Review of God Eater (Volume 1)

godeater1

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.

19 thoughts on “Review of God Eater (Volume 1)

  1. This is one of those shows that doesn’t quite look good and has even received quite a decent amount of hate, but I’d watch it anyway. In fact, I was about to start this or Kuromukuro yesterday as something with a little more energy compared to my recently watched titles. Guess I’m glad I went with the latter cause I was really hoping I’d dine on god-tier levels of grub with this one. Keep us posted when the second half comes out!

    • I think the series is alright. Japanese viewers probably got fed up with it due to the constant episode delays. When volume two comes out I’ll check it out, although the UK release date is September so it may take a while.

    • Lenka, who is an anime original creation, is probably the least interesting of all the characters. The supporting cast, who feature in the game are better imho. I especially like the First Unit leader who is constantly smoking. Even when in battle, on a rainy day, he somehow manages to have a lit cigar on his lips.

  2. I’ve seen some real hate for this show on the web which is mostly from gamers already familiar with the source material, which I suppose is understandable but it isn’t always easy to make a coherent story out of something that doesn’t rely on the variables that come with the game’s unpredictability. Yes, it is generic as hell but there is enough of a hook in the characters to hold interest I feel, gamer or no gamer.

    • I skipped through the story during my brief stint with God Eater 2 on PS4. Shame that I didn’t pay more attention. I could have then commented how faithful the anime actually is. Judged as a standalone thing I still think God Eater compares highly to other video game shows such as Devil May Cry (yuck.)

      • I didn’t know Devil May Cry was based on a video game when I saw, it so I enjoyed it for what it was – crummy ending aside of course… :/

  3. Do anime women even need adequate breast support? Perpetually non-sagging boobs seem to be a given.

    I didn’t make it past the first episode of the series. Cool monsters aside, I just couldn’t get into the story or give a crap about the male lead.

    • True, but then again most of the anime ladies I know are in high school or in their early twenties. The effects of massive mammaries may catch up with them later in life 🙂

      For what it’s worth the series gets better as it goes along. If you can get past the first two episodes you’ll see Lenka join the First Unit, whose ranks are filled with better characters.

  4. The title alone is pretty intriguing.

    The way womens’ battle dress is portrayed in most fiction cracks me up. Apparently, less is more if you’re a woman heading into battle. Personally, I want full coverage, flexible body armor. Call me crazy. 😀

    • As a former MMORPG player I know what you mean. My male characters would be adorned in heavy plate armor whilst the females wore bikini mail. In fantasy games the developers can at least use the excuse that magic enchantments protect the wearer. In a sci-fi show, like this one, it’s hard to explain why some characters go into battle wearing high heels and a mini-skirt.

    • The creatures are called Aragami, which is a play on the Japanese phrase Raging God. When the God Eaters defeat their foes they transform their weapon into a giant mouth than devours the beast. They do so to extract the core, which is used to power their tech.

    • I have played God Eater 2, Soul Sacrifice, Monster Hunter, Toukiden and Freedom Wars. They were all fun for a while, but I never get round to finishing them. The combination of lengthy boss fights and grinding for particular upgrade materials wears me down.

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