Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Director: Katsuhito Akiyama
Number of Episodes: 6
Licensed? Yes (Pioneer)
When I see a 6-episode mini-series sitting alone in the pre-watched $10 bin at my local EA Games and I've got a free Friday night, I like to take a chance. When I brought Bastard!! before my tribunal of friends at both high school and college, it was met with overwhelming approval for being one of those shows so bad, but so reluctant to take itself seriously, that it becomes amazing!
Bastard!! is an epic, big-haired, high-fantasy anime with occasional nudity and imposing sexuality, hence its mature rating. It follows the very basic plot of "evil group seeking to resurrect god of destruction" until the greater evil, the wizard Dark Schneider, is released after being imprisoned within a small boy. Dark Schneider is Chaotic Neutral and has the imposing sexual drive and uncompromising ego of Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones combined. And he shoots out lightning from his hands! And gets it on with almost every female character. What's not to love?!
During his quest to re-conquer the world (as he was about to do before his imprisonment) Dark Schneider and the young girl who released him, Yoko, set off to reunite his Four Lords of Havoc (including a ninja master and a high-level half-elf lightning sorceress). Along the way, they encounter epic-level beasts such as Beholders, minotaurs, vampire, werewolves, and the greatest slime of all time. Gary Gygax would be proud.
While not a super-deep anime (which it never claims to be), Bastard! is unparalleled in its hilarity and heavy metal references: all the spell names are heavy metal bands or at least references to a more metal time. Bastard! is the illegitimate child of the music Dragon Force and The Darkness.
It's Slayers for boys! It's Vampire Hunter D with a sense of humor! It's everything horrible and amazing about early '90's anime. Bastard!!, being just as over-the-top as anything from the fantasy genre, rolls a critical hit for cultic awesomeness!