What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a heroic-fantasy cellphone videogame… But since it revolves around multiplayer card battles, I assume the writers took a vague look at the background flavour text and made up the plot of whole cloth.
Favaro Leone, our protagonist. He’s a cocky bounty-hunter who cares more about the thrill of the chase than actually making a living out of it. Especially if the tale can earn him a good night with the ladies. Most of his bounties are spent on placating the locals for the collateral damage, anyway. But behind the smarm, there’s a competent lone operative in there, who knows how to deal with powerful summons despite having little more than his short sword on hand. That’s a good thing, as he often gets way over his head.
Kaisar Lidford is his “rival”, insofar as the dude wants revenge on Favaro for ruining his life and reducing him to become a bounty hunter. I get the impression there’s a long line of those.
Amira is a woman who randomly falls from the skies (or so it looks like) and wants to head for the semi-mythical iced fortress of Helheim (a name that should have raised alarms bells in my head way sooner than it did). Since she’s heard Favaro bragging of knowing a shortcut to the place (while drunk in a tavern), he’ll do as a guide. She accepts his offer of sealing it with a kiss.
The next morning, Favaro wakes up with the hell of a headache. Getting drunk ? Check. That bounty target’s brother coming for vengeance and his super-big summon ? Er, he must have dealt with that somehow. That broad transforming into a scary demonwoman ? Er, must have dreamt that, surely. Why does his mouth taste like he’s swallowed dragonfire ? This is a terrible hangover indeed. Let’s get washed up.
Wait, why does he have a small demontail now ?
Wow, just wow. This is by far the most impressively animated first episode of the season, and I can’t see anything compete with it. It shows off one impressive action setpiece after another, from the purely gratuitous (hello, giant wheel !) to the plot-important (with Amira shifting to demon form and kicking all kinds of ass). All the characters have tons of expressive body language, and move smoothly all the time.
What. The. Hell ? How come the adaptation of a friggin’ cellphone cardgame is so good ? This is a feast for the eyes, and I really hope the budget keeps up in further episodes. But even if the action scenes’ ambition gets toned down a bit later on, the show can still fall back on its core strength : its likeable protagonist having fun adventures. Let’s be honest : how long has it been since we got a good, straight heroic-fantasy romp ? Because that’s definitely what this is.
I’m flabbergasted. Don’t let the videogame tie-in discourage you : this is the deeply unlikely gem of the season.