Netflix has been a game-changer when it came to streaming shows, but I think its animations like Record of Ragnarok deserve a lot more mention. I mean, sure, Stranger Things is an amazing show, but I don’t think it compares to my utter devotion to Netflix’s Castlevania series. And, to me, Castlevania set the standard for anime adaptations by Netflix, which were later followed by works like Alice In Borderlands and Yasuke. And then came Record Of Ragnarok.
As I said, I’m a huge weeb. Any new anime that gets announced usually gets me pretty hyped. And if it’s on Netflix, even better. Because then I am bound to watch it, thanks to its accessibility across platforms. Which is why I’ve watched so many anime originals by the streaming giant and, yes, some of them are great. Some, like Carole And Tuesday, are award winners in my eyes. And then there are some that I feel were pretty to look at, but not very well written, like Blood Of Zeus.
And then Netflix announced their adaptation of the Record Of Ragnarok, a Seinen manga by Shinya Umemura and Takumi Fukui that incorporated mythical gods in a sort of Battle Royale situation. With illustrative work done by Ajichika, it went on to top many up-and-coming manga lists, even managing to get a spinoff thanks to its success. But how did the anime adaptation fare?
I did not end up liking Blood Of Zeus. This is sad because it combines two of my favorite things: Anime and Greek Mythology. But it just didn’t hit the mark for me, thanks to its extremely bad pacing and forgettable writing. So, I pinned my hopes on Record Of Ragnarok. Did it deliver? Let’s discuss!
Record of Ragnarok: The Story So Far
Humans have gone about their lives for 7 million years, both the mundane and the extraordinary, completely unaware that their fate is predetermined. Every millennia or so, there is a famed God’s Council that gathers to decide the course humanity will take in the future.
And one time is all it takes for the Gods to decide that humanity is a pest, irredeemable in every way, and must go extinct to let the Earth heal. However, one of these divine deities, a Valkyrie by the name of Brunhilde, wants to give humans a final helping hand, in a bid to prove their worth and decide their fate. This is where the idea of the Ragnarok comes in, a fighting tournament where 13 of the most iconic humans would go up against 13 powerful gods in a duel to the very end. If the humans win 7 of these death duels, the entire race will be spared from demise.
But of course, how does a human fight a God in the first place? Each human is assigned a Valkyrie that transforms into “Volund“, a personalized weapon to best suit the human wielding her. But both humans and Valkyrie are at risk of death, lest the human loses.
Oh God, where do I start? I went into Record of Ragnarok with a fairly open mind. The manga is very well known for its dynamic fighting panels and over-the-top art style. If nothing, I expected to just have a good time with some fun battles and that’s it. So, what do you do when a show can’t deliver on its very core?
The animation for Record of Ragnarok is bad, I won’t even sugarcoat it. For a fighting anime to have badly animated battles? That’s an unforgivable sin. Like I expected JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure level of zany and wild, and I didn’t even get a Way Of the Househusband frame rate. So already, we aren’t starting great, but I had hoped the premise might save it.
Except, no, it didn’t. The plot itself could’ve been so much better executed had the writers not wasted their time trying to flesh out irrelevant characters to create tension. That attempt is so unnecessary because this anime isn’t some intellectual piece of art. They could’ve had it just be lively and hilarious, but the pacing is all over the place, without a satisfying conclusion.
And, for the life of me, I can’t tell you what I thought of the characters. They are so forgettable, despite their initial character design being so cool. This sucks because, again, I love the idea of incorporating Mythical Gods into a story like this. And this adaptation failed to make even that interesting.
Is Record of Ragnarok Good?
Netflix, just release the damned Devil May Cry anime that the Castlevania team is working on because I can’t live like this.
Record Of Ragnarok is simply not worth the stream. I promise you, the jokes and memes coming from this anime are far superior to the source material itself. There is better fighting anime on Netflix, such as Baki and the upcoming Tekken special.
But if you want this specific story? Just read the manga. At least it’ll be a guaranteed fun read.