Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul
by Gabriella Ekens,
How would you rate episode 24 of
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul ?
What a disappointment. You know, I've reviewed worse shows than Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul. It's just that I don't think I've had one jump off of a cliff so suddenly, after such a promising beginning, so far into its final stretch. After that final barrage of bafflingly cruel story decisions, Bahasoul thoroughly annihilated all the good will I had shored up for it. I'd actively recommend that people not watch this show, no matter how much they liked that first season. In fact, I'd tell them not to watch it especially if they're fans of the first season. That's how thoroughly this endgame ruins Bahamut's spirit of fun and silly fantasy adventure.
Basically, the action goes down in the most cliché way possible. Charioce activates his laser Bahamut cannon by plugging his own life force into it. Nina's big dramatic hero moment consists of not letting him power the thing alone, ensuring that he survives. There's no indication that his strength wouldn't have been enough to get the job done, mind you – as far as we know, all this decision did was save Charioce's ass. But the dude is 100% unsympathetic at this point. By all accounts, that genocide he initiated was entirely (or even preferably) avoidable given his goal of slaying a dormant Bahamut. The speed and efficacy of the plan is another conversation altogether, but considering just how recently the monster had been sealed, and at what immense cost, does speed of dispatch really count for anything in this case? If you have hundreds to thousands of years until the next attack, maybe use that time to rally your forces?
This is all just a longwinded way of saying that Charioce is a murderous asshole who deserves to hang for his crimes at the very least. A final act that revolves entirely around saving him doesn't reflect well on our heroine, although she was kind of past the point of redemption too. Nina was given many chances to dump this asshole and ultimately never took a single one. To be honest, I gave up on her after Mugaro's death refused to dent her commitment to her monstrous boyfriend. At the end of all this, killing Charioce was one of the few things that the show could have done for me to feel even a little bit okay with its conclusion. In a way, I almost admire this finale's commitment to being the worst possible version of itself.
So Bahamut is defeated and everything returns to the insultingly cheery status quo. Nina frolics through town, seemingly unchanged by the immense tragedy that has consumed this period of her life. Charioce is still king for some ungodly reason. The demons still had their culture decimated and their people humiliated, but everyone has moved past that since they're not technically slaves anymore. Jeanne and Azazel mourn their baby (who despite being at the center of 90% of the show's plot, had NO bearing on the final outcome) in the countryside. Rita mourns Kaisar, while Favaro – his best friend and longtime partner-in-crime – doesn't have any emotional reaction to the guy's absence at all. All of it is horribly insulting to anyone with a sense of the real consequences that led up to this. As a price for using the Baha-laser, Nina lost her voice, while Charioce lost the rest of his vision. They resume their relationship in this semi-communicative state, which is supposed to be romantic I guess. I'll admit that this last bit might have been meaningful if it weren't between two people who should never, ever have gotten together. So instead, I hate it.
AND THEN, at the very end, after all this death, dreariness, and wasted potential, the show has the gall to reveal that Bahamut didn't actually die. He'll still come back someday, which means that Charioce's “let's sacrifice half of the world to make sure that Bahamut never comes back” plan meant absolutely nothing. I repeat: BAHAMUT IS STILL ALIVE, SO EVERYTHING WAS POINTLESS. I've never seen a show invalidate its own story so blithely before. This moment also totally takes the wind out of any solace we could have gotten from Kaisar coming back as a zombie, the only potentially decent moment in this garbage finale. Vive le zombie Kaisar. Everyone else can go to hell.
That was terrible. If you stopped watching at some halfway point and are checking in to see how it ended, don't watch the rest of this show. It's not worth it. If you haven't seen any of it but are reading this review for some reason: don't start. You'll only be disappointed, if not outright angered. I was watching this as part of my work, and I still regret my time with it. Ultimately, when the shows you're invested in go sour, it hurts way more than the ones you never held out any hope for. Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul flamed out hard, and as someone who liked so much about its beginning, I never want to think about this show again.
Rage of Bahamut: Virgin Soul is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.
Gabriella Ekens studies film and literature at a US university. Follow her on twitter.
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