What’s it about ?
This is the latest spin-off from a (live-action) heroic-fantasy tokusatsu franchise. By all accounts, it seems to be stand-alone in its own continuity.
17 years ago, the Valiante kingdom, represented by its ailing king, its kid prince, and its totally-not-treacherous chief advisor, started a witch hunt. Anybody who looked like a mage or a witch was hunted down. They weren’t above invading neighbouring cities, either. Hundreds fell, but their main target evaded them : the just-born baby of the first witch burnt at the stake, rescued by a knight in a wolf-like armour.
Herman Lewis is now telling this tale to the prostitute he’s in bed with, and she rightfully protests that it isn’t much of a story if the kid was never found. But you see, Herman knows the real story : the actual mission of witches and mages is to fight off and seal Horrors, shapeshifting abominations who prey on human beings. It’s obvious they’re pulling the strings behind the witch hunt. It’s probable many of them have infiltrated society and are replacing key people. Like, for example, this very whorehouse, fraught with rumours of clients never coming back…
Leon Lewis, Herman’s adoptive son who just happens to be 17, proves that he can hold his own when he’s attacked by a bunch of Valiante soldiers (covertly led by a Horror) while Dad is busy at the whorehouse. Which was the point : Herman is now convinced Leon is ready to come back to Valiante’s capital city and put an end to the witch hunt.
Quite good, if maybe a bit too darkly lit. The CG wolf armours are a bit jarring, but you get used to them, and they are meant to be a striking contrast from everything else.
Well, this is a decent start for a dark heroic-fantasy show. The tokusatsu elements are subdued enough to fit in relatively smoothly. The main characters have decent charisma, and the show as a whole does look good.
Still, I’m not entirely sure I’m in the mood for this. There’s no nuance to the baddies whatsoever, and the violence can get pretty gruesome at times. (Hey, let’s quickly imply the captured witches get raped !) I wouldn’t accuse the show of misogyny, but it does feature a lot of violence against women. And it’s just a very dark and gloomy premise.
I’m giving it another episode, but I’m doubtful I’ll stick with it.