaulting Nina—an act that even Azazel is uncomfortable with. Therefore we see Azazel has a moral spectrum of his own: Murder is OK, but sexual assault isn’t.

Image source: 神撃のバハムート VIRGIN SOUL on Twitter

Kaiser and Azazel’s relationship is interesting in its own right as well because it’s borne from mutual respect. As in Kaiser understands the position Azazel is in and Azazel essentially owes Kaiser a favor from back in the first season. Yet, the two characters are on opposite sides of this conflict. All throughout the series, we see the two characters at odds with each other, but not wanting to fight. Thus, through the relations with other characters, we can’t help but find Azazel endearing.

Creating genuinely captivating characters can seem like a daunting task at first. But it all comes down to a few factors: creating characters’ goals we can understand and making the characters sympathetic. Azazel from Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is saturated with those qualities and topped with the icing of great character relations. Because of that, we can’t help but be drawn to him.

Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is streaming on Amazon’s Anime Strike.

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