Bastard!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy season 1 review – highly sexualized anime with dated views

By Adam Lock
Published: June 30, 2022 (Last updated: August 1, 2023)
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Generic anime that tries to entertain with highly sexualized fan service and some problematic, sexist views.

This review of the Netflix anime series Bastard!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy season 1 does not contain any major spoilers.

Netflix continues to grow its library of anime content with Bastard!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy, a new series based on the eighties manga of the same name. Highly influenced by Dungeons and Dragons and heavy metal, this fantasy epic quickly became one of the most successful manga series of all time. So it isn’t surprising that Netflix has gotten its grubby mitts on the popular source material, but what is shocking though is how they haven’t updated the classic for a modern audience. This series contains countless examples of shameless fan service that verges on soft pornography and some decidedly misogynistic tendencies that just can’t be ignored.

If we are to put the highly sexualized aspects of the show to one side (for now), this thirteen-part anime works like any other standard show from the genre, with grand magical fights, scantily clad women, and a whole host of demonic monsters to defeat. This particular series is set in a dystopian future, where the Kingdom of Meta-llicana is at war. Just to note, yes that is a reference to the rock band Metallica and no it won’t be the last musical nod. To protect themselves, a Great Priest named Geo sealed a reincarnated sorcerer within the body of a child, ready for this day. They must unleash this evil wizard in order to save themselves from annihilation, although they cannot control the demon once it has been released.

The ageless wizard known as Dark Schneider is the sorcerer hidden within Lucien, an innocent and harmless boy. To unleash this beast, Lucien’s guardian Yoko (there are those musical references again) must kiss the boy, on the lips no less. And they insist that the kiss must come from a virgin (this show is obsessed with virgins, by the way.) The kiss releases Dark Schneider from his dormant slumber. He arrives as a ripped, naked god, with unmatched powers. The wizard is reluctant to partake in the carnage and only helps as a favor to Yoko because she looked after Lucien all those years. After effortlessly decimating all of his adversaries, he vows to take over the world, killing anyone in his path.

As the series progresses, Dark Schneider battles an array of monsters and competes for the hearts of many half-naked females. Here the show enters the troubling territory, with some dated and problematic views on women and relationships, not to mention numerous highly sexualized sequences that provide the show with its eighteen rating. Take for example a scene involving a magical slime that only melts Yoko’s clothing, then the look of anger on Dark Schneider’s face when he discovers that his virgin lover was seen naked by another man first. It’s just one of many scenes that lowers the show’s respectability, promoting sexism and warped opinions on female behavior.

The target audience will more than likely lap this up regardless. The show has a great musical theme tune, gory violence, and some dazzling imagery, but overall it’s quite generic. If you are looking for some action-packed adult animation fun, I’d recommend The Legend of Vox Machina instead, which I reviewed earlier this year.

What did you think of the Netflix series Bastard!! Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy season 1? Comment below.

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