Masami KikuchiJapanese
Bastard!! (1992 OVAs)
Medium: TV, series
Year: 1992
Director: Katsuhito Akiyama
Writer: Hiroshi Yamaguchi
Actor: Jouji Yanami, Kazuki Yao, Konami Yoshida, Masami Kikuchi, Rei Sakuma, Yuka Koyama, Yuriko Fuchizaki
Keywords: anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 6 episodes
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 15 June 2023
The manga's quite well known and this OVA adaptation of it used to be mildly notorious for violent fight scenes and nudity. (It's pretty tame and you could almost show it to your maiden aunt.) Netflix have since commissioned a much more expansive anime adaptation (24 episodes in 2022 and 15 more in 2023).
I don't expect to watch the Netflix one. Not because it's Netflix, but because of the things I didn't like about this 1992 version.
It's set in a post-apocalyptic world of wizards, monsters and a sleeping god of destruction, Anthrax. It's also full of names from 1980s heavy metal bands. I boggled a bit at the start of ep.6 when some bloke goes through Judas (Priest), Whitesnake, Iron Maiden and Metallica. Our anti-hero is Dark Schneider, named after Udo Dirkschneider from the influential German metal band Accept. Unfortunately, I didn't like him. Not because he's the Bastard!!, but because he's boring. His problem is that he's a swaggering macho dick who's full of himself, but his plot role is heroic and he doesn't do anything bad. He's a Bastard!!-lite. (Even his voice makes him sound like Ranma.) He'll trash-talk everyone. He took his own daughter as his lover, then made her hate him by cheating on her with lots of other women. In these adventures, though, he fights baddies (for reasons unclear) and has the kind of "redeem your enemies and make them love you" story role that you'd expect from PreCures.
Also, he's immortal. Everyone seems to be. I actually liked supporting characters like Gara (who looks like Guts from Berserk) and Arse (supposedly "Arshes"), so ep.6 was a lot more engaging... but then I realised that injuries didn't matter and that death wasn't permanent. (For important characters, anyway.)
There's one interesting thing about him. He's body-sharing with an innocent young boy who wouldn't hurt a fly. They're the same person. This makes him extremely protective of the boy's older sister (and, worryingly, he intends to make her the mother of his children), but the boy himself has no personality.
The show can be silly. Ep.1 begins with monsters slaughtering an army of humans and the only hope of our heroes' survival is to wake up a legendary wizard with a kiss. A girl refuses, because that would be embarrassing. There are goofy reaction faces. These attempts at comedy are all pretty lame, but they make the show a bit livelier. It's better than being po-faced. There's also quite a lot of nudity, including clothes-dissolving slime and a vampire who always tears off a girl's top before biting her. In fairness, though, the character who gets naked the most often by far is Dark Schneider himself. It's almost his default state.
In fairness, this series has plenty of fans who think it's a romp. Dark Schneider is way over the top. The episodes don't always feel as if they fit together organically, but there are some good bits in there and I'm sure the Netflix version works better. (This OVA series has strong animation, mind you, although it's very obviously from 1992.) Personally, though... naaah. It's not for me.