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

The anime series Rage of Bahamut: Genesis has all the best parts of a classic RPG without the endless level-raising grind.

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis follows irresponsible rogue Favaro Leone as he begrudgingly escorts the mysterious Amira to the northern lands of Helheim. But, it turns out Amira holds the half the key to reviving the ancient dragon Bahamut. Now, demons, angles, and human armies are looking for Favaro and Amira so they can do with Bahamut as they please.

We’re taking a step back to look at Rage of Bahamut: Genesis so that I (Ken) have a better understanding of Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul. And stepping back was a great idea because Genesis is a wonderfully structured series in that it takes the best parts of a classic role-playing game and turns them into the episodes of the series. In other words, we get the best action, character, and story exposition without having to wade through dungeons or work to increase our characters’ levels.

This gives the series unprecedented speed in terms of narrative progression but also allows viewers to receive exactly what they want: action. For instance, in the fourth episode, we get two very well done action scenes with a little character development to tie the story together. We see Favaro talk about his past with Amira. Then there is a big action scene where a giant crab attacks them followed directly by a zombie attack. After that, we are right back to the plot as we find out who betrayed and murdered Favaro’s father years before the events of the series.

No time spent watching the characters go through rote battles leveling up. Just quick exposition so we learn a little more about the characters, then right into action, and ending with a little more exposition to see where the characters are going next.

It’s the action scenes, too, that really informs the series because what we have is a larger story that pulls the strings of the characters’ actions. Think back to one of the highest regarded RPGs, Final Fantasy 7. The game has very memorable characters, but the overarching story pulls each character through their own personal story. The same is true in Genesis. Each character has his or her own personal issues they’re dealing with and the world changing events force them to face those issues.

Favaro’s friend Kaiser Lidfard is a fine example of this. It’s not as though Kaiser willing joined the good fight because he’s a good guy (though he is), but rather is roped into it because he’s seeking vengeance on Favaro. And as the larger story progresses, we learn that Kaiser has to make a decision: to let go of his anger towards Favaro or to let that anger rule over his actions.

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

It’s those quick bursts of characterization intermingled with the action that make the series great. Imagine if we have to watch content where the characters ran around a forest for hours practicing their skills instead of grand battles. We rarely want to see the character leveling up their skills because it’s monotonous and, in this case, detracts from the overall construction of the series and the individual episodes. Thus, by focusing a majority of the episodes on one or two big battles, we forego the dull exposition through information gathering and instead are given the relevant plot hooks in quick dialog and action packed scenes. In this manner, what we’re watching in Genesis are the best parts of a RPG.

Looking back at classic RPGs like the early Final Fantasy games, the reward for going through a dungeon was always an amazing boss battle and a little more of the story and character development. Translate that to an anime and we have to remove the monotonous content and go straight to the big action showpieces with highly concentrated character and story development. And Rage of Bahamut: Genesis gives us exactly that.

Rage of Bahamut: Genesis is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, Crunchyroll, FUNimation, and Hulu.

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