A Call to Arms
Past Is Prologue
A Monster Is Born
Escape or Die
Back to Olympus
The Fields of the Dead
War of Olympus
Greek mythology is one of the richest sources of inspiration for fantasy. From Disney classics like Hercules to epic video games like Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, this period of history boasts an incredibly diverse pool to draw from.
It’s perhaps fitting then that anime – one of the more imaginative mediums out there – grabs the bull with both horns and combines the dark and twisted fantasy of dark anime with traditional Greek mythology. The result is something that works beautifully, instantly pulling you into this alternate history world.
When it comes to world-building, Blood Of Zeus takes the foundational work of mythology and distorts it slightly to produce something both instantly recognizable and wholly original too.
There’s some distinct changes to certain characters but the main concepts remain the same. The delicious political drama with the Gods consumes much of the story, essentially acting as the catalyst to what comes to pass across the season.
The first couple of episodes serve as expository-heavy introductions to this world. In this alt-history, a demonic army has risen and it’s up to Alexia and her armies to thwart their threat. It soon becomes clear though that young Heron can more than hold his own in this fight, especially when a demon rocks up in town.
Predictably, Heron finds himself thrust into an epic fight between both sides that eventually sees the Gods interfere. Toward the end, all hell breaks loose as fantasy clashes with the supernatural, culminating in a couple of action-packed episodes to see this finale off.
There’s also a pretty big tease for season 2 as well and given how this show pans out, I think we’ll almost certainly see that come to fruition.
The real wildcard here though is Seraphin, the leader of that aforementioned demon army. Without spoiling too much, he forms an alliance with one of the Gods who plans to usurp Zeus and turn the tide of battle in their favour. It’s a lovely idea, one that plays out across the season as flashbacks reveal more about this demon’s past.
These flashbacks will either make or break the experience for you. So often these early episodes lack a good deal of pacing as we’re told the history surrounding all these characters. If you can get beyond that though, the second half really comes into its own as Heron learns his true purpose and works toward fulfilling his destined purpose.
Heron’s storyline is pretty typical of the heroes journey but there’s some nice twists along the way to keep things interesting. The depiction of the Gods in particular, and their role in this story is a real highlight.
On the other side of the spectrum is the God who defies Zeus. For spoiler purposes I won’t say who that is here but suffice to say their character feels very one-dimensional. That’s a shame because for a series with so many intriguing characters, the air of cartoony evilness surrounding this is a bit of a misfire.
Thankfully these misfires are few and far between. For the most part, this heady blend of fantasy, anime and Greek mythology works perfectly across the 8 episodes available. The ideas just seem to work so effortlessly together and the hand-drawn animation complements it beautifully.
There have been a lot of good animes this year and Blood Of Zeus stands proudly alongside them in this surprisingly robust package from Netflix.
Verdict - 8/10