Anime has breathed new life into Greek myth with surprising results in Netflix’s Blood of Zeus.
From the studio that brought us the hit anime series Castlevania, comes their newest work, Blood of Zeus. Powerhouse Animation Studios sets the show in the realm of Greek myth, allowing for stunning animation of centaurs, gods, chimeras, and all sorts of interesting creatures and monsters. It follows Heron, a commoner, becoming humanity’s greatest hope of surviving an evil army of demons after discovering the secrets of his past.
This may not sound so interesting or new. It’s a fairly generic action plot. But what sets in apart is the worldbuilding and the storytelling. While the world is heavily influenced by Greek mythology, it takes a few liberties. These are plainly observed in the villains. The main antagonist, Seraphim, is a demon with a tragic past that has led to a disastrous fate.
Demons are a Christian belief rather than a pagan one. But their inclusion here gives the world a unique flavour. Here, demons are born from eating the flesh of a Giant, the foes of the Gods. This origin story is gruesome and great. Even if I think their design is stale, excepting Seraphim.
The animation is at times fantastic and at others, stilted and stiff. It may largely be due to budgetary reasons, but the animation still holds up when it needs to. Particular highlights include the depiction of Gigantomachy, the war of Gods and Giants, and the season finale. The anime style is unique to Greek myth and makes for a fun and fresh visual aesthetic for the series. It feels rooted in Greek iconography yet with an anime spin. It’s a joy to watch and find out how the creators have decided to visually depict your favourite Greek Gods.
The characters are, for the most part, very fun and interesting with enough tragedy sprinkled in to keep the feel of a Greek tale intact. Zeus, Hera, and Seraphim are the strongest characters in the series which unfortunately leaves our protagonist, Heron, in a weird spot. His motivation and the events surrounding him are very interesting and compelling but unfortunately his character is not. Heron is well written and driven but the delivery feels somewhat lacking. He is a very stale and generic action hero despite the interesting relationships he has. It seems possible that his character will grow in the upcoming seasons of the series. I have my fingers crossed.
Alexia falls into the same pitfalls as Heron except with less backstory and character motivation. Why does she want to fight the demons? Because she’s a soldier, I guess. There are one-off lines that explain her origins a little but nothing in comparison with Heron.
The relationship between Hera and Zeus is engaging because it is problematic. Their relationship is toxic and the show revels in that, leaving you with character interactions that keep your eyes glued to the screen almost as much as the animation. Zeus’ actions in the past directly affect the plot in the show and he has made many mistakes. But he’s so damn charming. His charm makes you forget some of the terrible things he has done and why Hera’s anger is justified. It depends on the viewer if this is a pro or a con.
Blood of Zeus has had s strong first season that promises to improve given the proper time and budget. The characters are good, the animation is good, the worldbuilding is good, the plot is a little generic, but the overall story is engaging. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys anime and for people who are new to it and curious.
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