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Is Bastard!! Really Ripe for a Remake, Or Is It Too Much a Product of Its Time?

Bastard!! might be a bit of a throwback, but its old-school, occasionally mature-oriented content is a great segway into an older era of anime.

The last few years in anime have been rife with remakes and new tales on old classics from the past three or so decades. Fruits Basket, Sailor Moon, Shaman King and others have all been given a modern facelift, usually to tell stories closer to the manga source material. The latest series to join this trend is Bastard!!, which still releases in manga form despite having its heyday back in the ’90s.

Given the nature of the series, which is hinted at by its name, some might wince at the idea of Bastard!! coming back in modern times. Full of edgy grit and some less than politically correct elements, the story is certainly a product of its time. It’s precisely this, however, that makes it the perfect candidate to make a comeback, delivering a bit of nostalgia for old fans as well as new audiences who never saw the original.

RELATED: This Older Series Delivered One of the Biggest Plot Twists of Fantasy Anime

Bastard!!: Heavy Metal, Dark Fantasy is about as over-the-top a franchise as its name suggests. Originally a manga, the series was born out of creator Kazushi Hagiwara’s love of heavy metal music and Dungeons and Dragons. The setting is the aptly-titled Metallicana, which is being ravaged by the Four Lords of Chaos. With no other choice, a high priest has the spirit of the powerful wizard Dark Schneider reborn in the body of a 14-year-old.

The series is so blatant and on-the-nose with its themes and influences that it sometimes comes off as almost parody-like. It very much feels like a sort of satire on anime/manga franchises such as Berserk, with Schneider being so “badass” that the whole affair is practically campy. Given that the hero is “reborn” as Schneider, it could even be argued that Bastard!! is a narrative granddaddy of the modern fantasy isekai trend. Of course, all the risqué and less-than-politically-correct moments make this an anime that could easily offend certain audiences, but this is actually why it’s so great that Bastard!! is coming back.

RELATED: How To Catch Up On Berserk Before Chapter 365 Releases

Despite how abrasive the content of Bastard!! might seem to modern Western sensibilities, its throwback nature is what makes it so interesting. Everything about it feels like the ’80s/90s, where mature-rated OVAs were the rule of the day. Pure fantasy anime were also more abundant, with examples including fellow classic Record of Lodoss War. Sadly, these types of productions are few and far between nowadays, with pure sword-and-sorcery anime that aren’t isekai being especially rare.

Bastard!! offers a new take on a classic which, in being accurate to said classic, will provide an experience that’s otherwise not afforded by today’s anime scene. Likewise, if it’s popular enough, it can and should easily adapt more of the manga than the classic six-episode OVA ever did. This story should be as true to the source material as possible, and though some elements, such as some male nudity, might not make the cut, almost everything else is on the table.

On top of this, Bastard!! is clearly designed for a certain audience anyway. It’s not as though the series was ever intended for children, and its graphic, brutal nature is obvious for those who might prefer more wholesome entertainment. In other words, its high levels of gore, sexuality and other mature elements are being forced on no one, leaving it to older fans and those willing to give the modern throwback a chance the opportunity to see just what makes Bastard!! such a bastardly good time. The reboot anime series is soon slashing its way onto Netflix.

Timothy Blake Donohoo is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he majored in Communication and minored in Creative Writing.

A professional freelance writer and marketing expert, he’s written marketing copy and retail listings for companies such as Viatek.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, playing video games, watching documentaries and catching up on the latest Vaporwave and Electro-Swing musical releases.

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