As someone who grew up reading Greek mythology, seeing Blood of Zeus previewed on Netflix made me watch it right away. And indeed, I’m grateful for the unusual combination; it works! While we do have Disney animations like Hercules, Japanese superhero animes like My Hero Academia or Black Clover, and all the Marvel and DC heroes we could fanboy or fangirl over, there’s so much more to explore.
Olympic heroes are a natural addition to the mix! Why didn’t anyone come up with Greek hero anime before! Here’s my review of the heroic Greek anime:
With creators Vlas Parlapanides, Charley Parlaparnides (writers and executive producers), and Shaunt Nigoghossian (director) at the helm, the show stayed true to the source material, yet depicted in a stylized comic book manner. The colors popped out and reminded me of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. It seemed that while it’s still an anime, the show took care of making the characters look true to their personalities and are very distinguished.
I fully appreciated seeing Hermes zip off into the mountains and become invisible in cool anime form. The choral music was heavenly as well (no cutesy opening credits and Japanese songs here). One thing that I wasn’t particularly fond of? The strobing effect—luckily there is a warning before every episode starts for viewers who get nauseous.
Spoilers start here: proceed at your own risk! While there are only 8 episodes, there was a lot happening in each action-packed episode. Heron’s town is suddenly attacked by demons and he starts to learn that he is actually a demigod. His father is, well, Zeus, and his mother, Electra, was once the queen. They have been destitute and hidden in a demure little town, unknowingly hidden from Hera’s sight (and wrath). A lot of the drama left true to the stories I read growing up—matricide, gods turning into animals to help mortals, Zeus’ philandering ways, and each of the gods’ attributes.
Learning that Seraphim (the demon leader) was Heron’s half-brother and twin was priceless, although I wasn’t too shocked as these are common themes in Greek mythology. While the start was a little slow, with us learning about Heron’s commoner life and how powerless he was to stop demons invading his peaceful home, the series starts to pick up right after his half-brother kills his own mother. There aren’t too many comical moments as in typical anime fashion because, well, Greek tragedies are hardly funny.
The betrayals, the chaos, and the drama —this anime does well in introducing its characters in a way that even non-Greek culture anime watchers would understand. Zeus is the kind, all-powerful god with infidelity issues, Hera is the scorned wife looking for revenge, Heron is the innocent chosen one who needs to learn how to control his temper. It’s full of Greek tropes. Leading up to the gods vs titans war, I was hanging onto the edge of my seat. The storyline and characters are true to the source, yet I’m surprised sometimes by them acting out in ways I never predicted, like the sibling rivalry between Hermes, Apollo, and Ares, and who among the gods was on Zeus’ side.
It’s a yes for me! Heck, it was bloody good. While the animation was awkward and slow in some parts (like I can see the frame by frame of Heron trying to punch like in a sketchbook), I definitely enjoyed the authentic storytelling, art direction, fantastical elements, and action scenes. The ending was open-ended, with Seraphim who looks like he’s about to kneel to Hades in the underworld. I have a feeling Hades is not as neutral as he proclaims to be in the war between Olympus gods and the Titans. As a fan of both Greek culture and Japanese anime, I hope to see more—apparently, the creators have high hopes for a season 2 and more!
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