Review of Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

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Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is an animated movie based on the supernatural third person shooter developed by Platinum Games. The film’s appearance on UK retail store shelves coincides with the long overdue release of Bayonetta 2, which is exclusively available on Nintendo’s Wii U (much to the annoyance of Microsoft and Sony fan boys everywhere.) A dream team of Japanese creators was involved in the movie’s creation, which combines the talents of Studio Gonzo with director Fuminori Kizaki. Seems like a marriage made in heaven given that Bayonetta’s over the top action should be right up the alley of the team previously responsible for Hellsing and Afro Samurai.

OVERVIEW

An exposition dump during the movie’s opening informs viewers, not familiar with the franchise, of the lead heroine’s origins. In case you are not aware, Bayonetta is an Umbra witch who uses bullet spewing high heels to battle creatures at dusk whilst masquerading as a nun during the day (in case her default naughty librarian look isn’t kinky enough for you.) Like with many Japanese protagonists, Bayonetta is suffering from a bad case of amnesia that prevents her from recalling her past. Bloody Fate’s wafer thin plot revolves around Bayonetta pursuing a decrepit cult leader who may hold the key to her lost memories. To get to him Bayonetta will have to fight past a legion of angels who wish to sacrifice the buxom witch in order to revive an ancient god.

Writing a synopsis for this movie is tough because, aside from the above-mentioned setup, there isn’t much in the way of story. Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is just an excuse for animating ninety minutes of non-stop action featuring angelic creatures and a femme fatale who summons ravenous demons by shedding her body tight garments. There’s a subplot about a reporter who chases Bayonetta, in the hopes of exposing the existence of witches, but that doesn’t go anywhere, as the journalist in question is nothing more than comic relief. The movie’s cast also includes a bespectacled girl named Cereza who claims to be Bayonetta’s daughter. The opportunity to explore Bayonetta’s parental instincts is however quashed by a script that condones child abandonment just so the lead can get on with the more important task of cherub slaying.

VERDICT

My rating for Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a two and a half stars. To be honest the odds of me enjoying the film were always going to be slim as I am not a fan of its source material. The movie also suffers from the same faults that marred my enjoyment of Hellsing and Afro Samurai – namely too much mindless violence and an indestructible main character who renders any threat they face moot. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy action flicks as much as the next guy, but you need to sprinkle some substantial story/characters between the explosions to maintain my interest. When all a film can offer is a constant wave of flashy combat it falls into the Transformers trap, where your audience eventually gets desensitized to the spectacular sequences you are airing.

If you are a fan of the games (or have a higher threshold for endless slaughter) you can upgrade my rating to three stars, as the movie offers some entertainment in a “turn off your brain and guzzle popcorn” sort of way. On the flip side, if you detest terrible dialogue knock a star off because the cast are guilty of delivering corny one liners that would make an eighties action star blush. Needless to say feminists should stay well clear of this release, as the artists involved have no qualms about drawing Bayonetta in all manner of unflattering poses. I personally am not averse to that sort of thing, but I couldn’t appreciate the lead’s nude form as the character designs are too lanky for my liking. To sum up, if you were asking me “witch” anime movie to watch next I would not recommend Bayonetta: Bloody Fate.

17 thoughts on “Review of Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

  1. Dang, you beat me to it. I only watched it because I planned to get into the series at some point (and a Wii U), yet with only limited knowledge – I can definitely tell there feels like something is missing. Although, it is a video game adaption, so understandable. Most people that the like the game do for the “over-the-top” nature – which I was able to get a sense for, but not a whole lot of in the span of 90 mins. Funimation’s dub was okay though and always like hearing Bayonetta’s opulent British accent XD

    • Did you end up getting a Wii U? I ended up passing on that console. Fingers crossed that some of the good games from that system eventually come to Switch. I’m not a big Bayonetta fan, but would love to play Tokyo Mirage.

  2. XDD Judge, go with the pun “witch”. Ah I see, so basically this is the first Bayonetta game..just animated. With zero exposition dump on world or lore. And the movie relies on you actually playing the game to understand as to what is going on. If that is the case, then it sucks for anyone who is watching this without playing the game.

    • Maybe I would have enjoyed this more had I completed the game. I didn’t get past the first level because the gameplay didn’t click with me. To be fair I played the PS4 version, which is plagued with technical issues such as long load times.

  3. 2 1/2? Ouch! πŸ˜› As you know I have no clue about the game so I had no expectations so I enjoyed this a little more than you did. However as well animated as it is, the weak storyline and character development flaws you pointed out are unmistakably palpable even to a newcomer to the franchise like me.

    • Expectations may have been a factor, as in the back of my mind was the reputation of the source material. Then again I should have learnt my lesson by now. Temper expectations when it comes to video game anime, as most of them aren’t great. Oh well, at least I liked this more than Devil May Cry.

      • Haha. I have a long backlog of notifications, as I am not blogging much these days. For this review however someone recently left a comment and I noticed I never responded to the feedback.

  4. I liked your overview of the movie, and while I haven’t seen it, the description does seem to at least indicate they tried to stay true to the source material. A lot of what you describe is in the game, Warring factions of witches, the goofy investigative reporter. The child claiming to be Bayonetta’s daughter (Though in the game it leads to a twist you can see coming if you pay enough attention.) Of course if the movie spends zero time on these moments or developing these characters, it would make sense one might not like it. Especially if the viewer hasn’t played the games.

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  6. Hello The Otaku Judge,

    I have never seen this or played any of the Bayonetta video games, but I have seen part of some gameplay of someone else playing two of the games and them playing as Bayonetta in a Super Smash Bros gameplay.

    From the look of the trailer for this movie the animation looks familiar and pretty good, but it is disappointing to hear that it lacks in other areas; but if I ever do watch it one day then hopefully it is better than the last Final Fantasy movie I saw that looked good but was stupid and skipped so many details that the movie made me mad and I did not enjoy it.

    Thank you for sharing your review,
    -John Jr

    • I have watched all of the Final Fantasy CGI movies. They all look stunning, but the storytelling and characters are weak. If this movie’s animation looks familiar it’s because it was made by Gonzo. Over the years they have produced a lot of stuff, including Hellsing and Rosario Vampire.

      • Hello The Otaku Judge,

        Nice, I have only seen one of them so far, but based on the one that I did see then I think that you are probably right about that.

        Thank you for sharing that, I have seen the Hellsing anime television shows, and so that is at least one of their works that I have seen.

        Thank you for replying,
        -John Jr

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