Record of Ragnarok (Shumatsu no Warukyure) – Episode 1, Recap and Review

Thor versus Lu Bu, from the first episode of Record of Ragnarok
Thor versus Lu Bu, from the first episode of Record of Ragnarok

Record of Ragnarok – Episode 1: Ragnarok

Record of Ragnarok (Shumatsu no Warukyure) is an anime based on the manga of the same name. Every 1000 years, God’s Council convene to determine the fate of humanity. After reviewing the last 7 million years of human history the Gods conclude that extinction is the only remedy. However, the Valkyrie, Brunhilde proposes a tournament putting 13 humans and 13 Gods against each other, in duels to the death. Whichever side reaches 7 victories first wins.

Personally, I have always loved mythology, so I’m curious to see how they change the gods and their stories. In the first episode we see, Zeus, who’s seems so old and fragile, that you think he might die at any moment. Then there’s Aphrodite, whose breasts are so large that it requires several stone statues to hold them up. Lord Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction, has caused controversy in India and the series isn’t being released there.

Lord Shiva and Aphrodite’s gravity defying breast

Does humanity stand a change?

The first thing you ask yourself when you think of the Record of Ragnarok’s premise is, how do humans a chance? The Gods have assumed their victory and Brunhilde uses this arrogance to get them to agree to the terms in the first place. Obviously, humanity will be able to compete, but how will Record of Ragnarok explain how? Zeus tasks Brunhilde with selecting “those who will represent mankind.” He accuses her of wanting to help humanity because Valkyries were once “reduced to being humans.” Brunhilde’s status as being half-god and half-human puts her in between the two factions. For reasons unknown (at least right now) she has sided with humans. Brunhilde gets to choose the 13 most powerful people from humanity’s seven million-year history.

Odin looks friendly

Thor versus Lu Bu

The first fight is between the legendary Norse God of Thunder, Thor, and the “strongest warrior of the Three Kingdoms,” and “strongest man of China,” Lu Bu. At this point, Thor is one of the most commonly represented mythological gods. Record of Ragnarok has designed (at least so far) the combatants to have every muscle possible, handsome faces (with strategically placed scars), and long flowing hair. It’s not as extreme as Baki (also on Netflix) which seems to have invented new muscles for humans. Neither Thor nor Lu Bu seems to have much personality, although they haven’t spoken yet. I’ve explained in the past how I’ve come to appreciate martial arts anime, like Megalo Box, Baki, Kengan Ashura, and the God of Highschool. I haven’t watch past the first episode, but I think I’m going to like Record of Ragnarok (Shumatsu no Warukyure). Check it out on Netflix.