Review of God Eater (Volume 1)

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Gods are tasty, but I couldn’t eat a whole one. I mean, just look at Thor. That guy is huge! In all seriousness though, no divine beings were consumed during the creation of this show. God Eaters are the warriors who protect Japan, in the year 2071, from creatures known as Aragami. These guardians of humanity charge into battle wielding God Arcs – a transformative weapon that can don the shape of a bazooka or colossal blade, depending on the needs of its user. Based on Bandai Namco’s video games, this first collection contains seven of the anime’s thirteen episodes.

OVERVIEW

Fans of the God Eater games are probably wondering how faithful this anime adaptation is to the source material. The answer to that question is I don’t know. Although I own God Eater 2 on PS4 I haven’t played it much. Monster hunting games sound like fun on paper, but I usually lose interest in them pretty quick. The endless cycle of farming bosses, for a 1% chance of acquiring materials I need to upgrade my gear, gets old really fast. One thing I can say however is that God Eater is one of the better shows based on a console title… even if admittedly the competition isn’t fierce in that genre.

Lenka Utsugi is the show’s protagonist. Over the course of this DVD set we see how he grows from a hothead rookie to a member of the elite First Unit. There’s action aplenty, as Lenka fights to protect his city from attack and participates in hunting missions. God Eater’s battles are visceral and gravity defying, but in terms of visuals the CG effects lack the polish of other Ufotable works. Sometimes character models look off and on other occasions there are noticeable animation blips. For instance, free flowing locks turn rigid in certain scenes. That’s what happens when you use concrete as a hair gel substitute I suppose.

Another thing that’s distracting about the series is the fashion sense of its cast. Lenka works for an organisation named Fenrir, who employ guards that dress in sensible military garb. The same cannot be said for the God Eaters though. All the guys look like they purchased their attire at Hot Topic. The ladies meanwhile have opted to go into combat braless. Russian beauty Alisa Illinichina Amiella has no shame, as she somersaults across the battlefield with no undergarments and a tiny top that barely covers her breasts. Given the proportions of anime women you’d think they would be well versed in the benefits of adequate chest support.

VERDICT

My rating for God Eater (vol. 1) is a three out of five. First impressions weren’t good, as the series is really generic. An insubordinate male lead that defends a walled city from carnivorous giants has been done before and done better. Thankfully it gets more interesting as it goes along. Regular flashbacks, which drip feed lore, helped to flesh out the narrative whilst the episodes featuring the plight of defenceless refugees succeeded in getting me emotionally invested. Alisa also surprised me by being more than mere eye candy. Her debut presents the character as an arrogant badass, but when denied medication in episode six it’s revealed that she suffers from Shia Labeouf levels of mental instability.

I had high hopes for God Eater, as the makers of Fate/Zero animated it. Sadly the series lacks Fate’s substance. All things considered though it is entertaining enough, especially when you consider its chequered production history. Back when God Eater aired on Japanese TV the release schedule suffered from more delays than a London Underground train. Not ideal, but somehow Ufotable have managed to salvage the anime. If volume two continues to improve with each instalment my hunger for a good video game cartoon will be satisfied, just like how a snack of Odin’s son satiates my appetite.