The first season of Record of Ragnarok is available on Netflix from Thursday 17 June 2021. This is the animated adaptation of the seinen manga written by Takumi Fukui and Shinya Umemura and drawn by Azychika, in the process of serialization from 2017 with 10 volumes to the credit. The original work, which in Japanese is called Shuumatsu no Valkyrie, is published in our country by the publisher Star Comics, where it has recently reached its fifth volume. In this regard, we invite you to read our preview of the Record of Ragnarok manga.
The series is getting on a moderate success with audiences and critics at home. In March 2021 Record of Ragnarok in fact, it had over 6 million copies in circulation, and the title appeared at the top of numerous industry rankings. How he got away with it Graphinica, the studio responsible for this adaptation, in replicating the spectacular fights of the manga on screen? Here are our initial impressions after the first two episodes, out of the 12 available on the platform.
Humans and gods, the final battle
Every thousand years, deities from around the world gather at the Valhalla Congress, where through a vote they decide whether to let the human race live or decree its extinction. After having opted for the second option, the intervention of Brunhilde, the leader of the Valkyries, convinces Zeus and the other gods to give mankind one last chance through the Ragnarok. It is an event in which 13 champions of humanity will face 13 representatives of the celestial kingdom, in one fight to the death on whose result the fate of mankind depends. These are the premises, simple and essential, of a light and carefree work – despite the apocalyptic tones of the context – which focuses on a single factor: the spectator’s entertainment thanks to his fights.
After a brief introduction, in the first episode we already witness the beginning of the first clash, the one between the mighty Thor and the strongest of all humans, the leader Lu Bu, inspired by a real-life character from Chinese history.
The various fighters on the roster (perfect term for this occasion too) of Record of Ragnarok they come from a bizarre mixture of numerous pantheons – Greek, Norse and Indian, to name the main ones – and historical-literary influences that give the series an undoubted variety and an excellent potential as regards the spectacularity of the clashes.
However, this feature is not yet fully exploited in the first two episodes. If the first serves only to introduce the context and the characters in the game, in the second the clash between Thor and Lu Bu does not yet reach its peak for the presence of flashbacks relating to both characters in the middle of the fight. An appreciable choice that serves to give greater depth to the two figures, but whose location could undoubtedly be managed better.
At least up to now, in line with the premises mentioned above, Record of Ragnarok certainly does not shine for the characterization of his characters, in some cases specks used for a very specific role.
The only exception is the one we can define the protagonist of the series, the Valkyrie Brunhilde, of which we still do not know the reasons that are driving her to want to help humans. We can’t wait to see how the character evolves in the next few episodes.
The anime of Record of Ragnarok is produced by the Graphinica animation studio, a fairly recent foundation company known to fans for having made the last three episodes of the series Hellsing Ultimate (from the manga by Kota Hirano). The work of the studio proves, at least up to now, very faithful to the content and aesthetics of the original work. The second is probably one of the strengths, or at least the most characteristic, of the production. The representation of the deities of Record of Ragnarok it is indeed a lot far from the typical canon of contemporary popular culture. Just think of Zeus, who appears here as an old man apparently frail whose appearance is very reminiscent of that of Netero from the series Hunter x Hunter, or to Thor himself, a character for whom the adjective “tamarro” really fits.
Unfortunately, an adequate technical framework does not correspond to such artistic fidelity to the source material. The first two episodes of Record of Ragnarok show in fact drawings and animations (especially the latter) a lot of savings.
We therefore do not have that added value that is normally expected in the transition from paper to the small screen. The abuse of static frames and a fairly dull color palette complete the picture of a mediocre technical sector which we hope will only improve in the remaining episodes.
Ups and downs that also characterize the sound sector, which sees the music of Yasuharu Takanashi (Naruto: Shippuuden, Fairy Tail), and the Italian dubbing. Some rumors of the latter do not seem particularly effective for the related characters, but this is an aspect that we will be able to judge consciously only on the occasion of the complete review.